Reading this post back, it seems there are only a few things that I manage to convey: the desire to wish you a happy new year; my wish to discuss the various illnesses that consumed Christmas for us; several rather random eye-related tales of woe that I feel compelled to share with you. It's a curious subject mix, but one which I feel better for having written down. If you just can't bear it, I'll say Happy New Year as a precursor now so that you can take my well-wishes and run. Happy new year.
I'd intended to be here at some point between Christmas and the new year, but somehow the time has gone and 2012 ended as an anticlimactic wash out in which my little boy came down with croup just before Christmas and by the day was too ill and weepy to enjoy much of anything. Sleepless nights followed and I was reminded of what hard work it was to have young children who don't sleep through the night. No sooner was his spirit revived several days later than I found myself in the grips of illness and all our best-laid Christmas plans were cancelled. The only thing I was good for was texting my father pictures of my ill face and laying down the gauntlet to see if he was able to send back a grimmer face. I won. No small feat with a man who insists he's won everything (in the photo below he is beating my husband in a stone throwing contest). Despite being painfully sore of throat, we headed to the beach for new year's day. When we woke that morning the sky was such a brilliant blue and the sun had such wintry pureness that it was a day that seemed to almost call you to the coast and there seemed no better place to be. We met up with my family there and spent a glorious few hours photographing the waves, getting our shoes wet, throwing stones and having our spirits whipped up by the wind. The car seemed to drive itself home in a fug of blow-heatered warmth with views of the setting sun at every turn. Later my husband made several curry dishes and we sat and drank Prosecco while my sister and I planned a joint birthday treat for the new year.
So New Year's day was wonderful, but much of the rest was a depressing string of cancelled arrangements.
Shortly before Christmas I was told I now need glasses. This doesn't come as a great surprise when I spend much of my time focusing fixedly on single fibres of fabric, too entranced by the challenge of attaining even stitches to blink. By the time Christmas day arrived it felt as though I may be handing over my parents' hand-stitched wall hanging along with the last vestiges of normal vision pieced amongst it, such was my reliance on eye gel drops. However, on Christmas Eve I picked up my new glasses and uncovered a long-forgotten world full of crisp edges and vivid colours. I drove home wearing them and each time I stopped at traffic lights I'd lift the glasses up and down to admire the sparkling contrast that wearing them and not wearing them produced! Could there be a game that is more fun? I'm unsure there could. Overjoyed, once home I rang on the doorbell and my husband answered. After a protracted, and seemingly uncontainable, fit of laughter had passed, he simply said: I'll come with you and buy you a new pair next week. Even my usually terribly sensitive daughter felt compelled to tell me that they just didn't look right. It seems that choosing glasses for the first time is not something that one should do alone (not least because one can't actually see clearly). I'd made the mistake of selecting a pair that I liked the look of, rather than checking to see that they suited my face. As a result they are apparently ludicrously over sized and reminiscent of the eyewear of Elvis Costello and Buddy Holly. That's a look I like...I just don't seem to be able to pull it off on my own face. Damn.
The true awfulness of a very busy run up to Christmas followed by being trapped inside the house by illness for a protracted period, is that by New Year's Eve my eyebrows were quite, quite wild, but I'm yet to attempt to thread my own eyebrows, even though I'm normally totally game for any craft activity that involves a reel of thread. When we opened the door to our also-ill-friends who arrived to see in the new year with us (a sort of infirmary party where the patients drank anaesthetising Prosecco and then downed shot glasses of throat-soothing Limoncello at midnight), I felt compelled to apologise for asking them to fight through what felt like the eyebrow equivalent of great carwash-sized brushes in order to make eye contact with me. Luckily, 9.30am on January 2nd brought sweet relief from that crisis. Clear vision is restored in every way, even though I still look like Elvis Costello because we've been too ill to hunt out some new glasses for me yet. Despite protestations by others that this isn't true, I still feel like I look insanely intelligent in my glasses, so the wait hasn't been unbearable for me. One day over Christmas our lovely friend Ben came over to see us and my husband banned me from showing my new glasses to him for fear of him kindly saying that they looked perfectly lovely and giving me any defence for not buying a new pair. And so it seems that the new year begins with my husband's desperate struggle to save me from looking like a lunatic, but either way I'm a happy lunatic, for you won't believe what was waiting under the tree for me from him. I'll reveal all in my next post. It's too exciting to speak of until I feel fully better. I'm afraid at the moment I still feel slightly delirious, so it's reallly better for me not to sully good things with my curious ramblings.
Wishing a wonderfully shiny new year full of good things,