A month of thresholds: my birthday today, and five days later my ten-day silent retreat at Suan Mokkh monastery in Thailand. Birthdays always make me super-conscious of The State of The Blonde Nation, but this has been heightened even further by the retreat, which  looms like an elipsis in my brain: a mental cheesewire that slices everything I read, see and do into startling polarities.

London Fashion Week (how did anyone get anything done with that damn live stream always lurking behind a tab?); preparing to wear yoga pants, t-shirts and flip-flops for ten days. Glorying over the skate and samphire at Pizza East; thinking about the prospect of eating nothing beyond noon. Working on a presentation for Wildscreen, the festival of environmental and wildlife filmmaking; knowing I will be immersed in the real thing - majestic mountains, serious bugs - three days before I present it. Staying awake two hours later than I should because I just have to finish The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society ( basically The Shipping Forecast - nautical, martial, nostalgic, soporific - in literary form); facing the terrifying prospect of nigh-on two weeks without access to a single book.


Sensualist, meet ascetic. Both have a sort of romance. Both bring a sort of authenticity.

Will they fight? How will the before and after manifest itself? Will the cheesewire cut me in two like a crumbling Wensleydale or get, Brie-like, engulfed without a trace?

Will it hurt?

I did go on Asos and find a lovely overpriced poncho for elegantly stoic endurance of Thai rain.

A twenty-eight your old ascensualist? Sounds promising. Welcome to another year, Blonde.