Friday, January 14, 2022

January Made Me Shiver

How bin ya? (As they say in these parts). Well I wish I could say that I've partied as much as the UK government or experienced as much adrenalin as Prince Andrew in the week since my last blog, but I can't.  The past seven days have bled into each other; a blur of work, eating, screen time, sleep and repeat.  

My sleep has been troubled this week and I've certainly had no need for an alarm call - a woodpecker has ensured that I've been wide awake by 6.30 every morning.  We sleep with the window open most evenings (Lotte's escape route, plus I like fresh air), so this has eased the sonic flow of woodpecker drilling into my ears.  Did you know that woodpeckers drill not just for insects, but to make their nests - essentially hollows in tree trunks?  Even more impressive, when you consider the impact of drilling wood on a Woodpecker's tiny bird skull, is the fact that many of their nests could easily accommodate a duck!

On the subject of birds, Robin's were always referred to as "red breasts" because the first recorded use of the word orange as a colour name in English was not until 1502 in a description of clothing purchased for Margaret Tudor.

I discover all of these little gems during nocturnal reading sessions.  

Winter has really delivered this week and courtesy of sleep deprivation, icy roads and a pressing deadline, I haven't gone far.  These photos were taken around 10 paces from our front door earlier in the week. 

I have also grappled with a rather weighty issue - my hair.  It probably needs a trim, but the length is giving me more versatility to try out new styles, like this twenties hairstyle (inspired by the forthcoming Peaky Blinders series and my love of the era's fashion), involving Dutch braids, a small plaited bun and multiple hair partings.

There!  Apart from my scruffs and the unglamorous bathroom selfies, I'm all ready for the new roaring twenties.

This week's additional screen time has largely been devoted to completing the script I've been working on.  

Last year I made a promise to myself to submit it to the annual BBC Writer's Room Open Call.  It's really been more of a challenge to myself; a case of "I've started, so I'll finish", rather than being borne out of any expectation of being identified as the next Jed Mercurio.  However, when I realised on the morning of yesterday's midday deadline that our internet was down, I confess to almost having a little cry.  A screenwriter on Twitter attempted to come to my aid, but fortunately, my prayers to the cyber gods were answered and at precisely 11.58 am I hit the SUBMIT button, spotted the acknowledgment drop into our inbox and promptly headed out into the mist of the National Trust managed Kinver Edge.  Talk about flying by the seat of your pants!

Thursday was quite simply magical.  The beguiling partnership of a hoar frost and rolling mist set the scene first thing, but unusually the mist didn't dissipate as the day worn on.  Instead, the sun broke through in spectacular style, sending sun beams from the heavens and shards of light in amongst the trees....

picking out pathways, foliage and spider's webs...

...and making it very difficult at times to distinguish tree trunks from shadows.  

We were so in awe of the ever changing landscape, 

that we spent around two hours soaking it all in and chatting with other walkers and photographers, marvelling at the vista,

until sunset.

And so, to this morning, 14th January, the day of my birthday and yet another wintry wonderland awaits...and a Covid positive test result for our son (but let's not dwell on the C word).  Here are a couple of shots from our glistening garden.  

It's also Dave Grohl's Birthday (Happy Birthday Dave!  I know you'll be reading) and  National Dress Up Your Pet Day.  I don't fancy my chances of separating Lotte from her pizza box, do you?

On this day in 1514, Pope Leo X issued a papal bull against slavery  and in 1978, the Sex Pistols performed their final show at Winterland, San Francisco.

And there ends the history lesson.

Hand on heart, I am really loving this season, but that's not to say I'm not looking forward.  Finally and tentatively, I feel like making plans in 2022 and the first date on the calendar so far this year is in May, the day I plan to run away with the circus - Giffords Circus to be precise.  It's an enchanting, nostalgia-steeped village green summer circus with a supermodel and rock star fan base.  We went a number of years ago and I've been desperate to return ever since.  This year, Vix and Jon will be joining us.  

Tickets aren't cheap, but they are worth every penny.  So if you find yourselves in the Cotswolds area from April to September, grab a ticket while you still can.  Here's the link   Giffords Circus | Experience the magic of Giffords Circus and brilliant artwork courtesy of Joseph Avery.

Hope you've had a good week.  See you soon!


