Tuesday, 30 December 2014

All Present and Correct

Sooo, we did it, we survived Christmas. It was fine. Some really nice days. I dragged all at Martha Towers to the traditional Christmas film at the Plymouth Arts Centre. This year it was ET which none of the offspring had seen (Call yourself a mother?) There was some discord as FOW1 declared that his favourite Christmas film was Die Hard and I felt that this misconception had to be dealt with. However, all was merry and bright and if I was slightly unhappy at having to pay £55 for four ponced up burgers in Ed's Diner afterwards, I kept it to myself for the most part. Other than that, I seem to have spent a lot of time providing lifts for offspring and then waiting for offspring to get back from things. You know how it is.

We had to split Christmas Day as HOH was working on Christmas morning, so presents were done on Christmas Eve which means the arrival of Aged Parent with four bin bags full of Christmas detritus and therefore me working like a Trojan to placate HOH who likes his life quite tidy. Christmas Day was spent in the kitchen more or less. I was quite taken this year with Frugal Queen's assertion that it was just a big roast and that we just just back off and give ourselves less pressure. However, I spent hours in the kitchen and am feeling more and more that Aunt Bessies pre cooked stuff is the way forward in future years. Or a lasagne.

The Carol Service was excellent this year. Lots of carols with a traditional choir. Seems like that's what people want at a Carol Service - to come along and sing lots of carols - who knew? It was good for me though because up to then, I had been a bit like Barry Manilow about Christmas - you know - up, down, trying to get the feeling again. I did wonder briefly if this was the year that we had all finally managed to kill Real Christmas off. What with penguins on buses and Black Friday and adverts pretending to be about the war when really all they want you to do is buy their chocolate. Linking up on the Advent Pause was helpful. I read everyone's blogs and found new people and generally just felt more proper Christmassy with it. 
I'm a bit woo-woo about Facebook, this time of year. It's full of photos of people in their living rooms having a great time at Christmas. It's good for me because I live a long way away from people that I like so I can see them and also I'm quite nosy. However, it crossed my mind that if you were alone or worried or just not having a particularly good time, it might make things a bit worse for you. I say don't be too affected by this kind of thing. Most people are muttering under their breath a lot during the festive period - despite all the #lovemyfamilyatChristmas stuff that is posted. Of course you love your family! Why are you telling me? I have come to the age when I will be quite glad to "see things go back to normal" and I am eyeing Christmas tree with a sort of  - "how well will that burn?" gleam in my eye. Speaking of burning, the photo above is a fantastic present from a friend. It goes by the fire and is full of the odds and ends of old scented candles. So when you light your fire it is easier to get going and you get a nice scent as well. Bob - il est votre oncle as they say. Some people are so creative.

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Christmas story. This is there too.


A sound was heard in Ramah,
    weeping and much lament.
Rachel weeping for her children,
    Rachel refusing all solace,
Her children gone,
    dead and buried.


Monday, 15 December 2014

Advent 3

This week I am

Cancelling tea with the Mayor. Yep that's the kind of high living person I am. I just throw the Mayor to one side because I get a better offer. (Actually, we have a couple of people off work which means that there are literally no phone answerers if I go swanning off. Am hoping Mayor is ok with this. Am thinking that he is as he as already cancelled on me once)

Reporting back on the Paddington movie. It's really good. The spirit of the books is there in all its glory. He's funny and sweet. The Brown family are exactly as they should be and the house they live in is just beautiful in its eccentricity. It is also an unashamed plea for racial tolerance and welcoming strangers into our lives. I don't expect UKIP will be giving out copies of the DVD for Christmas. (Didn't get to see the one about the nun. We weren't sure if we fancied it. The day after we didn't go, it promptly won a big award at a film festival. Of course it did.)

Trying to find a sensible place and then noting down where I am keeping presents. This will hopefully avoid the usual scene of me having to remove all the clothes from my wardrobe on Christmas Eve in a mad panic because 50% of the presents I have been buying are missing. It's never a good time.

Thinking - blow the whole thing and sitting down on Saturday afternoon with some chocolate and watching Hello Dolly. How lovely it is. Am almost not bothered about being found later in kitchen high kicking and singing Put On Your Sunday Clothes.

Attending FOW2s A Level Certificate presentation. Am hoping against hope that it will be as funny as the year they invited a contestant from The Voice to make the presentations. The faces of the Board of Governors as he sang "Your Sex is On Fire" has kept me happy on many a cold night.

Wondering why a elderly man who was drunk as a monkey was trying to shoplift a bottle of suntan lotion. (Bit of a commotion while I was waiting in the Chemist for medication for Aged Parent) I wouldn't have thought there was much call for it at this time of year - even on what I presume is a thriving Black Market in Plymouth. Maybe it was just for the thrill of it. Anyway, I was more unhappy about seeing it replaced straight back on the shelf when the bottle was recovered. It could quite clearly have done with a rinse having been down some rather unsavoury trousers.

