Trying Not to Feel SAD

So, here we are already a week into 2014. Christmas has passed, the decorations and tree put away and life returning to normality. David has gone back to work after two weeks’ holiday, mother has been safely returned to Reading, and the house seems strangely quiet. Our Christmas was relaxed and enjoyable, unlike many in the UK who had theirs and their homes ruined by flood damage and electricity failures over the period. My heart goes out to them, it must have been awful. Flooded property is a nightmare and for many it will be months before they can get their lives back on track.

Many claim the flooding as part of global warming but there are other natural factors involved. This year’s flooding was caused by a combination of a full moon, a low depression and high winds causing storm surges and exceptionally high tides. Similar happened in England in 1952 and there are records of severe flooding in the West Country in the Middle Ages, with the Bristol Channel and River Severn flooding in 1607, wiping out complete villages with high loss of life. The River Severn has the second highest tidal rise in the world, so this sort of event is nothing new.

We live on high ground above the River Severn so we were safe, but living high up does have a few disadvantages, like the strong winds which blow direct off the Atlantic, and boy, have they blown lately. It’s invariably windy here, which is why we have high hedges, fences and walls surrounding the garden. Many of our plants lean permanently at an angle and much, including the vegetables, need to be staked or tied in. At this time of year hanging washing out is impossible – it would take off! Thank goodness for tumble driers.

We are only a few weeks into winter so there is a strong possibly the weather will turn much colder, with heavy frosts and perhaps snow. I hope not; I hate the snow and the cold. I’m a summer gal and long for the warmth of the sun, often laid low by SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), and sorely miss my early morning coffee taken in the garden. I used to get very depressed by the long dark nights and cold, dismal days of winter but a simple observation by my husband a few years ago helped me to see this time of year in a new light when he pointed out that once the shortest day had passed, the days increasingly get longer; and they are. Within a few weeks, the difference is obvious. So armed with this positive attitude I find I can handle winter a lot better.

This morning the sun was out, the rain stopped so when I went down the garden to refill the bird feeder, I took a walk around the garden, for the first time for several weeks, my boots squelching in the sodden grass. For the past two years, on New Year’s day we had crocus in flower on the lawn; this year not a sign of them, which is surprising as the weather although wet and windy has been remarkably mild – I even had roses in flower on Christmas day! But the snowdrops are up, their shoots, inching up above the grass, the daffodils in the lee of a south-facing wall are nearly a foot high, with buds forming, and some of the wallflowers are already in flower. The bluebells are also shooting, and my favourite hellebore is full of fat, dark purple flower buds, soon ready to open. The clematises have new shoots sprouting, although next month the plants will be pruned back in anticipation of summer. And whilst there are several months to go, spring is definitely on its way.

I might be a bit late in saying this, but I do wish you all a Very Good 2014 and hope all your dreams, hopes and aspirations are fulfilled this year.

Till next time…


17 responses to “Trying Not to Feel SAD

  1. Happy New Year to you, too, Kit. And I know what you mean about SAD. I have a special light on my desk that I use a lot in the winter to offset the gloom. Although we’ve not had the gloom we usually do so far. We are below average on rainfall right now, so it’s been sunny and nice. That all ends tonight, with the return of rain. So we’ve decided to make today a play day and get outside for a few hours.
    Survive. As you say, Spring is starting to show she’s trying to emerge. 🙂

    • And to you, Laurie. I’ve tried the special light but didn’t notice any difference to my mood. The light glow from my halogen heater seems to help much better. Beautiful morning here so have been out for a long walk. Feeling good! 🙂

  2. This will be my second year here. I moved in the end of January last year. Talk about gifts, watching the garden bloom for the first time was incredible. The woman who lived here before me was a gardener and must have loved lilies because there was one blooming almost all spring and summer. I don’t have SAD but I have a friend that struggles with it. They usually try to schedule a winter vacation to soak up some sun somewhere. Now there’s an idea. 🙂

    • I wish I could get away for winter, to somewhere warm and sunny but sadly unable to although am hoping to fit in a trip to Spain soon. Watching the garden emerge from winter is a delight and glad you enjoy observing yours, Lavada. 🙂

  3. Happy New Year! We’re lucky to have warm sunshine often during the day here, but the nights are freezing and it can be wet. I must admit I don’t miss the wind at all. We were in London for Christmas visiting Paul and his girlfriend. They live in docklands and it was so windy we were almost blown over…

    • Happy New Year, Siobhan, and lovely to see you here. Luckily we haven’t had much in the way of freezing here so far, just one or two nights, but the winds and rain have been awful, as you experienced in London! We’re all hoping for another glorious summer here. Stay warm and safe. 🙂

  4. Happy new year, Kit. Hang in there with the SAD. I have another friend who has it really bad. She sits with a light for thirty minutes every morning and it seems to help her. I hope the winter doesn’t stay as harsh as it has been the last days for you!

    • And to you, Jillian. I’ve tried the light box but it didn’t help much although it was some years ago. Perhaps they have improved since then so I might try another if things get too bad. At least the sun out again this morning and for once no wind. 🙂

  5. Loved your blog. Made me think that spring is no far away. I actually love winter but we have a lot more rain than snow. Good chance to stay in and read or scrapbook. This had been a different winter as we have had little rain and lots of cold, but no snow yet. Now we are getting back to normal and it should rain the rest of the week. Happy New Year.

    • Pleased you enjoyed, Nancy. Positive thinking to get through the winter. When the sun’s out I’m restless to get out into the garden so dismal cold days are a golden opportunity to curl up by the fire with a book or write, as you say. Stay warm and hope your winter doesn’t get too bad. 🙂

  6. A lovely post, Kit. Yes, spring is definitely not too far away now. Bunches of daffs in the shops and lots of bulbs peeking through the soil in the gardens. Bring it on!

    • Daffodils – YAY! Will buy several bunches when next out shopping. They always cheer me up! Have several pots of hyacinths around the house and it’s smelling deliciously like spring in here. 🙂

  7. Happy New Year and sorry people had flooding.

    Wishing you the best in 2014.


    • Thank you, Frank. Have a good year! We’ve had so much rain overnight my patio is like a paddling pool but will soon drain away, unlike those poor folk in UK who are still baling out with more rain forecast. You take care, now. 🙂

  8. Valerie J. Patterson

    Your post…with all the floral descriptions there at the end, was a warm and sunny bright spot midst a very cold winter here! Thank you, Kit. How I’d love to visit with you in your garden one day! 😛

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