It’s a fairly-new-year’s Saturday and the skies rumble grey over bleak, twig-waving hope of spring. Bedded down in my flat, I debate my options for the breaking day and year ahead. There’s a top ready to be returned to M & S, but my bed is snug and forgiving.

Spurred on by a line from a pastoral email – ‘consider slowing down enough to read a book, walk and pray and establish a better rhythm than hurry,’ I allow my thoughts to wander.

I feel guilt for keeping my spare-time intentions from anybody else’s calendar. Inevitably there’s  pressure to report back on how it went, or explain why it didn’t, combined with the danger that the original version is blogged leaving faulty impressions one cannot honestly live up to.

Every person should be entitled to a stalk-free life – it’s called privacy, a sort of keep-it-off social media benefit you can control.

I read some of the Quora Digest that fruitlessly hits my inbox daily. A heading catches my eye – ‘How do I tell my child that I never wanted them in the first place?’ I read more and relax. All is explained by author Victoria Elder

It seems that establishing a ‘better rhythm than hurry’ has consequences other than escaping a relentless calendar; the more time you have to think about it, the more time you want to read that book, write that novel, share your mind and soul-crushed wisdom.

Reality strikes a hard bargain and so I resolve myself to read a book over months rather than all in one childhood day, put the skeleton of my first novel back on the memory shelf, hope it doesn’t dissolve before I get time to finish it, and limit myself to this short piece which hopefully communicates something that matters to someone.

Happy 2020 is already an impossible dream in this tragic world. My heart and prayers go out to all those who have suffered in the flames, floods and earth-moving disasters of our present times. Like almost everyone I know, I feel helpless and guilty of happiness in the knowledge that I and my loved ones are comparatively safe. I am so sorry for your losses.

Wishing my readers faith, hope and love and time to reflect without fear,

Penny M