West Cork

January is always a slow month

I meant to write a post last week to wrap up the month of January, but honestly couldn’t think of anything that would be interesting to share!

January is usually a slow and dull month, not much happening and it’s still dark and cold. Unless you like winter, in Northern Europe it’s mostly a month you have to endure to get on to February. Yes, I know it sounds bad, but we can’t love everything, right?

Let’s talk about what DID happen, the good and the bad.


A new music session started in town, in a pub that had closed but that reopened with new owners. Some of our music friends told us about it so we went to check it out. I was in some self-doubt crisis when we first went and mostly wanted to be a fly on the wall and just enjoy the music, but the others forced me to play and sing something so I did, and in the end I enjoyed it. It’s a nice session with some good people, and a great atmosphere in the pub.

However, the best music happening this month was a gig at a local winter music festival. If we had been smart, we would have checked out the festival a bit more beforehand, because we discovered too late that there were some old-time fiddle workshops that my husband would have loved to attend. But at least we had tickets for what was, for us, the main event – a concert with Tim O’Brien & Jan Fabricius (nowadays also O’Brien). That was a superb night!!

I’ve been listening to, and admiring, the music of Tim O’Brien for 30+ years. I found him on various country and bluegrass collection CDs when I first started discovering these music styles, and to begin with I only knew about his singing, because it really stood out, and since then I’ve always thought he’s the very best voice in bluegrass/country/related music (perhaps alongside Vince Gill). Later I discovered he’s also a brilliant mandolin, fiddle, guitar player too, through his recordings with Hot Rize, various collaborations, and solo albums. When I played the mandolin he was my top inspiration, involved in both bluegrass, folk and Irish trad music.

Our seats didn’t offer any fantastic photography opportunities, but I took some photos anyway:

And if you haven’t heard him, here’s some for you to enjoy:

When it comes to my own music, I haven’t yet managed to get myself into a practice routine, but I have a plan now and the tunes and songs I’ll focus on are on my work desk.


Photography, in January? Not so much, lol. I’m mostly an outdoors photographer. I really need to learn to take good photos indoors, especially since I need good photos for my online shop. But I’m not there yet, and except the shots I’ve taken of places where I walk and run, the camera has been very inactive this month.

I took these for a camera club competition though, and I quite like them.

If you’ve visited my photography blog, you may have noticed it’s very quiet and sad. But I’ll get back there when I’m back to actually taking photos regularly. Spring is coming soon… so there is hope.

Fitness, running, walking

I went out for running and walking twice a week for the beginning of January, and strength training twice a week in the gym as usual. Then, after my best run ever, I was down again with an injury, this time in my foot. Why? I’m not sure (although I suspect a few things, some of which I can adjust). The only thing I can do is to keep strength training, do my physiotherapy homework (which will be ongoing also after I recover fully), and keep my running ambitions. But since I was already in some mode of self-doubt, the injury triggered a crisis (perhaps age crisis, even) and I haven’t been a happy camper at all. Over the weekend, with some good self-reflection, I’ve realised a few things about myself and my thinking, and I’m doing much better now. My foot is better too and should allow me to do my 150k challenge, although I need to do shorter daily distances in the beginning.

While I can’t run, I’m focusing more on strength training and do some more of it at home in the mornings now – core training mainly since I get to work hard on the rest when I go to the gym.

And – we’ve bought a rowing machine! This is going to be a lovely addition for us both. It’s good to have a second cardio training option.


We’re going on holiday! Since we moved to Ireland, except going to Sweden separately, we haven’t been away together not even once. Of course we’ve been travelling within Ireland but we haven’t been abroad together at all. Now we decided to go to see my in-laws in Spain in March.

March is a month of mixed emotions and it can be lovely because spring is in somewhat full swing, but it’s also usually still quite cold and you’re tired of cold at that stage. A trip to Spain with at least good daytime temperatures, and hanging out with my husband’s parents, will be a wonderful break! We gave them a wine tasting with some other experience for Christmas, so we’ll organise that too.

Other good things

  • Spring is coming soon. If we only trust the Celtic traditions, spring starts today 🙂
  • I was labelled as “conneisseur” in an online whisky community where I’m a beta tester.

That was it for January, folks. Today is the 1st of February, in Ireland St Brigid’s day, and the start of February is always inspiring. I hope your January was good and that you’ll have a good start of February too!

I’m linking this post with Denyse Whelan’s Wednesday words & pics, and the new What’s been on your calendar link-up with Sue, Deb, Jo, and Donna.

Wednesday's words and pics
What's been on your calendar link-up

23 responses to “January is always a slow month”

  1. Leanne | www.crestingthehill.com.au avatar

    Hi Susanne – sorry to hear about yet another injury as you settle into becoming a runner. Hopefully you’ll get past it and your body will settle into its new normal. It’s hard to imagine cold, wet weather while it’s 33C most days and really dry. I’m longing for some cooler nights because I never sleep well when the bedroom’s too warm. Lovely that you have travel plans (we don’t – I can’t even imagine getting on a plane atm and I wouldn’t go on a cruise ship if you gave me free tickets!) spending time with family is always wonderful.

    1. Susanne avatar

      Hi Leanne, I really like your expression how the body will “settle into its new normal”. It sounds positive and hopeful!! I’m getting better, did some more leg work in the gym yesterday and now I’m just back from a good walk.
      Yes, you have the lovely Australian summer weather! We’ve had a quite rough winter and it won’t be over yet, no matter the St Brigid’s tradition! But there are some nice signs of spring out there already so I’m enjoying all of it when there’s opportunity.

  2. suzanne avatar

    Hi Susanne, dropping in from the link-up party. Spain in March sounds wonderful and the weather should be perfect that time of year. Don’t you just hate it when a pesky injury side-lines your best intentions? At least you can still do strength training. Love your peeling paint photographs.

