Tag Archives: Christmas

Me, Mirth and Merriment

I went shopping this afternoon – a few groceries for Number One son as a hint that it was time to go back, and a few bits for the kitchen. And tea. By some oversight we had run out of tea, and I can’t settle knowing that Julia is likely to make that Indian spiced stuff that she likes and which I consider has no place in civilised society. I know that India has produced great philosophies and mathematics, and Mahatma Ghandi, but I’m sorry, I don’t consider them sound on matters of tea.

For those of you who are thinking of pointing out that India virtually invented tea may I just point out that the English invented football. It doesn’t mean we’re any good at it.

The car park was fuller than normal, a state of affairs which also applied to the shop.

Large numbers of resentful looking men were trailing round the shop muttering rude words at their partners whilst feral children stalked the aisles and trolley rage seemed to simmer, barely under control.

This did not bring out the best in me, and I was thinking evil thoughts, including wondering about the practicality of disemboweling a curly-haired tot with my reading glasses, when a wave of good humour rolled over me.  This is not normal. It hardly ever happens, and certainly not at Christmas, when the spirit of Scrooge stalks the badly heated rooms of my draughty hill top domain.

I looked at the couple arguing over the wife’s choice of  cheese and thought how lucky I was that we could afford all three of the varieties she was looking at. We would, of course only eat two of them before the third matured into a new variety of blue cheese (in our fridge even Stilton goes mouldy), but that, in a way. is even luckier, as we have lots of cheese and the thrill of playing botulism roulette.

After that I was on a roll, to the point of being quite charming and enjoying a laugh with several ladies in the checkout queue. When I mentioned this to Julia she muttered something about it not being the first time I’d provoked mirth in a woman.

There was something in her tone I couldn’t quite place…

 

Thinking of Christmas

Yes, it’s that time of year again. August, the traditional start to the Christmas season.

I’m not sure what stops people in the middle of the summer holidays and makes them think of Christmas, but it never fails. Julia started talking of her Christmas plans two weeks ago. She is preparing to raise funds for new polytunnel covers as the current ones are opaque, apart from the holes. We are going to be taping the holes soon but it is, at best, a forlorn hope. Personally I think “waste of time” is more accurate.

Here, as ever, is a selection of the Christmas that we will be  forcing parents to buy via the tried and trusted method of emotional blackmail.

In addition, she is forming plans to attend Christmas Fairs. As they are usually on Saturdays, a day she works, these plans are likely to involve coercing some unwilling soul into doing the Fairs. So far she hasn’t said more, but I do feel the metaphorical noose tightening. I am not really at my best in an environment that involves knitting, felting and quilling.

After a morning in the garden Julia went to the main building, where the conversation turned to Christmas. So it’s not just her…

 

New Year, new struggle…

It’s a New Year, and I’m having a struggle with finding a suitable title. So far, then, there is little difference between 2016 and 2017.

You can tell the holiday is over because we took the boys back today, one to Victorian splendour in Leeds (where he has a flat in a listed building) and the other to student squalor in Sheffield. Julia is currently sitting and looking lost – she says it’s too quiet.

That’s not actually our normal measure of the ending of the holidays. The official start of our Christmas is the day we buy the cheese footballs, and the official end is when we finish them. We finished the last few tonight, on our return from Leeds.

I’m not really sure how we came to develop this “tradition” – Julia asked me to get them for our first christmas together and it grew from there. Does anyone else have family Christmas traditions? We can’t be the only ones.

The start of a new year is always a tempting time for resolutions but I have a poor record with resolutions so all I’m saying this year is that I’m going to take a positive attitude to things.

I was going to try posting every day but I’m already an hour and a quarter late for that.

As for the weight loss/health resolution – see my previous comments on cheese footballs.

The beauty of looking on the bright side is that I enjoyed the cheese footballs.

