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Wednesday, 24 December 2014

The day when I got in the mood for Christmas

It may have taken longer than usual, but last week I finally found my festive spirit. I shouldn't have worried, because there's always one event which never fails to lift my spirits and that's the very special BBC Radio Leicester carol service, held each year on  Sunday afternoon in mid December.

But this year on that day, I went to not one but two carol services.

The first was in the tiny 12th century church in my village. This was a break from tradition ...instead of nine lessons and carols,  Willie's band played and the wonderful Emmanu'-EL Apostolic Gospel Academy came to sing for us, their voices soaring up to the rafters, and we all joined in clapping, singing and smiling.

No matter what our age is.

I left the church feeling buoyed up, and then it was onto another , much grander church  in Leicester, the Church of St James the Greater for the annual BBC Carol Service. Tickets for this service are snapped up within a few days....all 650 of them.

It's a wonderful occasion. My friends and colleagues and I perform poems, prose  and bible readings accompanied by the excellent choir, the New Parks handbell ringers and the Enderby Brass Band play with aplomb. Just not all at the same time you understand.

And the audience join in .....

And in those two services I found the Christmas spirit  I thought I'd lost this year, came flooding back. Love, goodwill ,and the age old stories of the true meaning of Christmas had worked their magic once again.

Happy Christmas!

Friday, 19 December 2014

Days of Bah Humbug

I've always loved Christmas. As a schoolchild I adored the rituals of early December...rehearsals for the school nativity play, the sheer agony of wondering what part I would get, singing at the top of our voices, and been given and allowed to eat a few sweets in our classroom.

When my own children were tiny, I'll never forget seeing my daughter as an angel in the playgroup production of the nativity...and my sons as shepherds.  Of making Christmas biscuits  with them on late dark December afternoons...and getting all of them around the tree to help decorate it. I loved those Christmases...and this special time of year has always filled me with an inner glow, if not panic about forgetting someone's present.

But I don't know what's going on this year. For the first time I've been feeling decidedly "bah humbug" about Christmas. I've become increasingly annoyed with the early and constant bombardment of adverts on TV...and nothing would induce me to do some early Christmas shopping. I couldn't even think of any presents to buy.

 On the first day of December, all the Christmas songs came on the radiom and I seriously thought if I heard Slade's Merry Christmas again I would scream. By now, I was worried...had my seasonal spark disappeared for ever?

Then last week I went to Wistow, a lovely rural centre not far away

.My eyes lit up at all the Christmas plants and gardening gifts ,

and I even bought a few presents from here....

And as I drove home on a late December afternoon...I thought my Christmas mojo had made a comeback

But then, the spark stopped glimmering...and I felt quite out of sorts that I was turning into one of those people who had stopped loving Christmas, even though I'd organised the works Christmas party which was rather jolly.

I kept trying to find my inner Christmas glow without success, and I began to wonder whether it would ever return......

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Then the day there was one

Where have the last nine weeks gone? They've flashed past in what seems like a couple of nano seconds.
Nine weeks since Boo had three beautiful puppies - two boys and a girl who didn't look their parents at all. No, they weren't completely black like Boo and Bow...they didn't resemble patterdales at all and  looked more like border terriers.
After a couple of discussions shall we say, they were all given names - Eric and Rudi and the little brown girl was named Fizz .She had to be ...she's fun and fizzes all over the place.
Of course I would have kept all of them. Well, they're so lovely, so playful, so snuggly and they immediately stole a place in my heart.

 Rudi was the first to go to his new home...he went to live by the seaside in Southsea with my daughter Lucy and her hairy husband Harry and he's having a wonderful time.

 And then there were's Eric, Fizz and their friend Winnie who belongs to my son.

An d here they are with Boo, being trained to sit and stay....

And then came the day for  Fizz to go to her new home.

I was on edge all day Thursday waiting for her new owners to come. I managed to put on a brave face for the last photo here...

But  Fizz has gone to a lovely a farm where Boo her Mum was born and where her grandmother Dinky lived. Amy and her children Joe and Nell all love Fizz very much and she's getting on well with her new friend Flump, a cross basset hound / dachshund.

The fact they are such a great family  still didn't stop me bursting into tears as they took Fizz to her new home.

And that leaves Eric who is enjoying all the attention and enjoying peaceful naps without his brother and sister pouncing on him at all times. He's a quiet boy is Eric. He sits and ponders, and if you're thinking that the name Eric Blair sounds familiar,  well it's the real name of the writer George Orwell.
And the name of Mr Thinking of the Days much loved father.

So there's one puppy left, and Boo looks rather relieved. Three eight week old puppies take a lot of time and energy to look toddler triplets. So she's catching up on some sleep and conserving her energy until Christmas ...when Rudi's coming to visit, Winnie too, so the house will be full of dogs once again.

I can't wait.