I’ve tried VERY HARD to embrace the whole Samhain as New Year thing. But it never feels like a new start for me, whatever I do. January 1st however, always does. It draws a line under the whole mania that is New-School-Year/deal-with-stressed-Witchlet-One/harvest/Samhain/Hallowe’en/frantically-make-presents/school-party-concert-Christingle/Yule/Christmas/where-the-fuck-do-I-put-all-this-stuff they’ve-been-given/the-house-is-a-bloody-mess which starts in September and steamrollers over the top of me until the end of December. It’s at this point I feel the urge to purge crap out of my body/life/brain/cupboards, and take a few well-deserved minutes to take stock and try - TRY - to plan the next twelve months.
So with this in mind, I’m going to do a short re-cap of 2012, and then leave it behind. It’s gone, I can’t change it, I’m going to do my level best not to dwell on it, and do my Scarlett O’Hara impression:
The gardening started out well this year. Seeds were planted, plans were made, I kept on top of all the jobs and I was VERY PLEASED WITH MYSELF. All went swimmingly well, until the surfeit of rain meant all went, well, swimming. I got a decent onion harvest, some good garlic, a few beans, lots of tomatoes, some fantastic radish, wonderful raspberries and some decent strawberries, but the sunflowers, courgettes, pumpkins, cucumbers, squashes, sweet corn, salad leaves and spring onions were either drowned, eaten by slugs or never did anything. The leeks are still out there, and I have high hopes for them. Herbwise, I finally got my lavender hedge planted, the mints were spectacular as was the sweet cicely, the sages were hit by powdery mildew, two of my thymes ran out of time and keeled over, the fennel spread everywhere, I rescued a St John’s Wort from the council workmen who were weeding in the park, I pinched a tiny piece of pennyroyal from Pontefract Castle which rooted, the garlic chives were so amazing when they flowered, and my self-heal is spreading happily which suits me JUST FINE. I never did get a chance to put the garden to bed for the winter though; the constant rain has made it impossible to get out there and doing anything other than create a quagmire. I’m expecting the dahlias, my last begonia and the only surviving pelargonium to succumb by spring.
I made lots of jams and preserves this year, from foraged fruit, pick-your-own strawberries, what I’d grown in the garden and from extra crops I was given by neighbours. Some hooch was made; cherry brandy, plum brandy, spiced plum rum, peach vodka. I’ve even had a go at making some absinthe. And still cider, elderflower wine and apple wine. All this (apart from the absinthe) has been jarred/bottled and decorated to put in hampers for the in-laws/outlaws for Christmas. I’ve obviously upset my sister-in-law who stated in an e-mail that “There’s no extra points for making things from scratch; we all like shop-bought things.” I smile at this sweetly and remember her comment about my home-made giant cupcake (for Witchlet One’s birthday): “How hard is it to make a cake?” Not hard, my love, although it seems to be beyond you judging by the sunken thing you made for your daughter’s birthday. Good effort trying to cover the three inch dip in the middle with Smarties, though.
In the middle of the year my parents came to stay. They offered us a way out of renting. Then they took the offer back. The way they did it enraged me so much I finally - after 42 years - blew my stack. It turned out to be one of the best things that ever happened. I worked my arse off with Hekate to cut the unhealthy connections I had with my mother. After six years of crippling depression and anxiety, a huge weight was lifted. I found a huge chunk of myself all over again. This was good.
Finances have continued to suffer this year. Bills have gone up. Rent, electric, gas, bloody-effing-sodding petrol, and the fact the car has cost us nearly £1200 just in repairs this year (add on to that tyres, MOT, service and bloody road tax and I’m starting to consider feeding it £20 notes). So, having done the sums, I need to get a job. Now there’s no way I could get back into my old career, and I have no transport apart from the glorious bus (please read that phrase with as much sarcasm as you can muster) and childcare is a problem, so it has to be within school/breakfast club/afternoon club hours or weekends. There is stuff out there, but I’ve been out of the job market for six years and I’m not holding out a huge amount of hope. I’m also going to try to sell some of the stuff I make, mostly locally, although I know that won’t bring in anywhere near as much as we need. And by stuff I make, that will be little creative projects, not anything that will be in competition with the other witches out there, 'kay?
And as for my Witch-Work - I refuse to be cowed by cultural appropriation. I’m far more fucking scared of upsetting Papa Legba, Hekate, Maman Brigitte and the local spirits than I am of the bloody Tumblr crowd. Although I’ve given up Tumblr as a bad job because they do scare me a bit. More hate and vitriol on there than at a bloody Westborough Baptist protest. I do my devotions, I (grumblingly) do as they ask/command and I’m not stopping now. So fuck you, Tumblr! (she says, cowering in the corner.)
We ended 2012 with two lots of chickenpox (the Witchlets), the norovirus (the Hubster), some worrying news from one of the in-laws which meant we had to keep the virus-ridden family away from the normal Christmas celebrations, and more hospital appointments for several other family members (fortunately not for me, the Witchlets or The Hubster.)
Oh, and the laptop collapsed, the washing machine broke AGAIN, the roof is leaking slightly and the gutters are staying up there by sheer force of will alone. I’ve had zero chance in six months to pay my respects to my lovely woods, although I did get to the cemetery just after Samhain briefly. I was a red-head for a while this year, which I absolutely loved. And as soon as I can afford to dye it that colour again, I will do.
So, that was 2012. Good riddance, but as Nana always said, “If this year’s no worse, then at least we know we can survive it.” Thanks for that Nana, optimistic advice as ever.
I’ll detail my end of year witchy shenanigans (WITH PHOTOS!) in my next post!