Friday, December 29, 2006

Winter Wonderland 3

The Christmas Lites Lights of Sarf East London.
Regent Street can't hold up a candle to them.
And who would notice if it did?

Natural light just can't compete.
I figure this kind of festivity really HAS to be completely over the top to work. One plastic illuminated Santa just looks sad, lets be honest. Half-a-dozen - even 10, why not be metric - is way better.

I long ago got over my middle-class, snooty, tasteful disdain for such tackiness - I think its GREAT.

We have some fairly good examples "round our way". One has a sort of light/slide show projected (how?) on the walls of the house. I couldn't get a very good picture. Maybe I should go back and video it for you.

Here are two of the best in our immediate vicinity.

This one (below) is very restrained in comparison.
But is redeemed, for me, by the fact that its such a brilliant Father Christmas. It looks home-made, I'm not sure if its paper or fabric - I didn't get too close to inspect it for fear of getting beaten up as weird or intrusive. Maybe if I go back in daylight.....

Anyway, I love it, and just hope he survives the winter weather.

All these pictures will enlarge if you click on them.
Go on - they look SO MUCH BETTER at twice the size.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Christmas Past

I've been reflecting a lot in recent days on Christmases Past and Present.

I've always loved Christmas, its important family time both for my family and for my in-laws (though the in-law-Christmases have been rather disrupted over the years by changes in marital status). Over there its all feasting and excess, tearing open presents, dozing in front of the telly, parties and late nights. With my lot its more sedate - church, lunch, intermittent present-opening, game-playing and walks on Boxing Day. All good in their very different ways. Strictly NOT just for the children.

Its important for most in my family as celebration of faith too. And though I'm not quite sure, at the moment, if and what I believe I do still treasure this time of year as a celebration of life and sharing, giving, light, hope, the presence of divinity at the very least in us and our relationships. Which, I think, is a good deal of what the original story/message are about.

Last year I limped carefully through Christmas, nursing and trying to hide a close-to-broken heart. I can't yet think about it too much, but it was a nightmare - a waking nightmare, as I was sleeping very little.

That was before the mid-night lettuce and banana -eating. Before sleeping pills and prozac.

Before blogging.

The warmth and laughter and caring and encouragement I have derived from and shared with many of you has transformed moments of the past year for me in a way I could never have predicted, thankyou.

It was also before the discovery of the beast lurking in my mother's stomach and liver.

I am at a loss for words to describe how this Christmas feels. They would need to be words encompassing the wonderful and awful, joy and grief. Thats the best I can do.

Whatever else this time is, it will be precious, though precious is too cheap a word.

After a prognosis - in May - of 2/3 months, my mother is still with us and, for much of the time, comfortable and able to enjoy life and the wrapping of Christmas gifts. But what do you buy for the woman who has everything but not the future she should still have had?
My most recent e-Bay purchases reflect something of our life: DVDs (Yes Minister, the Darling Buds of May, Jeeves and Wooster - good viewing helps transport her from the present when she needs that); maternity clothes (everything about her has shrunk, except her stomach); vintage Christmas baubles (I'm hankering, I think, for my childhood Christmases). And hankering is such a perfect word for that almost-physical longing. Maybe because it is close to "hungering".

With no growth in the tumours between May and October, its hard to know what to expect now. We wait for another scan in early January. And life seems to be on hold.

My heart is also holding itself carefully. I think there has been real healing as well as real hurt and anger over the past year, and I am mostly hopeful for all the hearts in our home.

More hopeful than not.
What is life without hope?

I can't think at all about Christmas Future, but it will be here in its own time.

I left the sleeping pills behind long ago.
Also the lettuce and bananas.
But I have come to really think of myself, sometimes, as "Lettuce" (even Lettie) and though I don't blog very regularly at the moment, your friendship and comments mean a great deal to me.

The less I blog, the less I feel I have to say. The more I blog, the more the words come sputtering out. I never knew I had such a propensity for rambling. I will stop now!

