We’ve had a bit of a Christmas tree nightmare truth be told. Yesterday we began the day nursing a mild hangover, so off we tootled for a nice cuppa and a bacon buttie at a nearby café.
I’ve been nagging abut a tree for ages – I love my real Christmas trees. But The Other Half isn’t too keen, so after the said cuppa and buttie, I was despatched to buy a tree. On My Own.
It’s a shame you can’t take your furniture and the corner of the room with you when you go and buy a real Christmas tree. It looked fine outside the chap’s shop. Just the right size. It looked perfectly upright too, just outside the chap’s shop. Not lopsided in the least. And it was a perfect fit in the Christmas tree holder just outside the chap’s shop. Who would have guessed it wouldn’t be a perfect fit in ours.
Anyway, six hours later, with a little bit of help from an electric saw, we had a tree up in the corner of the room. The dog emerged as if to say are we safe now mum? I was being shouted at every few minutes as there was a trail of needles on each and every carpet. Don’t let them stick in the dog’s paws!! Yes, thanks dad!! Mind my paws mum!!
Most of those six hours were spent by The Other Half sprawled on the floor untangling two sets of fairy lights which had played multiple games of Twister while locked in the cellar for a year.
While he untangled the lights (for three hours #true) I decided to change the look of this blog. I’m still having trouble with widgets, menus, disappearing pictures and headlines that retrospectively now look odd. But hey, after #treegate widgets, menus, pictures and headlines are a breeze.
If you’ve never been here before, then obviously you won’t notice the difference. If you have, I hope you like it.
At least the Moo is now happy after all the chaos, as you can see.
Perhaps I‘ve wandered outside the “wine writing” ethos; I might be thrown out, tripping over empty wine bottles on the way. But in my defence M’lud, two things were involved in the making of this post for #MWWC26:
1) wine 2) writing …. perhaps three = 3) more wine
Does that tick some boxes?
Monthly Wine Writing Challenge: Solitude
This isn’t the same blog post I started a few weeks ago. I’ve changed my theme several times. I’m a woman, I’m allowed.
But that’s what solitude does for you. It gives you thinking time.
This post has meandered along several themes (I’m now on Version 39) and I’m crazily writing right up to the deadline wire. I like it that way.
Now look up. Yes, keep on looking up, above the #MWWC logo.
See that picture at the top of this post? That beach? Those waves? That blue sky dotted with candy floss clouds? That’s a fine place for solitude that is, that’s Anglesey. If you’ve not heard of it before, then there you go you have now. If you’ve never been you should go.
That there is my favourite beach and it’s called Lligwy Beach and me and the dog Millie aka The Moo spend lots of time there. It’s the best place for thinking time. I love it. Solitude of the finest order.
I’ll try and hurry to the point and come back to Anglesey in a minute as I’ve also to tell you about a banana cake and a critical life-choice affirming moment for a wine lover.
The Monthly Wine Writing Challenge theme then. Solitude …. and the reasons for all those blog post versions.
I set out to define solitude. In Version 1 of this post I wrote:
Solitude: It doesn’t mean being lonely, it means being alone. It doesn’t mean being sad, it can mean being happy. It can be a state of place; a state of mind; a state of peace.
Then things got a bit tricky. In Version 12 of this post I wrote:
I feel pretty alone at the moment. Alone in my thoughts. I’ve already had two sets of tears today. Yesterday – EU referendum result day – I was desperately desperately depressed. A majority voted to leave. Not all of Britain. Not me. I don’t want to leave. I don’t want to go anywhere.
I continued, feeling pretty miserable, up to Version 29, my fingers throwing down new versions quicker than a Northern Bird (that’s me) throwing down glasses at a Rioja tasting:
Penny for my thoughts now? It would cost you, as there’s too many of them. I’ve had lots of solitude the past 24 hours (lots of wine too, truth be told) and I ain’t happy and I certainly ain’t in a state of peace.
I’m in a minority. A majority of my countrymen voted to leave the EU. I can’t get my head round it. Why? Why?
