It’s that time of year when I get all overexcited about the promise of a new set of twelve months. Setting grand plans in midwinter feels weird, but my inner procrastinator enjoys writing down plans that can still be put off for a good few months yet. So, true to long-held (three year) tradition, Tom and I scribbled down some alphabetised plans for 2016, freely pinching each other’s ideas as we went.

You’ll spot that Tom’s approach to paperwork is far neater than mine (and he has better handwriting; the woes of being a teacher’s wife.) We’re both trying to make food a bigger part of our days, and improve our practical skills (Tom’s C is for chainsaw!) Meanwhile, I’ve left D blank. I don’t think we should rescue a dog for the second year running… So, all other ‘D’ ideas gratefully received! Here’s to another year of challenge and adventure.

PS – You can view last year’s alphabet list here. I’d love to hear your own ideas over on Twitter or Instagram.


Footpath view

2014 was peppered with things done purely because we wrote them on some coloured paper last new year’s eve. We flew a kite, learned to lindyhop, found some dinosaur footprints, and spotted some constellations. There are plenty of things we did not do. We didn’t learn to play the xylophone or grow a pumpkin. I avoided running a race and I still hold doubts about the wisdom of nettle soup.

These coloured pieces of card lingered around our house for the whole year, quietly burying in to the bookshelves or the kitchen table pile (every house has one of these, right?!) only to be uncovered weeks later and remind us of all the little things we wanted to do in 2014. Being a lister, I’m much more likely to do things that I write down. Without the alphabet year, the lindyhop class wouldn’t have happened for starters.

So, I’m launching in to another year with a fresh set of letters and plans. Maybe I’ll revisit 2014 and grow a pumpkin after all. But for now I’m focusing on the bright, shiny newness of January with some new (and some more achievable!) challenges. I’m stuck on a few letters. If you have any suggestions, please chip in! Even better, write your own Alphabet15 list and do something new for 2015.

Rusty's Alphabet Year 2015

Go Fly A Kite

View from a kite before takeoff

This kite has been with us over ten years, and Sunday was it’s second ever outing. I know. But, adding it to our alphabet year way back in January finally gave us the nudge to pull it out of the loft, and I’m so glad we did.

Kites photo collage

Flying a kite is pure, simple joy: feel the wind catch the fabric and pull at the lines, while you stare up in to the blue and watch it go. In goofy abandonment, I did a lot of leaping, shrieking and yelping. I didn’t know my face could pull so many weird faces until I saw the photos.

This is a job for two. You need a launcher, who can double up as a spectator to admire your seriously cool ever-so-slight loop. And then they can do the necessary repairs after you crash to the ground. Either way, it always feels good to run around in the high grass and chase the wind.

Kite flying low in a field

Rusty landing a kite

An Alphabet Year

Card and cans on kitchen counter

So when I said that I had picked one word for the year that wasn’t entirely accurate..  In true rock ‘n’ roll style, New Year’s Eve found Tom and I sat by the fire with coloured pencils (I know, wild huh?) and a whole alphabet list of things we want to do this year.  A few will be easy to do but some might be more challenging (read: unlikely). Lindyhop anyone?!

Alphabet Year photo collage

Astronomy, Botany, Curry vegetables, Dinosaur hunting, Easter egg hunt, Fly a kite, Grow a pumpkin, Hilltop running, Invite friends & family to the island, Jar jams from foraged fruit, Knit something lovely, Learn the Lindyhop, Mountain challenge, Nettle soup, Oppose injustice, Print something, Quote of the month, Read more, Sign up for a race further than you can currently run, Transform some junk, Use the library, Visit with someone lovely, Wander and wonder, Xylophone, Yarn bomb, Zoology.