Major holidays have passed. The best bit for me will be to see a lot less advertising of the virtues of gluttony. I always feel uncomfortable with the putsch to eat, eat, eat and drink by way of celebrating the advertisers’ idea of what our tradition and enjoyment ought to be. These holidays mean different things to different people. I like the thought of togetherness with whosoever you choose to be and where you choose to be. I can’t be doing with the pressure to spend your way into emptying your purse and filling up the cupboards to overflowing with rich foodstuffs and excessive amounts of booze you would never usually upset your digestive system with the rest of the year….all because we are told it is expected, it is what to do.
I have warm memories of holidays past where, in one case it was insisted I stay and join in with a family in their togetherness. They wouldn’t hear of me returning home. Never mind that my oven was on gas mark number one ever so slowly cooking my meal. (Fortuitously as it turned out).
Another memory, I was in a hostel in isolated splendour, not a soul in sight. Over the road was the police station. The boys in blue, mostly single men, were working, but their canteen was closed for two days. The civilian staff were on holiday. I offered to cook Christmas Day and Boxing Day meals for them. A kitty soon built up, enough to buy a chicken or three and sufficient veggies. I am not sure they really believed I could give them a hot meal. But, a hot meal is what they got, at whatever time they arrived to eat. It was all very friendly with everyone helping out with the washing up and drying dishes in shifts, then leaving the kitchen as it should be at the end of each day.
I think, Yes, I am pretty sure, I have sorted all the festive mailings, both terrestrial and cyber. I do know I haven’t yet hovered over the Eastern Orthodox Christmas greetings for January. A few friends who do celebrate it, seem very happy to be greeted twice, from west to east and east to west.
My cards, packing and parcelling were started later than usual. I really do like to have a couple of weeks total breathing space from it before the actual festivities. I have kind of caught up but, it has been too intensive for me. The energy of youth is not in its first bloom from where I am sitting.
Storm Deidre barrelled through here and was extraordinarily bad from Saturday afternoon and also fearsome throughout the night. There will have been major disruption.
The idea of relaxing in the calm after the storm, (literally) and what felt like Mrs Clause’ marathon without the assistance helpful wee elves, is not easy to adjust to. I must accept that I can give myself permission to sit and read my neglected books. Yay!!!
When I change my browser page to call up my blog when I am already on the correct page, it’s time to admit that I am not firing on all cylinders.
It’s Edinburgh Festivals time and I trudged miles up and down the hills of the city exploring venues yesterday. Yesterday I walked my toes off and I have a blister on the pad of my right big toe to prove it! Luckily, I found I had a lovely gel toe protector sleeve in my luggage – the right size too- which has worked just great today.
A Refreshing Drink Of Scottish Bubbly Water
Edinburgh is like a huge flower bud opening at Festivals time. Events managements have developed a range of venues in nooks and crannies all around the city. Whereas in the past, ‘Assembly’, for example, meant wandering up to, at most, two large locations, now, you will find “Assembly” mini hubs all about the city. The other major venues also seem to have spread their wings like this. I gave up on confusion, it made me footsore and it took up too much valuable festive time!
Twelfth night is meant to be the time for clearing away greetings cards and festive decorations. In my book, some superstitions are best ignored. As I don’t receive some mail till early January, mostly from abroad, my cards stay up longer and the last to arrive are the last to disappear. Thus, I span the Western and the Eastern festive dates.
My decorations are the cards people send me. Switch on candle glow (LED’s) provide an atmospheric friendly warmth. The little candles (tea lights) have been tucked away. A couple of stocky gold coloured ones have not. They glitter and look quite pretty when daylight turns into twilight, even if they are not lit.
Tomorrow we have a recycling collection. The bulk of the cards – not the late arrivals – have been sorted between those that will be a keepsake, (just a few) or those needing some attention. The others, will provide material for recycling. Our collectors do not want anything with metallic finishes, which includes glitter. Lots of cards have those pretty finishes. The best I can do is to separate re-usable bits of a card from those bits that are not. That was late morning……..
….Even later morning, I seem to have spent hours sorting out a small area of desk. The quarter truth is, some of the space on the desk has been created by shoving some stuff to the right of it, (probably, should be ‘right off it’). I am trying to be tough on myself…about bits of paper (cringe). I know it will be worse before it gets better.
Early afternoon……hubs interrupts my bits of paper throw away flow. “Are you having any lunch?”
