Well, what a lovely Chrsitmas we had. Thank you for all your greetings. It was a quiet but fun time, made all the nicer by the presence of Melangell (angel by any other name).
Highlights of the festivities? Our annual trip on the steam railway to see the REAL man in red. Last year for Tiddles, much to his disgust (especially as the Santa at Havenstreet gives really good quality presents!), but a treat for all of us… even if I didn’t get my glass of mulled wine.
Carol singing with my boys. This has become a bit of a tradition, missed only last year. We live in a close of really lovely, mostly elderly people who are good to have around and many of whom have watched over the Smudgelets as they played outside while they were growing up. Our Christmas gift (if you can call it that) to them is to go round and sing carols properly at their doors, traditional down to the very lantern we carry. It was a bit of a panic this year as I had thought they’d be too old to do it, with Tiddles’ voice breaking, and so had not got candles ready for the lantern – we had just enough remnants of nightlights to manage it. I don’t normally sing, but usually the boys have a friend with them to boost their voices so they roped me in this time and I have to admit it was a delight to sing with them, Smudgelet providing the angelic tunefulness, Tiddles providing the enthusiasm 😀 The neighbours were delighted (well, at least I think that was the meaning of the tears!). The only tough moment was going up the steps of next door and, with a shudder of loss, ringing the doorbell of my Dad’s front door, for it to be opened by my new neighbour. That was tough for all of us, but we managed it.
Church. Three times to three different churches in the space of three days. My carol and Christingle service went smoothly and I received a good report as well as thoroughly enjoying myself. We had Christmas Eve service at 5pm in my own church and then Christmas morning at the local Methodist church which is sort of my second home. The latter was hysterical – we were seated by a young lad with earnest expression who was aged around 2. He was most perturbed that Melangell put her hymn book down on an empty seat, and repeatedly walked round, took the book in his hands and handed it to her for her to hold, followed closely by the other book which was already lying there on the chair. Each time she put it down, he returned to hand it solomnly to her, and then spotting a handbag lying nearby, promptly placed that firmly in her hands too. Then he turned his attention to the almost-life-sized nativity scene on the stage. There were two small sheep (I say small, they were at least as big as he was!) and he was most concerned that the shepherds were not watching over their sheep but neglecting them in favour of a baby in a manger. So, responsible young man that he was, he grabbed each by the ear and dragged them off to the safety of his seat. By this time the congregation was in hysterics and the minister abandoned his sermon to the charms of the mini-sheep-rustler!
Christmas lunch: It was my first Christmas Dinner cooking experience for a long time. I’d never cooked Christmas dinner for Smudgelet before. My sister had always come for Christmas to help share Dad’s awkwardness and, as she doesn’t go to church, she’d always taken responsibility for the dinner. It was a real blessing to be able to prepare this special meal for my own little family and my guest, and to serve it in our new dining room. And rather delicious it was too.
Watching my boys opening their presents and knowing that this Christmas we were together and all was well.
Lowlights: hmmm…. well, I missed the panto. In fact, I missed most of the week from Boxing Day morning (4am) to New Year’s Eve. I found myself really wishing that the one job I didn’t get done before Christmas hadn’t been cleaning the floor in the loo, seeing as I spent rather a lot of time inspecting the plumbing… and wishing that our new wetroom had been finished. Yes, the viral gastroenteritis that was sweeping the Island and which brought our local hospital almost to a standstill had found its way to my stomach and laid me out for almost a week. I wonder if I lost any weight! I have to say, it did have its compensations, though. I lay in splendid isolation in the lounge, determined not to spread the illness to anyone else, leaving the room only to visit another smaller one very rapidly! Meanwhile poor Melangell spent that time esconced in the rest of the bungalow with: one gerbil, one cat, one over-excited ten-year-old, one hyper teenager, two remote control cars, one remote control hovercraft, one new train set, lots of new CDs and DVDs and two very popular harmonicas!!!!
As promised, there are now a few photos on flickr, including ones of my favourite Christmas tree decorations. Let’s see which ones to share with you here: