As I write this the countryside in my part of southern England is frost-bound, quiet and still. Yesterday morning's drive to the shops might have been through a series of Christmas cards, English villages in bright sunlight with trees picked out in grey and white.
The normal pressures of this time of year have caught up with me. Trimming branches at my parents place, moving random pieces of machinery, starting a Welsh course and trying to avoid too many Christmas meals with disparate groups of friends and acquaintances. So not much time for blogging, sadly.
It's almost three years since I stumbled from the closet, and just over three years since the stress of hiding it all robbed me of my ability to sleep. I must have been in the middle of all that when I took the photo on the right, a freezing cold sunset on Christmas day.
While in a retrospective frame of mind, have I managed to keep it all under control? Probably not, there has been a feeling of managed descent about the last three years. But I know this, I have made my way as responsibly as I could have, I have guilt about not being able to keep on top of it all but no guilt about trying.
Plenty to keep us occupied on the news. The Government's spineless fudge and the Church of England's outright homophobic stance on equal marriage, not to mention the BBC's continued exclusive use of the phrase "gay marriage". Cos it's all about the men in suits, innit. I welcome the prospect that someone in my position will no longer have to divorce should they wish to have their gender change legally recognised, however I deplore the fact that those who were forced to do so have been hung out to dry.
But still, it's progress, of a sort. However crazy a specific legal ban on C of E churches performing same-sex marriages might be, especially following on from their debacle on female bishops. Good news though for my local United Reformed Church who host a monthly LGBT outreach gathering, the Government have just removed 90% of their competition at a stroke and it's likely they'll be the go-to place in my town for same-sex marriages. I hope their ministry to all marginalised groups receives a boost from it, not to mention that the extra income helps pay for their roof repairs while their C of E neighbours have buckets in the aisles to collect the drips. There's power in them there pink pounds.
Last night saw my department's Christmas meal, at a very nice local pub. A male colleague asked me about my long hair, and completely straight-faced I said "I'm going for the full-on girl". It's too easy to be naughty at times, isn't it.