New Year’s Day 2017

SnowdoniaOnly a sleep from old to new

Only a sleep from night to morn

The new is but the old come true

Each sunrise sees a new year born.

By Helen Hunt Jackson

Nicola here, wishing everyone a very happy 2017! January 1st has traditionally been a time to reflect on the year that has gone and Advent calendar the opportunities, hopes and dreams for the one that lies ahead. It’s a natural human instinct to be optimistic even if sometimes the world feels like a difficult place. Perhaps positive resolutions and hope in the future helps us to deal with that uncertainty.

Ravilious calendarThe calendar is, of course, an arbitrary thing that has changed over the centuries, but it is something that gives structure to our lives and that can be helpful. I'm not a big user of calendars with two exceptions. The first is my Advent Calendar, which I get every year to mark the days from December 1st to Christmas. This year I had a gorgeous one from the National Trust. Now that we are in a new year I am about to put up my 2017 wall calendar, which is a very special one showing the paintings of Eric Ravilious, one of my favourite artists. In both cases the calendars bring emotions of positivity and excitement in me about the potential for the time ahead.

Here in the English countryside the New Year also brings the usual British preoccupation with the weather with a proverb for January 1st that dates from the 19th century:

If the wind blows from the south it will bring warmth and growth, from the east lots of summer fruit on the trees, from the west Astronomical_Clock,_Prague milk and plenty of fish in the seas, but f the wind blows from the north then it’s going to be cold and stormy all year. I’ve just checked the forecast and the wind starts off in the south west today but turns around to the north later so I expect we’re going to get a mix of everything this coming year, as usual, both weatherwise and in other ways.

Whatever the winds bring, I wish everyone a happy, peaceful and healthy New Year!

Looking Forward… And Back

Fireworks.jpg 1Nicola here, wishing everyone a very Happy New Year from all
the Wenches! As well as being a new year it’s also a new month. January, which
was known as Wolfmonath in the Anglo Saxon calendar. In the Northern Hemisphere
January is a
Aconites dark month with long nights and winter weather. Yet it is also the
month when snowdrops and winter aconites start to push through the earth to
signal the start of spring so it is a time of new beginnings.

JanusJanuary takes its name from Janus, the Roman God of bridges
and doorways. Janus has two faces, looking both forward into the new year and
back to the old. So as well as being a time perhaps to make plans and
resolutions for the new year, January also gives us a chance to reflect on the
good things that happened in the past year. For me a couple of the UK highlights
were the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee which made so many people feel incredibly proud
and patriotic, and the London Olympics, which created a mood of enthusiasm and
euphoria throughout the country. On a personal
Edinburgh note, training Rochester the Guide Dog puppy has been a
great experience and a research trip to Edinburgh was a real highlight.

forward into 2013, I am very excited about the launch of my new Regency series, Scottish
Brides, in the summer and also to some very special anniversaries during the year!

What about you? Do you have fond memories of 2012 and any
special plans for 2013?


A new year’s a-coming!

Newyearclock Jo here, heralding the year 2013. It doesn't seem a blink since we turned to a new milennium, wondering if all our technogy would implode.

2012 was another the year the world might end, but we seem to have dodged that missile, asteroid, or whatever it was supposed to be. Here in Britain it might have been the great flood. It is now officially the wettest year on record. And still it rains! Has the weather in 2012 been record breaking where you are?

I haven't heard anyone predicting that 2013 will be unlucky, so maybe we have a good stretch ahead.Srise261212

I have to confess that New Year's Day doesn't feel important to me. I much prefer the winter solstice as the great turning of the wheel and I wish that was our celebration time with fireworks and aspirations for the next cycle. Here's a picture of a recent sunrise to suit the mood.

But here we are, and it's the traditional point, so… In another forum we've been choosing words for 2013. Word we hope will fit it when we look back from the brink of 2014. Want to play? I think it's best not to think too much, but go with what pops into your head.

What popped into mine was SPARKLE. I hope 2013 will be full of sparkly fun and surprises, with plenty of laughter along the way.

Fireworks1Whatever word you choose, I hope 2013 rises to the occasion! 

Happy New Year!