The sun has been splitting the stones, an incentive to do the very few January jobs there are in the garden (this gardening column advised to simply take this month to read gardening books - sadly I am still very far from calling myself a gardener, but nearly all the books she recommends are on my to-read list). John's father gave us a new clothes line, which we baptised with four of my hand-wash only clothes, a dance of glittery silky dresses sparkling in the winter sun.
He also gave us a bird house, and John painted it with non-toxic paint, but so far there are no occupants. We may well have to find a new location for it among some yellow, as this colour, though muted, could attract predators where it is now.
I am sketching in my one-sketch-a-day and my regular sketchbook, but the only painting I have been doing lately is on skirting boards and walls. It feels overwhelming when I think of the entire house, but breaking it down into rooms and single-task thinking helps. Last week I became obsessed with caulking - who would have thought that fixing loose architraves and skirting could have such a grounding effect. I guess living in a house exposed to the West of Ireland winds tunes you in to the impermanence of anything man-built, and gaps and cracks and looseness heighten that sense.
A year ago the builders were at work, and progress since then (us left to our own devices) has been slow. The next six weeks will be the busiest of the year in my day job, coupled with a new illustration project with a very real deadline, which explains why I suddenly have this urge to get everything else done.