At the end of every year Bill and I have different routines. Bill likes to look back through his diary to ponder the things he has or hasn’t achieved, work out if we had more or less rain than usual, add up how much he’s spent on repairing farm machinery, compare the wheat price to the previous year … you get the drift. On the other hand, I write down what I’m doing in the coming year. This usually includes vague suggestions such as have friends over more often and go to the theatre more than once a year, together with a few more specific “things to do” like paint the front hall (a recurring entry for several years). Vague suggestions were quite easy to achieve or quietly forgotten about as they were difficult to quantify (how many times counts as more often?) and I rarely looked back to check what I’d written down.
This year I decided to be more efficient and target driven, which is probably a result of hours spent working on Marketing, Tourism and Business Plans for a project that Ruth and I are trying to launch. In place of vagueness, I settled eventually on 5 headings of Discovering, Friends & Family, Growing, Making and Visiting. The headings are themselves a bit vague and open to a little twisting and contriving, but hey, I have to start somewhere. Under the headings, I shall write down 5 Things to do each month. Not necessarily new and wildly exciting things but just getting round to actually doing something. I often read about exhibitions or plays or courses and then forget about them or leave it too long so that they’re fully booked or have finished but now I shall write them down and make sure I go; I won’t just say that I’d like to learn how to make salami or upholster a chair but will find a course and learn. That’s the theory anyway. I started well enough in January but in February only got as far as writing a couple of things down and I shall have to fill in the card retrospectively.
I did check out Candlemas Day, we made pancakes on Shrove Tuesday and I did the knitting that I’d planned – a shawl because I loved the colours and more socks, because I can knit them without thinking too much about what I’m doing as essentially they’re a tube with no increasing or decreasing apart from the heel. Once the first few rows are completed, knitting with five needles is easy and looks far more complicated than it actually is and variegated yarn adds colour and pattern without the bother of changing yarns and dealing with the ends. I’m not a natural knitter. I follow patterns with little idea of why I’m instructed to “[k2tog] twice, [yo,k1] 4 times” until I’ve repeated it about a dozen times and finally realise what I’m doing. I had to restart the shawl (from Colours of Shetland by Kate Davies) three times because I got in such a muddle with the stitch chart and even then I realised about a third of the way through that I’d done a whole section completely wrong. Never mind, it might not be perfect, but it will keep me warm.
Under the February Visiting heading, I shall slip in the visits to farmers’ markets in between trips to the cinema and a Trade Show in Birmingham. After the disappointment of the local farmers’ market, I ventured further afield to Sudbury and found a bustling, thriving farmers market with stalls selling meats, bread, fruit and veg, cakes … My favourite stalls were the one selling wonderful fresh fruit and veg and The Gamekeeper’s Daughter selling rabbit pies and squirrel pasties.
For March I’m going to keep to my original idea by finding things to do and making sure I carry out my plans. Tell me, do you say yes to everything or do you say you’ll think about it and get no further? Do you regularly take on new challenges?