It’s been grey, wet and ever so windy here over the past two weeks. We attempted a walk up Corn Du and Pen y Fan only to to find it so blustery on the top of Corn Du we didn’t get any further. Pen y Fan stayed tantalisingly out of reach, even though it would have only been another ten minutes’ walk on, but we decided it wasn’t the day for it. Whilst we were making that decision a fell runner passed us, leaping up among the rocks on the top with just a pair of shorts and a single long sleeved top on. He was hardier than us in our full walking gear. The Pen y Fan itch will have to be scratched on a better, calmer day.
No, it’s been the weather for staying in, baking and life decisions. I finally attempted some bara brith, after much complaining that they just don’t make it down here like they do where I grew up in North Wales. It turned out beautifully from just five ingredients: fruit soaked overnight in strong tea, allspice, flour, sugar and one egg.
Heading towards Christmas and the end of the year always makes me reflective. What have I achieved this year? How do I feel about another year passing? It’s been stormy weather at work this year too. Lots of changes, uncertainty, stress. Somewhere on those hills or in my kitchen I took a decision that has been a long time coming. It’s a decision that puts me back in control and firmly says ‘Don’t like it? Change it’. So I did. After nearly six years in my present job, I resigned. I leave at Christmas and start the New Year with a blank slate.
I haven’t talked about my job on here as it feels far removed from my life here in the valley. It’s a metropolitan career steeped in cities and politics, which I leave behind as I drive towards the hills. I soak overnight in the peace and utter quietness here ready for another day of what often just feels like fire-fighting. I’d like to find a way to better blend the two next year – I’m not sure yet what that could be, but I am sure of one thing: brighter days are ahead.
P.S. For all logophiles and nature lovers out there, Robert McFarlane’s Landmarks is a lovely read, charting the (often disappearing) words we use to describe our natural world. Ideal for broadening the vocabulary on Christmas walks.