Wednesday, 4 January 2023


 Happy New Year! As we roll into 2023 I’ll be taking a look at my favourite photos and books of 2022, but first – a few thoughts on the current state of things.

There used to be a description given to certain people: a ‘safe pair of hands.’ My father was one such, someone with whom you felt safe, secure and protected. A person at the helm of a household, an organisation, a business or even a government, who ran things in an orderly manner and with good sense. These people were totally reliable in a crisis. They had often served in the armed forces and (in my father’s case) during war. If everything went wrong, this person would know what to do, and would get on and do it.  And I keep asking myself: where are these people now? Has the twenty-first century seen the demise of the ‘safe pair of hands’? For if ever some were needed to sort out the myriad crises in the world at this time, it is now. More than this, there is an urgent requirement in many governments for leaders who can combine the ‘safe pair of hands’ with the star qualities of bravery, daring and courage who are prepared to take a chance and try something new. This is where things become difficult, because I must decide whether I believe such people still exist and can rise to lead us out from the slump of mediocrity in which we find ourselves, or if we are doomed to slide into a ‘slough of despond.’ The latter is almost too depressing to contemplate, which is perhaps why we all carry on living our lives simply hoping for everything to improve. I’m not sure it will. Tell me what you think!


Someone suggested choosing the best photo from each month of 2022, and this was a challenge I enjoyed. Some months lacked inspiration while others contained a number of ‘best’ photos making the choice difficult. In the end I succeeded in picking a dozen, and here they are.

Bullfinch in January

Ornamental Cherry blossom in February

Pear blossom in March

Robin in April

Tree in leaf, my birthday in May

Aquilegia and hover fly in June

Dahlia and heather posy in July

Echinacea and bees in August

Sunrise in Roscoff, September

Late Dahlia in October

Tree on a walk in November

Old trees in December


I read more than seventy books in 2022 - but this is an average for me! Glancing back across the titles, I'm struck by the number of 'comfort reads' I have chosen, as well as several which I found uninspiring and the odd couple unfinished. The phrase 'lose yourself in a book' did not really describe my reading, other than for one or two exceptional reads. I blame the uncertain times for this. Reading can be a form of escapism, but I believe my attention span is not as good as it once was, and I don't think this is due to my age. Many of you have told me you have experienced the same thing, particularly during the pandemic. Could it also be that there are fewer really engrossing stories? Several of my favourite authors wrote series' sequels in the last couple of years which have not (in my opinion) maintained the same depth of plot or characters as before. Since I have made little progress on my own third novel, I'm a fine one to talk, but I fear the same kind of malaise is affecting the writing community as the staleness infecting society as a whole, and which I touched on above. So I hope to start writing again over the next few weeks, and perhaps to change my early attempts at book three to make it altogether a better story! We shall see. In the meantime, here are three suggestions from my best reads of 2022:

Coming Home         Rosamunde Pilcher
Signal Moon             Kate Quinn
The Night Gate         Peter May

One old, two new. Let me know if you enjoy them too!

Finally a couple of quotes which I want to include in this blog post. The first is from 'Ultimate Prizes' by one of my favourite authors, Susan Howatch:

'Life's not about the day when you win the prizes - it's about all the days in between.'

And this one to make you smile, from Douglas Adams 'The Restaurant at the End of the Universe':

'The story so far: In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.'

Whatever January may bring, stay well and enjoy each day.



  1. Nice choices for you favourite photographs. I too wonder about a "safe hands" leader. There is not enough bipartisanship these days. Few seem to want to look at the other side. I am not sure how it can changed.

    1. Thanks so much Jim. Interesting, your comments - I agree. Few people will admit to wanting to look at the other side, perhaps, and if enough people could be persuaded to be braver, a route to change might be able to be opened up? Food for thought!

    2. Wonderful photos of ‘Your Year ‘ and great words too … thank you GC

    3. Thank you so much GC, I'm so glad you enjoyed the post :)