December 10, 2015

Life on the Farm: Happy to Be Home, Even in the Dark

There’s no arguing about the fact that English winters bring gloom – it’s pitch black by 4pm, the wind howls so loud it wakes me up at night, a glimpse of the sun is rare, and we wake in darkness each and every morning. When we moved here from NYC three and a half years ago, it was these wet, dark months that made me most nervous. How would I cope? One New York friend – a doctor who had lived in England during his school years – advised me to get a light box to ward off depression. Others implored us to book a holiday somewhere sunny over both Christmas vacation and February half term.

Our first winter in England was like going to see a movie that you’ve heard is bad – you can’t help but liking it because your expectations are so low. Now, three and half years in, I’ve grown to like the English winters even more. The mornings appear late, but when they do we often get the most gorgeous pink sky, and when the sun does make an appearance – on occasion – we get so excited that we run outside for a walk or a ride, wanting to soak up every moment. And when the sun doesn’t show up, we light a fire. Nothing makes me feel more cozy in these bleak few months than a roaring fire, preferably in both sitting rooms of the house.

But what I love most about this particular English winter is how settled I feel. Over the last year, I’ve traveled to New York a lot for work – I went nine or ten times over the last twelve months, often for a week or more at a time plus a longer six week spell in the summer. At first I loved this ‘double life’ feeling – I could have the best of both worlds without feeling that I was missing anything in either place. And then sometime towards the end of this past summer, the traveling got old. I was tired of recovering from jet lag and playing catch up at my desk. I longed to be here on the farm long enough to get bored of it, to have to find novelty and ways of amusing myself without escaping to NYC. So for the last five weeks I’ve been here at home in England, and I’m not going anywhere until after Christmas. My daily work routine has reached an unpredented level of consistency and I’m thriving on the urgency of the day – it’s so short I have to make the most of it! I’m finding more time to do fun projects at home, like renovating my kitchen and decorating our cottage to the nines for Christmas. Long may the winter bliss last!


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Bryony Angell
Bryony Angell
2 years 11 months ago

Seattle winters are exactly like you describe there in the UK. Just think, starting on the 21st it’ll start getting lighter! Agree with Alana in Canada–hope to see your holiday decoration, but no pressure, seriously. I’m sure just minor touches will look fabulous.

Alana in Canada
Alana in Canada
3 years 16 hours ago

I am almost at 54 degrees North here in Canada, so I know what you mean by short and precious winter days. So glad to hear you are enjoying yours. Are you planning on showing us your place all decked out for Christmas? That would be wonderful.