Quite often Stu says what I have been thinking. He did it the other day.
" It feels like we're always waiting for something' he said.
And strangely I had just been thinking the same.
It's not a bad feeling...a feeling of doom. Nope.
It's a bloody marvellous feeling. Waiting for new and exciting things.
I think for us, Winter is always a waiting game. Waiting for the annual trip to Iceland, for Christmas, for the trip to Norway. And this year..waiting for the move to Wales.
It's an excited bubbly tummy feeling (not wind).
“When you see someone putting on his Big Boots, you can be pretty sure that an Adventure is going to happen.” - AA Milne
“You're off to Great Places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, So... get on your way!” - Dr Seuss.
And today's picture?..just a little Dunham rabbit
As you may know I hate New Year. But to be honest...I kind of want this year over.
It's not been all bad. In fact on the whole it's been quite fantastic. Lots of new things. Lots of time off. And lots of lovely places visited.
But there were some very difficult times:
On the flip-side:
And although I am happy that this year is coming to an end...the start to 2018 is going to be frantic, difficult, emotional and exhausting.
In January, I have two more trips to Switzerland - that's two more return EasyJet flights and 6 more nights in a hotel. Then 10 days in Norway. In that wonderful cabin. With reindeer and moose for company.
As soon as we get back from the arctic circle it will be full speed ahead packing the house up for the BIG move. Leaving Altrincham. To become Welsh.
And my contract has been extended to the end of March (unconfirmed in writing...but offered).
So no sooner do we land in Wales...I'll be back to Lausanne.
The elephant in the room
The big, big issue amidst all this planning is Joe. My 22-year old son.
The one who breaks my heart often. Who tests my resilience and bank balance. Who plays sad songs to me. Who makes me want to hold on and not let go. Who makes me laugh. Who frustrates me. Whom I adore.
The move to Wales means major changes for Joe. We're disrupting his life too.
I was kind of naive I guess. I thought that there was a suitable alternative for him.
But it seems there isn't.
So...what do we do. We can't undo the move - it is full steam ahead. And to be honest I really don't want to. I am excited about the move. I can't wait to have that view everyday. The fresh air. The smell of cow poo.
But until we have resolved Joe's situation I can't think straight. I am constantly on the verge of breaking down.
Please don't think..."he's 22..he should be living his own life".
He's my boy. He feels I am deserting him. He's in limbo. He's stressed. We have no idea where is going to live come 2 March.
He will always have a home with me...wherever. But I can't expect him to come live with the sheep. Almost a comical idea. If I wasn't so bloody worried.
So what the hell do we do. Where does he live.
My head is screaming right now. Help me. Seriously. I want to be happy...look forward to the next chapter. But I can't. I hate to type this but I just want it to stop. I'm not sure I can put a brave face on for much longer.
How did I get to 51 years old and still feel controlled by someone else.
If I could turn back the clock...
Less of that...some of my favourite (scariest and saddest) memories from 2017...
After several months of relative peace and relaxation things are about to get hectic.
But first: thoughts on the 2017 Iceland trip...
So...back to hectic:
The new job:
And the best bit? The role is NOT for a bank..or any other financial institution!
Please note: I just used aforementioned...for the first time ever. It's a dreadful word. Not required. But heck...who cares.
Today's photos: a couple more of Kirkjufell...just because I found them in my Photostream.
Tuesday today. Last night at the Cube. And so far we've not ventured outside. There is a storm warning for most parts of the country and the gusts of wind here sound like they're going to take the roof off.
So I'm sitting and watching the world go by. Almost literally. Though so far it's just been a few birds and some vegetation that has been blasted past the window.
On a very different note. Ever seen that programme Grand Designs? If you have, you may well remember episodes where the winter weather stopped progress for weeks...with snow and wind causing chaos.
Haha! They should film over here. There's a chap building a house. Since we arrived the house seems to have gone from just a frame, to roof on and windows in. I reckon he'll be doing the final fittings tomorrow and moved in by weekend. I've come to the conclusion that British builders are soft.
Back to the wind. The water in the toilet just threatened to overflow. On its own. Never experienced waves in a toilet before.
The aurora put on a brave face last night - there was a lot of cloud around but it did try and peep through a few times. We've seen at least a flicker every night so far.
Anyway - today's images: today's cheerful email from the car hire company (wihich pretty much covers most of the roads in the country) and a few photos taken over the past couple of days.
Our second anniversary. And to carry on an annual tradition today was a day of re-visting the little black church and taking the second anniversary photos.
En-route: On road 54 - over the mountain - we decided to pull in and take in the stunning views of the sea to the South of the peninsula.
And there we stayed for two hours.
What we didn't spot in the layby was the thick ice. And either side: at least two foot deep snow.
I had discovered that the Kia Sportage AWD, with studded tyres slides,..really well - as I had somehow managed to bring the car to a stop in a ditch.
And when Stu tried to drive it out he parked it further in the ditch. At a precarious angle.
After an hour of trying to dig two feet of snow from around the driver's side wheels (no shovel in the car - so this was real manual labour) Stu tried again. And yep. You guessed it. The car slid deeper.
So after a bit of bartering with a local tow truck man - we gave away our food money, the car was removed from the ditch and we continued on our journey. At five miles an hour...in the middle of the road.
One point to note: The ONLY people to stop and offer help (before we rang tow truck man) was a local mum with three young children and a car full of female chinese tourists. GIRL POWER. Kind of.
