Winter here on Skye is different in some ways to winter in the Pennines, but in some ways not so much. When we first started telling people about our move they commented on the lack of daylight and the weather, and how would we cope? Well we're used to the rain and, if anything, it actually feels lighter here. Big skies, not being hemmed in by buildings and parked cars. And the fact that there isn't much of that afternoon street light switch-on happening (which always makes the days seem shorter).
I do believe in the importance of daylight. We take vitamin D supplements and get outdoors when we can. Rain and grey skies can make you feel down and so maximising and harnessing natural light is necessary. Hanging mirrors around the house is about all we can do at the moment as we're living in a rental property but it's a start.
And the fact is, we're already past the shortest days. I'm looking ahead to spring coming. Some people start planning their summer escapes or ordering plant catalogues to pore over in anticipation of getting back out into the garden.
I joined the library yesterday. It was lovely - after Joe being off school for an extended period I'd been craving a little bit of time alone so I got to browse the shelves and look at the quilting exhibition (which was really inspiring). I also brought home a few novels for bedtime reading and some non-fiction books: The Wild Dyer by Abigail Booth and Home Sewn by Cassandra Ellis. Both have beautiful photography and content, and gave me some ideas for trying new things this year.
I'm also thinking about keeping a journal. Nothing too tying, just thoughts and things I want to remember about our days.
We're already learning useful things about living on the island. Like stopping the letterbox rattling with Blu Tack so the postman can still open it (Jay's idea). And that there's a little fruit and vegetable place in the old blink-and-you'll-miss-it corrugated metal building in the next village (opening hours hit-and-miss but I'm determined to go and it be open one day soon). And always taking wellies and a warm coat in the car for impromptu after-school adventures.
It's important to find a balance between working and resting. I have so much to catch up on after Christmas, and so many things to do, that once Joe's dropped off at school I come straight home and switch on the computer. But work also involves things like meeting people and going out with the camera, exploring places for inspiration and the odd - ahem - Pinterest foray.
Making contact with the outside world makes a big difference. I miss my friends horribly but a long phone call earlier in the week was really cheering. We're trying a Messenger video call on Tuesday morning, our usual get-together slot. And that means I'll get to see a new baby too, who I'm excited to meet.
I've been thinking about wellbeing in terms of the senses. Hot baths, warm blankets, soft layers. Rediscovering the joys of listening to music. Hearing the wind howl about the roof on wild nights. Burning fragranced oils. Watching the sunrise and the weather, reading, enjoying an evening film. Eating satisfying meals of porridge, stews and soups, roasts.
The Christmas decorations have gone back into their boxes. The house feels calmer, less cluttered. Just indoor plants and books. Although I'd like to bring something living indoors: bulbs and perhaps some daffodils to brighten up the table. I love paperwhites and hyacinths but missed the boat this year, what with moving in when we did. So instead it'll be miniature yellow narcissi and perhaps muscari if I can find somewhere that sells plants.
There is, apparently, somewhere in Inverness that's very good but right now we're reluctant to leave the island. Perhaps in another month or so. Like so much at the moment, there's no hurry.
Jay has a job interview this afternoon and he's bringing my desk back from storage too. So I can work a bit better. I sent out my first shop order of the year on Monday and I need to be more organised - the whole 'winging it' approach doesn't sit well with me. I'm also ordering packaging and new business cards, some for writing and some for art.
So all's well here. Things are beginning to take shape as we emerge from Christmas into a new year. It's a gradual process and we're thankful for that after a chaotic few months. There's much to do and we have a long way to go but we're here and we're happy. And that counts for a lot.