A Groundhog Kind of Year

Castle Gate entrance to old markets area, Sheffield

I haven’t had much to say on here because I haven’t been writing much; the process of writing has been a physical and emotional slog for the last few months, and I found myself picking up other creative outlets. Finding excuses to not write is just that: an excuse. However I’m usually busy during the run-up to Christmas with various knitting projects, and I’ve taken up painting with acrylics recently – at a very basic, beginner’s level – I think mainly as an evasive tactic, although I’m determined to improve; after all, this is the same person who a year ago couldn’t quite remember how to knit a purl stitch, and now, cast your eyes upon my yarn creations!

Knitting was one of the distractions I employed from the Groundhog Day reality we’ve all been living for the past two years or so. The 1993 Bill Murray film was all too relatable now, and for me, Covid has really emphasised the darker side of that story. Something very big, mysterious and mostly out of our control was keeping us at home, away from loved ones, travel and normality; we had no way to move on. I did my part; had the vaccines and booster, wore my mask, and worked from home, but day to day life had been hijacked, commandeered by a new strain of virus; scariest of all, none of us knew how long this new, repetitive, and stultifying status quo would endure.

Around the date of my last post, I lost a very special relative, my aunt Jenny. She was a very positive role model in my life and always cheered me on; she encouraged my writing and creative hobbies from an early age. We visited her home in Sheffield to say goodbye one last time in August. The header image is of the old entrance to Sheffield’s market areas, where we spent happy days hunting for bargains and patronising the cafes in the upper galleries, thronged with shoppers buying anything from leather boots to pots of beef dripping that looked and smelled, to my Southern sensibilities, as appetising as dog food.

I miss her. We have to carry on, but catching the Omicron variant of covid between Christmas and New Year really capped the end of my 2021 as a year to be best looked back on, rather than relived.

January is always busy for me, both personally and in my day job (I’m not one of those full-time writers yet!) – but now that February is upon us, and Imbolc has come and gone, targets have been set and my house is bare of any cheery, festive decor, it’s time to knuckle down to writing again. I’ve done lots of things that I really should post to Instagram, and I have loads of opinions about national and international events I could share on Twitter, but I need to finish a couple of horror projects first, and I need to make a big push to finish the first draft of my novel in writing.

I’ll probably do all of these important tasks in between reading, and listening to Audible. I was previously a bit sniffy about audiobooks, being one of those obnoxious people who didn’t consider listening to them as “real” reading, but I’m a convert, and I filled many long days in isolation revisiting some old favourites and discovering some new ones.

So, a belated Happy New Year to you all, constant readers; be well, safe and happy, and if you’re stuck for something to read, why not try out some authors that are new to you? And if you do, a review, a thumbs up, or even a like can not only make someone’s day, it may cast a ray of light on that groundhog’s shadow, to foretell of Springtime, and brighter days ahead.


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