Posted in Events, Personal life

Dream On

My first blog post of 2023 is the column I wrote for the January issue of the Hawkesbury Parish News – a very important institution in the life of a little Cotswold village like mine!

I’m the kind of optimist who not only sees the glass as half-full, but is jolly grateful to have a glass, and assumes it must be made of the finest crystal.

That’s not to say I’m oblivious to darker times. But when life seems grim, I unleash a handy collection of mantras that make me feel better.

  • “Better to light a candle than curse the darkness”, I tell myself. (Clichés are clichés for a reason, you know.)
  • “If winter comes, can spring be far behind?” (Thank you for that one, Percy Bysshe Shelley – especially handy as winter is my least favourite season.)
  • If I’m in a musical frame of mind, I simply channel D:Ream and play “Things can only get better” on a loop in my head.

But as this new year dawns, I’m feeling wary. For the last few years, I’ve started every January thinking, “This has got to be a better year than the last one”. Then along comes something worse.

What a run of disasters we have had lately: Trump, Brexit, Covid, more Covid, the war in Ukraine, and all the economic and political fall-out those crises induced. Not to mention ever-stranger weather, indicative of frightening climate changes.

With apologies to Samuel Johnson, who described second marriage as “the triumph of hope over experience,” experience is threatening to triumph over hope.

Yet my inner optimist will out, and as I list those disasters, over which I had no control, bar the right to vote and to get vaccinated, I realise it’s still within my power to make 2023 a better year in small ways.

So 2023 will be the year that I will vow never to run out of teabags, or milk for my morning tea…

photo of box of 480 tea bags
Bonus point: if you buy M&S Luxury Gold teabags in bulk, they work out cheaper than Everyday teabags!

or the cats’ favourite treats, Dreamies:

box of 350 Dreamies
Downside: the Mega Tub might make my three cats a bit tubby too

And if I’m setting the bar that low, doesn’t that mean things can only get better? Let’s live in hope.

Wishing you a new year full of whatever makes you happy.

In my next post, I’ll be reviewing my writing achievements in 2022 and sharing my writing plans for 2023. 

PS My new year’s resolution is to publish a new blog post every Wednesday! Let’s see how that goes… 


English author of warm, witty cosy mystery novels including the popular Sophie Sayers Village Mysteries and the Gemma Lamb/St Bride's School series. Novels published by Boldwood Books, all other books by Hawkesbury Press. Represented by Ethan Ellenberg Literary Agents. Founder and director of the Hawkesbury Upton Literature Festival. Course tutor for Jericho Writers. UK Ambassador for the Alliance of Independent Authors. Lives and writes in her Victorian cottage in the heart of the beautiful Cotswold countryside.

6 thoughts on “Dream On

  1. Hi Debbie,
    I think it’s the best way to be, always glass half full !! My cat loves those Dreamies too!!
    All the best for the year ahead!!
    Best wishes,
    Michelle (P.S. It’s nice that we can send you a reply now too!)

    1. Hi Michelle and happy new year to you. I don’t know what’s in those Dreamies and it’s probably best we don’t know, but they do make Bertie very happy!
      Best wishes
      (PS Didn’t realise the reply facility had been turned off – sorry about that but glad it’s working now. Glad to hear from you!)

    1. Thank you, Annah – perhaps starting to write could be a new year’s resolution for you! The only way is to try. I started my blog back in 2010 as a way to make myself write and publish something regularly, and it was a great apprenticeship for starting to write and publish short stories and novels. Best of luck to you!

  2. Hi Debbie! Thanks for that lovely top-up of optimism! During the pandemic my favourite mantra was Voltaire’s “Il faut cultiver son jardin,” (Candide), which I took entirely literally and began growing vegetables in my tiny garden here in Italy. I think stocking up on teabags and cat treats falls into that category of appreciating the small, practical things that make life better and are within our circle of control 😊 Ally 😘

    1. Hi Ally! I didn’t remember that quote from “Candide”, which I did study at A Level, but that was a very long time ago, and the notion of gardening, whether literal or figurative, would have been less appealing to e at that age! Gardening was the perfect therapy during the pandemic, and your weather in Italy must have been far more conducive to it than ours here in the Cotswolds, but my cottage garden (largely worked by my husband rather than me) certainly benefited from the series of lockdowns! Here’s another year of good gardening in every sense! Best wishes, Debbie

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