Christmas is an event which Granny experiences only in the brief intervals of loading - and subsequently unloading - the dishwasher. Or that's what it feels like.
It is an event that has two effects on her. It makes her sentimental on the one hand, and bad-tempered on the other. (See above.) Neither state of mind can you want to hear about. Never mind. You are about to.
The sentimentality starts as usual on Christmas Eve while she potters around the kitchen, doing this and that, and listening to the King's College Chapel Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols. At the very start of the soprano voice singing, solo, 'Once in David's City' the tears start rolling down her cheeks. Just as she knows they will. This is the time she remembers her mother, dead since Granny was 22, with whom she used to listen to this service so many years ago. Granny finds herself talking to her mother, throughout it: you can talk to the dead you know, you really can. Sometimes rudely. But not in this instance. Hence the tears. Along with them and the ghostly conversations come other thoughts, also sometimes tearful, of the many other people there are to remember as the years go by and this one or that disappears into the dark; some mourned, like her dad and her twin and some dear friends; some not. Sorry. She warned you she was sentimental at this time. It's the effect of getting old, you know. Of so much past, lost and gone for ever, just like darling Clementine. Amid the celebratory present.
Granny's Beloved does not care for either the music or the tears and makes sure to absent himself at this point as in every year Granny has spent with him. Talkative Irish visitor alas did not. (Talkative Irish visitor has been heard even when he thinks himself alone talking to inanimate objects; to his washing, for instance, as he hangs it on the line; 'hullo shirt, you look better than when I saw you last,' 'hullo underpants, you're all white now,' etc. So you see the problem. ) Granny managed to convey - politely she hopes - that this was a time for silence, and he too absented himself in due course.
There arrived, by email, these pictures of Beloved Daughter opening her Christmas present from Granny (silk from the Goldhawk Road as mentioned before) and of Gorgeous Eldest Granddaughter wearing hers (the black 'poor boy' cap, also aforementioned.) Followed shortly after by phone call from Beloved Daughter herself in which she announced that the whole family - that is her and her family, Beloved Son and his - were all coming to the island for Easter. Granny has some good Christmas presents. But this was the best by far. She wasn't crying now. She was laughing and jumping round her kitchen. Even having to load and empty the dishwasher yet another time seemed no hassle. Gorgeous Middle granddaughter - darling little schmoozer - announcing to Granny that her - Granny's present - was 'her best one' added to the delight, if Granny did take this one with a very large pinch of salt.
The (minor) disasters came as usual in threes. The door to the roof blew off. The window got stuck on open in Granny's car. (Electronic windows NO GOOD.) The bar carrying Granny's and Beloved's saucepans, garlic and chilli strings etc, decided that the large and very heavy Christmas jamon added to it was just too much and fell down with a crash - the jamon all but braining Beloved in the process. Felini Houdini knocked over a can of wood varnish in the office where he now sleeps, mixing it all up with his litter tray. She will say no more about this one, just leave you to imagine the horror. The horror. Actually that's four disasters not three. Never mind. Perhaps there are two more to follow, ushering in the new year. She hopes not.
Feline Houdini, by the way, has been announced CLEAR. No operation for him, though he still has to be fed for two months on food for diabetic geriatric cats, in relatively small quantities, pending more blood tests. This does not please him. Otherwise he has resumed normal activities. More or less. Yowling to go out at night etc. And sitting on Granny's lap in the evenings. Good.
As for the chickens: Damien/Daphne has now started crowing, lustily, making it more likely he is all male. It is a very deep, almost tenor crowing, incidentally. Much more so than the original white cockerel, Colin. On the other hand, Colin still doesn't seem at all phased by him or visa versa. If Damien was only Damien, with no Daphne, wouldn't the two be fighting by now? This is odd. Also his bottom is still broad, more like a hen's and his tail feathers still vestigial. Here is a picture of Damien/Daphne; Colin is right behind him. So you see.
HAPPY NEW YEAR
Labels: family stories