Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Days

I think I've been very lucky this year.

I was, quite honestly, dreading Christmas. The Communist died just before Christmas in 2008, so that Christmas passed in a bit of a blur.

Christmas 2009 was not good - I was thoroughly miserable and am sure I spread it round everyone else. It felt just like all previous Christmases, ever since we first moved into this house in 1959 when I was three - - except it was without the Communist.

The Communist, Jewish by birth and atheist by belief, absolutely loved Christmas: all the family together, the food, the presents - - and I used to love it too, but since his death - - well, I just haven't.

Last year was different - we went to our favourite Park Hotel in Tenby, where they treated us wonderfully well, and where I did the Boxing Day Swim in the sea, and loved it. But hanging over the whole thing was that Stephen was going to be made redundant in January and it was so VERY scary.

However - - Stephen wasn't made redundant, his job was saved, he has a new boss who really seems to appreciate him. Hurrah!

But I was still dreading this Christmas. How would it be?

A pall of gloom hung over me whenever I thought about it.

Then, quite unaccountably, a couple of weeks ago, I cheered up. I think it was something to do with the fact that we had to have Christmas Day early, on 22nd December, so Olli and Gareth could go down to Gareth's parents for Christmas. That kind of took the pressure off. Also, I gave myself a sound kicking and decided I was going to jolly well enjoy it all, for the sake of everyone else, especially my mother, since it's her 88th Christmas and who knows how many more she will have?

So we had an early Christmas, and Gareth and Olli and Alex cooked the meal - a vegetarian one - and it was absolutely delicious, and the presents were lovely, and it was altogether a Good Do.

Then today we did it all over again, with a turkey, and just Stephen, my mother and me.

Here it was, on its way into the oven, covered in bacon:

Whilst it was cooking, Stephen and I went for a brisk walk round Waterloo Lake in Roundhay Park. There were very few people about - we didn't see a single child in the usually bustling park! - but there were a lot of very hungry birds, as there were fewer than usual visitors.

Fortunately I'd remembered, just before we set off, that we had a stale loaf in the house, so Stephen kindly fetched it and these birds devoured it, though I saved some for the crows at the other end of the lake, because I always like crows.

We didn't say anything to these birds about the turkey cooking in our oven. I didn't want to worry them.

So, home we went, and the meal all went very well, and my mother really enjoyed it - for one thing, a gentleman neighbour who's been visiting her recently brought her a silk scarf and a poem!

And we have the Christmas tree up, with the oldest fairy lights still working in Britain, probably.

I took this photo before we'd opened the presents, on our first Christmas Day on the 22nd December. Sadly you can see why we had to spend a small fortune recently on recoating the house - - look at the damp on the wall!

Finally, here's the old Communist, sitting next to the tree.

Of course, this photo was taken in 2007: his last Christmas at home, when he was eighty-four.

He's the Ghost of Christmas Past, all right. Though if he was there in spirit today, he'd be VERY cross, because he had no belief in life after death at all.

I've missed him, of course, this year, as I do every day: but this year I've been able to bear it. I suppose that's human nature - - we grieve, and then we move on slightly, although we don't forget.

I can hear him now. "Is this for me? Oh good! What time are we having dinner?"

Thank you, as always, for reading my blog, and I wish you all a very Merry Christmas.


Anonymous Ruth said...

That looks like a mega turkey for just the three of you. I hope you've had a fabulous day. Please keep writing your blog, I love it x

8:21 pm  
Blogger Daphne said...

Thank you so much, Ruth, and I hope you've had a lovely day too. Yes, it IS quite a big turkey - - but I LIKE turkey and all that cold turkey/turkey curry is no hardship to me!

8:29 pm  
Blogger Risa said...

Reading this about Ron and seeing his photo made me smile. Happy Christmas. xx

11:08 pm  
Blogger Helsie said...

Merry Christmas.
I'm so stuffed I can hardly waddle to the computer. I'm stretched out in my recliner chair infront of the TV where the Boxing Day cricket test is droning on and playing Scabble on my phone!
Hope you had a nice day too.
I'm not moving much today.. or eating again either ( famous last words ?!!)

2:11 am  
Blogger rhymeswithplague said...

I have never seen a turkey covered with strips of bacon before! Over here we stuff a turkey's insides with seasoned bread crumbs and then eat cranberry-orange relish.

My mother died in 1957 and my father in 1967, and I think about them every single day. You are right, we grieve, we move on slightly, but we don't forget.

Great post, Daphne.

Who is Alex?

12:58 pm  
Blogger rhymeswithplague said...

Daphne, I know you're not doing the North Sea swim this year, but perhaps you would like to support someone who is. It's for a good cause. Her friend's brother, Andrew, died recently of the Bulbar Palsy form of Motor Neurone Disease.

Details here.. (Be sure to click on the link in E.S-S.'s post.)

2:00 pm  
Blogger Daphne said...

Risa - thank you! Happy Christmas to you too.
Helsie - and to you too!
Bob - I always plaster the turkey with streaky bacon - the fat keeps the turkey meat moist AND the bacon is delicious too! And I'll look at that sponsor site, thank you.

10:18 pm  

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