Anyway. After an eventful day it's back to the Cube for a much-needed cup of tea and anniversary dinner (tuna pasta!).
Today's photos: Bloody self-explanatory
Firstly - the title...that one's for my Joe.
We arrived at Kef airport a little earlier than scheduled. Snow on the ground. And not a lot of wind.
On the drive up to the Cube we went through temps of 2 to -7C, snow, cloud and clear skies.
And on arrival - a huge gust of snow. Then a much needed brew. Followed by a hasty set-up of the camera and tripod to capture some green skies.
Just as we decided to take the car and go find a suitable vantage point - the sky went pitch black, followed by heavy snow.
Fingers crossed those lights come back on later tonight.
Today's photo: a quick snap of the Cube, the snow, Kirkjufell and aurora.
Most of the time my phone doesn't ring. It bleeps a lot (FB messenger) - but it rarely rings.
Of course today - being the day of packing and sorting for hols - just happened to be the day that everyone needed to speak to me. Everyone from my daughter, to my mother, to the solicitor, to the estate agent.
So whilst I was trying to concentrate on the Icelandair online check-in (does anyone else check they've correctly entered their passport numbers at least five times?) - my phone was merrily beeping, ringing and buzzing (emails).
And what makes it worse is that not only does the phone make all these noises - the iMac simultaneously makes its own noises. For texts, FB messages and incoming phonecalls.
Add all that to my growing to-do list on the blackboard...
The stress was unbearable.
So mid-check-in I googled menopause symptoms:
I'm not sleeping, stressed, anxious, absolutely exhausted, decidedly warm most of the time and suffering with my fourth cold since August
It seems I might just have caught the menopause from my best bud.
So whilst she was excited (in her words 'I've never had anything before') - I'm gutted.
"Go get the tests done" she said.
Not bloody likely. If I have the tests done and they're positive - then I know that the future holds no more than dry skin and sweaty hair. And if it's negative - then I'm just falling apart for no reason.
Of course this could all be down to stress and not old age:
Today's photo: An Icelandic beauty
Well it looks like we're going to have to learn Welsh. Or at the very least how to pronounce the Welsh place names.
We got the call from our estate agent today. We had our first offer. After a little discussion we refused it. They immediately came back with a better one - so long as the house came off the market and no more viewings.
Fine by me. No more picking up Joe's socks or praying that George stays asleep while they're in the house (and doesn't take a visit to the litter tray).
So offer accepted. Then an hour of pacing the floor. Wondering what to do next.
Solicitor sorted. Offer confirmed with the Wales house. And Stu has already picked the ceiling rose for the front room.
It does seem that it has all happened very fast. But for us it has been a long time coming. Months of browsing Rightmove for just the right house - at the right price.
Assuming all goes to plan (surveys etc.), we will be moving to a four bed house that has a name not a number. In fact I have no idea what the road name is.
It has a paddock, solar panels, wood burner for hot water and heating, a vegetable garden, views for miles (on a clear day), plenty of parking and only one nearby neighbour. It sits just outside the hamlet / village of Betws Gwerfil Goch.
Approximately one hour thirty from our current home. Just down the road (particularly when you consider that where we stay in Norway it is a one hour drive for a pint of milk).
And four miles from the nearest town (Corwen).
It needs a lot of Stu's handiwork. But equally we can move straight in and live quite happily as it is. But for those who know us well - it's more likely that we'll have walls stripped (wood chip wallpaper!) within the first week.
I can't wait to get started.
Today's photos: estate agent images of the kitchen.
Today's Googling consisted of 'what can you do with a paddock?'. This is of course a hypothetical 'if we had one' type of question
The results were illuminating. With a dim bulb.
It seems we're not the only ones to ask that question - there are forums on the subject.
Anyway - assuming it is classed as agricultural, we could maybe start a small orchard, keep an alpaca (but not if you ask Stu - he is entirely against giving some poor fluffy alpaca a loving home). let a local farmer keep some sheep on it (to keep the grass short) or even get a couple of sheep ourselves.
Or just dump stuff on it.
But whatever - it's a first for us. We normally Google things like 'why is my cat snuffly', or 'how to build a firework tent for your terrified border collie', or 'cake recipe with ground almonds' and 'do I need to put my rabbit on a diet".
Mind you Stu has just sent me a link to a door lock that you unlock with your phone. Not sure what the Google search for that one was.
Today's photo: Mollie enjoying snow (before she had ears)
So yesterday's post generated a call from Mother, a chat with big sis, offers of support on FB, a voicemail from a good friend and a long chat (and much needed laugh) with another.
Thanks. All of you.
I feel really bad for setting the hares running. But yesterday wasn't great. Not gonna lie.
But then my Stu came home and I got a much needed hug. Then some calls. Then my Joe came home for another much needed hug. And more calls and laughing.
In other news: yesterday our house went on the market. We had our first viewing today. Someone who wants to live in Timperley. Which is just bloody marvellous as we live in Altrincham. We didn't move the fucking house just for the viewing! And George didn't need to get locked in a dog crate!
Anyway - calm.
Two more viewings scheduled in. And a plan B for George. No crate. That has been returned. He hated it. He yowled. And as soon as I let him out he scooted up on my knee for a big cuddle. He also did a poo mid-viewing. Superb timing.
Tomorrow I am off out with the camera. And on Sunday I am doing an Autumnal shoot at Dunham.
And that's it. I'm still here. Didn't shrivel up in a sobbing heap. Hugs and laughs, as ever, saved the day!
Today's photo: George having a cuddle post dog-crate.