For now it feels like a bad wine. Cloudy with aromas of fear and exclusion; with flavours of skimming the facts and a bitter aftertaste. And I can’t see that going away for a very long time. It’s a bad wine but the vote is the vote. That’s it. We have to drink it. We can’t go back and choose another wine because the door to the wine cellar is now truly shut and bolted.
Basically, using the #MWWC26 theme as an excuse, I was Home Alone in solitude and having a right proper rant. I left this post unfinished for a couple of weeks, unpublished. I calmed down and had lots of thinking time (and drinking time).
Now I’m back (Version 52) to nail my love of wine to the mast. Because when all else fails a glass of vino while rapidly typing out expressions of angst eases the pain and oils the vocabulary.
Back to the beach.
It’s too long a tale just now to tell you why and how I began a love affair with wine. It would take me up to Version 132 and none of us wants that and I have a deadline to hit.
But I will tell you the tale of one day in April and that beach. And I’ll tell you the tale of one day at home this weekend just gone and a banana cake.
Let’s preface this with you not feeling sorry for me because I’m not sorry for me. In April my role at work was made redundant. I’m OK now; another contract and in Proper Job terms everything is fine. So don’t worry.
Jane Clare and Millie the Moo
The Moo on Anglesey
Llanbadrig Church Anglesey. A place to truly think
A drop of sparkling wine from South Arica
Springtime Anglesey flowers and a drop of pink
Me and the Moo
The Moo loving Anglesey
Henners: A drop of English sparkling wine
Writing a wine column on Anglesey
But in April I spent three weeks on Anglesey pondering the future. What would I do; how would my life pan out. I was on my own most of the time because in September my Better Half is fulfilling an ambition to cycle from Lands’ End to John o’Groats. So he needs lots of training time to practise cycling lots of miles and rightly so.
There we were, me and the Moo most days wandering from beautiful beach to beautiful beach and gazing across the sea. Sometimes. Just. Sitting. Above a cliff. Thinking. In solitude.
We have a caravan on Anglesey (if you’re not from the UK then understanding the British and caravans would take me to Version 672 so I’m definitely not going there) and its our bolthole.
We’ve been going for about four years to take deep breaths of an ancient air; gaze at the sea, the greenery, soak up the calm and enjoy wine … Yup many of my wine missives have been penned on the island where the Druids battled their final stand against the Romans.
So this April, Anglesey and its solitude and its mind-opening, somewhat spiritual vibe was exactly what I wanted and needed. And then on the hill above Lligwy beach I realised that if all else failed I was lucky to have my wine. This could be my lifeline, my future, my income. I love it. Just love it.
Next year, if contracts run out, I hope to throw my heart and soul into wine, setting up a small-scale business and studying the WSET diploma. That’s the confidence sitting above an Anglesey beach in solitude brings you.
I’ve found wine and it has found me. It’s a lopsided arrangement because it can give me morning-after headaches whereas I just extol everything I love about it to everyone I know. The people, places, social history, geography, science, tastes, food, laughter. I’ll have a word with wine next time I see it about that one-way complimentary traffic on my part.
I mentioned a banana cake. Last weekend I was a little bit poorly and not up to drinking wine. Ah. thinks me. I’ll try something else to fill my time. That something was to bake a cake; a banana cake. Because I had bananas doing nothing in the kitchen. Other fruits play crucial roles in my life such as gin dipping or sangria soaking.
Bananas need yoghurt and I didn’t have any yoghurt.
Time for a new hobby, I thought. (Too much time alone you see, too much solitude, as last weekend Better Half was cycling the circumference of Yorkshire or something.)
I didn’t take a picture of the banana cake before I threw it in the bin.
But you just know when you’ve met your soulmate. Baking isn’t mine. Wine is. Let them eat cake, I say. I’ll wander up to my beach on Anglesey and shout up to those fluffy clouds that I bloody love wine. I’ve been giving it a lot of thought while I’ve been on my own.