You may have noticed that my writing productivity has reduced year on year (no shit Sherlock) and I have no one to blame but myself. The excuses I have rolled out in the past (see the aptly named “Excuses, Excuses”) are still applicable but I guess the single biggest cause is my own lack of self-discipline.
The only reason I have put virtual pen to paper now is because I have been shamed into it by a newcomer to my blog, a work colleague in the team I joined 2 months ago. So Mickey, this one is for you. I hope you appreciate the pressure and stress you have burdened me with, to produce 1000+ words, a week before Christmas. I return the guilt you have smashed into my court for my failure to write anything new, with a backhand slice in the top corner for bullying me into a new blog. Thanks a lot.
Seriously though, it is great to hear the feedback of a new reader and does inspire me to start waffling again. Waffle being the operative word as I have no clue how I am going to fill the page this time. In the early days when I was writing, oooh let’s say 6 or 7 times a year, I maintained a mental list of topics I thought might be interesting to delve into. But I seem to have lost the habit. I did actually begin a post in October, after a particularly inspiring trip to Rhossili Bay in South Wales. I managed to produce a half page that I was reasonably happy with and resolved to complete the piece before the end of the year. I wrote about how totally stunning and beautiful the landscape was, even in the appalling, squally aftermath of Storm Brian and how I find coastlines and beaches wonderfully calming and good for the soul, irrespective of the weather conditions. I was feeling quite pleased with it and thought I had made a great start to what could have been a rather lovely and gentle exploration of how the natural world makes me happy.
I am sure you have guessed there is a “but” on its way here and indeed there is. The work is gone, lost, disappeared and nowhere to be found. It has ceased to be. It is an ex-post. I have no doubt that this is due to my own technological incompetence and that I have somehow failed to save my work or have misfiled it somewhere. Very frustrating. And now, instead of conjuring images of big, glowering skies, rolling, white-tipped waves and facially exfoliating walks along wide, windswept beaches, you have this poor excuse for a pre-Christmas blog. But a promise is a promise (curse you Mickey) and so as we rapidly approach the climax of eating, drinking and making merry, I will share a seasonal memory or two.
When my son D was five years old we took him on a trip to Lapland to see Father Christmas. It was the most fantastic, magical experience and I enjoyed it almost as much as he did. Lots of snow activities (riding in a reindeer drawn sleigh, racing through a lantern lit forest on a husky drawn sled, sledging and a snow mobile ride), not to mention seeing the Northern Lights, visiting the Elves’ toy workshop, Santa’s Post Office and meeting the Big Man himself.
At one point, our tour guide asked D what he wanted for Christmas. My then Harry Potter obsessed son replied “…a Nimbus 2000”. Blank faces all around. The guide follows up with “what is a Nimbus 2000?” to which he replied, with a distinct note of incredulity in his voice, “it’s the fastest broomstick in the world of course!” Much hilarity from the other parents in the group, and a mental note to myself for the top tip gift idea.
Fast forward ten days to 25th December and D is over the moon with the Harry Potter paraphernalia provided by Father Christmas. He dons the Gryffindor cape, the glasses and waves the wand with glee before mounting the much desired Nimbus 2000 and rushing into the hallway. After 30 seconds of running around excitedly, suddenly there are floods of tears because the “fastest broomstick in the world” doesn’t actually fly…Hubby and I go from smugness to guilt faster in the blink of an eye. We try to explain that it was just a toy and that broomsticks don’t really fly. D sniffles that, as he had been to the North Pole and seen the real Father Christmas, he thought that Santa might have “sprinkled some of the magic dust that makes the reindeer fly” upon it. Guilt times ten and a real struggle to wriggle out of that one. I think I babbled something about magic dust being in short supply with all rations needed at Christmas to make sure all of the presents were delivered. Combined with other distraction techniques we did manage to stop the tears and enjoy the rest of that particular Christmas but boy was it an example of pride before a fall.
Christmas 2016 was memorable for another reason. For many years my husband has made a half dozen or so Christmas puddings for family and friends, using an old recipe handed down his parents’ line. He enjoys doing it and for him it is the star of the Christmas day feast.
Last year we travelled to North Tyneside to spend the holidays with his side of the family. It was only as we were preparing to go to bed on Christmas Eve that he realised, oh calamity, that we had forgotten to bring the blessed pud with us from our home 160 miles away. He was devastated and our “don’t worry, we won’t starve” and “there are plenty of other sweet things we can eat” did little to sooth his bitter disappointment. Such is the esteem in which this family recipe is held that he decided, unbeknownst to everyone except me, to save Christmas! He set off home at 4 am on Christmas morning, making good time on the deserted motorways, showered, shaved, dressed properly at home and made the trip back with the pudding, while we were still in our pyjamas. Christmas was back on track and boy did that pudding taste good.
Well Mickey I hope you are happy. You may be new to the world of work in a big corporate environment but you already know how to press someone to meet a deadline, even if the end result is somewhat mediocre compared to what might have been. Well done, you will go far my friend 😉
No idea when I will next write but if my latest blog follower keeps nagging me it may be sooner that you think. In the interim I wish you all a very merry Christmas and health and happiness for 2018. Enjoy creating the memories.