    1. Susanne avatar

      Hi Suzanne, yes, Spain in March will be fantastic! It likely won’t be the warmest but it will definitely be warmer than here. I’m really disappointed about the injury but now at least I’m back to doing decent walks. And strength training is the most important to me, really!

  3. Astrid avatar

    It sounds like you had an okay month overall at least for the month of January. I feel you about the self-doubt. The music session at which you did some singing sounds quite awesome. So does the festival. As for fitness, you did quite well all things considered. I think I may want to get a rowing machine too.

    1. Susanne avatar

      Yes, it was a decent month after all! A rowing machine is a nice investment. It’ll give opportunity for cardio work and strength training too, much more strength involved than I remembered.

  4. Sue from Women Living Well After 50 avatar

    Hi Susanne you had some lovely highlights from January so I wouldn’t say it was slow. I’m sorry to hear you injured your foot but keeping up the strength training, rowing and physio will certainly help maintain your strength. Your running will come, just don’t push it. How exciting to have holidays planned. We have two planned for this year and it helps to stay positive when you have something to look forward to. We toured Spain about 4 years ago and loved it! Have a wonderful February and Iook forward to reading your catch up post. x

    1. Susanne avatar

      Thank you Sue, yes, there’s a lot I can do to maintain fitness and then get back to running when I’m ready. I’m really looking forward to the trip to Spain, it will be a nice break for sure! I’m excited about your travel plans too.

  5. Joanne avatar

    Your photos are lovely! I hope you have a fabulous time in Spain.

    1. Susanne avatar

      Thanks, Joanne!!

  6. Debbie Harris avatar

    Love your photos Susanne and I think you’re looking forward to spring’s arrival?? Your month had a fair bit of action and activity for such a cold miserable month. Hopefully your running will continue and it sounds like you’re doing all the right things to help your body recover from injury, unfortunately it can be slow progress! Your holiday plans sound fabulous, we’re counting down until our 2 month trip to England in May to see my daughter for her 40th birthday. Sorry to say but it’s been lovely and warm here but our time will come 🙂 Thanks for joining us for our WBOYC, great to have you with us.

    1. Susanne avatar

      How lovely to hear you’re going back to England this year! And quite soon too. May must be a perfect month to go to the UK – they have what I call almost tropical weather compared to us. I’m doing quite well with my foot now so hopefully I can get back to running soon but will have to progress more slowly with it (I thought I did it super slow before!).. frustrating but I’m not giving up. Thanks for visiting and have a lovely weekend!

  7. Jennifer Jones avatar

    Injuries are really annoying when they disrupt your plans and goals. Ive had a few over the last 5 years and have had to learn to adapt and work around them. A trip to Spain in spring sounds wonderful.

    1. Susanne avatar

      Yes, I suppose if you want to run, injuries will happen, hopefully the next time I will have more “plan B” activities and won’t lose hope as I did for a while now. Work around the injuries I guess is the way to go.

  8. Sue from Women Living Well After 50 avatar

    I’m excited to read about your trip to Spain. It will bring back lovely memories for me. Take care and have a lovely weekend. x

  9. Denyse Whelan avatar

    Oh that was a very interesting post with some lovely highlights of what is special for you. Hard when injuries/illness stop us from doing all we hope and plan, I know. I wish you well in your challenge.

    And for travelling outside Ireland. In 2023 we have tended to “forget” just how hard life was/is because of covid since January 2020. I know I need to remind myself!

    It was great to see your post shared for this week’s Wednesday’s Words and Pics. I am grateful for your support. I hope to see you next week too. Thank you. Denyse.

    1. Susanne avatar

      When I think of the worst days of the pandemic, I’m so grateful for everything we can do now, that life returned to something that at least resembles what it was. I’m happy you enjoyed reading my update. Have a lovely weekend!

  10. Sammie @ The Annoyed Thyroid avatar

    Maybe it’s a northern hemisphere thing because this is our first January in the UK (in 14 years) and we’ve had a slow start too! I think your photos are fab and good on you for even thinking about running in these chilly temps! We have done a few trips around the UK but also haven’t travelled overseas, I’m itching to go to Europe whatever the weather!

    1. Susanne avatar

      Oh, after 14 years in Australia (I think?), winter in the UK must be vicious. We’ve had some decent temperatures here and from 5C and up, running can be quite pleasant, provided you have a few layers. Of course I prefer a bit warmer weather though!

  11. Christie Hawkes avatar

    Hello Susanne. I can see why you were pleased with those photos…very nice. I’m sorry to hear about your injury. That is so frustrating, but it sounds like you are handling it the best way possible. I feel similar to you about January. This year was better for me, since we spent two weeks of it in warm Mazatlan, Mexico. Here’s to a happy February!

    1. Susanne avatar

      Thank you, after hearing the feedback on those images (especially the blue wall), they shine a bit more to me! Yes, it’s been really frustrating getting that injury, thankfully now I’m much better. I think February will be a good month!

  12. Maria avatar

    How fun to plan a trip to Spain! I love Spain. Second to Sweden and Norway, it’s my favourite country to spend time in. In what part of Spain does your in-laws live? I can totally understand people that choose to retire in Spain. March is an excellent month to plan a trip to Spain. I might consider that for next year 😉 It is great hearing about positive plans in the making.

    1. Susanne avatar

      Spain will be lovely in March, I’m sure! My inlaws have a house in Torrevieja where many Swedish people choose to stay, and they have a group of friends they hang out a lot with. We have only been there once so it will be nice going back. They have done a lot of renovations in the house too which will be interesting to see. My favourite country to visit is Italy but I’m really looking forward to spending some time with the inlaws, and Spain has good temperatures earlier in the year.

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