Happy New Year to anyone taking the trouble to read this, my first blog of 2017.
That in itself might put you right off as it’s apparently very annoying to be wished Happy New Year after the first week of New Year.
As I got a ‘Happy New Year’ greeting from a patient last Thursday, I refuse to feel guilty. Anyway, it’s generally a good thing when you work at a doctors’ surgery and don’t see a patient very often. It means they’re doing fine. Probably.
Right now, there are far bigger things to be annoyed about in the world. On the Scale of Annoyance, from Minor Niggle to Shaking With Rage, I doubt this blog represents more than an eye-roll.
Anyway, just think yourself lucky that I’m not going to talk about New Year resolutions. I didn’t make any. I just woke up on the first day of 2017 and thought that the best thing to do is take things as they come.
This is based on the fact that I started 2016 with some fine targets, then family life just got in the way in spectacularly awful style so my life wasn’t really my own for several months.
So this year, no targets, so no disappointment about not reaching targets. I’m not doing Dry January, I’m not doing de-toxing, I’m merely doing the stuff I enjoy – cycling as much as poss, running a bit, taking pics, never turning down a glass of fizz, eating carcinogenic toast, having too much gravy and generally appreciating things.
But I did do the important things at New Year – like walking and beachcombing on a couple of Welsh beaches.
Strolling with the family on Rhossili beach on New Year’s Day under mostly leaden skies was even quieter than usual – only about 20 other people on the entire stretch of sand! Maybe it was because it was a bit windy, scuffing the tops of the waves back out to sea and sending the seagulls rocking and rolling on the currents. My Chinese daughter-in-law and I wrote HAPPY NEW YEAR in English and Chinese characters in the sand but our cheery greetings were all covered up by the time we walked back.
We were expecting to be able to gatecrash the Welsh brunch + fizz shenanigans at Eddie’s at Hill End but it was all closed and in darkness, so maybe Eddie’s had enough of working on New Year’s Day.
While Rhossili is big and breathtaking viewed from above, my favourite beach, Mewslade, is a bit of a secret treasure. It gets filled up at high tide, but as the tide is retreats beneath blue skies in the low winter sun it’s dazzling and exquisite.
There were a total of eight people evident at different times and if perched between some rocks in the sun, sheltered from the bitter breeze, it was actually beautiful and warm. At Mewslade, everything around you, apart from the actual limestone rock and grains of sand, is alive and waiting for the incoming tide.
If you pick up any shells on the beach, chances are they will have a sea snail or a hermit crab inside. Erosion has carved the limestone cliffs into innumerable clefts, caves and cups. The cups are home to clusters of teeny navy blue mussels, the rock is covered with living barnacles and the rock pools and rocks – even at eye level – wear shiny blood-red anemones just waiting for the next tide to extend their tentacles.
That day was a good start to January, a month that’s generally way too dark, too dreary, too dull, too wet for me. The absolute best thing about this January is that the furry magnolia buds are swelling, daff buds are about to burst, the first snowdrops are showing snowy-white in the woods and January is nearly over!