A couple of ‘newsy’ things this week caught my attention:
We now know why bubbly tastes better in a glass. Research at both The University of Texas and University College London UK, explains why plastic and polystyrene cups just will not do for your Prosecco, Asti-spumante, or, Champagne. I can feel the regal Marques des Champagne curling their toes and gritting their pearly teeth at the thought of …plastic….polystyrene!! According to a study, the bubbles behave differently in plastic and polystyrene cups than they would in glass, The bubbles stick quite strongly to the plastic and polystyrene for longer and as a result grow bigger before they lift off, which, in turn, alters the taste of the drinks. They [the bubbles] are on their best behaviour drunk from a glass. Presumably, the small free flowing bubbles maintain the desired taste of the ‘bubbly’
While we are discussing drinking alcohol; an offence with interesting variations. An electrical engineer was caught over the drinks-driving limit, on his way to a police station to service their…….breath test machine! The driver had been seen by police driving erratically on a very bendy stretch of road. In court he was found guilty, fined and banned from driving for a year. At the trial, the police said the case presented them with a dilemma, because of the unusual circumstances. It was felt there could be a ‘conflict of interest’, given that the man serviced most of the intoximeters in the country. The prosecutor shared their view. A urine sample was therefore taken for testing.
In defending his client, the defence lawyer claimed the police had not followed correct procedures in taking the urine sample.
The Sheriff when pronouncing sentence said, that the matter had been handled correctly and by the book.
It has been the [wet and damp] season of Garden Parties at the Palace of Holyrood in Edinburgh, Scotland.
“ Is One going to a Garden Party?” I was asked this week as the rain teemed down…….
“No, One is not”.
One was wearing an all weather peach outdoor coat with hood up. One was also carrying a soggy, exotic fruit patterned cloth bag with a book in it; in addition, One had a casual, very wet sloppy, but, almost weatherproof, plum- coloured shoulder bag slung crosswise on Ones torso. The look was finished off with rain-soaked black trousers and a pair of damp trainers on Ones feet. Not exactly a picture of ‘My Fair Lady’ attired to meet the requirements of Royal protocol, One thinks.
I’ve got four birthdays to think about, all of them are this week. It feels like Christmas has prematurely come round again, before I have had time to properly recover from it. I like to give two or three small packages to the children, so they have fun going through the present bag. Adults are simpler, more often than not, one piece of gift wrap for them covers all.
Ho hum….here I am again, only eight weeks after the last festive blast cutting up gift paper, wrapping up presents and raking through the cupboard for some bags to put them in.
Brown or white paper bags can be quite good as gift bags, those you sometimes get in food shops with paper handles – they look like ears have been attached – making sure, mind you, that there are no tell-tale signs of their original use. The trouble is, it’s too early in the year to have any. My alternative would be a plain bio-degradable plastic carrier bag, if I have one. These days, getting a carrier bag of any sort, let alone one that I can use as a gift bag, is rare.
Like lots of people I recycle the festive gift bags I have received at Christmas time. Really, I can’t see any reason why I shouldn’t use them at anytime, even if they are glittery tree, Reindeer, snow-flake, bauble and star adorned festive gift bags. After all, they are bags; if it looks like a bag and acts like a bag, then it must be a bag……………………I cannot think of any good reason why I shouldn’t use them for all sorts of occasions, can you?
There are still the remains of sales in some local shops. I am looking for something in particular and I was in the one shop that might just have provided it. I browsed the department upstairs where you find cushions, bedding, curtains and some menswear. So far no luck, I could not see what I wanted. All the staff work downstairs, which is where I found a shop assistant. While I was asking, it occurred to me that she might not understand what I was looking for:
Me –“I am looking for a counterpane, do you have any?” Assistant- “ Could you tell me what that might be?”
It seemed I was speaking a foreign language. I explain it is a bed-cover….she continues to look vacantly at me….. I’m thinking quickly about what might be the current trendy modern bed-cover translation and I tentatively suggest “A throw”.
Some comprehension dawns. The assistant tells me there are no throws……“Throws are for Christmas” ❗
I decided to buy a subscription to an e-card site. ‘Subscription’, does, in this case, mean I pay for the service; it is advert-free. (I do receive the occasional ‘free’ e-card from people, usually, they are totally obscured by pop-up and flash advertising. They can put you off e-cards).
I have access to a big selection of imaginative e-cards for more occasions than you can dream up, and there are note-cards as well. Like in a card shop, you can assess the product before you [buy] send. I can also choose what date I want it to arrive.
It has been intriguing seeing what does not work and what does work for e-card recipients;
- A very, very small number say the e-cards are ‘naff’…fine, they have a choice not to open the card.
- Some people don’t give their email addresses, so I couldn’t send them an e- card anyway.
- Wistful responses for the tangible written card were quite common.
- Rare, but I have been asked not to send e-cards.
- A few contacts don’t have their computer systems configured to open e-card mail. However, they are notified they have been sent an e-card and from whom. People let me know their position, usually with thanks for the thought.
- To the majority of my mailed e-cards there was a very positive response.
After depositing a present for a child in a Gift Bank, I was presented with a net bag full of milk chocolate money coins.
The first nursery kid I saw on the street got them. I did ask the [
taken aback] surprised, parents first.
“Oh goody chocolate”, said the kid as soon as he saw the bag, which he rapidly reached forward to snatch, iniating an embarrassed parental chorus of, “ Say please and say thank you”. Neither nicety materialised from delighted single-minded junior.
…….”It’s Christmas.” I said, and went on my way.
I couldn’t resist looking back. The grown-ups had happy smiles on their faces.