🙂

The Captains and the Kings depart

I was going to title this post The tumult and the shouting dies but the post was’t quite right and when I wiped it out by accident (yet again!) I couldn’t be bothered to retrieve it.
That’s how it came to be rewritten with a grander title. It’s not quite as accurate, because we had plenty of tumult and shouting, but a distinct shortage of Captains and Kings. As the memory fades a little I’m feeling distinctly more upbeat about it. It wasn’t all singing and sandwiches (though I admit that they did form a large part of the proceedings), we also had dancing and two different slideshows from Julia.
It took her several weeks to perfect the slideshows – I will never get Chariots of Fire and The Magnificent Seven out of my head. At one time I was hearing them so often I was waking up humming them.
I missed some of the events because I was confined to the kitchen after forgetting to put the snacks in the oven. That’s also why there aren’t many photographs.
Fortunately I was on hand when Santa called and gave out the memory boxes Dave and Jayne had made. They’ve been beavering away in Dave’s shed making the boxes and putting individual names on them.
There were a few tears towards the end. There was also a certain amount of unsuitable competitiveness from one of the teams in the Christmas Quiz. I’m not saying which one, but my constant viewing of quiz shows seems to have paid off…
At the time it was all a little sad, but as I write a couple of days later it seems a lot more upbeat. With parents and group members and various other people (in person or by email) we’ve had a lot of positive feedback. We couldn’t have done it without the group, so can’t take all the credit, but it does make you feel better.
I can’t think of a tidy way to end  the post, but in real life we did the washing up.

 

Get that party started

First event of the day – phone call from Number 1 son enquiring about the chance of a lift on Friday. Seems he’s bought so many presents that he won’t be able to carry them all. It’s his first Christmas since he started working full time. You can’t fault his generosity, but as a parent, I’d rather he invested it in National Savings Products for his future. (Yes, there’s no pleasing me, is there?)

We posted the last of the Christmas cards this morning – I’ve decided I really should stay in touch with more of my family rather than just meeting them at funerals, a sentiment expressed in several of the cards I’ve had this year.

When we drew up at the farm we had a phone call to tell us the taxi would be late. It seems the driver had managed to reverse in Vicki’s drive, put his back wheels on the lawn, and then get stuck by dropping the clutch and spinning the wheels.

Dave was here when we arrived, unloading the Christmas presents he has been making in his shed. Santa has many helpers at this time of year.

I’ve just been reminded that it’s nearly 11.00 and people will be expecting to eat at 12.00 – so I’m off to do the sandwiches.

Time flies…

 

The Final Countdown

Yes, it’s a song title today. I did think of a variation on the TV show Countdown but at 58 I’m not ready to admit that I’m part of the Countdown demographic. (See later comments on age).

I bought a new knife today. I’ve been meaning to get a proper boning knife for some time and the one I spotted in the cash and carry had all the attributes I wanted – a good handle and a cheap price ranking higher than the quality of the blade. I don’t tend to wear knives out – they simply disappear (thrown away by family members, I suspect, as I never lost a knife before I was married) or get left on top of a cooker ring. Yes, I’ve destroyed a couple of good knives like that. I suppose I could build a new handle from exotic hardwood as recommended in various specialist magazine, but I’m really not that good with my hands.

From the cash and carry (having bought drinks and snacks for the party tomorrow) I went to the supermarket to buy the rest of the stuff we needed.  It was stressful, as the nearest supermarket to the cash and carry isn’t one I normally go to and it was crammed with coffin dodgers all doing their best to either get in my way or ram me out of their way.

Now, I don’t mind the former (in moderation) as we all dawdle a bit, but the latter drives me mad. If I responded in kind, with a quick flick of the trolley and a spot of wheel to wheel charioteering I would (rightly) be castigated as a hooligan and a bully, but give me a cardigan and a blue rinse and I’m instantly allowed to carry on like Genghis Khan. I was actually rammed by a shopping scooter on Saturday when a woman of only middling years decided she wanted the space I was occupying.

Mentally I dragged her off the scooter and gave her a good kicking. But in real life I just moved, with a subdued “Tch!” to indicate disapproval.

 

I’m off to cut cabbage for the coleslaw now.

It’s nineteen hours until the party starts and twenty five hours until the project closes.

That must mean it’s also twenty five hours until my new life begins.

Seems a good time for a poem, and as Dylan Thomas conveniently died over 60 years ago I think I’m right in say he’s out of copyright so I can quote it in full.

Tomorrow, I will be blogging in a more kindly and cheerful manner.

🙂

Do not go gentle into that good night

Dylan Thomas, 19141953

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

 

Flatbreads and gladrags

Today was the traditional Bread Group Christmas Curry – with plenty of flatbreads and a selrction of gladrags.. I think four years qualifies for being a tradition…

I didn’t take many photos. When you have curry to eat and people to see the photos come second.

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