In the deep mid-winter

I hate January. It’s cold, often soggy, and there’s nothing to look forward to. All the fun festivals (Christmas, Bonfire Night) are over, and we’re stuck with a lack of sunshine and no money in the bank, along with a healthy dose of self-recrimination about all the food and drink we’ve just consumed in the space of one week. It’s not just me, right?

I’m also not a fan of New Year’s resolutions. Don’t get me wrong, I think having a look at your life and trying to curb your most self-destructive excesses is a fabulous idea, as is setting yourself new challenges and goals. I’m just not sure that the start of January, whilst dealing with the post-Christmas hangover or food haze, is the best time to do it. And don’t get me started on dry-anuary. (Save it for February – that month is much shorter…)

And, at first, the garden seems to also suffer from this lack of anything exciting or fun. Everything is dead, frozen or a muddy waste pit. It’s not like the spring and summer season, where you can have the joy of eating something that you have grown yourself. (I’m sure that there are plenty of gardeners who, with the use of greenhouses and, well, knowledge, are capable of stretching out their growing season for many months. I have neither one of the aforementioned things. I’m eating stuff from about May to October, that’s it.)

But I have decided to put a brave face on, and go and tackle the many areas of my garden that need cutting back, pruning, weeding or just generally digging up and burning. It is hard, physical work, and my chocolate-filled body is not really up for such a workout, but it is cheaper (and less embarrassing) than the gym. I’ve also decided to look at it like I’m scrubbing the kitchen or bathroom. It’s dirty, icky, and you know that no one will notice the fact that you’ve scrubbed out the bottom of the pan drawer, but somehow, it makes you feel better. Cleansed. Without having to start drinking weird shakes with kale in them. (why? Just why?)

And also, if I cut back enough of the dead stuff, I may have the beginnings of a bonfire. And I can reminisce about Autumn and the bright lights of November and December whilst I sit and sulk. Still two  months of winter to go. Bleugh.

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