How to Enjoy January

According to Wiccan beliefs, a geranium near your front door is useful for warning you when strangers are approaching. Oh, the wonders of Google. Is the geranium going to bark like a dog?

Geraniums in the Winter

The porch is full of them, sheltering from the frosts that never come. If you can keep geraniums alive until April, they will be ready to add a splash of colour to the summer beds.

This is cheaper than buying new ones but never really works. They sit there looking sick all winter, and then they go out to the garden and look sick there for most of the summer. Sometimes you get flowers, and it is good to know the thing about strangers.

But strangers never come, nobody does. Everyone is hibernating, waiting out the winter Covid wave. The best chance of excitement around here is to walk through the empty village, or go out and sweep the road. If you are lucky, a dog walker will pass by, and you can say ‘nice dog’ to trick them into stopping for a chat. Then you talk about the grey weather and blame everything on January.

Don’t Do That

It is easy to hate January but beware of wishing away 8% of the year.  If you want to shorten your life by that much, take up chain-smoking and cocaine.  Be one of those interesting and annoying people who say ‘Don’t you like January?  I love it!’  People will stare at you, trying to work out what on earth positive gene you have, feel slightly irritated and wander away quietly.

Then do some things to prove you weren’t lying.

Catch the light

There will be at least four mornings with sunshine before it rains again.

Bare tree in winter

Rush out to collect vitamin D and admire a tree or something. 

Go Flower Spotting

It is hard to be miserable and count flowers at the same time and it is shocking how many flowers are out there if you look.  

Snowdrops, heather, hellebore and jasmine will all generate positive thoughts effortlessly.

Do Things for Others

Like chickens

Chickens locked in from Bird Flu

The bird flu is still raging, so they cannot roam amongst wild birds.  To keep them sane we have to drag the cage onto fresh grass every day, serve interesting meals of mashed peelings and occasionally allow them to escape for an hour at dusk, when other birds have gone to bed.

You can keep very busy looking after somebody else’s mental health and it saves you worrying about your own.

Do Something Pointless

When it hails, look around the house. If the Christmas Family Fun left you with an unfinished puzzle from hell, now is the time to get it done. 

Cat on a Jigsaw

Tip. If you leave a cat on a 1,000 piece puzzle, 7 of the pieces will become part of the cat and you will never see them again.

But you will still have 993 pieces to work on, and it is much nicer trying to fit bits of broken daffodils together than spend hours in the hail staring at the bit where the daffodils are going to be.

Eat Well

This probably involves seasonal vegetables. Look at the seasonal planting chart you got for Christmas and wish you had planted some, or sneak about in the vegetable patch, and find carrots grown by other people.

Supermarket carrot and garden carrot
Supermarket carrot and garden carrot.

Fill yourself with fresh nutrients from things like this carrot.

Get Out and About

The Exminster marshes are flooded, and the short road to the car park is jammed with cars reversing back from the floods. Only four-wheel drives or walkers can get through.

If you live with people who don’t like walking, make it more interesting with a novel way to get through the water.

Walking through a flood with bin liners on your feet

All you need is a few bin liners. 

TIP.  Try to give them the ones without holes. Some people find wet feet disproportionately annoying. And they don’t think it is funny if you say that is a first world problem.

Get past the floods and you will find things.

Tree in winter light

Trees in winter light. This would be a very difficult jigsaw.

Exe estuary

And, near here, an estuary that looks like this. This would be better for a jigsaw although there is too much grey sky.

4 thoughts on “How to Enjoy January”

  1. Lovely advice. I do most of it, except for the chickens and wading with bin liners. Since I became a serious gardener, I have a better appreciation of winter–it’s nice to rest and regroup.

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