January. And a Happy New Year it is here in the southeast of Winterfell.

I am writing from my living room as Ulysses The Cat patrols the hallways of The Castle. My secretary, Mr. Afterthought, has been organizing the incoming correspondence that arrived while I was away over the holidays. It is piled up on the desk in my personal office downstairs. I suppose I should be tending to it but just one look at the stack caused me to reach for the whiskey and come up here to get away.

I have been jotting down an eclectic collection of notes. A list of things that need doing, another list of ideas for my properties, random thoughts about future land purchases, scraps of writing ideas for future stories in this journal, parts of jokes (“Two gryphons walk into a bar…”), official business topics to discuss with Lady Twilight, etc. The mind wanders from one subject to another but the post-holiday “mindfog” – like a mental hangover – keeps me from focusing on any one thing. Instead, it’s bits of this and bits of that flying rapidly through the brain and into the notebook.

As I look out the window at a tourist who is exploring the grounds I think about my own need to explore again. I have been too busy or too tired to do much more than poke about these last couple of months. Wandering around aimlessly from time to time is not the same as ‘exploring.’ I write ‘Explore!’ on my list of things to do.

I did accomplish a bit today. I visited a garden store and purchased some pine trees and completely reworked the complement of trees on the grounds here. From the marketplace catalogue I purchased several wireless sets to play around with. I do have quite a fondness for this whole new area known as ‘radio.’ I reach for the dial now and scan away from folk music to classical.

I took my ship out for a sail of the eastern waters of Winterfell but the border crossings proved quite treacherous. Over drinks at The Emerald Inn last month, Lady Rachel told me she had had a similiar experience and had since put her ships in drydock. I must investigate this issue further. This is added to the list.

I am off now to Rosehaven to look at the available apartments there. As much as one would think that a quiet place such as here in The Castle or up north at my cottage would be best for writing, I seem to be most comfortable writing in a city setting. In the past I did most of my writing at my old Laudanum home. When I gave that up upon purchasing The Castle it did cross my mind that I might need a new place to write. I have written at The Emerald Inn and at my official office in Absinthe from time to time but these places are open to the public and while I don’t mind the interruption – it is good to take a break for a chat – I often get so involved in the writing that I don’t notice the presence of others. Their calls of “Hello” do not penetrate as The Muse has taken over. They must think I’m quite rude but I assure you that is not the case.

And so, on that note, it’s off to Rosehaven.