Warding off the winter scaries

Ah November. I get to this point every year and have the exact same life crisis. Call it seasonal depression or the winter scaries, but I go through the transition into winter about as joyfully as a cat being launched by the tail into open water.

Black o’clock mornings where I’ll drag myself out of bed, squinting against the glare of the energy-saving lightbulb.

Muttered curses in the bathroom when the automatic light switches itself off, forcing me to do some questionable jazz hands on the toilet in order to trigger the sensor. 

After throwing the coffee pot on the hob I’ll trek out into the misery of rain and wind (coincidentally, a name my business has been called before), to almost unalive myself tripping over a chicken. A bit of sloppy mud will no doubt find the gap between my pyjama bottom and sock as I shake some food out for the ungrateful dinosaurs.

And once I finally make the switch to wellies? So begins the nightmarish task of sticking a hand inside to dislodge the spiders, which, I might add, are gigantic this year. One came skittering across the kitchen the other day and I practically teleported onto the counter. I considered handing him a copy of the lease agreement.

Ah November.

I mean. It’s not all bad, I suppose.

I rather enjoy the robin who, without fail, launches himself past me at breakneck speed before I can duck into the house, reminding me that I forgot his sunflower hearts. Let me tell you, money can’t buy the adrenaline rush of a small bird rocketing by your nostrils.

Then there’s the short hours spent in the dim glow of a coffee shop. I might meet a friend or two, and we’ll spend our pennies on caffeine and thoughts about our most hated book genres (gore/romance) and authors (anyone Irish, sorry not sorry).

If I’m alone, I’ll be tapping away at a laptop, frowning in concentration as I take what’s handed over by the courier working overtime in the vaults of my imagination. 

There’ll be the last few F1 races to watch with the housemates, and yet another Disney jigsaw will be upended on the table. We’ll pick away at it like blackbirds when the racing is dull. It’ll be at least May before someone makes the executive decision to shove it back in the box (sadly, always unfinished). 

My longtime friend Lindsay recently put forward a selection of countries for us to visit in the year ahead. I tend to decide based on where I’d most prefer to be kidnapped. Egypt is currently topping the list. We have a funny way of choosing destinations, me and Lindz. I’ll suggest Finland (hyvä Suomi!), Lindsay wants Vegas. Points will be drawn up for each.

We’ll end up in Alaska.

view of blue sky and landscape through ancient brick window

Sicily - Not a bad place to be kidnapped

While my days are busy now with candle making and preparing for the festive markets of the coming weeks, I’ve also been talking plenty of moments to sit down at the piano.

Creating music is a curious experience for me, and probably my best weapon against those winter scaries.

A song can emerge almost fully formed as soon as I begin it, but should I pay it too much attention, the notes will fade from my fingertips like a dream. So every day I've been sitting down and letting a bit more emerge, but the very second I think "huh, this is quite nice" KAPOOF - the magical connection to the music gods vanishes up in a puff of smoke. 

It's frustrating, but the kind of frustration that makes me sigh and know that tomorrow is another day, another chance at finding the right thread to follow. 

I hope you also have things that help you, like a crutch, to hobble through these darker days. Maybe it’s poetry or a sport or copious amounts of cinnamon buns (no judgement). Maybe it’s your cat. Maybe it’s just knowing that brighter days are ahead. Maybe you light a candle or two, or five. 

If it happens to be Christmas music, I’ll kindly ask you to go back into hibernation until December 1st.

Over and out,




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