Sunday 9 January 2011

09.01. Packing up Christmas

I decided to put away the Christmas decoration today; it’s something I always put off for as long as I can, usually until someone makes a comment about the fact that I still have my Christmas decoration up...and then I reluctantly put it away. But it’s only 9th January today, so I’m not that bad this year, I have been known to keep it until last Sunday in January :-) On the other hand, I am not one of those who drag the Christmas decoration down from the loft in October and has the whole house wrapped in flashing lights with a nodding Santa outside the front door. No, my decoration is a bit more subtle than that, and nothing comes out until
the first Sunday in December.

I don’t even have a Christmas tree anymore, after I exchanged my 2 seats sofa for a lovely 3+1 corner sofa, there is actually nowhere to put a tree in my tiny living room, not even a small one, so I haven’t had a Christmas tree the last 4 years. I do miss it, and would probably have put one up if I could have found room for it, but what I miss most is the Christmas tree lights, so a few years ago I bought an electric fireplace garland and I now put it on the window sill, and it kind of makes up for the lights on the tree...well, kind of. It’s quite nice anyway, isn’t it, and spreads that extra bit of atmosphere that I always find difficult to put away again in January. 

It’s not that I want to have Christmas decoration up all year round; if I did, it wouldn’t feel special when we got to Christmas. It’s a bit like young children who suggest having birthday every day: as a parent, one has to explain that if they did, it wouldn’t be much fun to have a birthday anymore; it’s because it’s only once a year that it is special. They might not believe us when they are at that age, but things like that comes later in life...Along with a lot of other things...I know this is a bit of a digression, I was meant to talk about packing Christmas away, but I can’t resist...I read an article on the Internet about getting old, and this list was presented as evidence of when you had become old:

-We ache.
-We're shorter.
-We’re invisible most of the time.
-Bits of us are metal.
-Or porcelain.
-Too many of our sentences begin with 'when I was at your age'.

Now, the bit about becoming shorter I haven’t noticed yet, but the rest of it is sadly a fact when it comes to me, all of it. The bit about metal is already present; the porcelain will be added to the list in May this year when I get a hip replacement. So, am I old then? Well, everything is relative, it depends on who you are comparing yourself to I guess. Most people say they feel a lot younger then their actual age is; most days when I try to get down the stairs in the morning I feel like I am a 100 years old! I also think it matters what kind of life you live, what kind of people you surround yourself with and what you use your brain for...whether you actually use it much or not. My body might not be working very well, but fortunately, my brain is still in good working condition and is in daily use :-)

Well, this wasn’t meant to be a post about growing old, I think I will do a separate one about that some other day, let’s go back to the Christmas decoration, because I do have another piece that I treasure, and I hang up every year, and that is the Christmas star which I display in my kitchen window. It has been with me when moving around for the last 25 years, in the different houses I have lived in; the current one is the 8th the last 25 years, although it’s the 23rd house I have lived in, in my whole life...yes, I have been a bit of a nomadic person, but I am staying where I am now; my current house is where I have been the longest in my life, and I have been here for over 9 years. 

The Christmas star has of course a religious meaning, although to me that meaning is kind of wasted – I am not religious at all, not even at Christmas, so to me it is just another piece of nice decoration.

Packing up Christmas is also an important tick on the calendar towards the ultimate goal: summer and warmth! I can’t wait for the winter to end so I can get a warmer house and a bit of sunshine on my face when I venture out in my garden. Although not exactly summer; nothing can warm up a frosty set of bones as sitting in the crisp April sun with shelter for the sharp wind we usually get, with a cup of coffee on the side and a magazine in the lap. Only 3 months to go...and an awful lot more days left where we could get minus degrees and snow, but I guess we could hope that winter is over for this time?? I said ‘hope’...If the benefit rules were different here in this country, I would have left to live somewhere else a long time ago, somewhere warm all year round, but unfortunately, with my type of disability benefit, one can’t stay away from home more than up to 30 days at the time, so that’s out of the question for wouldn’t be possible to emigrate without an income, so that’s something I have accepted as unfeasible. So I whish I could hibernate for most of the winter, possibly wake up for a few weeks around Christmas, then go back to sleep until April...would have suited me just fine!

Anyway, if we get a nice, long  summer again, like we had in 2003 and 2005 – it helps to survive the winter, but the last few summers have been dismal, even though we had a few good weeks in June last year. Because it’s such a long time since we have had a smash summer, the winters feel even worse. But spare a thought for my friend in Norway, a couple of weeks ago it was minus 32 degrees Celsius in the morning when she went to work, several days in a row. Our minus 7 doesn’t seem so bad after all then! Minus 32 is almost twice as cold as in you freezer. I have experienced that several times, and even colder; you can’t explain to someone what it feels like, that’s impossible, you just have to take my word for it when I say it really is very, very cold, but different kind of cold than what we get in London when the wind comes up from the Thames and seems to blow straight through you. I am not sure what’s worse actually.

OK, I better wrap up this post and close for tonight, tomorrow is a new day, new challenges and new possibilities :-) Take care...I’ll be back.

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