Burning woman…

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For many of us, 2014 started with a bang and a wallop – and I’m talking UK weather here, not drunken fisticuffs.  For me the actual festivities were laid back and low-key, despite having to drive home the next day in hurricane-style winds with a hangover. Not. Recommended.  Still, now that the year is officially back to being blah, I’ve spent the last week contemplating the year that was and setting my intentions for the next twelve months.  I’ve done this with an empty oil drum and a book of matches.

And no, I haven’t lost the plot or turned into a pyromaniac! I’ve spent the last 6 weeks gutting my renovation project and taking the ancient plaster and lathe walls back to brick.  Seven skips later, I’ve been disposing of the wooden battens used by the Victorian builders who constructed the place. Extreme renovation makes you unsentimental about ‘stuff’ – faced with a house that resembles an empty shell, I’m pretty sanguine about what I want to keep and what I want to dispose of.

Which brings me to my resolutions for 2014.  Apparently this is the Chinese Year of the Horse. And I’m a Fire Horse, which makes me someone who ‘loves action and excitement in life and will rarely be quiet’ according to the Feng Shui site I googled...Well, no surprises there, then. So, will I burn with passion this year? Or will my lovelife continue to resemble a damp squib? Will my career ignite like a roman candle, or like Comet Holmes, will I just keep getting half a million times brighter on my way to becoming the biggest object in the universe? Frankly, I have no idea.  What I do know is this…

  • I won’t keep hold of things (emotions, situations, stuff) that no longer work. Those dead horses were flogged and are well on their way to the glue factory, my friend!
  • I won’t accept second-best. Not for myself, or those I hold dear. No. No-way. Nada.
  • I will love the people who matter and who’ve been there for me in dark times and good. Whole-heartedly and without judgement – although in the case of gentlemen admirers, probably with a bit of caution and a condom, since my horoscope also mentions ‘new arrivals’ and ‘unreliable boyfriends’. 
  • I will tackle my goals and to-do list with fire and energy. Passion is great, but without action, ultimately nothing. And yes…I will put away the matches!

And finally… I will wish my friends, family and readers of this blog, a 2014 filled with brightness, gladness and all good things. Happy New Year!

Hard-core Husky…

I should start this post by saying…no animals were harmed in the making of this blog and it was not written on the hard shoulder of the M4…any of you expecting voyeristic sex, or heavy breathing should stop reading and re-tune your satellite dish to the naughty channel!

Yes, dogs and harnesses were involved. Yes…on New Year’s Eve, so were a load of naked men in a sauna…more about that later…

Actually, the whole thing started because having grown up in a hot country, I happen to have a thing for snow. Goggles, a furry hat, and seven layers of underwear later, I found myself on a plane to Lapland in December.  Arriving in Kiruna, I had to do a double take on the thermometer…minus 25 Celcius. Pretty. Darn. Chilly.  That’s brass monkey weather to us normal folks…

I thought I knew what to expect.  Having good travelling companions was a given. Only fellow crazies or really good mates would don sledding gear and head out to the big white yonder with nothing but a tea light and some slippers to keep us warm!!  That was before we found out about the guy who didn’t make it, and whose ghost still lurks behind the first cabin we made camp at…Oliver – if you are out there, we come in peace…

What I didn’t expect was a guide who was a cross between Chuck Norris and Bilbo Baggins! What I didn’t expect was chopping frozen entrails twice a day.  And not a drop of alcohol in sight!  Or running water for that matter…the long drop loos are a whole blog on their own!

Despite expectation, what I got…was a pack of dogs – Honey, Simba, Isak and Nanuq to be precise – who loved me as I was. No make-up and nothing made up. They loved the moment, and so did I.

Despite expectation, what I got was a group of fellow travellers who were totally brilliant. In adversity – a.k.a. no booze – we had to forego our disguise and don our regular faces. No make-up, and nothing made up…honest people enjoying fresh, cold air and each other’s company. We loved the moment.

A good way to end 2011. A good way to start 2012.