dear diary >> looking forward

Thank you for all the kind comments and well wishes. I seem to be reporting a lot this year about illness, so I am hoping the start of next year will see a big improvement to my health. Illness of any kind can often drag you down and I do feel like each time I just get going again something else happens and like a game of snakes and ladders I find myself sliding back down a slippery slope once again.

This Covid virus has certainly taken its toll on both of us and the fatigue is only just beginning to go. Yesterday we managed another very short walk down the lane although it was quite miserable in the drizzle and eerily quiet – still it was good to be out in the fresh air and feel the weather on our faces. Each day I manage to do a little more than the day before so that is a good sign. I am lucky that I didn’t have a cough or breathlessness but I do feel very stuffed up and that peculiar taste and smell that developed still lingers.

Our homemade soup makes a satisfying meal for us as our appetites are slowly getting back to normal – today we will make a batch of mushroom soup between us – DH will do the chopping and I the cooking and then no doubt we will have a rest to get over the exertion! We have an apple crumble in the freezer but I am not sure I could do it justice yet so I will probably opt for a fruit yoghurt instead.

My life at the moment is as dull as the weather and I am looking forward to brighter and more productive days ahead now the worst of the virus is over and I am able to at least think about festive plans. This year our plans will be kept simple – often they are the best anyway. As some of my readers will know our family operates a Secret Santa – it is something we have done since 2013 and we have never looked back we are all thankful to spend less time shopping and it leaves more time to have family get togethers – eating, drinking, chatting and playing those all important party games.

It was quite encouraging to hear Martin Lewis give out a similar message last night on his program. Over the years it seems Christmas has become about the gifts and the shopping and very little else. When I was a little girl I always looked forward to going into Sheffield city centre at night to see the lights and the displays in the department store windows. Of course back then there were probably a dozen large department stores throughout the town and each put on a magical display. With all the council cutbacks our local town has a very poor display and somehow the new flickery LED lights don’t have quite the same impact as those old fashioned brightly coloured light bulbs that streamed across the road. We have no department stores left and hardly anyone has a window display. No doubt this is the reason that we now search out light displays to go to during the festive season at National Trust properties though they are a might more expensive than the free shows we used to have in all our towns and cities.

I always enjoy making a few little things for Christmas but this year I know I will be short on time. I am currently looking for inspiration for a Christmas card design – I quite often do a linocut – there is something quite simple and satisfying about this technique….ah well maybe I can magic up a little enthusiasm to make a start, after all Christmas waits for no-one.

11 thoughts on “dear diary >> looking forward

  1. I love your pics. The pic of the seed heads in the bottle is so striking.

    I agree about the presents. Over the last few years I have bought less and less and it’s been fine. For us, it’s all about the traditions.

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  2. Like you I just take each day at a time and hope that with a little effort on my part there will be some gradual improvement.

    I am very lucky living in my new hometown, the independent shops on the high street all decorate their windows beautifully just as I remember the bigger stores doing when I was little and travelled into Manchester city centre to look in the department store windows … and visit Father Christmas after passing through the grotto … and as the street is relatively short the council do still put the lights up, although we do have a fundraising committee that raises the money to fund it all.

    I thought of you when Marin Lewis was talking about Secret Santa the other night. The gift giving has truly gotten out of hand for some many these days hasn’t it, at a ridiculous expense for many. We used to get one chosen larger present off our parents, a couple of smaller ones off grandparents and a stocking of little bits off Santa.

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    1. My grandchildren get so many toys that even their mum cannot think of anything to buy them. As grandparents we had decided to take them all to a pantomime instead and then just give a little gift on Christmas day. What they really value is our time spent playing games with them like Monopoly or going to the park. Some of the toys are just a big marketing con in my mind and really do not benefit the kids at all.
      I like to go up to the cottage in Scotland before Christmas because the local towns up there have mostly independent shops who still take a pride in their window display for Christmas.
      I would recommend the Secret Santa to anyone – you can set your own rules like we do for cost etc.

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  3. Christmas, and all aspects of life really, has changed beyond recognition since I was a child. I remember magical Christmas’s, yes, we got lovely presents, but there were just a few, not the sackfuls that children get these days. I remember the people we shared Christmas with, the places we visited and the time spent with loved ones. The meaning of Christmas has long since been lost along the way. I hope you’re feeling better soon, getting over Covid can be a long haul for some.

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    1. One of my earliest memories of Christmas was going carol singing around the parish when I was 6. I can only remember a few gifts – a teddy bear, my dolls pram and later on a Spirograph which I still have (oh and the teddy – with no fur!!).

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  4. Our local town still has christmasy displays in the shop windows but like others have mentioned it is full of independent shops. I hear you on the excess we had one Christmas at my in laws which the present giving was unbelievable, so unlike anything we had as children. I talked about it to my husband at the time and suggested that perhaps it was a little excessive, it seems the message was well received as things changed after that, thankfully. My husband and I don’t give each other presents other that a couple of small things, usually a book and one other thing. I am all for keeping it simple. I have been looking at card inspiration as well this week, I think I have come up with a simple one.

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  5. I too remember the Christmasses of my childhood. Spending quality time with family, the excitement and awe of visiting Santa for a small gift, the bright light displays, homemade gifts and carol singing. Such a shame that it has got so out of hand with gift giving and spending now. Where has the pleasure gone?
    Hope you get some card inspiration 🙂

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  6. I had Covid for the second time two weeks ago, again it has left me tired and not 100% but like you say Christmas waits for no one so I hope to have a quiet and simple one this year. Hope you both feel well again soon xx

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  7. I am glad you are beginning to feel a bit better. Taking things day by day and enjoying some fresh air will be sure to help.
    I will be starting my Christmas plans this coming weekend, making the cranberry sauce, and compiling a to-do list 🙂

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