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Before I resume my Highlights posts from last year I thought I’d better write something about this new year.


Frosty path next to our big pond

There have been lots of frosts this month; probably more frosty mornings than non-frosty which makes a pleasant change.  The last two winters have been quite mild with frost being a rarity.  We have had some rain, even a day of snow (it didn’t hang around for long) and a fair amount of fog.  The  best days have been the sunny ones; a sparkly start to the day and then blue sky until sunset.  Freezing nights with countless stars and a moon latticed by the bare branches of trees.  Today the temperature stayed at -2 centigrade and a very cold wind and thick cloud made it unpleasant to be outside.


Full moon


Full moon

My life has carried on as usual – driving Elinor to college in Norwich, taking Mum shopping, to her hospital appointments and to church once a fortnight and when I am at home, basic household chores.  I have been very tired this month so haven’t done more than necessary!  I went to see my Rheumatoid Arthritis clinician at the hospital for a routine appointment and she seems to be pleased with how I am coping and doesn’t think I need any change in my drug regime.  Richard is feeling much better, though still has some problems with his leg and back.  He is driving again and we have resumed our sharing of the driving and shopping duties.


Birch tree in the breeze

I mentioned at the end of last year that Elinor had decided to try acupuncture to see if it helped to reduce her anxiety and its symptoms.  She had three appointments before Christmas and has had three more this month.  She would have gone this week but it was cancelled as the practitioner has ‘flu.  Elinor is continuing with it, despite it being quite uncomfortable at times, because it has made a difference.  The first session caused her to feel calm for the first time in her life and the effects lasted for nearly 24 hours!  Not all her sessions have been as effective but since Christmas we have all noticed that she has been able to make decisions more easily and has had the courage to do a few things that for some time have been beyond her capabilities.


Dunston Hall

The venue for her treatment is Dunston Hall, just south of Norwich, which is a mock Elizabethan building constructed between 1859 and 1878 but is now a hotel with spa, beauty and therapy treatment rooms, a gym, a pool and outside, a golf course, driving range and football pitch.  The acupuncture reception area and treatment rooms are ‘below stairs’ and I have become used to sitting on a sofa listening to ‘ambient’ music, attempting to read a book and trying to keep awake while waiting for Elinor.


Dunston Hall

She had her 20th birthday on Saturday and we went out for a meal together that evening.  She felt a little unhappy to think that her whole teenage years were given up to anxiety and, because she has no friends, she had to celebrate her birthday with her Mum and Dad.  Richard and I felt so sorry for her and wished there was something else we could do to help her.

The following day was quite eventful because she announced that she had decided that the college course she has been studying since September was not one she was happy with and was considering giving it up!  We spent the day discussing this statement and even though it does sound like a negative step I am amazed that she has been able to come to this conclusion.  She has been studying Graphic Art because she is interested in illustration work and had been told this course was the best one for her.  She has struggled with it and has not been able to attend many of the classes.  I have suspected for some time that she found it unsatisfactory but until this weekend she has said she thought it fine and was going to continue with it.  She has been told of a one-year-long Art and Design course at the college for students who are 19 years old and older and this is what she intends to apply for.  This week she has been talking to her tutors and support staff and has explained the situation to them.  Her final day is tomorrow when she will try to apply for the new course and discover if there are any short courses she can attend in the meantime.


A bullfinch (Pyrrhula pyrrhula) in my winter-flowering honeysuckle. I opened the kitchen blinds this morning and saw two bullfinches in the honeysuckle. I found my camera and because I didn’t want to disturb the birds too much I crouched down by the window and took this poor photo while peeping over the window sill. I now know why I haven’t had many flowers on the shrub this winter!

We had a beautiful day here on Monday and wanted to go to the coast for a walk to enjoy the cold but still and clear day and also to recover from our surprise the day before.  Because of other duties we had, we didn’t set out until 3.30 pm and it was nearly sunset when we got there.


A still afternoon in Southwold


Fortunately Southwold wasn’t damaged by the surge tides and flooding a couple of weeks ago.


Herring gull (Larus argentatus)


The North Sea


Southwold lighthouse


The sea merges into the sky

My choice of music today is ‘Don’t Get Me Wrong’ by The Pretenders.

Thanks for visiting!