I made two New Year's resolutions this year. My old favourite - to create a proper garden in the dustbowl that surrounds our home - is one of them. Sadly not yet started I'm afraid, as it has been far too hot and dry to attempt the type of major work our poor garden needs.
My other resolution is to read more. More as in quantity, and more as in variety.
I'm doing better with this one so far. I'm certainly reading a greater variety of books, including rediscovering historical biography, ignited by Antonia Fraser's Marie Antoinette over the summer holidays. I really enjoy the way she writes, and have added a couple more of her biographies to my 'to read' pile.
I'm also reading novels, including a fantasy based one, which was fun (Stardust by Neil Gaiman). But I'm on the verge of giving up on Salley Vickers's The Other Side of You. This came highly recommended by friend who loved The Time Traveler's Wife as much as I did, but I'm finding the narrator off-putting. This might be one of those books I put down and then pick up and enjoy six months later.
I'm also up for reading beloved old favourites too - I have Sense & Sensibility on the go, having enjoyed the most recent adaptation so much.
Another friend asked me the other day how on earth I found the time to read, no doubt because I have three young school-aged children, I work 3.5 days a week, and don't have a cleaner. Good question, as I no longer read in bed; by the time I hit the pillow I am far too tired to do anything other than keep half an eye on Letterman.
My secret is public transport. Now I'm back working in the city, I have around 40 minutes a day at my disposal for reading. Luxury! Although, I'm finding that the increasing number of cancelled trains and severe overcrowding means that I'm having trouble getting in a chapter or two during the morning commute. It's hard to pull out a book when you're wedged in against a door, hanging on with jaw-clenched desperation.
Which was most annoying this morning, as I am now very engrossed in the book I'm currently carting around in my handbag: Shakespeare by Bill Bryson.
It's a corker.