Someone said on the radio earlier that today, the 6th January, can be a depressing day for many. It's cold and dark and the return to school and work after the Christmas holidays and New Year celebrations is generally unwelcome. And I have to say I did want another few days of holiday; after so much time away visiting family, the four of us had only just settled into some quiet time which found each of us engrossed in our various new toys. But the alarm went off for the first time in two weeks this morning, and back to routine we went.
I have been doing a lot of housework, and happily too. On Saturday we took down our Christmas tree and packed away all the decorations. I tidied, dusted, swept and mopped and gradually reclaimed our house from the festive dust and glitter. It looked a little bare at first but I am appreciating the extra space. I am never sad to pack away the Christmas things. It's wonderful while it lasts, but it has to end sometime. And today, with both children at school, I tackled the upstairs of our house. I stripped beds and dusted, I washed and folded. I moved furniture and vacuumed behind things - I even cleaned windows. I cleared surfaces that hadn't been cleared for a long time and made space for new toys. It was incredibly satisfying. I remember how, when the children were really small, it seemed impossible to achieve even the smallest domestic task. Just emptying the dishwasher and folding the washing seemed to take all morning as it was so frequently interrupted with feeds, nappies, demands. It was incredibly frustrating at times and I still very much value the feeling of being able to just get a job done - like clean the bathroom - alone, in peace, with the radio on and just my thoughts for company, and it not take all day long. After seven years at home with small people I still appreciate that time to myself, and I love the feeling of order and satisfaction that follows. I feel mentally lighter. I appreciate my home more, the space we have, and feel inspired and energised to do more with it.
Actually, today was extra nice because I unpacked and made space for some of my Christmas presents. I made up the bed with my gorgeous new pillowcases. I stopped for a coffee break and drank it from my pretty mug and I may have eaten a few naughty Christmas chocolates at the same time. I admired my tea caddy and butter dish - I really appreciate it when the things I pick up and use ten times a day are beautiful as well as useful. I was particularly grateful for the the colour and cheer my new towels bring to my grey, January kitchen. I opened a jar of homemade chutney at lunchtime when I made a sandwich and thought that edible gifts are as fun to receive as they are to give. All little things which made me happy to be in my home today.
The weather has been really dreadful these last few weeks, with endless high winds and heavy rain. Many areas of the UK are flooded, including some of the coastal villages we walked around over Christmas. I really feel for the people who live there. My parents went to check on their beach hut this afternoon after hearing that the water was very close. It is set quite far back from the sea - about 200 metres at least - and there is a very steep bank of shingle you have to walk over first, so the thought of it being near the water's edge is hard for me to comprehend. It is fine thankfully, but it's quite shocking how the sea has risen right over that huge mound of shingle and carved a ridge right through it. My mum texted me some photos of beach huts actually floating away into the sea this afternoon. The whole shape of the beach has changed in this storm, it's very dramatic and very sad.