Thursday, 29 December 2011


The festive season snuck up on me. It sat in the shadows and watched for a while, waiting for an opportune moment to strike. I was vaguely aware of its presence. A twitch of whisker encouraged me to put up the decorations, the slight swish of a tail provoked the buying of wrapping paper, while a gentle growl reminded me to send what few cards needed to be sent. The first weeks of December passed without event, almost without notice.

The next few weeks made up for that! Bad weather, extra shifts to cover at work, sick boys to look after. All these factors conspired against me. Proposed shopping trips were cancelled, Internet orders were delayed, time was running out. The parcels under the tree were going to be very thin on the ground. Eeek!
And that's when, without warning, IT pounced! Catching me unawares it landed its full weight on top of me, forcing me to my knees. As its claws dug in I started to panic. A cold sweat of fear drenched my body. I avoided looking into its face, certain in the knowledge that I was unprepared and would have to suffer the consequences. Closing my eyes I waited for the inevitable.

A warm breath engulfed me, scented with brandied apples and cinnamon, clementines and cloves. The soft fuzziness of a hundred hugs enveloped me. I carefully opened one eye. Twinkling orbs filled with shared laughter met mine. Where was the hideous monster looking to punish me for my pitiful display of material love? Nowhere, that's where! Because although the madness of the festive season had pounced, the festive spirit had come to my rescue.

I chilled. I stopped looking at last order dates on stuff that no one wanted or needed. I confirmed arrangements to meet friends and family. I sent off my Christmas ornament swap to my swap partner Flaming Nora and received one from her.

The boys made their recovery, if not fully at least enough to enjoy themselves (with the added bonus of a few days off school). So Christmas Day dawned and while there were fewer gaily wrapped presents to pass amongst the gathered family, the gift of love was as bountiful as ever.

Hope you had a good one :o)

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

The Christmas Card Conundrum

The festive spirit is at last sneaking it's way in to our home. Last weekend I persuaded the boys to brave the cold of the loft and help me bring down the Christmas decorations.
Dressing the house for Christmas has always been my job. I'm not sure if its because the rest of the household really isn't that interested or if they know how much pleasure it gives me and want to see me happy ( I'll give them the benefit of the doubt and go with the latter)   
Although it took me slightly longer than usual ( I lost the impetus on Sunday and didn't get it back until Tuesday! ) The tree is now trimmed......

...the wreath is at the door and the boys Santas are in their rightful place ( they made them when they were in nursery and are beginning to suffer slightly from the ravages of time).

With that job done I should be feeling the warm glow of contentment. Instead I am gripped by a clammy claw of dread. The next task I have to face is one of my least favourite of the season. The writing of Christmas cards! 

I spend almost as much time choosing them as I do Christmas presents, trying to marry up appropriate designs with the intended recipients. A lot of trouble for something that will be looked at briefly, put on display (something I've never managed to my satisfaction be they hung, strung or taped), then thrown out for recycling.

I hate to sound like a Scrooge but .... are they really necessary? I don't mean those that get sent to far flung friends and family ( you know, the ones with the accompanying letter filling everyone in on last years news), they are obviously a must. I mean the ones that get given to friends and neighbours. Surely if you see them often enough to hand deliver a card it would be just as easy to wish them a merry Christmas? It would be more sincere than some pre printed message signed underneath with what may or may not be your name, its difficult to tell by the fortieth card. And it could save a tree or two.

Ooh, I do sound a bit 'Bah, humbug' don't I? I don't mean it that way honestly. Let me explain. Due to the unsettling circumstances last year I struggled a bit to focus on the festive season, consequently I didn't get around to sending many cards. Strangely enough I didn't receive that many either. Now to me that seems to indicate card giving operates on a reciprocal basis, if you don't get you don't give! 
I made sure that everyone I met in the weeks leading up to Christmas were wished the best of the season. Later on I wrote a cheque for the amount I would have spent on cards and stamps and popped it in to one of the numerous charity envelopes I had received through the post.

So now here I am with some cards spread in front of me wondering what to do. Do I go back to my card sending ways or do I continue with a new tradition, regardless of how inauspiciously it began,  keep the cards to a minimum and send the saving to charity? Is being struck off a Christmas card list really such a bad thing?

Monday, 5 December 2011

"Aw naw, it's no snow is it?"........

These incredulous words burst forth from my number one sons mouth late yesterday afternoon, a testament to both his Scottish heritage and his advancing years. Gone was the childish delight in the dance of the frozen flakes, at times a sedate progress to the ground, at others a merry jig when the wind joined in. 
That youthful joy had been replaced by a rather adult concern " How am I going to get to school tomorrow? " 

His fears seemed unfounded as the brief flurry made hardly any impact and the light dusting had disappeared before we went to bed.

The rather strange glow in the house when I awoke at 4 this morning alerted me to the possibility that the earlier flurry had just been a teaser. I was right. This was the sight that greeted us this morning.

Number one son was not a happy boy! I could hear him grumbling all the way down the hill. 

Well, he can grumble all he likes. For my part I'm going to enjoy the rather tranquil view while it lasts ( it's melting as I type ) in the hope it will put me in a more festive mood.

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