  1. Happy birthday Claire!
    So far, January has been a blur for me too. The weather was no great help either, but we've just had a misty and somewhat frosty day to make up for that. I can only hope my photographic attempts are even a tiny bit as magical as yours!
    Being woken up by a woodpecker surely cannot be as bad as being woken up by construction work at around the same time of morning!
    Robins are called Roodborstjes in Flemish, meaning red breasts!
    Your twenties hairstyle is looking gorgeous, by the way. I'm currently trying to emulate the Louise Brooks bob I had in my thirties ...
    Meanwhile, I'm keeping my fingers and everything else firmly crossed for your script and that the C word does no wreak too much havoc. xxx

    1. Thank you Ann. I really shouldn't complain about our feathered friend, but honestly, the pecking noise is reminiscent of a pneumatic drill in the background! I'll take it though. So the Flemish and Brits have that in common then. Interesting. Louise Brooks is a great style icon. I think bobs are beautiful. Although I have, for the majority of my life, had long hair, it was cut in a bob when I got married and if I were to cut my hair again in future, that is what I would opt for. Very chic. As for Covid (there, I said it!) I think it was only a matter of time given that we have a son attending college. xxx

  2. happy birthday dear claire!!
    the photos! stunning! what a wonderful weather phenomenon.... and you have captured it absolutely gorgeous!
    glad you could submit your writing just in time - now i´m curious.....
    love your hairstyle - can you come over and doing mine? ;-D i did cut the tips of my hair this week, it was to long and the ends were dry. still long hair though. and otherwise? cold, misty, chores, and a walk.
    wish you all the best and lots of good health wishes for you son!
    ps: circus envy!

    1. Thanks Beate. I would happily style your hair! You have inspired me. I’ve just cut the ends of my hair - something I haven’t done since the first lockdown. Just the dead ends. Think I got away with it! Think we’re all living parallel lives! xxx

  3. Happy birthday Claire! , it’s my dads today he is 75 and a stubborn Japanese mule who resides in the Uk. Hence we are he well a bit longer if you read vixs blog. I must admit I am not impressed with anything going on in the uk anymore. I was hesitant about changing my nationality to Japanese. But now I am glad.
    You photos are awe inspiring and I enjoy reading and looking at your blog. My son well my eldest one he loves taking photos and making videos he was on YouTube as he rides mountain bikes in japan. I sent his blog your way and he loves it. I sleep with the window open but all we heat is the traffic lol.
    I go home on Wednesday but I am kind of glad as I am worried about bean and me and my two other children who are with us. I have tried to convince my parents but nope. They like scandalous behaviour and there is plenty of that at the moment.
    If only the Japanese royal family was like this not!! be well and safe love and huggs Alison

    1. Hello Alison! Lovely to hear from you! I imagine life is very different in Japan and it must be challenging having your Dad still residing here. What a lot they are running this country! It’s all very sad and shameful. I’m flattered that your son likes to read my blog - his YouTube output sounds really interesting. I would love to take a look..? Anyway, I hope you enjoy your last few days here and wish you a safe trip home. x

  4. Happy, happy birthday to you!!! I hope you manage to get out and do something speciial over the next few days, Covid and fog permitting.
    Your hair looks fabulous and I'm really excited about your script writing. Good luck with that.
    Lotte is absolutely gorgeous, those eyes are mesmerising.
    I'm so excited about the circus - that's two things on my calendar for May - that's more than the first 6 months of 2021! xxx

    1. Thank you! I’m really excited to have something on the calendar too. Shall we try and join and run away with the circus? We’ve got time to work on an act. Surely, between the four of us, we can come up with something! xxx

  5. A belated happy birthday to you Claire! Hope you had a super lovely day. Your woodpecker fatigue did make me giggle. Love your Dutch hair (I always wanted Heidi hair).

    The submission deadline sounds like bum clenching stuff. Well done for writing a script, I am very impressed and will keep fingers and toes crossed for you also.

    I think I would order more pizza if it was a cute as that! Your photos are absolutely stunning. Oh, and off course Dave Grohl is reading :) xXx

    1. Thank you Lulu. I’m imagining a scenario when Dave might be checking in. I’m thinking Dave might be holding up band rehearsals, specs perched on the end of his nose - maybe a piece of marmite on toast in hand - just so he can cram in the last few lines. 😆 x


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