Monday, 21 December 2015

Solstice Eve


I just cannot find any enthusiasm this year for a traditional Christmas.   Yesterday I managed to get the Christmas tree out, and have decorated it with about two-thirds of the usual bits and baubles. Management is kind enough to say it looks quite lovely; I know it's just a token gesture.



I really had to question why I was even getting the decorations out?  M. and I talked about it and concluded that whist neither of us is trying to recreate the supposedly perfect childhood family Christmas (that never existed for me and possibly didn't happen for him either) NOT going along with decades of ingrained tradition is just a tad too scary.  Whilst I have said before that we don't subscribe to much, if any, of what makes Christmas Christmassy for the rest of the population, this year it all just seems too much faff and bother. My spiritual beliefs are not aligned with the hijacking by the Roman church of the traditional winter festival, we don't have family visiting, nor do we join the merry-go-round of parties and dinners and drinkies. 

M. gets nearly two weeks holiday from work, for me there is never a holiday, don't even think 'staycation' in my hearing unless you want your head bitten off :-}   I do the lion's share of the cooking, cleaning and house picking up (and whilst he works full-time that is absolutely OK) but it never stops, and unless I am ill or up to my small-bits in something, I'm the provider of all Daisy's walks and outings, so I have been asking "which bit of the holiday is a holiday for me?"

It surely isn't buying rubbish that we neither want or need, and it certainly isn't stuffing ourselves with surplus food and drink.

Each year I become more aware of what has, for me, become the real "New Year" and that is the Winter Solstice. The turn of the endless wheel when, imperceptibly at first, each day brings a little more light, and even though the cold is still to come there is an awareness of a new Season ahead, and new growth, new possibilities and opportunities.  So after a slow start and a late breakfast Management and I went into Cockermouth to do that "supporting local businesses" thing. Unavoidably there were a few bits which only Sainsbury's could provide, but they employ local people so that counts, and then on to the butcher, the farm supply place and two housewares stores. Unless we change our minds about the planned menu for the next week then no more shopping needs to happen, hurrah!   In case you're thinking we have an remarkably unhealthy diet, all the fresh vegetables are in the small fridge on the left.



After a late lunch I took Daisy up to Allonby and was just in time to say goodbye to the last sunset of my year; sometimes the Winter Solstice falls on 22nd December, instead of today as most people assume.  Astronomical Solstice happens at 4.49 tomorrow morning but I reckon we'll sleep through that.





And looking in the other direction



The wind was even stronger than yesterday and whilst I loved our little walk, Daisy not so much. Despite wearing her thickest coat I think she got cold and is no great fan of having her ears sandblasted. Trying to hide in the marram grass provided little protection either.



She was much happier once we got home and restored order, also known as lighting the fire.  It could be argued that I hardly need to have such a huge pile of wood in the house (and there's an even bigger basket of large logs the other side of the room) but having such a plentiful supply of fuel to hand is immensely comforting. The extra stack on the left of the hearth is oak, Yule logs which will burn gently tonight and tomorrow.













14 comments:

  1. I'm with you on Christmas this year!
    Will be properly in touch soon, but I'm very glad you are all safe and well.
    Much love.
    Liz xx

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    1. Thanks Liz. I know you have had an awful year and there will be tears as you get through this first Christmas. Thinking of you, xxx

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  2. I do understand exactly how you feel, much the same as me every year actually. We do very little other than take a couple of days to relax more than usual and that is enough.

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    1. Thank you Jessica, I really appreciate your comment. It is comforting to know that I am not the only one who feels like this :-}

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  3. when you light your Yule log tonight, think on the thousands of people who have done it before you, each calling the sun to return. The ancients fervently believed it worked and so do I. The funny thing is - it does work, coz in about 12 days time the days start to feel lighter, my mood starts to lift and spring seems just that little closer. Keep strong with your needs and don't worry about the 'traditional' christmas, make one that feels right for you - we have and it feels right xxx

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    1. Oh Hawthorn, you are brilliant :-}

      Happily I read your comment before I lit the fire so I did just what you suggested. After supper I shall light a red candle on either side of the hearth and sit and read whilst they burn (am rather nervous about unattended flames so they will have to wait until later).

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  4. I love Yule. I'm so much more a snuggling down with good food, a fire and a book than mass present buying/ getting or partying. I'd so much rather celebrate the turning of the year than a specious mythology. That said today I will be celebrating by scrubbing the kitchen floor and washing down cupboard doors. :-/

    Ps I've just caught the local news and we are now 'news' again as the river Kent is again very high. Fingers crossed that Storm Eva, apparently due on Christmas Eve, peters out before it reaches our already beleaguered counties. Here's hoping you have a dry, warm and relaxing time and may all your footpaths be open. :-)

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    1. The Danish concept of hygge is much in vogue at present, and quite rightly so, there's a lot to be said for snuggling down!

      You were not mentioned on the news I just saw, but it seems that Cumbria is under attack again with Glenridding, Kendal and Appleby already flooded for a third time.

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  5. We don't do Christmassy either. Our weekly shop was no more than usual. Our token nod to tradition is a small Christmas tree and putting up the Christmas cards. I suppose in a way being retired, every day is a holiday for us now. At one time that was the best part of Christmas a fortnight off work

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    1. Very sensible Sue. We still make a bit more effort because it's a good two-week break for M.

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  6. We do less and less each year, and there's just us two so we can please ourselves. I haven't bothered with a tree this year, and we choose not to buy each other gifts at this time. I was *supposed* to be going into town on the ferry today for a few 'niceys' but the weather's not conducive so we'll have a dig around in the freezer and the little local shop instead. We won't go hungry or thirsty. I identify with being the person who does most of the housewifery around here - I like a xmas 'holiday' too - which is why we're having champagne and sandwiches for xmas lunch!
    I've done the big family xmasses, and enjoyed them, but I've sort of 'evolved'. Not in a bah humbuggy way - I just prefer/enjoy it *my* way now.

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    1. Even more than us Wanda, your life is governed by the weather, hope the storm they're talking about on tonight's news does not give you too much grief.

      You're right about things evolving, for many years we've made Christmas Day supper as easy as possible, the last few years it has been homemade Beef Wellington which I prep in advance and only takes 30 minutes from start to finish. This year it is a salmon version but will be just as quick.

      Champagne and sandwiches sounds splendid too!

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  7. I can't bleieve how alike we are! I've not put up a tree, though do like a few Xmas bits about. Not one for buying heaps in food or gifts that aren't needed. Can you be at the computer around 9am in the morning?. Happy Christmas and take care.

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    1. Hi Susan, immensely comforting to find so many others feel the same way. Have emailed :-}

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So there I am, chuntering on to myself, but it would be lovely to hear from you. Thanks to all who take the time to comment - it makes my day :)

and I always delete spam - my blog, my rules :-}