Monday 16 January 2012

La Mer du Mercure

The sea looks like quicksilver this morning: slow, smooth waves of liquid metal illuminated by the flat peach-coloured light of the still-hidden sun. It's a cold beauty.

Struggling out of the warm nest of bed in the morning seems harder in January than during the pre-Christmas buzz of December, despite the fact that the days are lengthening again. It's that realisation that winter festivities are over but spring is still some way off. So I find myself coming up with strategies to alleviate the dark-day effects: getting outside for a while each day; staring at the patches of blue sky when they appear (to absorb the precious blue wavelengths); taking vitamin D; using one of those wake-up lights as a poor substitute sunrise.

The vast store of Christmas luxury food has now dwindled. The last mince pies were consumed at the weekend; a delicious but hard-to-digest reminder of festive scents and flavours. A few treats still remain: some excellent smoked salmon; a small piece of wine-infused pickled pork; a sliver of Manchego cheese. We've accrued enough bottles of booze to last until next Christmas.

Walks on Gastrobeach in bracing weather have helped to blow away the cobwebs. Our stroll along the shore the day after a storm revealed a plethora of beached sea-life: many starfish; a lone feisty squat lobster; a small fish stranded in a pool; several sea-urchins. I found an oyster of the Crassostrea virginica variety yesterday and later consumed it as a flash-grilled snack doused with chilli sauce.

Looking back over this post it seems a little melancholy. I suppose that's just the way it came out, but it wasn't really my intention. I have had a wonderful festive season and enjoyed every minute of contact with family and friends. We celebrated like we meant it.

I don't make resolutions but I think I need, for my own balance of mind, to have upcoming treats to look forward to throughout the winter. It shouldn't be one great blast of enjoyment then three months of hunkering down til springtime. So we'll line up some treats and breaks away; we'll keep the sparkly-lights shining and we'll keep in touch with family and friends.

It's not a resolution, just a practical solution, for partial diminution of the winter blues.

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