Wednesday, 16 November 2011

The C Word


(This is actually the reflection of the sun in a puddle in case you're wondering and has absolutely nothing to do with this post.)

The other night I was wide awake (sleep is somewhat disrupted at present) thinking about the C word. Christmas. I’ve never been a great fan, to be honest – I’m not religious, I hate all the commercialisation and overindulgence associated with it, and not having children or grandchildren makes a mockery of much of the festive season.

As Pip died on Boxing Day last year, I am looking forward to Christmas less than usual this year, as you can imagine. But what to do?

Well, much though I love them, I feel very strongly that I don’t want to be with my family. They will be far too aware of This Time Last Year and I am aware that they could be treading on eggshells. I don’t want to be treated like porcelain. I want to be able to howl if I want, have a cuddle then go for a long walk and have a few drinks without worrying about anyone else.

There are a few people I would very much like to be with but most of them are taken up visiting their families. I’ve been invited by several other friends, so have a few possibilities and was reasonably happy with that until I met a close friend the other night for a drink. When I told her what I had vaguely planned she frowned.

“This Christmas I think you should get right away,” she said. “Do something completely different.” And as soon as she said it, I knew she was right.

The trouble is a) where to go, b) with whom (I don’t want to be on my own but I know instinctively who would be right and who wouldn’t, and c) there’s Molls to take into account. She either has to come with me or I need to find someone who can take her over Christmas.

This afternoon I was out walking Molls by the side of a field full of cauliflowers. I looked out over the grey winter landscape, at the blokes with battered coats picking muddy cauli after cauli. Rooks swooped in the distance over Rowland Hilder trees and I thought, “really, it’s only a few days. I‘ll get through it.” And I will get through it. But now that seed has been planted in my mind, I want to do more than just get through it. I’d like, if possible, to enjoy some of it.

What I need is a magic wand and a magic carpet. Failing that – any ideas?

Lastly – and this is connected, I’m not rambling - I’m reading Daphne du Maurier’s The King’s General. The plot is basically that some things in life have to be fought for – happiness, love and ambition in this instance, which reminded me that we all need to believe in what we are doing, and fight our corner, however hard this may seem.

And then I read this Cornish quote, as said to D du M, which I find very soothing: The sea is itself a symbol of the uncertainties of fate. “You will embark on a fair sea, and at times there will be fair weather and foul. Never lose courage. Safe harbour awaits you in the end.”

So regardless of what happens over Christmas – if I end up in far flung snowy wastelands, overheated houses or wave tossed beaches in Cornwall, I will think of the safe harbour awaiting me and those that I love.

16 comments:

Sally said...

Oh Sue, another moving post. You would, of course, be more than welcome to come to our non-religious and fairly low-key Christmas, chaotic as it may be with two small grandchildren. Bill came up with an idea that might be useful.

His immediate response, as your friend's was, was to go away, and knowing you're a walker, he suggested a Ramblers' holiday. We've been on several and have always met like-minded people to walk with. We've never met any dogs though!
The ones abroad are quite pricey (but possibly warm) but there are lots of reasonably priced ones closer to home. Here's the link.

http://www.ramblersholidays.co.uk/page/uk-festive-walking-holidays?seref=adwords_UK_Christmas_Walking_Holiday&serad=1&gclid=CKGg0pn7uqwCFQsb4QodsBXAog

You have so much spirit and so much love surrounding you, you will find your' safe harbour.'

Beautiful photo by the way!

With love from us both
Sally
xx

Flowerpot said...

Oh Sally I am so touched, I really am. I would rather be with people I know, but will have a look and see if the Ramblers take dogs as I'd rather have her with me if possible. Thank you so much. I will let you know what I end up doing. xx

Sally said...

Perhaps a friend could go with you and Molls - I've just found that Ramblers do a 'Paws on tour" section.......
I'll keep thinking ....
xx

Flowerpot said...

Thanks again Sally! Trouble is, most people are committed at Christmas.

ADDY said...

I can imagine this Christmas is going to be difficult for you, as it is the first anniversary and inevitably you will not be able to escape that. Bearing in mind your need for distraction, to be away from the family and somewhere different, yet where you have provision for Molly, how about the following.......

Why not offer to volunteer over the Christmas period in a homeless shelter/soup kitchen and dish up the meals. Or you could visit the elderly in hospital who have no relatives. I know it won't necessarily be hilariously entertaining, but you never know, it might be and it will certainly bring a smile to the people you help. Just a thought.

Flowerpot said...

Addy - funnily enough, dishing up Xmas lunches at a hostel for the homeless is on my Plan B list. Thanks for reminding me though.

Akelamalu said...

Christmas is always a hard time of year when you've lost someone you love. I'll miss my Dad.

I hope you find somewhere you really want to be at Christmas Sue. x

Flowerpot said...

I am sure you will miss your Dad, Ak, but I bet you have some very fond memories of him. Thanks for your thoughts - I hope I find somewhere too!

Debs Carr said...

What a beautiful and comforting quote, I love it.

I look forward to hearing what you decide to do this Christmas. x

Flowerpot said...

Debs - glad youlike it too. Have just remembered that I have arranged to go to London on 29th December which rather scuppers week long trips - depending on when I would leave. But we'll see.... will probably just stay here but who knows?

Crystal Jigsaw said...

I understand exactly what you're saying here. For people who have lost someone near Christmas, it only serves as a reminder of their loss. My dad died in July 2001 and for the next few years afterwards, my mum didn't send cards or celebrate Christmas at all. We got a bit frustrated with her in the end though, because Christmas was always my dad's favourite time of year.

However, I fully understood why she felt that way. You're probably right about your family tredding on eggshells; it will be hard for them to know what to say. I'm a loner and would very much prefer to spend Christmas on my own if I was in your situation. But we're all different. I'm sure you'll do what's right for you.

Take care, CJ xx

Flowerpot said...

Thanks CJ. I'm not honestly sure what is the right thing to do right now - but as Sally said, "I'm sure something will come up - Micawber style"!

Talli Roland said...

A lovely ending to this post! I can just imagine how comforting that image is. Keep us posted on what you decide.

Flowerpot said...

Talli - I will! Who knows what might happen? Or nothing....

Jenny Beattie said...

Bangkok?

(And I'm not joking. Last year we had total strangers for Christmas lunch!)

JJx

Flowerpot said...

Well JJ that's one idea that I hadn't thought of! Thank you x