I said it last year, and the year before. I love the celebration of New Year. Not because of the whole fireworks, Champagne, party thing. Rather, I love that it creates an opportunity of rejuvenation – in ideas, energy, plans and new year considerations both past and looking forward.
Past New Year Considerations
So much changed in 2020. I certainly don’t have to tell you. We’ve all been affected in some way. Some more than others. For us here at Pumpjack & Piddlewick, we’ve been lucky thus far in that our lives haven’t changed over much, in a general sense.
As we live in a small village and both work from home, lock-downs haven’t made much impact. The village is a little quieter with bars and restaurants closed for so much of this year. With few opportunities to socialise, neighbours and others we see walking to shops, out for exercise or working in gardens garner more notice. Greetings were always the norm, now they have additional resonance.
Congratulations are in order
I mentioned in last years reflective musings that Pumpjack, on the quiet, had been writing a book. It took an immense amount of research, writing, re-writing and editing, with it being published on the 1st November 2020. I am super, super proud of his dedication and achievement.
His two year odyssey culminated in too many pages, so he decided it would in fact become 3 books. That decision alone, last spring, meant an almost full re-write for this first book. But at least the information for books 2 and 3 are already in place. And he has certainly found his writing style and voice in having to re-write this first one.
New this year for me were the Vignettes. My little musings on slow living, country life, and of course ducks, that I regularly post each Monday and Friday here on our website. Most often written in the duck enclosure, they are a lovely excuse to sit a moment and be surrounded by our animals and their antics. With this year’s focused consistency, the site has seen much more growth and interest. Consequently, a facebook group ‘Fab Findings from France’ has been added to the mix. It gives a further avenue to delve, review, question and muse on our adopted country. Come and join in.
My shops continue to keep me busy full time. I added a new one this past year called ‘Taking Time Too’, selling downloadable printables for paper crafters. Creativity was recently sparked by our 2nd lock-down to create a printable colouring book for adults and/or families who are bored. The title is ‘Bored, Bored, Bored’ and has funny quotes about boredom to give you a smile. I am now hard at work on ‘Still Bored, Bored, Bored’. My second colouring book to entertain and give you something to keep boredom at bay.
And, of course, Ducks
We lost and gained ducks this past year. Our core crew still hangs in there. Maggie has reached middle age but is still queen bee. BeepBeep’s blindness became apparent, and she has taught us the value of routine. Sir Studly is Beeps’ seeing eye duck, except when he gets overly enamoured of Maggie. George, the original velcro duck, can always be found by Maggie’s side. Always. And Louis, our first call duck, has cemented his place in Maggie’s entourage this year. (Though we have much evidence that he continues to play the field.)
We gained Gabby, our piebald character, first son this year of Maggie (and Louis), and second imprinted duck, after Maggie. Little Lad came along later in the year from Maggie (and Louis)’s second nest. Never expected to survive, he never the less has stuck like yet more velcro. And finally our little Zoomie girls (white call ducks) rounded out our flock this summer. Their sense of fun and curiosity is a tonic for the soul. We are currently still working on telling them apart.
And the third focus this past year was the garden. We had absolutely amazing weather this year, with spring lasting from February through June. Just enough rain, mostly at night, to keep plants happy and temperatures that maintain a wonderful comfort level.
The duck enclosure was dug up and re-planned, with great success. The best thing was the new trellis tunnel, which this year was used for growing climbing beans. It fed us for many months as well as created that much sought after shade for the ducks when the summer heat finally did come. A very successful project that will see tomatoes growing up it this coming year.
Speaking of veg, the vegetable garden truly bore abundance this year, with plantings of all our favourites. The last of the carrots were brought up only last week as our first frost hit. Strawberries sent out lots of runners, which were hived off to make more plants. They have been given an additional and permanent home at the top end of the veg patch. Hugelkulture attempts met with great success and will definitely be in the plans of this spring. The paths around the beds are almost completed, with gravel made from the broken tiles dug out of the upper garden, aka Big Dig 1.
And more big news, Big Dig 1 was finished and turned in to our desired patio area. Well one patio area, as Big Dig 1 Side B (on the other side of the upper garden) is now well underway and will hopefully become an additional patio and outdoor kitchen this coming summer.
New? New Year Considerations
Yes, I truly adore the change to a new year. My New Year considerations bring me new focus. It renews the energies, gives me a moment to prioritise and makes me really look forward to the coming year.
This year will not be so much about the new as about sustaining and growing. Building on the blocks already put in place.
The shops have new focus. We have begun to hone our Pumpjack & Piddlewick shop, working to bring our vintage and antique finds more in line with our interests. Much more French, more wine related and, of course, the odd duck item. This past year also saw a big push on increasing stock in my vintage French Silk Scarf shop. Its planned to continue developing this shop, with hopes to really rival P&P this coming year. Taking Time Too gets its focus in the winter indoor months. It’s a slow burner, with anticipation in seeing its growth spurt come autumn.
The garden will continue to grow and change. And like most gardens are never ending. The bottom garden wasn’t allotted much time this past year, so now with other more needier projects done or nearing fruition, it finds itself boosted up the priority list.
The house restoration has its own on-going plans. Still slotted into available times, but we hope this year will begin seeing more changes inside and out.
Thank you from Pumpjack & Piddlewick
A big heartfelt Thank You to all our readers, surfers and even those google spiders. We hope you will continue to join us in our Little Life Moments and Fab Findings from France. And, along the way you learn a little something new about ducks.
We truly hope 2021 sees your own new year considerations attained, whatever form they may take.
From all of us here at Pumpjack & Piddlewick, we wish you a wonderful New Year!
Addendum: Of Gardening and French Life
Each new year I like to review what has been popular here at the Pumpjack & Piddlewick Blog. It’s both good business as well as fun to see and reflect. (It’s also an opportunity to update these posts.) And it’s interesting to see how our most popular blogs posts are definitely aligning with our life this past year – Gardening, French life and the odd silk scarf.
Here’s a tiny taste of what’s available in our shops:
Simply click on the image to see more.