Hello February

February has arrived at last. Here in the UK, we’ve just been through the wettest January on record. My family has been lucky. Across the south and southwest of England homes and businesses have been destroyed by repeated flooding; and farmers, still recovering from the destruction caused by last winter’s flooding, now find their fields submerged once again. Many can’t afford the loses and are facing the loss of land and businesses that have been in their families for generations. Homes have been without electricity or running water for weeks, and the transport service is in disarray. People have lost their lives.

We have been unharmed by the flooding, and are truly grateful. All we have had to endure are endless dark days of rain, when the sun refuses to shine, when rooms are darkened by condensation-covered windows, and gloominess prevails. My walk to work is an exercise in dodging giant puddles and occasionally getting soaked with muddy water thrown up by inconsiderate drivers. I leave home every morning in the dark and I return home in the dark. And all day long, despite the huge windows in my office, I sit at my desk with the grey sky my backdrop. The world is dark and overcast and rain-sodden.

I felt as though I hit rock bottom at the end of last week when I was accosted by a nasty cold. I lost my voice and had to cancel my teaching. As well as not being able to talk, I couldn’t think. I went home and felt sorry for myself.

It seems others were the same. Many of the bloggers I follow have been ruminating on their colds and flus all week.

But I woke up on Saturday morning and it was February. Nasty January was behind us. Sure, there was more rain forecast and, as I write it’s lashing rain and the sky is leaden once again. But the days are growing longer and it will inevitably get warmer. It was bright when I left home at 7.30 this morning, and lately there’s been a glimmer of light still in the sky when I leave my office at 5.30 each evening. Though some symptoms of my cold persist, my voice is working again and the cottonwool has departed my brain.

May 31st is my last day at work and I am sprinting to the finish. I’ve set myself some tasks to complete – loose ends to tie up, unfinished writing projects to put to bed – before we sail off into the wild blue yonder, and I begin new projects. By the end of last week I felt bogged down and overwhelmed by the mountain I had created for myself.

But now I’m feeling optimistic again. After I put the girls to bed on Saturday night I did two hours of work, and on Sunday night I did the same. On Saturday I couldn’t sleep for the optimistic ideas spinning around in my head, as I hatched plans, plotted the practicalities of living aboard and educating the girls, made lists in my head that I committed to paper as soon as I work up on Sunday.

And despite the rain, we have had enough dry-weather windows of opportunity for Julian to work on the boat two weekends in a row. May 31st is getting ever closer and, as the days grow longer, warmer and, hopefully, drier, we will continue to prepare to cast off our lines.

PS. I seldom do the lottery – maybe once very three months. But I did it on Saturday and won £25. Now, that’s another reason to feel optimistic!

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