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Keep on celebrating

It's dark, it's cold, the festivities are over and the decorations are packed away but there are still things to celebrate. People tell me how boring it is to go on the same walk, in the same place, every day. But it really isn't. Just look at those daffodils!!!! I don't know what it is about this patch in the park, a place I pass, once, twice or even three times a day, but these daffodils appear in late December or early January every single year, what feels like months before all the other daffs. I look out for them regularly- even getting a torch out if it's dark so I can be ready to celebrate their arrival. They fill me with hope. So much about the modern world is having everything available to us all the time, but daffodils really are here for a few short months and I want to get my fill of them! The best one pound you can spend in a supermarket if you have it to spare. Their happy yellow faces announcing Spring with a shout.

I'm writing this on 11th January, the first new moon of the year which marks the first chance I've had to properly crack open this year's Almanac from Lia Leendertz to find out what else January will be bringing. (Just to note, I highly recommend signing up to Lia Leendertz' Substack for a living version of the almanac crowd sourced by subscribers.) There aren't many dates that haven't already passed, overwhelmed as January is with celebrations towards the start of the month, New Year, Twelfth Night (the 6th January), Epiphany, Nollaig na mBan. But 17th January stood out to me, Old Twelfth Night, as I heard it mentioned on Radio 4 last night in relation to the wassail. In 1750 the Calendar Act replaced the old Julian calendar with the Gregorian calendar (which is what we use today) and 11 days were lost, however the traditional wassailing date held firm.

On the programme last night Eliza Carthy played some wassail songs and talked about the tradition of wassailing, blessing orchards and awakening them in the hope of a good harvest to come. She spoke about how "getting together and bringing light to the darkness is something humans have always wanted to do" and what better time to do so than January. OneCAN in Carluke have recognised that January can be dark and difficult for many people, and in response are keeping their fairy lights on this month. They're even having some torch making workshops with their community gardener that you can join. Or just pop into OneSpace and talk about what is bringing light to your day in 2024. Find out more on their facebook page.

Finally, back to the Almanac and Substack. On the first Sunday of the month Lia prompts people to post photo of a spot in nature that is easily accessible to them. By December this results in 12 pictures tracking the seasonal changes of your chosen place. Although I missed the first Sunday of the year, I'm going to commit to this now, as a way of watching the trees in my garden transition through the seasons. Happy New Year!

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