It's often said that other countries have a climate, England just has weather. That's been very true in 2012. The year started with the country stricken by drought. Then it started to rain, and didn't stop for weeks at a time. Now we're heading towards the coldest months of the year, we're all hoping it doesn't turn to snow. We've been snowed in for days on end during both the last two winters. That's always a hazard when you live off the beaten track, but it had been twenty years since such severe weather happened here. The good thing about spending long period inside is means there's plenty of time for writing. I always keep a notebook handy to jot down ideas and the short, dark days of winter are the perfect excuse to review them and plan the next year's projects. A diary would be ideal for this: unfortunately, each January 1st I start one with high hopes, only to become dispirited by the number of blank spaces I have to turn past each time I remember to pick it up. I've solved this problem by getting a large book of blank pages and calling it a journal, rather than a diary. There's plenty of space for pictures and recipes as well as notes, and there aren't pre-printed dates to induce guilt. I like to include lots of different sources of inspiration, and it's lovely to be able to look back on things when it's too dark and cold to venture outside.
Despite all the rain this year we did manage a few walks in the surrounding countryside. OH took the top photograph on one of our rambles through the Gloucestershire countryside. He had to snap the scene between torrential downpours, then tweak the image to make the sky look lighter than it actually was, to give more contrast. He was aiming for the Old Master look, and I think it turned out pretty well, don't you?
What's your favourite source of inspiration at this time of year? There's a warming recipe from my winter journal for a comment picked at random!
Christina Hollis has written both Historical fiction and Modern Romance/Presents for Harlequin Mills and Boon Ltd, as well non-fiction for national magazines and prize-winning short stories. Her current release, Lady Rascal is available for download from Amazon, iTunes and many other retailers, while her next book, Winter of the Wolf, will be published in early 2013. She loves to hear from readers - you can contact her through her website or her blog.