Our Winter Fayre was a success. We all shuffled in early to unfurl curtains and blankets across Formica tables, tak ivy to the magnolia walls and display our wares. These photos do none of us justice, but were the best I could manage between customers, on a camera which needed me to rub its batteries on my thighs between shots - real girl power :o).
I was ensconced in the corner with my neighbour who makes strikingly patterned pottery. We normally snatch at conversation as we scuttle past one another, so it was lovely to have a whole day together and we spent a lot of it laughing.
Another neighbour, Damien Hackney of Oakleaf Jewellery, was there too (we are a crafty street).
Nomi sold her amazing artwork and jewellery and the music of Telling the Bees which cheered us all more than the usual Christmas jingles.
Danielle Barlow, who organised the fayre, sold her ever-popular cards, prints and original work.
Rima was there with her traveling Hermitage, selling wonders as ever, with the new and powerful lure (I succumbed) of a Rima Staines calendar.
And there were more, who escaped my dodgy photography when even the power of a maiden's thighs was not enough to recharge the batteries. Iah of Ecofreq sold tempting fabric cuffs and adornments; Sara sold handmade funky bags and books; Sonny of The Healing Hedgerow sold potions and lotions to cure and soothe (and washable sanitary towels which one lady mistook for spectacle cases) and Danielle's entire family plied us all with drinks and stollen. We all agreed we'd do it again next year :o).
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Pickle and I have been struggling. I had thought (in a fit of self-ignorance) that waiting for my surgery would teach me patience. Nope. Instead, I am learning how astonishingly deep my impatience goes. I have a consultation with a surgeon in January, but then it could be months before I get a surgery date. Also, a referral for an MRI but no word of that yet.
So, I am stressed and needing a bit of space to collect myself. Pickle, feeling me retreat slightly, clings on tight. Which leaves me feeling I have less space than before. She wants to reduce her nursery afternoons from 3 to 1 (I've booked 2 in case she changes her mind) and move her bed into my room. I've resolved to spend as long as it takes to sing her to sleep and just go to bed earlier and earlier if she spends all night in with me, scrabbling about and asking if it's morning yet. But the beds stay where they are. (For now.) I'm finding ways to be close with Pickle, to play uninterrupted by such inconsequential irritants as laundry and cooking. It's hard - often I'd rather read the paper or have a nap, or just wash up with enough quiet to think. Failing my girl is the thing which will tip me over the edge faster than anything else. I realised I was halfway down the cliff and called for help. She got ill. A very long night of vomiting (in my bed EVERY time!) for her and laundry for me. By the morning we were both ragged. The washing machine, laundry basket and bath were all full. Everything was cancelled. We were in quarantine and could do nothing but be together. It helped and she healed from her first advent chocolate breakfast. I am back at the top again, leaning dangerously, but still grasping tufts of seagrass with my toes. I don't know which way I'll tip, but I'll keep doing what I can to find safe ground for us both in the storms ahead. Last Christmas was tough. I'm hoping this one will be easier, but this second year hasn't been easier in general. January waits to pounce with the anniversary of Thomas dying and February with Valentine's Day and Pickle's birthday, which is a joy and a wounding because he should be there, at least on her special day. And then March and the rebalancing of the light and, I pray, my mind. Let's hope we're all still standing on the other side.