It would seem that January is nobody's favourite month but I don't hate it with the passion that many appear to. Yes, it's dark and yes it's long and yes Spring is still so far away and no it doesn't have the sparkling promise of fun and feasting that December does, but it's also quiet, and gentle and if you aren't insane and treating it as a period of abstinence and self-denial after the excesses of Christmas then it's a month ripe for wrapping up in a nest of whatever comforts you and looking after yourself in front of the fire (real or proverbial).
I don't hold with January as a month of self-denial, January is a fine month to do more of what pleases you, not less. No one drops by in January, there are few social engagements, kids go to school and come home again every day of the week (unless you get a storm day, which is more welcome in January than it was in November). January is by and large a month where you are left to your own devices, other people busy with their own recovery from their own Christmasses - be that a recovery of kindness or one of deprivation - and being left to my own devices is pretty much my favourite thing. And then at the end of the month of knitting and resting and drawing and thinking and staring into space I am rewarded with my birthday, which is something that I enjoy more and more every year. Yes, I like January.
At the end of this week I'm going away all by myself, which is also one of my favourite things. I'm going to Glasgow to photograph four families (another of my favourite things) and there is a whole lot that I'm looking forward to about the trip because as much as I love this island, after almost three months I am desperate as fuck to get off it. I'm also desperate to work, to take photos again and be paid for it, to spend time with people who value not just my skills but also their families, their children and the precious fleeting moments of every day family life enough to give me their time and money to capture them.
I think I've mentioned before that I always return from family photo sessions appreciating and loving my own family that little bit more. I'm hoping that doing four sessions over two days will increase and intensify that feeling exponentially because at the moment – I have to admit - I'm not appreciating my family life that much at all. I mean obviouslyofcourseitgoeswithoutsaying that I love and appreciate my husband and my kids and the fact that I have them and that they're all wonderful human beings etc etc etc, but I'm also tired and stretched and frustrated and irritated by being little more than a cook and a cleaner and a referee and a personal assistant in our little set up we have going here.
We're still settling into our new life and Nye and the girls have settled a lot faster than I have. They have their roles and their places and their lives, Nye has a job, the girls have school, they all have friends and colleagues and classmates that they see everyday. I have... the house and the dog and a list of chores. And a whole bunch of niggling ideas and dreams but not quite the gumption to make any of them happen any time soon. It's a process and as I sit at home I'm constantly fiddling with the rubix cube of my world, trying to find a way to make the pieces align but my inability to figure it out is making me royally pissed off and I am looking forward to a few days off, a few days in a world that doesn't need made sense of because it's not my world, I'm just visiting.
Other things I'm looking forward to include coffee from single source beans and an espresso machine, with crema on top and pretension on the side. Leaving the house and walking down the street and seeing other human beings but not knowing a single one of them and not having to stop and talk to any of them one single bit. Walking past those human beings on pavements. (Pavements! There is a pavement on the island, but it's only two feet wide and maybe forty feet long and it doesn't really go anywhere. It's still nice to walk along it though, for the novelty.) Going to the cinema and drinking wine alone in the dark* (there is a cinema that visits the island every few months, it comes in the back of a lorry and parks 10 miles away and I can't drive and we don't have a babysitter and while it's an amazing thing that a cinema comes in the back of a lorry it may be less frustrating if it just didn't come at all.) Friends who I can see on foot, with little notice or planning, in a variety of interesting locations, some of which serve foreign food. Shops, shops full of things I don't want, don't need and can't afford, but shops none the less. Working as a photographer who isn't a wedding photographer that does family photography sometimes but is just a Photographer (who doesn't do weddings so don't ask me). Spending seven hours on the bus, each way. With sandwiches and podcasts and knitting and probably not any books because I get travel sick but also absolutely no one to ask me any questions at all for SEVEN HOURS.
Yes, I like January and I like this trip very much.
Yes, I like January and I like this trip very much.
*Shitting fuck. I just looked up the listings and the indie cinema near where I'm staying is only showing Star Wars, The Hateful Eight and that Leonardo DiCaprio one. That's a lot of middle aged white men with beards, or Star Wars which I have only ever watched because my kids love it. Do I want to see any of these? Do I? Tell me.