In the Bleak Midwinter


I realise that I haven’t added anything to this blog for nearly four months. There are two reasons why.

First, I’ve been busy moving house, spending most of my spare time trying to pack a lifetime’s paraphernalia into cardboard boxes, alongside dealing with all of the usual legal stuff.

Second, my role as a ‘carer’ has become all-consuming, leaving me little time for anything else (other than packing cardboard boxes). I can’t write about it because, aside from making rather depressing reading, it would violate my sons’ privacy. All I can say is that it is very challenging and there are times when I worry that the best part of my life is over and there is little to look forward to. I would love to work again, but it’s impossible at the moment unless I can do something at home.

Thankfully, I’m very happy with our new house. We have swapped our Victorian terraced home in the centre of Lewes for a modern one on the outskirts that has far more space. I have a nook at the top of the house where I can sit and read and my wife has a space where she can get dressed in the morning without being disturbed by anyone. It may not be the Georgian rectory that we’d always dreamed of, but in some ways it’s a relief to have a home that requires such little maintenance.

I have read some very good books this year and out of all the new novels I bought, my top five were as follows:

The Lie of the Land – Amanda Craig

Home Fire – Kamila Shamsie

Force of Nature – Jane Harper

Beautiful Animals – Laurence Osborne

The End We Start From – Megan Hunter

I also discovered some great backlist novels that have been rather neglected, including these five:

The Rack – A.E. Ellis

Into the Forest – Jean Hegland

It Can’t Happen Here – Sinclair Lewis

The Evenings – Gerald Reve

Sister Carrie – Theodore Dreiser (less neglected than the others, admittedly)

With my movements restricted to the point where I’m largely housebound (thanks to a child who can’t go out at the moment), I’m short of material and time, so I don’t think there will be much blogging in 2018. However, I will Instagram my fleeting moments of freedom.

Perhaps it will all change next year. I live in hope.



  1. Enid Holmes

    Thanks for the long-awaited update. I hope this Christmas will be happy for the four of you and that 2018 will be kind and bring you one of your better years.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Toffeeapple

    I cannot, now, recall what I was going to say to you. Probably about things passing but I shall not continue this line of thought.
    I wish you and your family all that you want for yourselves and mostly for a lightening of any burdens. And, lots of light and warmth. Those are the things that I value, after the givens of …forgive me I do not function well at this time of year.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Brian Busby

    After nearly a decade in a Victorian house myself, I’m beginning to understand the allure of the modern. No need to hunt for replacement door knobs online or pay good money for a woodworking shop to recreate a section of damaged gingerbread.

    The only one of your rediscoveries that I’ve read is Sister Carrie – a book I liked so much that I must add my voice in singing its praises. I was surprised to see that Montreal, my hometown, figures. These little things can please.

    Merry Christmas. Very best wishes for the New Year.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. George

    I hope you will have had a good Christmas, and I wish you the best for 2018. I do not envy you your tasks, either in the near or the long term, but I hope that matters will improve.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Lucille

    I look forward to hearing anything you have to say here, although I understand that discretion rules the content and you probably don’t feel as though there is much else you can write about in a light-hearted vein. I do urge you to find an outlet for your talents here or elsewhere. There will always be an appreciative audience.


  6. Joan Kyler

    As I commented on your last post, I understand completely that your time vanishes when you’re moving. My husband and I are in the middle of a move, too. The new (1954) house is many things we’ve dreamed of: quiet, in an old neighborhood of huge trees and interesting architecture, has a big fenced yard (maybe a dog in the future?), a fireplace, brightness and light, and, we hope, peace. The old house (1830) goes on the market on 1/7/ We’re to leave most of our furniture in it until it’s sold, but we’re to de-clutter it. Many, many boxes of stuff have been moved. Apparently, people these days are unable to visualize what could be in an empty house. Very sad, I say.
    I hope things improve for you and your family in 2018.


  7. Annabel (gaskella)

    I’m glad you’re happy with your new house and have the equivalent of a shed with your nook. Maybe you could blog some book reviews? (I agree Amanda Craig’s book was fab – it’s in my year-end list.) Here’s to 2018 – best wishes to you all, I hope it’s a good year, even if there are challenges for you.


  8. Daleaway

    In New Zealand we are still very hopeful you will be in a position to be able to return to this blog soon. Your funny and moving observations about life are sorely missed.


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