creating a simpler Christmas * days 1 and 2

This year I wil be creating a much simpler Christmas for those readers who are following along.

There will be simpler decorations, simpler food and a few simple activities and crafts.

As you will notice I missed starting yesterday but I am not fretting about that (much) and I am beginning today with a clean sheet of paper and time to gather my thoughts. It is exceptionally cold outdoors today and the areas of my garden that were tinged with frost earlier have surprisingly now thawed. Inside I can sit near the fire warm and snug and make a few plans – not the daily planned activities of last year; rather my run up to Christmas this year will just evolve like a mystery journey, even to me, over the next few days.

The whole point this year is to relax and enjoy the season.

Presently I am in recovery mode. We had another hectic weekend. Of course it wasn’t intended as hectic. Things just happen – well at least to me.

We drove up to North Yorkshire again on Saturday morning, making a flask of soup before we went; homemade tomato and a round of sandwiches. It was a pleasant, if not busy drive, but no hold ups. We pulled off the road at Boroughbridge and parked by the wier over the bridge whilst we ate.

After calling in at my daughter’s new house with our overnight bags we went up the A19 to Yarm to collect my mum. We had planned to have a toastie and hot chocolate for teatime in Costa at Northallerton and look around a few shops with mum until it was time to go to the talent show in my sister’s village nearby.

Our first unexpected problem was that Costa on the high street had a completely empty fridge – no food whatsoever. Not to worry I said they have another branch in Tesco. We returned to the car parked a few yards away just in time to see a lady reversing out of her parking spot and into the rear end of our car, but not in time to stop her before she drove away – either oblivious to what she had done or with the intention of ignoring it and DH who was running after her. She was too quick in her get away for us to get her number as it was quite dark and her plate very dirty. There is scraping on the rear end beyond the back door but luckily no dent.

A bit upset by this incident we managed to shrug it off so it didn’t spoil the day and drove round to the Costa at Tesco and yes glory be….there was food….but the coffee machine was out of order so no coffee or hot chocolate – we had to make do with tea.

After getting warm and fed we then drove to my sister’s village and settled ourselves down at one of the reserved tables in the village hall where my mum had a good view. The show was amateur but brilliant and my sister and her husband did a dance routine fom Laurel and Hardy and a spoof Red Barrows performance amongst a few other things. The whole village is great at coming together to put on these kind of events and even we are starting to feel like part of their community.

During the interval they served us with delicious hot pie and peas (we had a green ticket for the vegetarian option – cheese and onion pasties) and there was wine or soft drinks. I won a raffle prize that I passed onto my sister as it was some kind of cocktail maker and would be lost on me as I rarely drink.

All sounds fun so far but then during the second half the trouble started – two men came on and played Country and Western music and some of the audience got up and started line dancing – then another man joined in and they played ballards. We were all enjoying them but mum not so much and got fidgety, kept checking her watch every few seconds like she does when she is anxious and then moaning in a loud voice. She dislikes guitar music…….apparently (in all my life I never knew that) she didn’t know the songs (Achy Breaky Heart, Moondance and similar) and to put it plainly just wanted to go at this point as she felt they had played far too long by this time and was making quite a scene about it.

They were very good and we were all enjoying ourselves save my mother and I felt so bad having to cause a commotion trying to get her into her coat and walk out during their performance. It turns out they were only another song away from the end but mum being mum could not sit and be polite – age has turned her into a very demanding and self-centred old lady at times. It was one of those embarrassing moments when you wish the earth would swallow you up.

In the car she said she hoped she hadn’t stopped us from enjoying the evening but really she couldn’t have listened to that any longer!!! After taking my mum home we went back to stay with my daughter and on the Sunday we took her and the two girls down to Ikea in Leeds to look for a wardrobe for her new house. You can imagine the scenes at Ikea – an overload of people and queues that resembled a rugby scrum – but we managed to choose something that she will order online this week and have delivered. We are giving her some money towards them for her birthday and Christmas….and maybe next birthday and Christmas, depending on how much they turn out to be!

On the way home the fun started again -only 10 miles from my daughter’s house we pulled off the A1M at the Boroughbridge junction to fill up with petrol at Morrisons but just at this point something was obviously not right with the car. We initially though we had a flat tyre as the car was beginning to bump along quite badly and we were forced to stop on the roundabout bridge over the motorway. I got out of the car to look and realised the back end of the car was almost sitting on the ground.

We called our breakdown service and because we had the baby and Little L with us we did get priority but we still had to wait an hour. They would recover the car either to our daughter’s house up the road or back to ours. A minor problem was that all our bags and my medication was at my daughter’s and we needed to collect that first. Would the recovery vehicle please take my daughter and children home first and then take us home. No they could not. They could organise a taxi to take us to our daughter’s house and the recovery vehicle to take DH home with the car. It could not be recovered to a garage because it was Sunday and they are all closed.

There was no other option forthcoming – so we had to take the taxi on offer which would leave me stuck up in North Yorkshire and DH was taken first to Morley in Leeds then transferred onto a second recovery vehicle that took him home. Once at my daughter’s house I had to ask my son-in-law who lives near us in Huddersfield to drive up to collect me and our bags and bring me home. What a farce.

