This quote is borrowed from Tolkien for two reasons. Firstly, 2023 itself is going to be a big adventure with work starting on the house (by hired help rather than ourselves) and shortly we are about to embark on a trip to New Zealand. The latter is long overdue, our daughter moved to NZ in late 2016 and her round the world excursion never got beyond her first port of call. The dream job secured and boyfriend acquired later in 2017 stuck, and now six years later, she is a NZ citizen.
First, a look back at year so far. A tremendous Christmas break was had, a fantastic Christmas meal that supplies boxing day (and beyond) buffets. Whilst I do say it myself, the process of curing salmon (using Laphroaig whisky) may be long, but very worthwhile. New Year was quiet but very pleasant, enjoyed with a glass of single malt and a large helping Jool’s Hootenanny. Singular mention in the food extravaganza goes to turket-flette. I’ve bastardized a recipe I first found on the ski slopes of France that used leftover ham, onions, cream and as smelly a cheese you can find to top of this calorific consumption. Diets starts soon, as I can feel my arteries screaming in submission.
We did manage to walk off some of the indulgence over the holiday being blessed with good weather for part. But only part as the wind and storms have reeked havoc both with ferry cancellations and tree felling. Achamore Garden, where we often walk saw trees fall across paths which put the one up-rooted apple tree in our walled-garden into perspective. The woods at the rear of the Manse will need further inspection and management this year.
I’ve been very grateful during my time in the contract market to find work on a regular basis, I also hope this says something about the experience and work ethic I’ve learned over the years but most of the time I have been fortunate to work with good people to manage. I am very fortunate o n this occasion to take a long sabbatical with a contract to come back to and, undoubtedly, funds are more important than ever this year.
Having visited both kitchen and bathroom showrooms during the holidays we are moving closer to understanding the look and feel we would like for The Old Manse but equally understanding better the budget for our aspirations. Conversations have progressed with builder and heating engineers and quotes obtained to pursue energy efficiency grants but let us say that retirement is postponed for now.