The Christmas decorations are soon to come down. I love the festive season for the melding of traditions of old pagan and religious festivals: for the gathering of winter greenery into the house to beautify it and celebrate the natural world outside, for candlelight and carols in churches that smell of ancient stone, and for the festival of light. I respect them all. I love the fact that every room in the house is filled with family and friends, and the smells of cooking and wood smoke. Time moves at a different pace and the days of the week become irrelevant for a couple of weeks.
January is one of my favourite months. It is filled with a sense of newness; the sloughing off of the old to make room for fresh ideas for the year to come. Thick blankets of cloud and endless wet days enforce a period of stillness and reflection. I've never been one for making resolutions to give things up on New Year's Day; that just doesn't work for me, however I like to think of things that I could do in the coming year, rather than stop doing.
2020 looks like it's going to be an interesting year, and perhaps a challenging one. We are living in a very different world from the one we all inhabited at the start of the last decade. Politically the world has shifted, we are confused about the news that we are being fed, and the climate crisis (which was indeed a crisis a decade ago - we just thought it might be on the way to being sorted out by now) is now at the forefront of many people's minds.
This year I have decided to keep a blog diary here on our website. I will try and write you a small 'letter' most days of the week to tell you about life behind the scenes at Starnash Farmhouse. Our Bed and Breakfast is homely and cosy, we hope. It is not a glamorous or slick operation but we love what we do and feel so privileged to have people from all over the globe to stay in our little neck of the world. If you haven't been to East Sussex before, there is always plenty to do, come rain or shine, and I will talk to you about what goes on in the area over the coming months. We endeavour to live lightly on the earth and tying our business in with our home life gives us some control over this: we have solar power and ground source heating, we run a plug-in electric/hybrid car (if you have and electric car you are welcome to charge yours for free here), we compost all our waste, grow a few vegetables and some fruit and have our own free range hens.
This year has been incredibly wet and living in the Sussex Low Weald, there is not much that we can do at his time of year other than plod through the sticky clay to tend to the chickens or collect wood to light a fire. In Australia, much more frighteningly, the wild fires rage. Talking about the weather is no longer a benign conversation - we are talking about the effects of climate change that directly impact our lives. Here at Starnash Farmhouse we are going to be looking at ways of adaptation to the future and some of my letters to you will be about that. There will also be recipes and just the odd quirky thing that happens of a day. I do hope you will enjoy joining us on this adventure of a year and we will look forward to seeing you if you come and stay.