Merry Christmas!

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And news of a brief sabbatical…

So it’s this time of year again! I just wanted to take this opportunity, a little earlier than usual, to wish you all a very merry Christmas or holiday season, and all prosperity, success and happiness for the New Year. Thank you so much for reading and supporting the blog this year; and I propose toasts of sherry to those who take the extra effort to comment and brighten my day: Heloise, Dehggial and Isi, my loyal regulars, I salute you all.

2015 has been a strange year: I’ve had the good fortune to see some remarkable places, some of which, like Tokyo, I never dreamed of visiting. There have been many concerts and operas in a whole range of venues, from the Brutalist Barbican to the Baroque fantasy of Versailles. I’ve been able to spend time with some lovely people on our weekends away in Dusseldorf, Halle and Vienna. And I’ve indulged myself with crazy projects which meant a huge amount to me and which turned out better than I could ever have hoped. These pleasing things are what I write about here on the blog, of course. But on the other side of the coin, there have been darker times, particularly in recent months. The desire to see and do as much as possible has taken its toll; I have come very close to burning out; and family illnesses have made me suddenly, painfully aware of how quickly time is passing. I just need a bit of a rest. Despite the many merits of the internet, it can be a desperately lonely place when you can’t bring yourself to reduce life to 140 characters. Ultimately no emoji offers a decent substitute for a good strong hug.

In view of this, I’ll be taking a little sabbatical from the blog in January and perhaps February, in the hope of having time to breathe, and focusing my energies in other directions for a little while to balance things out. I want to devote more time to the job that I love, and I have a couple of cherished projects I’d like to work on. Maybe I’ll even succeed in actually being idle now and then! Of course I won’t be giving up the blog: I’ve been writing it for five years and it’s part of myself. I just wanted to warn you that I’ll be a little quiet over the next couple of months and that it doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong. For those on Twitter, you’ll be seeing me very rarely during this time: I just need a break from constantly being plugged in.

Please don’t forget me though. It’s not as if I’m going off to Tibet to herd yaks from a yurt or anything (actually I may be mixing up my geography there). If you normally chat to me on Twitter, why not send me an email instead and say hello? If you know my address, you could even send me a postcard or a letter; it won’t offer instant gratification, but it’ll make my day when it arrives. And, for those who are friends of mine in London, let’s find a date in our diaries and meet up, have drinks or coffee, come round for dinner, go to an exhibition or a concert, talk about books, go for a walk and make the most of 2016.

And so, Merry Christmas to you all, the very happiest of New Years, and I’ll get back to regular service here in the early spring.

10 thoughts on “Merry Christmas!

  1. Heloise says:

    Yay, the internet filter at work finally lets me comment here again – but now is blocking my acceses to my own blog. :/

    You really have had quite the whirlwind of a year and it's no surprise that you're a bit out of breath now – but no time like the end of a year to tone things down, kick back and relax a bit to recuperate your energies. All of which I hope you will have ample time and occasion to do over the next couple of months.

    I wish you all of best and in addition to a wonderful Christmas and a splendid New Year the time and leisure to take things slowly and enjoy them to the fullest! And while a virtual hug can of course never live up to a real one, do consider yourself hugged affectionately. 🙂

  2. The Idle Woman says:

    Thank you very much Heloise 🙂 You've been a real mainstay the last few months, patiently putting up with ever more sporadic emails, intense enthusiasms about ancient dead people, and frequent whirlwinds of panic and stress. Throughout I've always been able to rely on you for reassuring words and, when times get really bad, pictures of squirrels. Hope you have a great holiday too and I'm counting on you to plough through your reading pile and give me a whole load of book recommendations for the New Year. Really hoping that coffee in Frankfurt works out 😀

  3. melita66 says:

    (mostly lurker here) I just wanted to say that I've quite enjoyed your posts this year, and the ones that I read “catching up” when I first discovered it early this year (after searching for Dunnett reviews!). I hope you have wonderful holiday season and a great time re-energizing next year!

  4. The Idle Woman says:

    Thank you Melita; it's lovely to hear from you and I'm so happy you've been enjoying the blog. It's nice to know that even though you found me through the books angle, you haven't been scared off by the excitable bouncing about music. When I get back into writing in the spring, I hope to keep a better balance between books and music, and of course I'm always very keen to hear about other books that Dunnett-lovers enjoy, so please let me know about anything I really shouldn't miss! Have a lovely holiday.

  5. Helen says:

    I know I've been very poor at commenting lately, but I wanted to let you know that I'm still following your blog and enjoying reading your posts. I'm sorry to hear that the last few months have been difficult for you, so I hope you have a lovely, relaxing break. 🙂 Merry Christmas – and best wishes for 2016!

  6. dehggial says:

    Taking it easy at this time of the year is its own adventure 😉 Wish you a pleasant, quiet time over the holidays and easier, less intense times ahead. Thank you for the excited and exciting reviews and opera companionship (complete with the visit to Metastasio's) during 2015. Lovely times and great memories, some of the best so far 🙂 Let's hope 2016 offers us some more!

  7. The Idle Woman says:

    Thanks so much Helen – and the same to you! I've been absolutely rubbish at commenting on your posts, but I get them all by email and each time I marvel at the number of books you're getting through. I'm so pleased to see that your love affair with Sabatini is still going strong: long may it last! Happy reading, and happy holidays 🙂

  8. The Idle Woman says:

    *Smiles* Dehgg, going to anything with you is an absolute riot, so be assured I've had a brilliant time at our opera dos. Vienna was particularly fab, but I've no doubt there'll be plenty to add to the calendar in the new year… Admittedly I don't think I'm going to be able to come up with anything to match Metastasio, unless of course I can engineer a pilgrimage to Vinci's tomb 😉 It's been such fun. Looking forward to the next chapter in 2016!

  9. Janet says:

    A very happy and peaceful Christmas to you Leander. What a year you have had, indeed, and I do hope your period of cyber-seclusion will recharge your batteries and that your family get well. Should you be looking for something absorbing to read (!) … I am deep in Neal Stephenson at the moment and was quite pleased not to find him in your list of authors because that means for once I can make a recommendation! I read Cryptonomicon first and am now about half way through the Baroque Cycle, a 3 volume prequel. If I say I deem NS worthy of shelf space alongside Dorothy Dunnett you'll know I really am impressed! 🙂

    Janet

  10. Meritxell Tena Ripolles says:

    Dear Sarah,

    As you know, I'm not exactly idle myself, so I only have read your post today. I know you are doing the right thing, if this is what you need right now. So I take this chance to thank you for your words and comments this year, I wish I had the time to write more often in your blog but you know how it's like. Merry Christmas and may your 2016 be as full of new exciting projects as this one. Meeting you was one of the highlights of my year and I hope I have the chance to see you again soon. If I have to come to London, I will! Take care!

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