A sweet Christmas. A quiet new year.

A step forward with technology, with the adoption of a tablet (and yes, the delight of free classics on Kindle has not passed me by, the tablet is loaded up with enough free gothic literature and poetry for many weeks to come). I have been a screaming Luddite for so long, my complete conversion has been a little bit of a shock. I confess there was a huge element of ‘hmmmm…’ when I opened the shiny Samsung packaging. I couldn’t even work out how to assemble the plug! Thankfully a call out on Facebook alerted my more technologically minded friends who provided excellent advice, file sharing apps, and a smattering of sarcasm. I would expect nothing less!

I am one of the lucky few who has an extended leave period, I don’t return to work until the 8th January where I’m swept straight back up into the maelstrom of grant visits and project assessments. For some reason these seem to peak in the snow! I’m quite used to turning up places in my big boots and volumous green velvet jacket after a perilous journey across the North on public transport where people gaze at me as if I’ve been transplanted from another planet. Perhaps I have, in some respects. Still, give me a smile, a cup of tea and a biscuit and you’ll win me over immediately – I’m that easy! I also have a healthy respect for the time people take out of their busy and often fraught working schedules to spend time telling me about the work they do, the people they support and the hardships facing them due to swinging cuts to charities, youth clubs, Sure Start Centres etc. Even though I can’t always get you what you want in terms of funding, I try to do my best by you all and I am privileged to do the job that I do.

I’m not bothered about resolutions.  I have some vague ‘wish list’ of activities, but really all I can hope for is that those around me remain healthy and happy. You reach a stage in life where that matters far more than material ambition. When an awareness of everything there is to lose becomes ever more present. Now if I can only communicate that to my credit card’s relationship with Violent Delights and the like and curb my dress buying impulses, I’ll get along swimmingly…!

I’m now trundling off to do a wardrobe census. I appear to be wearing the same 5 items of clothing on a cycle (skinny black jeans, Joy Division t-shirt, deep fuchsia swing cardy, patterned purple short skirt, knee length black boots). Much as I love them, I have a wardrobe full of loveliness that I really need to air more often. Though I am desperate for a decent new winter coat (much as I love my Spin Doctor Crazy Doll frock coat, it really isn’t appropriate for work). I’m adoring the Hellbunny Millie, but I’m reluctant to buy as I have a petite frame and suspect the collar may be overpowering to my teeny neck so I guess I’ll have to hoof it round the shops next Tuesday. What a chore!

Whitby, Whalebones, Me in my Crazy Doll coat with a cat stuffed in my pocket!

Whitby, Whalebones, Me in my Crazy Doll coat with a cat stuffed in my pocket!

So, good wishes for the New Year.  And as someone very prone to making mistakes, a quote from Neil Gaiman who writes what I would like to say far more eloquently than I could ever phrase it:

“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.

Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something.

So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.

Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do it.

Make your mistakes, next year and forever.”


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