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December's Journal
February's Journal

[14:10] A new year, with everything that that is supposed to bring in terms of renewal and so forth. Let's see if we can't have a good year, with growth and personal improvement, and all of that good stuff.

When last we spoke it was just before Christmas. Since then Rel and I had a pretty full-on festive period. I managed to get north to her without any major difficulties on the trains, which was a relief. We had a day or so with her mother and aunt and uncle there, opening a few presents that weren't worth carting up to the Lake District, then drove up to Windermere on Christmas Eve. Aside from not really finding anywhere useful to have lunch the journey was also fine, with no traffic issues at all. Christmas itself was good. We got to stay in a very interesting apartment just a 10 minute walk from Rel's family, run every few days, and eat some extraordinarily good food. The whole Christmas experience was lovely. Then we took a train to Manchester to see my family and had an equally (albeit quieter) lovely time there, too. After that it was off to Dublin! While we had a really, really lovely time, I don't know if it was tiredness or just over-exposure to the festive period, but I think the first day or two we were both quite out of sorts and I at least wasn't enjoying myself as much as I might have. There was some kind of turning point after that though and the remainder of the time there was just marvellous. The hotel was stunning, the food fantastic, and we got to see and do a considerable amount of cool stuff, including seeing many of the sights of the city, museums, the local parkrun, and even a 20+ mile run which took in Howth. By the time we'd seen in the new year properly and come back to the UK I think we both needed some time on our own... but the train strikes weren't having that, so we were 'stuck' (pleasantly) at my parents' for a few more days until we could make our ways to our respective homes again.

Back home I got in with trying to remember how to do my job, which I've mostly succeeded at doing, and got to welcome Rel for the first time this year to the house on Wednesday last week, which was lovely. I decided to make a bit of an effort and made a lasagne from scratch (not the pasta sheets though, they were from a box) (my first) for us, as well as us eating at the table, with candles, and wine. I even played house-husband the following night when Rel came back from a commute to London for the day and made dinner that night too (although the meal and presentation weren't quite so fancy that time).

Outside all of that I've been trying to make my house a little less damp, and at the same time crossed one thing off my list of house jobs for 2023. While I'm still in the process of trying to get someone to come and stop damp patches on my chimney breast (probably caused by the chimney itself needing its pots capped and the brickwork redone), I have bought a dehumidifier, which is doing a great job in the shower room, and also keeping it a good bit warmer, which Rel is very happy about. The problem with the chimney repairs are that a) they are going to be very expensive due to needing scaffolding up and, b) next door is a council-owned house, so there are all kinds of things to negotiate before the work can be done (and hopefully the cost shared). More on that if it ever happens.

For now though, on with 2023! There's a lot going to be happening, and hopefully plenty of things to make me happy.