We now have an undriveable car on our drive and DH is trying to get someone to come and recover it to take it to a Citroen specialist to be fixed. It is the hydraulic suspension that has gone – it sounds like an expensive problem to me and will be more so if we have a bill for the second recovery to a garage.

So not only is the car being recovered but we are too! You will forgive me if I am not able to think about Christmas very much today but I am grateful that we are home safe and sound and warm. I might even speak to my mum later and be pleasant now I have had time to cool off from that little ordeal.

Keep safe and warm x

26 Replies to “creating a simpler Christmas * days 1 and 2”

  1. Oh, my word – what a weekend. You definitely need some recovery time and I’m glad there were some gems amongst the rubbish.
    Sending loads of sympathy and Christmas can jolly well wait its turn in the recovery queue!


  2. Oh Viv, no wonder you’re in recovery mode! Your weekend was one stressful thing after another….I’m glad there were some good bits though. Sometimes elderly people, or people who are ill, can become very self absorbed and rude, can’t they, and it’s a job to bite our tongues on occasions. As for the woman who drove off after hitting your car….I do hope it was down to her not realising what she’d done, not that it helps you of course. Our car was also driven into in the doctor’s car park last week whilst I was getting my scan results, fortunately only minor scratches. The perpetrator, an elderly man (older than my husband) was quite rude and insisted it wasn’t his fault, it was my husband’s – quite how he came to that conclusion I don’t know, seeing as husband was parked and stationary! Husband just laughed and said “I beg your pardon?” and luckily a lady who’d just parked herself said “oh no it wasn’t, it was your fault, I saw everything!”, at which point the offender backed down and apologised. No real harm done though. I hope your car is fixed soon and not at huge cost.


  3. What a lot of disasters, poor you and all involved. We had a citroen familiale. Which did the same thing in the middle of Lichfield I managed to get it into a garage which was there. I cant remember what happened afterwards!


    1. It has now gone to the garage they will assess it in 48 hours – I am not hopeful for it being just a little cheap problem though. We will be drawing straws for whose Christmas present the cost of the repairs will be.


  4. Good grief, what a weekend for you! It’s no wonder that you’re taking it easy by the fire. I would take no chances and stay there all week! Hope your car can be mended with not too much stress on your purse.


  5. Oh blimey, what a weekend. Glad you eventually got home and fingers crossed the car won’t be as expensive as it sounds.

    Your mum sounds a star. Probably not very funny when you’re the person dealing with her but there are times when I can’t wait to be old so I can really say what I think about things and people will just put it down to age lol 🙂 xx


  6. Oh my! What an eventful weekend. I’m glad you managed to get home OK in the end and
    I hope you get some time to recover from your ordeal. X


  7. No wonder you don’t feel like doing much. What a weekend horribilis!!!

    You are probably not in the mood for someone to be all Pollyanna, pointing out it could have been much worse and really how lucky you are to be a member of an auto association and that there are car recovery services etc, no? Well I won’t point out anymore ways you are lucky.

    Crotchety old people can be quite demanding and not realise they are causing a scene. I think night time events have to be ruled out, or at least have a planned early exit.

    One last Pollyanna thought: now your car is in for repairs, you will have an enforced simplified lead up to Christmas. No gallivanting around!

    I love your first image – how you’ve created such a simple and beautiful while from so few parts. I always over stuff my images. Wish I had your eye and creativity.


    1. Oh I realise how lucky we are – for one thing we could have broken down on Saturday night when taking my mum home and that would have been more difficult.
      My mum won’t accept her limitations now and hates not to be included in everything but it makes it more difficult especially as sometimes we are trying to please the very young end of the family and a 93 year old too.


  8. You couldn’t dream it up could you??
    Looking forward to episode 3 in the life and times of the reluctant Christmas planner 😎


  9. Yowza. I’m so sorry you had yet another stressful set of events. Wishing you a calmer rest-of-December. You certainly could use it. Fingers crossed that the repair bill isn’t in the upper stratosphere.


  10. What a challenging time. I do hope the car repair isn’t too awful and can be resolved. I love your header and hope this week is better. Actually, I hope my week gets better too.


  11. I expect you have had time to rest after all this now. I am really sorry to hear that you had so much trouble during what should have been a fun weekend with family. I hope, if you have had the bill now, it was not too large and that the car is on its way to being fixed.


  12. We had a bit of car trouble this week too, which I discovered on my return from my dance class the other night. The car wouldn’t start or move at all. Turns out our auxillary battery (we have a hybrid) had run down and it powers up the electrics and dashboard and without it you can’t even open the car doors let alone drive. Luckily, OH was able to jump start the car a couple of days later and it’s working okay again and has also passed the MOT without any work, so it all came good in the end but for a while there we thought there’d be a big bill. Was your suspension issue anything to do with the woman backing into your car?


    1. No it was passing the gritter on the motorway – there is no option but to pass them and it was driving down the middle to spread the whole carriageway but with some force. Some grit had got into th ball bearing part of the suspension rod and this then sheered it clean off.


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