MOIN. It's occurred to me that I've not blogged 'publicly' for a while and I was beginning to feel like a terrible product of my generation by not putting all the details of my life online for all and sundry to see. I thought now would be a good time as I have an announcement *drumroll*:
Yes. I am to board the 'freelance albatross' in April. To tell the truth, I'm quite apprehensive about it, but then, I've been thinking about this for a long time. I'm not under the illusion that it'll be plain sailing all the time, and I expect to be working really, really hard for at least the first six months (and then just really hard for the rest of my life or at least until I embrace retirement). Most of all, I really want it to work out. I'm planning things out carefully and in advance to avoid a sudden 'Argh it's April and I've done absolutely nothing, how do I 'freelance'' kind of feeling in a couple of months.
I'm staying in Northumberland, because, well, yesterday I went on a walk and look:

I'd be sad to leave all that before I'm ready. I had a feeling I'd love Northumberland even before I moved here, and I was right (AS EVER). I'm hoping that as a Celestial Freelancer, I'll be able to visit my family in the Midlands a bit more, and potentially stay a bit longer and work in a wider range of locations, but keep Northumberland as my home for the time being. I'm trolling off to Sweden again two months from now. Felt vaguely guilty that my first act as a freelancer will not be to do serious things like earn money and work out translation software, but in fact will be more centred on drinking cider and eating far too much and admiring the Swedish language, but I'm proper looking forward to it.

Mental-wise I've been faring REASONABLY well. I've not had the easiest time family-wise over the last few months and that's obviously had an impact, but then, that would be true of anyone. I think I'll always be a bit cautious about how I react to things, because you never want to get to the pre-breakdown 'I should have got help weeks/months/years ago' stage. I find myself always asking the question of whether I'm reacting to something like a (recovering) sufferer of mental illness or like a 'normal person', but of course the distinction, and by extension the question, is pointless. I just react like me. There's no typical normal person and no typical mentalist, and in fact, there's sometimes an overlap. But while I'm still being cautious, I think September was about the right time to come off sanity snacks. The only downside really is that I've been sleeping a lot less well since I came off them – I've reverted to my old insomniac habits to a certain extent. Overall, though, the balance is positive. It might feel like a very fragile balance sometimes, but generally, the good days are outnumbering the bad ones.

I'm still learning to drive. I'm a bit neurotic that it's taking so long, but then, there's no point in me getting neurotic about that because it won't help me drive any better. I'm still making progress overall, which is good, it's just I still get annoyed with myself for forgetting how to reverse around the corner for example, which I thought I'd cracked MONTHS ago. I will get there in the end. I've stopped nearly weeping with fear when confronted with a roundabout, which can only be a good thing, I suppose?

O and the allotment, Svetlana, is still doing well. OK, she's mostly mud right now, but the work that's been put in is beginning to show, and although I took a lot on and sometimes have thought 'What have I done?', I've never actually regretted it. I don't think she's ever going to be a prize-winning allotment – at least, not in terms of aesthetics, but my whole policy of 'put lots of work in, enjoy the work, and have very low expectations about what you can grow' has been working pretty well. Planting potatoes next month. Very very excited.