It’s not like me to write a blog post without adding a few pertinent photographs.
It’s not like me to have left a month between posts either.
But this year I’ve been hard-pressed to find something to say nor something worthy of a photograph …
You see, rather a lot of things have not quite gone according to plan this festive season and while part of me wants to have a good old whinge, part of me knows that our own litany of ‘things that went wrong’ have no right to be called ‘disasters’, not when families lose loved ones in tragic circumstances. Not when I had a roof over my head and was warm, with my family and well-fed.
And so the fact that I spent a whole week tramping the streets of London looking for a flat to buy ended in disappointment as I realized our budget cannot stretch to buy even the one-bed flat our boys are currently renting, is really not worth worrying about. I mean, it’s not as if we have no choice about where we buy.
Nor can the fact that we rented a cottage that slept six and showed photographs of amply proportioned accommodation but only had table and chairs to seat 4 be classed as a problem. Not really. Despite the fact that we had organized several occasions when I was catering for ten people. I mean, we had laps on which to balance our plates and still got to see almost every member of our families this year.
I admit that my father-in-law having a nasty fall on 23rd December, was not exactly a good thing, particularly as he dislocated his shoulder, fell on his face and broke a few teeth. However, was it really so bad that we had to abandon the cottage we had rented specially for Christmas and decamp lock, stock and fridgeful to Ian’s parents instead? I mean, we were still able to be with them on The Day.
Was it really a big deal that the unexpected hours in the car meant that our biodynamic, free-range turkey went bad? I mean, we had a joint of beef ready for Boxing Day and my mother-in-law had half a jar of horseradish sauce, after all.
Did it really matter that Ian got food-poisoning on 31st December and we had to cancel going to a new year party with friends we’ve known for over 30 years and really wanted to see? I mean, they understood and we managed to pop over for coffee yesterday instead. And, staying I meant that Ian could go to bed at 8.30 and Josh and I could go to see the fireworks at midnight from the local ‘suicide bridge’. Only 300 people had beaten us to it and anyway the bridge faced Canary Wharf not Westminster!
How important was it that Josh nudged me while I was filling my hot-water bottle and I scalded my hand quite badly? I mean, Josh had an aloe vera plant on his windowsill and they work wonders… eventually.
Is it worth getting upset over the fact that I stuck a wooden skewer in my thumb and embedded a splinter too deep to remove when I was making satay for dinner for friends last night? I mean, the satay was delicious.
And how doomful is it that the heating broke down in the boys’ flat on New Year’s Day and we knew we’d never find a plumber? I mean, we found internet forums and a Philips screwdriver and took the receiver to bits. Reassembling it might have made us late for another appointment and now we can’t turn the heating off, we got it going again.
And so, as Ian Polyfills holes in the walls, Sam makes fresh juice and Josh makes a smoothie with coconut oil I brought back from Malaysia, I sit on a mismatched chair (another freebie find from the Gumtree website) and look out of the kitchen window of the boys’ student flat. I notice the aloe and fresh herbs on the windowsill, breathe in the scent of fresh carrot and ginger from the juice and cacao from the smoothie. There is a clear blue sky behind the branches of a wintery tree outside and I count my lucky stars. We are here, together, a family, all four of us. And I am blessed.