In with the New

Another year over… and a new one just begun.

And what food for thought it is.

A monumental, life-changing decision has been reached, though not without the odd tear. I will share news as and when it happens, but there is a long way to go yet before we see any real movement. It’s been a long while coming.

In the meantime, I want to share some of the simple pleasures I was afforded over the recent break, away from the routine of wake up – work – eat – try to stay warm whilst watching rubbish on Netflix – dive into electrically heated bed – sleep – start over.

I know I moan a lot. But if I can’t do it here, where can I? In deepest winter, I feel I live a half-life. Unless I manage to get away. My needs are simple, and they should not be impossible to meet:

Waking up in daylight. Even better if sunlight is streaming through the windows.

Taking my first cup of tea outside, in sunshine, in pyjamas.

Eating fruit fresh from the tree. If it’s my own tree, so much the better.

Freshly-squeezed orange juice.

Fresh, unpolluted mountain air.

Empty beaches or coves, somewhere away from other people, let alone crowds.

A smooth, strong coffee in the sunshine at a street cafe

Fresh, crusty bread and quality olive oil in the country it was produced

Ice-cold white wine as the sun goes down, but the evening is still warm

An open fire if it’s chilly

Trees. Native and undisturbed

Birdsong. Perhaps the rustle of a lizard in the undergrowth

Waking up to the sound of nothing but cockerels and maybe a donkey across the valley

Calm, warm water for swimming and kayaking

Beautiful landscapes to paint

Time to breathe, to be creative

Quality time spent with like-minded friends, old and new. Not having to say ‘Goodbye, see you in another 10 years’ time’. That is too hard.

Freedom to move, or to stay; to do something, or nothing. And not be obliged to do, or be, anything I didn’t choose.


The last time I spent a New Year’s Eve in Tenerife, we upheld a tradition usually performed at another time of the year, but which felt fitting. All of us at a bit of a crossroads, we each wrote down on three scraps of paper things we wanted to get rid of in the following year, and threw them onto the bonfire at the stroke of midnight. On another three scraps we wrote what we wanted more of, what we wished to bring into our lives, and kept them locked away somewhere safe. I found mine, a few months ago – four years after writing them. Little has changed. I can’t remember the three I decided to burn but I made my usual wishes this year as fireworks went off on the coast, 2000 metres below our garden camp, on the slopes of Mt.Teide

     I wished for all the above – and not just for Christmas.

I would happily throw away snow, ice, horizontal rain, relentless work schedules and stress, and I intend to do so. It is not always easy to disentangle oneself, especially when things are far from awful. But we should never stop chasing our dreams.