Time to crack open a bottle of cider and curl up on the sofa watching the TV. A great heap of damp and grubby clothing is in the washing machine. Green tree moss, British mud and a hefty addition of wet dog smell, all being removed with the help of a plastic ball full of Persil.
December in rural Britain is usually cold, in every form from bright and cold through to freezing cold, damp and depressing. This December, like the rest of 2012, had diverged from that rule book, being warm for the season and very wet indeed. My parents land is flooded, as is most of the surrounding farmland. In driving to their place I found myself having to brave the uncertain depths of more than one stretch of flooded back road in the Rollerskate, unfortunate memories being conjured of the time I misjudged a flood and nearly got the car stuck. The latest installment of my Welsh course was abandoned half way through, the heightened adrenaline rather claimed my attention.
So I've been squelching around the orchard in Gore-Tex and wellies, pruning the apple trees. 2012 was a bad year for apples as for most trees the blossom came in a cold wet spring, but what they lost in fruit they made up in growth. I have a small forest of young branches to tame, something I have to do without encouraging yet further growth next year.
It's fortunate the Rollerskate has a very good heater. I didn't have long enough to really dry out in front of my parents fire and the drive home ( Wyt ti'n mynd y gallu siarad Cymraeg? Ydw, dw i yn mynd y gallu siarad Cymraeg!) shifted some of the damp. I should really have packed a change of clothes, shouldn't I.
Around us the country is entering the usual pre-Christmas frenzy. We did all our relevant shopping weeks ago and got in a couple of weeks groceries at the start of last week, so fortunately we're avoiding it. Not so far away from us is a retail outlet village, a place that draws a never-ending stream of label-afflicted idiots and makes the main roads in its vicinity impassable for two months over Christmas. Now you know why I was using flooded roads earlier.
We're going to spend Christmas day at my parents place. No sister this year, just them and us two. As last year, I'm going to leave the scruffy bloke on one side for the duration. I have a red and black dress lined up that should be festive enough for Christmas Day without being too impractical for turkey-cooking duties.
As always, it's just too damn easy.
In about three weeks I'll be off to the GIC again, to talk about The Future. I can't honestly say I'll be the scruffy bloke this time next year, but neither can I outright give up. I'm in an odd position though for someone following my path. It seems more usual for partners of transgender people to threaten to leave if they transition. My wife made the observation that as I am not happy and thus neither is she it was more likely our marriage would end eventually if I didn't.
Nobody said it was all going to be too damn easy, did they.