Crumbs. We’re already a third of the way through December. Funny to think that tomorrow it’ll be two weeks since I left New Zealand for home. In some ways it seems like a lifetime ago; in others I still feel in my head that I am there. A sort of bicultural existence. I think it’s called processing. Most days I find myself thinking about Lyn and Malcolm, about Nadia. Nadia and I exchanged a few WhatsApps about a book I gave her; Ghost Wall by Sarah Moss. Nadia and I became friends when we attended the same mosaics class, but there is more than mosaics to our friendship. Nadia writes. One of these days I am going to be crowing about her novel, which will be published after she has edited it for the millionth time. OK I exaggerate, but the draft I read years ago was pretty polished in my opinion, and I am getting impatient too see it in Waterstome’s. We share an interest in literature. Good books inform our lives, improve our lives. There was a moment on the train into Wellington when I was telling her about the book group I belong to. Nadia has resisted book groups. Like me, she has felt they are not necessarily A Good Thing. I explained how our book group works, and told her it is particularly good when M, a respected novelist, attends.She is extremely knowledgeable, never patronising, and keeps us on task. Nadia’s eyes widened. It turned out that M is one of her favourite writers. If only she still lived in London she could join us. On the other hand, I shouldn’t have seen Wellington with her and through, to some extent, her eyes.
I am still percolating my New Zealand holiday. Odd things come to mind to be examined and considered from a distance in time and place. Nadia introduced me to a police drama series that one of her friends writes for. It’s called Brokenshaw. It’s dry, well written, funny, but not comical. I loved it. It turns out it’s on here too, on the Drama Channel, a channel I have never watched. So I settled down to enjoy an episode, only to find it was one I had seen in Wellington. It doesn’t seem I can watch others on catch up. Darn. Lyn and Malcolm like a programme called The Chase. It turns out that it’s a British programme, broadcast here on daytime tv. Since coming home I have seen several trailers for it. Funny I had never heard of it before visiting NZ.
I’ve started writing Christmas cards. I have even posted some. Each year I post fewer. Next year I shall post fewer still. The postage is outrageous. I shall send e cards and make donations to charity. How the Post Office expects to survive when charging the earth I cannot imagining. this was brought home to me by discovering some old Christmas stamps at the back of a drawer. I stuck one on an envelope before looking at the price, 19p. it costs 58p (58p!!!! that’s the price of a cabbage) to send a card or letter second class now.
All in all it will be a relief. With most friends we have agreed not to exchange gifts, and those we do exchange are not the sort advertised on the tv. We eschew the department stores and high price tags for things we think our friends might actually want, or enjoy, and we may find those things anywhere, including in charity shops where second hand jigsaws in mint condition, novels, all sorts of wonders abound. I hope the recipients enjoy the gifts I give them. I’m enjoying getting them, thinking abut each individual. Some are harder than others. I often buy things during the year I think a particular friend would like, and then realise at Christmas I have a pile of things ready for one or two peopler, and nothing for anyone else. Surely conspicuous consumption is one of the least attractive things about Christmas. I have most things I want or need. OK, if you want to give me half a million pounds, please go ahead; that would be very welcome. Or maybe it wouldn’t. I should probably feel horribly obliged. Magic it to me instead: A surprise gift from an anonymous donor! What could be more exciting? I can feel the frisson now.
MasterB, whom is the most important recipient of gifts from me, has a can of NZ cat food (organic) for Christmas. He doesn’t know about it. I have put it in a high cupboard. He’ll probably give me a cuddle, or an extended game with string and feathers. Bless.