No, I'm not under surveillance - can't imagine that any of my emails or telephone calls or tweets would be of significant interest to the Forces of Darkness. No, just laid low since Christmas with some sort of mega-bug, which has been having a merry time, working its way around various parts of my anatomy. Forsooth.
But while I am, of necessity, taking it slightly easier than usual, the joys of the single life mean that there is no-one else to walk the dogs. So, wrapped up to the nines, I have braved the elements each day to ensure that the four-footed ones get to run about and chase balls in gale-force winds and horizontal rain. But they are such dear creatures, who would deny them this small pleasure?
The Loved Ones were here for Christmas and, despite all our recent sadness, we had a happy time, doing the things that we love and that have become something of a tradition since I moved to Devon 16 years ago. And this year, at least, the Aga did not die on Christmas Eve, so the festive fare was served without a hitch. I may have mentioned, in the past, that none of us like mince pies or Christmas pudding or Christmas cake, so none were served. I did however, receive a request for home-made espresso ice cream, which is beyond scrumptious. The last time I made it was about 15 years ago but I underestimated how long it would take to prepare, which meant that it wasn't served until late evening on Christmas Day. Not the smartest of moves as we were still wide awake and goggle-eyed at three in the morning. . . this year I got the timing right and our ice cream was on the table at a sensible hour. Despite generous helpings, we all enjoyed a good night's sleep.
The Loved Ones headed homewards immediately after Christmas as they were off to foreign parts to see in the new year. Meanwhile, I cancelled all engagements, took to the sofa with a pile of books, a box of tissues, industrial quantities of Vitamin C - and 62 episodes of Breaking Bad. Believe me, I know how to do home alone with a bug. On New Year's Eve I was in bed and asleep by 9pm. There was a party going on next door, apparently. I slept through it all.
And now, here we are, it's 2014 already. I avoid making resolutions at this time of year; they tend to come to naught. Instead, I have simply made a promise to myself to do even more of the things I love - singing, writing, reading yoga, seeing friends etc, etc, etc. Nothing too ambitious because lurking behind these modest aspirations is a pretty fearsome list of Things That Must Be Done. Stuff to be sorted. Repairs to be done. A house to be sold. Oh yes . . . (see how I slipped that last one in there?)
Still, there are another 364 days to sort out the list and, as Miss Scarlett observed, 'tomorrow is another day.'
My good wishes to you all for a year stuffed full of good things. And may your lists always be manageable.