Christmas Eve

Tealights glow among the battery operated candles and solar powered fairy lights. The cards, despite MasterB’s best efforts, are currently upright. There’s a faint smell of beeswax polish in the air from my efforts with duster and vacuum cleaner earlier today. The silver and brass is shined and clean. A pint size Christmas tree sits on the table with the new bauble of MasterB in front of it. There are bowls of fruit, walnuts and chocolates. A few wrapped presents sit grouped together. One is a bottle, another I am pretty confident is a book, as may be one of the others. I am hoping the package from Barcelona is turrón, and then there’s one of those fancy bags with packages inside I have resisted looking at. One card turned out to be gift voucher for M&S, and a good bottle of wine came unwrapped and ready for Christmas lunch courtesy of Octavia before she set off to spend Christmas in South Africa.

It all feels festive and relaxed. All my immediate neighbours have departed. This is the one time of year when I know I can turn up the stereo without disturbing anyone. Bliss. Aunt sounded happy when I called. Linda was visiting with her family, so we didn’t talk for long. I’ll call her tomorrow too before I head out for drinks with neighbours.

On Sunday we went to the Nine lessons and carols at St Bartholomew the Great which has been in fixture in my personal Christmas rituals for many years now. There have been drinks with neighbours, meals, a party. My liver will be glad when it’s all over.

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I’ve reached the stage where I don’t get or give many presents. I always hope for good soaps with the leaping bunny symbol to let me know my pleasure doesn’t come at the expense of some poor beast having it rubbed into its eyes first. Having a small and full flat, the best presents are the ones I can consume; food and drink; flowers; soap; books; writing paper. Time was I always got writing paper for Christmas from someone. Now with email all conquering, it’s an old fashioned gift, but I still prefer to send my thank-yous by snailmail.

I’ve got a jigsaw I was given earlier in the year, and I’m really hoping to get the time to spread it out on the floor and lose hours concentrating on where each piece goes. Cat was deadly with jigsaws. He would scatter pieces, lie in the middle and stop me from working on it, pick with his claws at bits I had already joined together and bat others under the sofa, or disappear them entirely. So I shall probably wait until MasterB is out or asleep. It’ll be a bit of a homage to my father. He and I always used to do a jigsaw together over Christmas while Mother cooked and baked.

This time last year Aunt’s cancer was undiagnosed, Aunt Kath was still alive, the horrors of the attacks on Charlie Hebdo and Bataclan still to come. The refugee crisis will stay with us into 2016, but I hope that more compassion and sympathy for their plight will improve a miserable situation. Never in my lifetime have the words of the carols calling for peace on earth seemed more urgent. Perhaps this year we’ll listen to them and act on them.

Merry Christmas.

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19 thoughts on “Christmas Eve

    • I love St Bart the Great, and the music is divine. Carols always make me cry, and this time the child in front of us had just been discharged from Great Ormond Street where he had been treated for cancer. I got through so many hankies…
      The jigsaw is of leopards!

  1. Soap! Its what we are giving this year. We should send you some. St Bart’s is looking quite handsome in your pictures. Best wishes to you – and to the entire cast of characters we’ve come to know through your blog – for a peaceful Christmas.

    • Back in the day, I was a Saturday girl at Boots for several years, working for quite a while on the soap counter. I would bring home the empty boxes of Roger Gallet and Yardley which still smelled wonderful, and Mother would use them for embroidery threads, handkerchiefs and other small items. It made me aware of the pleasures for good soaps. Keeping them for a year in a drawer or airing cupboard spreads out the pleasure and makes them last longer when you do use them. Lovely.

      • Good Soaps are my luxury, fine cold pressed Italian cruelty free ones from Florence when I can get them are a great indulgence! I too still use old soap boxes and paper soap wrappers to scent drawers and keep stuff inside…and bath cube boxes used to be good too…can you still buy bath cubes..haven’t seen them for years!

  2. Merry Christmas, Isobel, and wishes for peace on earth. Thank you for all your photos, both here and on Instagram. Soaps… hmmm. I have just become interested in soaps, essential oils, and diffusers thanks to you. I love fragrance. Makes me smile that Aunt sounded happy. Hugs to you and MasterB!

    • Maybe you could get the soap making kit. I think smell is tremendously important and evocative. As you know, I am very fortunate in having a great herbalist’s locally. Lavender oil is big in my family!

  3. I usually get a jigsaw for Christmas & this year was no exception. It’s of the Thames with all the land marks. I hope you have an enjoyable day and a peaceful 2016!

    • Glad you enjoyed it. I have dropping in to tread your Whatsapps, sounds like the holiday is living up to expectations.
      You are invited to a party 30th January, so put it your diary!

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