Cup of tea in hand,
Waiting for the sun to rise over my quiet little corner of England...
It is quite remarkable, the difference a year can make.
This time last year, I was exploring my new world, trying not to look back on what I'd left behind, keen to make a fresh start, and anxious for what the future might hold. And, I started this blog, which has been a saving grace in so many ways.
That seems such a long time ago, as I look upon myself now. There are still things yet to be discovered and chronicled, to be sure. The journey has just begun.
The coming year will undoubtedly be no less adventure-filled than the one which has just passed. It begins today...
Last year this time, I went along to magnificent Coughton Court for the Throckmorton Literary Festival. This year, this morning, I will be speaking there as a feature author. I am sure I must be dreaming, but I hope that no one wakes me till its over.
But more than the dizzying high of being in the company of such illuminati as Kate Adie and David Starkey, what I am aware of most profoundly is a deep sense of wholeness and love.
I cannot fully describe what I mean, beyond saying that I have never felt so loved and supported in my life. This morning, my inbox was peppered with cheery messages of encouragement from friends and neighbours here in Barford. Other Barford friends and family made cheerleading phone calls or left rallying voicemails for me yesterday.
Practical support has come alongside the moral variety. The Darling D.E.B. has taken the day off work today. Not only is he planning to come along to cheer his little Wifey on, he's volunteered to be one of our Elizabethan waiters.
We are serving samples from our cookbook as part of our session today. The D.E.B. in floppy shirt, short trousers and tights, a la Jonathan Rhys-Meyers in "The Tudors"...lovely!
Our wonderful Sally arranged the costumes; sweet Hannah--who sang 'our song' at our wedding--has stepped in to be Elizabethan Server #2. (I've decided to call them "Romeo" and "Rosalind"...let's see just how twee I can get today.)
Maggie, from the Barford Heritage Group, phoed with good advice, prompting me to think about having our session recorded, which in the great mix of things had escaped me.
I could go on and on, and name dozens of other Barfordians have been here for me with pep talks, cups of tea, and hugs that have helped bring me to today. And not just "today" in the literal and date specific sense, but Today. This Life.
That is the difference a wonderful, English year can make.
Thank you, dear Reader, for sharing this journey with me.