Finding out about Advent Candles. I didn't know that each one was supposed to represent anything. (I come from a Christian background where any candle in church is the beginning of a slippery slope) So when we lit ours on Sunday,  I heard that it represented John The Baptist and this was news to me. I like John The Baptist though. A voice in the wilderness. A light in the darkness. In the busy times, in the mess that is in my head, in the darkness that lurks in my thought life, in the sadness of buying a coat for a child in a refugee camp because they have fled their homes with only the clothes on their backs, in the startling realisation that the people we trust to govern us think that we will be ok with torture. During these times it's helpful to remember that God is there - a small light in the darkness sometimes or a still small voice of calm and wisdom. 

Linking up to A Pause in Advent 

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

This Week

This week I am

  • Receiving FOW 1 back into the fold for Christmas -  We are stocked up on Pizzas and toilet paper - we are braced.
  • Going to the flicks a couple of times. Off to see Paddington tonight (with my stern "I love Paddington - this had better be good" face on). Then something about a nun on Thursday I think. Will report back.
  • Having aged parent round for tea. Remember no onions. Unfortunate consequences for her belly (and for all concerned)
  • Spending time struggling to get into cupboards. We have replaced a mattress on a bed but are keeping the old one for a Christmas visitor as the only thing that is wrong with it is that it is a bit saggy in the middle (bit like my good self) Thing is, we have nowhere to keep it so it keeps being left against wardrobes and my big cupboard at the top of the stairs and I keep having to wrestle it to get in anywhere.
  • Praying for an early fitting of our blinds. People are getting chairs out and sitting in the road outside our house now to watch us. (Well it feels like it)
  • Putting in very chunky amounts of toil at work. All shopping buses and scooters and wheelchairs are choc a block with people trying to get their Christmas stuff done. There is nothing like a determined pensioner on a shopping mission - trust me.
  • Being very pleased that HOH was able to mend Joseph in our oldest Nativity set after an unfortunate incident with Morecambe last year. (Or was it Liam? Can't remember) Anyway - at one point we thought we would have to marry Mary off to a shepherd and that would not do at all.
  • Looking ruefully at my planning book and wishing I had the time to sit and plan in it - never mind actually DOING the stuff on my to-do list.
It's all going very well - as usual. Carry on.

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Pausing For Advent (2)

If only. I am still struggling to pause. I am up to my eyes in various bits and pieces and life etc. Nothing to bother too much about. I am reading all the other blogs and it seems that, for lots of reasons, other people are the same. I will not go gently into that Bah Humbug though. I LOVE Christmas and I will not sink under all the detritus so I don't enjoy it anymore. I am well aware that this one is up to me. We had a guest speaker at church today and he told us that the secret to contentment is a decent dialogue with God - which makes a lot of sense to me. I have to find the time to do it - especially at this time of year. It is up to me to cut back on things where I can. So, here are my Christmas Resolutions. Unconventional I know but that's the way I roll.

1. If I see you every day. Sort of "Hello - nice weekend?" as we sit down at desks opposite each other. Or, if I usually send you a card after you have posted one through my door saying "To all at 22 from all at number 48." because neither of us know each other from Adam - then don't hold your breath for a card from me. Cards this year will be to people who live a long way away, people I need to re-connect with and to my Mother, who takes the size of the card we send her as an indication of the amount of affection she is held in. (Can be tricky when the lady who does her hair once a week has sent a bigger one than me because I went for quality rather then size)

2. I will be making several meals for visitors and on Christmas Day and all that. This is fine. I am looking forward to it. However, know now that the mash will be Marks and Spencer. The pudding will be ready made and Mice Pies will be Mr Kipling. Come to terms with it. I have. It is happening and it is happening in this house.I will probably make my own roast potatoes because I like them best but, have to be honest, there will be a bag of frozen ones in the freezer in case of emergencies.

3. My house will not be a picture of domestic perfection. It has just been through a traumatic time with the windows being replaced and half the front rendering being ripped off. We don't have the new blinds in place yet so getting dressed in the morning is like permanently dressing under a beach towel. If you are coming here to see a beautifully tidy and serene home you are a) barking up the wrong tree completely and don't know me at all and b) Seriously? Why would you do that?

4. I will not be losing that last half stone before Christmas. All my clothes are fitting (more or less) and I reserve the right to seek solace in an emergency bag of cheese and onion crisps if the need arises. 

Good Grief - that feels better.

On a more positive note - everyone else went out this afternoon and I took the opportunity to put some Christmas music and give Hark The Herald Angels some welly in the privacy of my own kitchen. Wow I love that carol. Top Notch.

Linking Up at A Pause in Advent

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