Friday, 27 December 2013

So that was Christmas

We were expecting to have a quiet Christmas this year.  Our daughter was (and still is) in Australia, our elder son and his partner were (and still are) at our cottage in France as the three children are all with their respective other parents, so it was just my younger son and his daughter who we were expecting to be with us for lunch and through the afternoon.  When I say we were expecting a quiet Christmas, I had forgotten my granddaughter's propensity for chattering.  I don't think she stops from the moment she wakes until her head touches the pillow.  But she's delightful, a lively 6-year-old with a wicked sense of humour and a surprisingly large vocabulary.  Her appetite is very good as well, and she tucked into the yummy (her word) roast turkey, bacon roll, chipolata, roast potatoes, carrots and Brussels sprouts, although she refused the bread sauce and the chestnut stuffing.  She followed up with two helpings of pavlova.  For the Old Bat and me it was a most enjoyable day.

Would that it had been so for everyone, but hundreds of people, mainly in this south-east corner of the country, spent Christmas Day in evacuation centres after their homes were flooded by rivers bursting their banks and something like 50,000 homes were without electricity, many of which will have to remain without until the flood waters recede.  We have also been thinking of our friends Chris and Mrs Chris.  It was they who hosted the Evening of Christmas last Saturday - despite the fact that Chris's elder daughter had been rushed into hospital suspected of having had a stroke.  It transpired eventually that she had suffered three strokes.  The last we heard she was paralysed down one side and had lost the power of speech.  All very worrying, especially as she is only about 45 and has two young children.

Otherwise, everything here is getting back to normal - or partly so.  When I was working, these days between Christmas and New Year were always busy and I used to get so frustrated because trains ran to a Saturday timetable and I travelled daily to London, a two-hour journey from home to office at the best of times.  neither did it help that so many people took time off between the holidays, just when I needed to get in touch with them!  Our financial year-end was 31st December and I insisted that the auditors complete their work before the end of February.  That meant they arrived each year on 2nd January, by which time I had to have the accounts - including the full profit and loss account and balance sheet - ready for audit.  At least I don't have that bother now.

I have been blethering quite a bit about various traditions - don't worry!  I've no more for you - yet! - and it occurred to me in a moment of deep, philosophical thought that traditions are not just amusing throwbacks, they perform an important role.  The observance of traditions - whether in spectating or participating in them - is a form of glue which helps bind together communities.  End of philosophy.


Yesterday, at least, was a bright, sunny day.  Even though the ground is waterlogged, it was pleasant walking across 39 Acres and around the Roman Camp despite a fairly stiff (and cool cold) breeze.  There were quite a few others walking their dogs and generally blowing away the fumes and cobwebs, including this family.  I wonder if they realised they were dancing on a grave?  Well, there's no body there now; it is an iron age disc barrow which was the grave site of a tribal chieftain but was excavated in the 19th century.


(not necessarily your) Uncle Skip, said...

"...observance of traditions..."


joeh said...

If your granddaughter was taught to not talk with her mouth full she would never say a thing!

They do prattle on and you never know what is going to come out...much fun!

#1Nana said...

We had a very quiet family visitors. We visited with our granddaughters through technology and got to see all their gifts from Santa. We're making new traditions now that the old ones don't fit our lifestyle. The year I retired we started going to the Oregon coast for a few days between Christmas and New Years. Now I look forward to this little trip as a tradition.

Brighton Pensioner said...

Joe: It's only when she's eating that we manage to get a word in edgeways!