Daily Archives: December 27, 2015

Wine and Water

Well, Christmas has seen off the urge to study. My two-hour reading pledge has gone by the wayside this week, although I have finished reading Freud’s Three Essays on Sexuality. I enjoyed it so much I have bought a copy. Actually, I have bought two copies. The first copy I bought contains just the three essays. I judged it by its cover, which is modern and attractive. I don’t like the inside. I don’t like the typeset or the layout, I don’t like how it feels in my hands; it doesn’t open its pages without violence, and I’m not someone who is violent with books. So I have also bought the Penguin ‘Freud Library’ version, the same version I borrowed from MMU library. It has more content than the three essays. I’m waiting for it to arrive. Amazon tells me it is dispatched but I guess it is delayed in the Christmas card rush. I have started reading ‘The Unconscious’ which is rather harder to grapple with. I will start critically reading both books  later this week, when we settle into something like post-Christmas normality.

So, Christmas week. On Tuesday, my family came to celebrate an early festive special. My son, his wife and son, his two daughters and their families, my daughter and her family all came to my house for a pre-Christmas bash. We had fifteen people, twelve of whom slept over. This is no mean feat in a three bedroomed house, but we did it. And reasonably comfortably at that. Thank goodness for sofa-beds. How good it is for all the family to be together. When you grow up, this happens too rarely. We have pledged to make this an annual Christmas event. I hope we can honour that pledge. Food, drink, gifts, love. But mostly love.

We avoided the last minute rush by doing our fresh food shopping on Wednesday. When I say ‘avoided the rush’, this of course is relative. It was manic and I was glad we didn’t have a great deal to buy. People’s shopping trolleys always astound me at this time of year. Yards of Jaffa Cakes, tins of chocolates, crates and crates of booze. I’m not religious at all, unless atheism is a religion, but really, where is the Christ in Christmas these days? Modern abbreviations annoy me. Xmas replaces Christ with an unknown quantity; and as for Crimbo: what is that about? Perhaps we should rename Christmas the Gluttony Fest and forget Bethlehem altogether. Sorry, rant over. I forgot the cat biscuits so Bill called into Tesco on his way home from visiting relatives on Christmas Eve: a five minute car ride took twenty minutes and Tesco was full to overflowing with humanity: that is to say people, not human kindness: there is none of that meaning of humanity when folk are last minute shopping.

Thursday , Christmas Eve, I spent restoring our little home to its former glory, unmaking beds, folding away sofa-beds, generally tidying up. We also lit the fire in our multi-fuel burner, although really the weather is much too mild to warrant it. But the house looks cosier with a fire glowing in the hearth. We would have lit it for the family visit but family now involves babies who have just learned to crawl and we don’t have a fire guard. So we saved the ritual lighting until Christmas Eve. The Yule Log and all that; although, to be fair we burn smokeless fuel that in no way resembles a log. Still, the thought was there.

Christmas Eve: A Christmas Carol and Prosecco. I love Scrooge and see as many versions as are available over the festive season. This one was the Jim Carey cartoon version, in my opinion the best there is. It retains its integrity to the book, whereas some rely more on the popular view of Scrooge and Bah Humbug. I also watched the Muppets version over Christmas. This is my forty-something son’s favourite, but I must say Michael Caine is a bit wooden as Scrooge, playing himself again; and the whole thing resembled a school production to me. But said son is a teacher so perhaps that’s what appeals?

Christmas Day, Boxing Day: sofa-bumming. We watched the first day of the Boxing Day test, Cook out at 3-1, then rain. Something of a rally when play restarted but I think England are going to need to do better than this if they want to retain their hard-won cricket credentials. I’ll say nothing about my beloved Manchester United or I might have to start drinking again. ‘Call the Midwife’ didn’t disappoint: I got through three boxes of Kleenex. Always a tear-jerker, this one had two sad and joyful story lines to cry over.

Boxing Day also saw devastating flooding in the North West. Lancashire was particularly badly hit. Saddleworth villages were flooded as well. My daughter and I both live in Saddleworth villages, but we had the good fortune to buy houses on the tops of high hills so we were not personally inundated. But several homes and businesses close to the Tame were flooded when the river burst its banks. My heart goes out to friends affected by this. It’s trite to say it seems worse at Christmas: having your home flooded and your personal effects ruined is devastating at any time of year.

On that happy note, I’ll sign off. No poem this week, although I have been writing  ‘place’ poems for my favourite poetry group, Spelks, which meets on Tuesday next. Perhaps I’ll post one of those next week, after they’ve been workshopped.

So enjoy the rest of the Christmas period and have a truly happy, prosperous and creative New Year.