New Ear

It is the last day of the year. I am very grateful for that, it has to be said. I’d take 2020 all over again rather than have to do another 2021. I really hope that I’m not saying that again in a year. I’m keeping everything crossed.

Let’s see what’s happened:

Oscar is beginning to get better. We are hoping for a full return to school after the holidays. He is sleeping. He is socialising. He does not need me to sit with him all night.

Things began to get brighter a few weeks ago and there has been steady improvement. We are keeping everything crossed, although we are also very much aware that recovery is not linear, so we are prepared for every eventuality.

It is nice to see him choosing to live again.

I say nice. That’s an understatement. I am extraordinarily grateful for the chance to watch him turn into a shruggy, offhand teenager again. I know I am blessed.

Work continues workish. I have weathered my first Christmas and January sale in retail land and nobody has died. I consider this to be a positive sign. I am frequently amazed at the levels my tolerance has reached, considering how often I think about ‘accidentally’ hurling a book at someone’s head and how I never actually do it.

Yet.

Covid is amongst us at work. I have dodged that particular bullet to date, but I don’t hold out much hope. I have been taking lateral flow tests like it’s a new fashion this week, as I have earache and a raging sore throat, but all continues negative. For now.

I continue to make big art. I finished my collage of Derek Jarman’s cottage and needed a break from cutting out forty trillion small, paper pebbles. I have just finished a big landscape called Cloud Forest, based on an ambient dance album by Nora Van Elken (I am nothing if not eclectic). It is made of thousands of dots and dashes and now I need a break from that. I am thinking that I might make a painting next. I had a seascape in mind, but have been obsessed by the idea of attempting a portrait, so I might give that a whirl first.

Christmas was surprisingly lovely given that all my kids changed their plans three days before Christmas and that required a fair amount of re-jigging. I was also working most of Christmas week and all of Christmas Eve day, so prep was frantic to say the least.

It all came together in the end. We spent Christmas Eve night at mum and dad’s with my brother and his partner, which was very lovely, despite me being extremely knackered for most of it. We spent Christmas Day here with all the kids and their partners and for once, none of them had to dash off to be somewhere else. It was delightful to have them to ourselves until Boxing Day morning.

I am at work tomorrow and Sunday, so no wild times for me this evening. I am not at all sad about that, given that I hate New Year’s with the heat of a thousand suns and am always happy to ignore it. Oscar is at a friend’s house for their shenanigans and the girls are out out. Jason and I are having a fridge raid supper and some Taskmaster and an early night and that’s exactly how it should be.

It only remains for me to tack my top ten reads of 2021 to the bottom of this post, because I am too tired to do my proper yearly round up. Needless to say, they are all excellent and in no particular order.

1. The City We Became by N. K. Jemisin

2. Orwell’s Roses by Rebecca Solnit

. Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason

4. Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? by Jeanette Winterson

5. What Abigail Did That Summer by Ben Aaraonvitch

6. James Acaster’s Classic Scrapes by James Acaster

7. Funny Weather: Art In An Emergency by Olivia Laing

8. These Precious Days by Ann Patchett

9. Open Water by Caleb Azuman Nelson

10. The Blue Cupboard by Tess Jaray

I wish you all peace, health and happiness just as I would wish it for you whatever day of the year it is.

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