Sunday, 3 January 2010

winter wonderland?

Christmas has never been a favourite time of year for many reasons.

Born into times of austerity presents were few and you can guess why they were never anything that I could have possibly wanted, even the books were aimed at boys and were never opened!

Parents were quite self centred so there was little sense of christmas being a close family affair, very much children should be seen but not heard.

Now the attention is on over indulgence and wild present distribution which is problematic for someone with very limited means and still in the position of receiving inappropriate gifts! I hate the wast of gifts which are clearly of no use and have tried to instigate local rules to restrict gifts to consumables and am gaining a following now that more are reaching retirement. If you are the kind of friend whom I can meet for coffee then you were probably lucky enough to get classy hand made chocolate of one kind or another. Nothing of note came our way except two very nice New Zealand wines from my friends mother who got something Chanel in return. Why didn’t I get a mother like this?

The one thing I do like is decorating a tree but this year I never go a chance to buy one with the weather. I would have cut the one I have growing in the garden but it was laden with frozen snow so I put up a fake tree which could not even take the weight of the fancier glass decorations which I have collected. I splashed some pine essence about to try and fool people and some were fooled but what a let down.

It hardly ever snows where I live but it did some time before christmas then turned to inch thick ice on the roads and walkways. Since all politicians sing the mantra of global warming the one thing they have done is cancel the order for grit and salt to make the world safe, many have not ventured out for weeks now since each night any slight thaw becomes sheet ice over night. Having already had a practice sliding when the frosts first came to get my hand in I have been out twice. The first I wrote about in a previous post but just after christmas I once again launched the car from the garage with maximum acceleration to throw it up the ski slope to the icy road behind the house, then headed out into a short blizzard to a friends wedding. It was to have been a very quiet affair, just the couple their children and witnesses. Since I had said some time ago to my hair removal torturer that I had had a similarly quiet wedding the had a birthday party the same day where it was announced she thought we were on the same wavelength. Somehow since our last session it all went awry with the arrival of australian cousins who invited themselves to her party and suddenly it was cars and bridesmaids (not me Jo). I took a few photos then went on to the party later on where I got lost in the vastness of new build footballers mansions with little in the way of signage so there were a lot of snowy handbrake turns before I found the venue. Typically for a wedding a bit late was too early and I had the company of another guest, Jill, who had been given a lift out to the wasteland. When it all started up it was not my sort of party! It had been lent by one of said footballers and was a bit flashy, lets just say none of my friends have a dedicated play room for parties with a fully stocked bar, juke box, slot machines and a shiny chrome pole in the centre of the room! I am sure that ceiling did not need that support.

New Year used to be the big event when I first came here 40 years ago and christmas was hardly bothered with with many still working till the last minute and straight back to work immediately after but took a long break at New Year for days of visiting friends and lots of drinking. It was not uncommon to find yourself invited into strangers homes to welcome in the New Year especially if you had some drink with you. Ten years ago we had a party to which we invited an Australian woman who was exchanging for a year with a teacher friend, she came almost directly from the airport. In the early hours of the morning I walked her home since she hardly knew where it was, she was more than a little surprised when we found ourselves drinking and chatting for hours in homes along the way, she must have wondered what kind of country she had landed in. Now hardly any of this seems to happen and you can’t have a drink and drive home and this year you can’t even stand up in the icy streets.

The forecast is for another week of below zero so I am going to hibernate, we have some rooms so cold that we do not need a fridge. Our christmas present to ourselves is gas for the heating!




  1. Another beautiful blog entry, Caroline! You have such a wonderful way of describing the details of you daily existence. Your blogs are a combination of uncontrollable laughter, and fighting back sniffles. So sweet!

    It seems to be shaping up to be a brutal winter on both sides of the Atlantic. Like I told Chrissie, winter storms seem to keep rolling up the US Atlantic coast, then blowing over the North Atlantic to you. We have already had a record early snowfall and below normal temperatures seem to be what to expect. Looks like we will be bundling up and spending a lot of time around the hearth this winter. Three more months of this freeze to go. Fortunately we are here to warm each other's hearts!

    Melissa XX

  2. Wow those people that just let you into there parties were great. Not so much of a community spirit anymore.
    I have also put my whitw wine in our conservatory and it is as cold as hell when I get a bottle to drink.

  3. Our neighbours are all hiding behind 2 metre walls nowadays. We didn't do much in the way of pressies, but we had a little reveillon on Christmas eve and Christmas lunch just the four of us round the table talking and laughing - than was my favourite present


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