TEA AND CAKE

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Today is Mum’s birthday … or, perhaps, I should say, ‘it was Mum’s birthday’. As most of you know, I lost my dear Mum a year ago. It’s been hard; very hard at times. I’ve been trying to heal from my pain, but grief is no respecter of time. Some people get over it in a couple of years, some less, but many more never.

I wasn’t sure what to do today. I wanted to do something special in honour of Mum’s birthday. I finally decided to go to a favourite café of mine to have tea and cake because that’s what she would have been doing at teatime today. It’s a quaint place with lace tablecloths under glass tops, sepia photographs on the walls, brass kettles on old-fashioned cake stands and waitress service as opposed to the usual queue up and help yourself.

I asked for a pot of tea, as opposed to a mug or cup as Mum always, always drank her favourite ‘tipple’ poured from the pot. I’m a great coffee drinker whenever I get the opportunity. It wakes me and my tastebuds up and makes me feel almost human, especially in the mornings. I never usually drink tea –  But, Mum always drank it, but never coffee. Actually, tea’s not bad – quite refreshing really. I chose a piece of carrot cake, one of my favourites, and Mum’s too, and she would have liked this one as it was homemade. She much preferred ‘the real thing’ as opposed to shop-bought ones.

I’d bought a birthday card, strange though it may seem. Perhaps, to buy a card for someone who is no longer here, in body at least, could be seen as rather odd. I feel Mum is here with me in spirit though and especially today. I sat in the café for an hour, writing my words as if I were talking to her. I can’t send it, of course, but I shall keep it with the rest of the items I have that I was able to keep after she passed away. I thought she would approve of me sitting there, having tea and cake and I told her I loved her and missed her so much. I said that I wish she were here with me. And I did.

As I write this in the evening, I am missing that phone call to say, ‘Happy Birthday, Mum’. I realise that she’s not coming back, and they’ll be no more birthdays or Christmases. In fact, they’ll be no more days at all with my Mum, at least not in this life as I know it, but maybe in the next. I hope so.

Happy Birthday, Mum x

‘IT’S BEGINNING TO LOOK A LOT LIKE CHRISTMAS’

brusssels and christmas hats

If I could have a Christmas wish come true just for Christmas Day, it would be to be able to spend that day with all of my family; that’s my son and my two little ones; my daughter, husband and little *J and *B; my Mum and sisters and their families.

Given that this isn’t likely to happen … ever … I’ll quite happily settle for whatever I’m offered (within reason, of course). I do draw the line at hiking to the North Pole to celebrate the festive season with Santa, and an Eskimo in an igloo, even if he does promise to put the two-bar electric heater on and serve the line-caught Arctic Skate with roast parsnips and stuffing.

As you know, my family has always been … well, shall we say … a little dysfunctional thereby not making Christmas the easiest time of the year. We are all so far away from each other that we usually just do our ‘own thing’, which is for me, usually spent on my own which I’ve kind of got used to over the years. It does entail an oven-ready, chicken flavour ready-meal eaten on my lap, in front of my laptop watching a cheesy film in 14″ panoramic view with only the goldfish and my favourite bear for company. Hey ho! Things could be worse.

As it happens, although I’ve been a bit of a bah humbug character this year, suddenly, all that’s changed and if Michael Buble doesn’t mind me pinching his line, ‘It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas.’

My son, Tom has decided he’s not going abroad as planned this year for the holiday period, (although he’s obviously devastated not to have his two little ones with him this year as they have been taken overseas by my son’s ex and her family). So, he’s invited me over to his house which entails a two-and-a-half journey each way by car with my wheelchair neatly folded in the back, having strapped both it and me into the car firmly as my son does have a habit of putting his foot down on the pedal rather too eagerly for my liking.

I’m so looking forward to spending Christmas with Tom for the first time since he married his ex-wife (and rather, unfortunately, her mother into the bargain). I’ll have to get my best Christmas jumper out of mothballs, polish up my fluffy red and white Santa hat and don a pair of flashing earrings. I’ll get practising peeling the Maris Piper’s, rush round to the Co-Op for a bottle of non-alcoholic punch and a kilo of Brussel sprouts. I’ll pick up a large box of mince pies, a box of assorted crackers and streamers, a Yule Log with the traditional plastic robin on the top …. and a partridge in a pear tree.

So, for once, at this time of year, ‘It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas’, and my wish to all who may be reading this, a jubilant and blessed Christmas and may all the best things come to you in the New Year.

THE REASON FOR THE SEASON

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Well…..here we are again! It’s nearly Christmas and the country has gone mad! Everywhere you look, everywhere you go, people are pushing and shoving to get last minute bargains or expensive gifts to give to their loved ones and fill the childrens’ Christmas stockings. Food is selling so fast, the supermarkets can hardly keep up with filling the shelves quickly enough. Millions of trees are being chopped down to become fairy lit trees, and processed into cheap Christmas cards that will be hastily written, expensively posted, arriving at their destination only to be dropped into peoples’ rubbish bins (or if they’re really lucky, the recycle sack), after a few days of gathering dust on the mantlepiece! All for two days! Two days! And all that waste…. and for what?  For the sake of commercialism and ‘feeding’ the ‘fat-cats’ who are at the top, making all the profit and doing little of the work in most situations. Come the 25th we’ll all be sitting down and stuffing ourselves with turkey, stuffing, roast potatoes, chipolatas, pudding, cake, mince pies, chocolates and sweets, alcohol and so much more and then complaining we’ve all got bellyache! It’s all so much and yet there are hundreds or more hungry and homeless people in the country. To say nothing of the rest of the world which is another story entirely!

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I’m far from perfect. I know that and I include myself in the above but I am not sending numerous cards; instead I’m giving what I can afford to charities of my choosing and will probably send some e-cards to those fortunate enough to have technology at hand. I will chatting on the phone to those family members that I am still have contact with and to close friends (a privilege I appreciate); I have an artificial Christmas tree and Christmas dinner and ‘trimmings’ will not be over-extravagant. And you may cry “bah, humbug” at me but, truly, what on Earth has happened to Christmas?

I mean the real Christmas. I mean the real reason for the season? Where does Jesus fit into all this? Yes, many churches will be holding Christmas services and that’s when the churches are bursting at the seams, (once a year!). What about the rest of the year? Christmas is for giving – giving of ourselves to God as well as giving to those less fortunate than ourselves in every sense.

Where in the bible does it say “thou shalt stuff thyself with turkey”, or that “thou shalt have more Christmas cards than thy neighbour”?

What about the birth of Jesus? In the bible it reads (Luke 2:4-7, 10-11)

Joseph went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to the town of Bethlehem in Judea, the birthplace of King David. Joseph went there because he was a descendant of David. He went to register with Mary, who was promised in marriage to him. She was pregnant, and while they were in Bethlehem, the time came for her to have her baby. She gave birth to her first son, wrapped him in cloths and laid him in a manger—there was no room for them to stay in the inn.10 but the angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid! I am here with good news for you, which will bring great joy to all the people. 11 This very day in David’s town your Savior was born—Christ the Lord! 

This is what we need to be celebrating – the birth of our Lord and King who was born and came to save us from our sins and who died in order that we may have eternal life. I know for me, as a believer, that this fact brings me a lot of comfort and peace.

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But….don’t get me wrong! I am just speaking from my own point of view and beliefs. I respect the fact that everyone has their own ideas of what is right and what is wrong; what is true and what is not. I don’t intend to ram what I believe in down everybody else’s throats – I’m not really a Scrooge but I’m just saying….ok?!