We have finally come to the end of another year. I never know what to expect when the new year begins. I know that some will say that 2021 has been the same as 2020. I beg to differ.
Yes, Coronavirus is still with us. However with vaccines, rightly or wrongly we have become bolder. Once again, we have begun to focus more on ourselves than others; offers to provide our elderly neighbours with help dwindled and is now non existent. Going on holidays has become a birth right!
Below are some of my own highs and lows of 2021:-
🔶 2 x lady babies who were born this year into the family.
🔶 2 x weddings in the family.
🔶 The Mhinisteir was made an honorary canon of the cathedral.
🔶 2 x funerals in the family including that of my grandmother’s who passed away due to Covid19.
🔶 My father landed in hospital and was not allowed any visitors due to Covid-19.
On my recent holiday, I treated myself to my first ever bottle of CHANEL N°5 eau de parfum.
Previously, I had always thought of it as an older woman’s perfume and so have tended to give it a wide berth. Thanks to Covid19 and Brexit, I am no longer able to purchase perfume from the small trusted perfumery in France and so I had to find an alternative and that is when I started to look at the famous CHANEL N°5
I am delighted with my purchase and so am going to stick with it.
However, my experience at the CHANEL counter in John Lewis wasn’t as delightful When we arrived at the counter, there were no other customer so we got the undivided attention of the salesperson who looked like as she had seen better days. Sadly, she looked unkempt and her black outfit was covered in dog hair! Unfortunately, her colleague didn’t look any better.
Maybe I was expecting them to look like Coco Chanel🤣 or am still stuck in the past where salespeople were well groomed and going into a departmental store to purchase a bottle of perfume used to be an experience in itself.
I am not sure what the weather is like in your part of the world but for us here in England, it has been very wet and miserable. It was raining on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day and as I type this, it is raining again. All I can see out of the big windows in my study are great big puddles of water!
Despite the weather, the Church attendance on boxing day was good and after the service, I stayed behind to chat to a few people whom I don’t usually see. During that time, a couple of ladies approached me and after the usual polite greetings said that they hate people who dress well all the time but that they don’t hate me for which I should be thankful. I was quite shocked but thankful that my face mask hid my shock. I laughed and wished them a Happy New Year and went my way.
I have never had anybody say that to me ever before. 😬 Thankfully this incident is not going to change the way I dress.
We were late in going to bed on Christmas Eve. Actually, it was already Christmas Day when we went to bed at 2am; I was waiting up for the Mhinisteir to come back from the midnight mass. I always get very nervous when he has to drive in the dark especially during the festive period when half the drivers appear to be less than sober!
The next day, I struggled to get up for the Christmas Day service. Unlike the Mhinisteir, I wasn’t bright eyed and bushy tailed but at least I wasn’t grumpy after a nice warm shower. Just as I was about to enter into Church, a parishioner approached me for a hug. I had to politely decline. He was shocked and I felt bad but I had to act responsibly. I wish that he hadn’t put me in that situation in the first place but ……
While in Church, I realised that it was warmer outside than it was inside for I was frozen. After the service, folk were saying how cold it was in the church but that’s rural churches for you; poor heating and no loo😁. The service was lovely and I got to see the new baby; a young family who are regulars have had a new baby boy. They already have two other boys.
Back home, I struggled to thaw. After a bowl of warming soup, I decided to head to bed with Agatha Raisin and the electric blanket while the Mhinisteir went ahead with his home visits/communions.
A few hours later, I found the Mhinisteir reading next to me in bed! It also meant that it was time for our Christmas dinner which was pan fried turkey breast with rosemary and all the trimmings. I know that the Mhinisteir was exhausted as he also had a few deaths in the parishes in the run up to Christmas so I didn’t insist that he dressed up so we had our Christmas dinner in our old pyjamas which was a first for us!
