By Alison January 7, 2016 8 Comments 3 Min Read


Today I have woken up feeling alive. As though for once I have slept all night despite my Fitbit telling me that I have managed just four hours and nineteen minutes of undisturbed sleep. (I think my Fitbit lies).
The dog is restless. Though the wind is chopping up the air outside my door I do believe a walk suitably wrapped in a warm coat and a scarf wrapped three times around my neck might just be refreshing for both of us. I need to get out the house, to escape the drone of the news I can’t switch off while simultaneously resisting shopping. You see lately I cannot resist the lure of all manner of shops, wandering around them aimlessly, buying nothing and feeling irritated by the remnants of sale time. So a walk through the wet leaves of this little town is the answer for there isn’t a shop to speak of, and even I can resist the charm of the post office counter.
But before that I will fashioning little pasties. Short crust pastry enfolding mushrooms, potato and brie to serve for this evening’s meal with a salad of warm cherry tomatoes and smoky beetroot. A perfect nibbly tea for a blowy January night, eaten in front of the television with a glass of non-alcoholic mulled cider.
I love January. I always have. Though I am frequently told that it is the most awful of months, I cannot help but revel in the opportunity to hibernate, to indulge in the gentle bliss of hygge and to gather myself after the whirlwind that is December. I like the silence of the days. The lack of social obligation. The possibilities of the New Year. I like having casseroles slow cooking throughout the day and the fire blazing in the hearth. I like welcoming home family with faces pink from the cold and getting in to bed at silly o’clock to read Nigel Slater and sip spicy, warming Yogi tea.
For I love Nigel Slater too. His books have become January. There is always his latest tome stuffed in my stocking and as, to my mind, no one writes about food with more atmosphere than Nigel, there is nothing I like better than whiling away the quiet hours of each Winter evening with the latest of his Kitchen Diaries, comparing and contrasting our taste in food and endlessly admiring his ability to fashion a meal out of what I would usually consider fridge remnants.
Gosh. I cannot stop thinking about food. About how we are programmed to believe what constitutes a meal. I cannot stop thinking about the way we allow unspoken rules to shackle us. And I cannot stop thinking about moving house. Though this house is showing no sign of shifting and the receiving of viewers is nothing short of a demoralizing drama, in my mind I have already left. As if the marriage is over and I am only waiting for the decree nisi to be signed. As if the sale is but a formality when the heart has already flown on to pastures new. I want to be gone you see. Before Richard is released and takes it in to his head to come looking for us. How odd to want to escape a house I have loved for so long. For that is it: I cannot stop thinking about escape.
Tonight then we will escape to my Dads house. For he will be gone again to my sister’s house and his big, warm bungalow will once again welcome us, pasties and all, for the weekend. So after our walk I shall close the door on this house, neat as a pin, take my Dad to the railway station and then spend the next few days wandering around rooms that do not suffocate my thoughts but instead offer a kind of emotional freedom I did not know I was missing.
We do not know do we? We do not know to what degree our surroundings shape our thoughts until we escape them.
So tonight I am running away, and taking mulled cider, candles, my favorite yellow quilt and the heaven that is January with me.
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  1. Victoria says:

    Oh how I long for a room that doesn’t “suffocate my thoughts”, air that doesn’t suck away my motivation, and perhaps just a moment that will bolster my spirit with hope. <3
    Beautiful as always.

  2. Barbara D. says:

    Odd how one can still physically be in a place and have “moved on” emotionally and mentally. I think it is also true of relationships.

  3. Helena says:

    That meal sounds amazing, both the pasties and that salad. Are there recipes online somewhere you can direct us to (or a cookbook if that’s where they are to be found)?

  4. dawn gilmore says:

    Your mushroom pasties sound yummy. Too bad you couldn’t send me one via the USB ports in our computers. 🙂
    Oh dear, Richard getting released? When? I hope he doesn’t cause you any problems.

  5. montims says:

    Richard getting released? Did I miss something? When was he locked up?
    Sorry to be so nosy – I just feel like I know you by now, and I worry…

  6. Tracelaine says:

    Richard being “released” and come looking for you????? Oh my word. Please help me understand this. This is haunting my day.

  7. superorganiser says:

    What a lovely picture. I just want to tune that radio to classic fm and climb into that bed with hot chocolate and a hot water bottle……

  8. mimi says:

    Hi ladies!
    I’ve some exciting news to share…this week I have started working for Alison as her virtual assistant, to free up some extra writing time for her. I’m just going to share something here, so that she doesn’t have to.
    The situation with a Richard was very serious and distressing, and as she mentioned, did indeed lead to a custodial sentence for him. Alison has been torn between wanting to share some of what happened here so you can understand some of what has gone on, but at the same time really wants to keep Brocante Home the happy and lovely place it has always been, and doesn’t want to let Richard pollute it.
    I’m taking the initiative on posting this, I hope you don’t mind Alison – but wanted to save you having to think too much about Richard.

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