Recharging the Batteries

I've recently returned from a week in Spain.

I stayed south of Malaga - the unfashionable side – and it's still regarded as a downmarket destination. But I love it. In January it's almost deserted, it's cheap and the weather? Clear blue skies, sunshine, bit of a nip in the air. Oh yeah.

I've worked out that it works wonders to get away for a few days in January, on my own, and to somewhere with better weather than the UK – which is pretty much anywhere other than Norway. The solo part is as important as the vitamin D. I like my own company, the anonymity of visiting a place where no-one knows me. There are no 'jolly' organised events. Even email chatter is comparatively hushed this time of year.

I watch the sun come up, drink coffee on the balcony, put on my flip-flops, walk along an empty beach, paddling if I feel especially adventurous and generally gaze off into the middle distance. Yes, I get some writing done as well. Something inside smoothes out and softens. It's as though the small waves that never advance or retreat more than a few inches massage away mental ridges and ripples. I peel off the old year and leave it behind.

I'm back to snow and a tarpaulin of thick grey cloud. Miraculously, I. Can. Cope.