In case you are wondering, we do have family whom we are very close to but unusually for us, both sets of our families are very busy doing good between the Christmas and New Year period so we don’t usually have a get together during the festive period. It is not something new but has been going on for generations. In fact, almost 50 years, the Mhinisteir’s uncle was returning home after distributing food and presents to the underprivileged when he was tragically killed by an errant driver.
ps: We have yet to open the Christmas presents that came from our parishioners. We hope to put that right this evening and after that I have to start writing thank you cards.
There is a column in the Private Eye called Dumb Britain which without fail causes me to laugh out loud. It is basically a print of the name of a quiz show on television, the question asked and the answer given by the contestant.
Below you will find two of the answers that I found hilarious:
The Tournament, BBC One
Alex Scott: The name of which day of the week is an anagram of “dynamo”?
The Chase, ITV
Bradley Walsh: Croci is the plural of what small spring flower?
Recently, I was asked how it feels to have a birthday between Christmas and Hogmanay (In Scotland, it refers to New Year’s Eve). I didn’t know how to answer that question because quite frankly I don’t know otherwise. I have always received one present but nothing unusual there because as a family we never exchange Christmas presents; the ones we buy are for the under privileged.
I do know that in the busyness of Christmas, people tend to forget my birthday. No matter. A friend once texted me a month later as she had totally forgotten!🤣
This question got me thinking and I remember how more than a decade ago on Christmas Day, I found myself in a distressing situation in a foreign country. I remember praying and asking God for a birthday present. I have never asked Him for one before! It was very bold of me but I was desperate. By the way, I did get my “present” a day before my birthday!
After all these many years, I have decided to ask God for another birthday present – better health for a close family member.
I don’t intend on making this a habit but this one will make me very happy.
Last week, we received an envelope containing a Christmas card. Upon opening it, I found a £5 note enclosed in the card; It was from a parishioner. Miss JV is a 90 year old spinster who lives in one of our parishes. Every Christmas, she gives us a card with a £5 note enclosed.
As an OAP (old aged pensioner), the £5 must mean a lot to her as it can buy one many things. For the Mhinisteir and I, it is a very humbling experience.
Last year we bought a second hand book and attached her Christmas card to it so that in years to come, when we pick up that book from our library, we will remember Miss JV and her kindness towards us.
We haven’t quite decided what to buy this year but it will be something that will help us to remember the wonderful Miss JV.
When we lived in the Scottish highlands and islands (yes, we’ve had our fair share of island life!), power cuts were common; not just in the winter months but also in the summer months. We had to constantly monitor the weather so that we will not be caught out.
The moment the power goes off, we would quickly unplug the digital phone and plug in the analogue phone which was always on standby. The reason for doing this is because as you probably already know, digital phones don’t work without electricity. Mobile phones too are useless if you don’t get a signal which is another common problem in remote places. However, even if you get a signal in your area, the strong winds can knock down the phone mast!
For this reason, I was miffed to read in the Private Eye (issue no. 1562) that in the year 2025, the analogue phone network is due to be switched off and that the phone lines will move to new digital services that will require electricity to operate! According to Ofcom, customers without power should simply dial 999 on their mobile phones! Educated into imbecility? 😁
Do people even deadhead in December? Well, that is what I found myself doing last week.
The month of December sees a lot of footfall to the Vicarage; just very kind parishioners dropping off Christmas cards and presents. For this reason, I was very conscious of our front garden looking very grubby. The Vicarage gardener has gone AWOL again!
I decided to take matters into my own hands and started deadheading and trimming the overgrown hydrangea bush. The large flower heads were drooping and were such an eyesore!
I quite like the winter when everything is bleak. I love looking at the bare trees that have been stripped of their leaves. However, this winter, everything around me looks grubby . Take our hydrangea bush for example; by this time of the year, it will be completely bare but this year half the leaves are still intact. Wait for this… there are even green buds appearing on its branches. I have never seen anything like this before! The same is repeated everywhere else in the Vicarage garden. Not one tree has been stripped bare. It feels like as if someone has not done their job properly😁😁.