Despite the mild, wet days and shy spring bulbs peeking up here and there, the wind today felt resolutely wintry. And, while I did not enjoy that hour spent on our school's very exposed playground today, or the dog walks I've done after work in the wind and rain, I do really enjoy winter. I like the opportunity for nesting and hibernation, I like going to the beach when it's bright and blustery, I like the time spent indoors pottering around quietly. I also like the time it gives me to pause and make plans for the coming year; I have arranged a day in London in May with old NCT friends from Leeds, a weekend away in June for John's birthday, and there's more in the offing. I feel like this is the time of year when I catch up with myself a bit and I do appreciate it.
I like it when Seville oranges are in the shops and I can make marmalade. These golden jars have been sitting on my kitchen windowsill for over a week but I keep putting off moving them to the cupboard because the sight of them lined up there, glowing in the light, makes me so happy.
I like buying clementines with the leaves still attached.
I like using some of the marmalade in a cake. It's a Nigel Slater recipe, from the first Kitchen Diaries book, and I look forward to making it every year. This one sunk a little on cooling and the icing drizzled down into the cake, making it so moist and sweet.
I like getting outside as much as possible and timing a dog walk to the local fields with sunset, watching the sky change by the minute.
I like looking at the sunrise while I make my morning cup of tea.
I like warming up with hot chocolate from a thermos on a walk. Even better when I pack the squirty cream and marshmallows too.
I like it when potted bulbs start appearing in the supermarkets. I bring them home and re-pot them in bowls and dot them around the house.
I like buying bunches of daffodils for £1 and popping them in a jug. I always think they look like paintbrushes before they open.
I like finding the kids with their head in a book.
I like crocheting woolly jumpers and the smell of daffodils.