I hope that you and the people who you love and who love you will know peace and joy this Christmas Present and - whatever else is going on (or not) in your life - that you will have much to celebrate.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Winter Wonderland 2

Ice rinks are appearing almost magically (well, no, I know - just indulge me) all over London.

And lucky us - one of the best is just down the road in Greenwich, between the historic colonnades of Wren's Naval College with Inigo Jones' "Queens House" on one side, and the good old Thames on the other.
Not my picture - the others are.

So a family party went last week, for my neice's 22nd birthday (1st picture below, in the brown) and managed to avoid falling over for an hour.

After a brief 5 mins. or so of hotly whispered "this is supposed to be FUN, if you can't stop being CROSS I wont go round with you. Oh thats GREAT. Go off and leave me by myself then" LG regained her sense of balance and stopped blaming me for the risk of slippage. Much quicker recovery time than in previous years!!! She was skating pretty well by the end of the hour.

And thanks to my great family who spent a lot of time skating round with her, so that I could enjoy some solo skating too - as opposed to balancing and steering with angry appendage.
In fact, by the end she was even willing to skate with me holding my hand (how embarrassing when you are 12) rather than hanging weightily onto my elbow.

We used to have skating lessons for PE at one stage, when I was at school.
Yes I know! in London!
and 3 years ago, when I first tried it again after more than 25 years (blimey, its always a shock, remembering just how old I really am) I was pleasantly surprised to find it coming back fairly quickly and easily. And apparently its very good for bone density (assuming, presumably, that you manage NOT to fall and break something) - so maybe it should be prescribed for women of my age? ice skating on the NHS?

Friday, December 15, 2006

Winter wonderland


I don't think so!!!!!

Friday, December 08, 2006


Thanks to wonderful Wendy for my twinkly Christmas header.

And lets try to get festive -



Wednesday, December 06, 2006


Yes I know its already virtually a week into December.

Blimey O'Reilly.

And I think I have finally faced up to the fact that it is nearly Christmas and I need to get a little bit organised, do shopping and stuff.

I've been doing a lot of shopping on behalf of my parents, so thats always fun - spending someone else's money.

Mostly in TK Maxx.

I was just about organised enough in time for LG's advent calendar to be ready on the first.

Lovingly made for her by her aunt, my lovely sister, this is it:

Definately a labour of love, my sister isn't a naturally crafty woman. She can sew very well if she needs to but wouldn't particularly choose to do it.

But this was a special gift for a long-awaited niece.

She asked my permission first (!) - knowing from her own experience that November 29/30th "Oh crap" feeling - and how difficult it is to find things to fit in all those little pockets.

Here are some of LG's gifts so far:

Her Wade animal collection began when I found some in a charity shop a few years ago and realised they would fit perfectly in the pockets.

There are a few more to come this year, and a few more of the little mini stone eggs. (dragon eggs to those of us in the know)

Many of the other pockets contain chocolate/sweets (hmmm, maybe it shouldn't be hanging above the radiator?) coins - a few have bits of paper starting treasure hunts. Not because we're such brilliantly creative interesting parents, but because we're simply not dedicated enough to find sufficient little teensy weensy things - some of them simply wont fit and are stached around the house somewhere.

Some of the pockets are still empty.


Don't tell.

More of those "Oh crap" moments to come, unless I think of something else soon.

Friday, December 01, 2006


Lacking in energy or inspiration for entertaining blogging, sorry.
But my comments have been invaded by spammers, so something new is needed.

Here's a fact:

Between 10pm last Friday evening and 10pm on Tuesday evening - a period of 96 hours - LG slept for at least 44 hours.

It could be that she is turning into a cat.

Or a teenager.

Here's another fact.

It is possible to BUY pictures of ringworm on eBay.


I have no further comment to make.

oh - except :

a pinch and a punch, first of the month.

and no returns.