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Hi – Happy New Year to you! I hope you have had lovely holidays – I have and thought I’d pop in, catch up and then start next week fresh as a daisy.

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Christmas was full of good times, fun, family and food. I got the silver out for Christmas day, Downton Abbey style and my HB (who’s a fab cook) and Head Chef (my son, whose even better) ably assisted by me (KP – Kitchen Porter – you know the role; shopper, washer-upper, table layer, cleaner) served up the best Christmas dinner we’ve ever had, for 8.

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It’s no secret that I’m a cocktail girl at heart and one of my presents this year was a virtual cocktail cabinet – i.e. lots of bottles, an inherited solid silver cocktail shaker and a recipe book (but not an actual cupboard which we don’t need anyway) Other than offering to make 5 different types of cocktail an hour before Christmas dinner was due (not a good idea as they are v involved) I had great fun being a Mixologist and I’m still going strong with it – Mojitos last night 🙂

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It did lead onto much silliness with silly glasses and teeth – enough said, lets move on!

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If you’ve got teenagers you’ll know how special it is when you get a brief unexpected moment when they return to you in a guise which looks a little like the people you knew as children. We had a three-hour Monopoly game which left the two Alpha males battling it out until youth won as it usually does.

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Once it was all over (and I was really sad when everyone had left to go back home) I readjusted to the quiet and fell into some thinking and reading time. I’ve got a deliciously inviting stack of books to read – I’m nearly done with that 700 pager at the bottom there.

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I’ve started the year feeling very reflective – that is in part to the natural stock-taking that a new year brings and also because I heard the sad news that an old blogging friend had died before Christmas. Vanessa Cabban probably had the biggest influence on the development of my painting and my leap from being a teacher to a full-time artist. We had corresponded for a while over it and she was very generous with her encouragement and in sharing her years of experience with me. She stopped blogging some two-plus years ago and like others I had hoped and waited for her to return and now she never will.

I have felt very sad and didn’t want the moment to pass without me saying out loud that she made a lasting impact. I hope she’s at peace with tulips around her and spotty tights to wear.

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There’s a trend for people to choose a word of intention for their new year – I’m choosing 4, or 6 or two phrases:

Labouring and waiting

achieving and pursuing

***

 A Psalm For Life

Let us, then be up and doing

With a heart for any fate;

Still achieving, still pursuing,

Learn to labour and wait.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

So with a few weeks of sloth-like holidaying behind me, I intend to be up and doing again next week, making some new work and developing some new ideas.

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Well done if you got to the end of this mammoth post – you deserve my good wishes for 2015 now! 🙂

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