Sunday, 30 November 2008

Tesco - every little helps

Last year I bought myself a new camera online from Tesco. One of those emails arrived in my inbox with a 'deal of the day'  and for me the camera was the dog bollocks, in as much as it had a large 8 mega pixel whatsit .... and a large LCD, and yes I do like things big.. say no more! Oh and it is red! which is almost as good as purple but not quite, like size colour of inanimate objects does matter. It was a great price and the bonus was that it came with a, yes you guessed it, large  memory card. Total cost £74.

It arrived quickly but not with the promised memory card, so I contacted Tesco and they apologised, told me they'd run out and would credit me for the cost of the memory card. I found to my surprise a credit of £36.99 in my bank account, so the camera was only £37! I bought the same memory card from Amazon for a few pounds only, so a  result, thank you Tesco!

A few weeks ago my girlfriend's washing machine broke down in its last month before the 12 month warranty ran out, she arranged through the manufacturer a service call, she stayed in all day, but no one came. She called them again and spent one hour on the phone and arranged a second service call, no one arrived, again. The third time she complained and again apologies received and another day arranged, no one turned up AGAIN. Now apoplectic with rage she spent another hour on the phone, but they couldn't establish the problem and would call her back in due course. She called me in frustration and we talked about it, she decided to call Tesco as they sold it to her and I told her they were pretty good on customer service. Tesco called her back immediately to save her phone bill and they got to the bottom of the problem right away. The manufacturer had been faxing the repair guy, who was no longer the repair guy, so he had been ignoring the faxes. Behind the scenes Tesco sorted it out and within three days my pal had a brand new machine and model  installed and the old one taken away. Happy customer, great customer service.

Moral of the story? Contact the supplier of the goods in the first instance especially if it is Tesco.

Now hold that thought a moment, I have a question ...

In October 1975 , I had just returned from a year in the States and I had been working at Tesco for three days. It was late afternoon,  I was pricing and filling up the sugar bay by the staff entrance,  when in walked this tall blonde haired chap in a school blazer, he smiled,  flashed his white pearlies at me ( his teeth) as he passed by. Being very shallow and taken by his good looks I was immediately smitten.  I was sent to work with him - on the biscuits - later that shift.  He is now my husband and father of my children. 

My question is...if he pisses me off any further and insists in pursuing his impersonation of Dickens' Mr. Bah humbug, will Tesco exchange him for  a new model?  And btw I haven't a receipt or guarantee!

Thursday, 27 November 2008

PHOTOSTORY & SKYWATCH FRIDAY - North, South, East, West




Hosted by 
Cecily and MamaGeek



North, South, East, West

standing out on the rotunda balcony at work, yes again,
and I noticed that the sky to my left and right were so different
so I took one photogrpah to illustrate the differing skies
at the four main Cardinal points approx 3.30pm

Facing North- The Castle in sunlight, the sky heavy


Facing East - Brooding heavy sky

Facing South - Rooftops & clouds

Facing west  - The Millenium Bridge & a clear sky& sunshine




Photostory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

SkyWatch


For other participants in Dot’s concept, go to Sky Watch HQ.

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Retirement

I was sent this yesterday and I thought I would share it...









Working people frequently ask retired people what they do to make their days interesting.

Well, for example, the other day my wife and I went into town and went into a shop.

We were only in there for about 5 minutes. When we came out, there was a cop writing out a parking ticket.


We went up to him and said, 'Come on man, how about giving a senior citizen a break?'

He ignored us and continued writing the ticket. I called him a turd. He glared at me and started writing another ticket for having worn tyres.

So my wife called him a shit-head. He finished the second ticket and put it on the windshield with the first. Then he started writing a third ticket. This went on for about 20 minutes. The more we abused him, the more tickets he wrote.

Personally, we didn't care. We came into town by bus. We try to have a little fun each day now that we're retired. It's important at our age.

Monday, 24 November 2008

A sense of belonging

My mother is English, English like a rose or Yorkshire pudding, (sorry about the comparison) so English that if you cut her in half she would, like a stick of rock have GB written all the way through her! 

My father is French - as french as garlic Maurice Chevalier or vin ordinaire although there is nothing ordinary about mon pere. By his parentage he is actually French/Italian.

During my childhood and teenage years, we lived in England, briefly in France and Spain and we emigrated to Canada and then Mexico. When I left school at 16 in England I went to the States to school in upstate New York for about a year, staying with family friends. I have lived in southern England, but more recently in the North 8 miles from the Scottish border.
My parents, after several more adventures and sojourns in France, Cornwall and Mexico have settled comfortably in Kent, which I guess if you twisted my arm I would call 'home'. But the truth is, I never have felt that I belong anywhere. I've been to school in four different countries, in Canada I adjusted quickly but after a year we moved to Mexico and I had to learn the language and participate in the morning lessons with kids three years younger. When I came back to the UK I was nearly two years behind, and it took me a good while to fit in. My husband and I have moved home seven times, as I get to that stage of feeling comfortable and I get a whiff of belonging, we move. Of course I am happy where my husband and kids are, but I live 400 miles away from my parents and I often feel isolated here, not geographically, but it's more an emotional isolation and I think its something only I can figure out.

When we were younger we kids always knew we could represent either Britain or France if we became sportsmen - we didn't- and as a child I did support England over France in the Footie world cup or tennis or eurovision song contest! But as I've grown older, and my links have naturally loosened, as they do when you leave home and make your own way in life. I've been drawn more to things French, the culture, the landscape, the people, thinking about my early french experiences and memories. Often we only realise the value of family as we get older and I have sometimes thought I should have explored the option of dual nationality but as with so many things put the thought away for another day.

Well I think that day may have arrived. I have been in contact with the French Embassy in London, and have found out my father registered all his children's births with the Etat civil. Mum tells me he made special trips to London to do this after each of us were born. I was touched to learn this and it also tells me that it must be important to my father.

So, 'Mlle. Marie' at the embassy has confirmed that I can still, even though I am married and hold a UK passport, claim my french citizenship and apply for a French passport. The extraordinary thing is that I can't tell you how it makes me feel and how excited I am about this on several levels. My father knows nothing about this, indeed I can't recall his ever mentioning it bar once in passing that it was an entitlement  and he won't know about it until if and when I have a French passport in my hand to show him,  I can't wait to see his face. As an adult I have never felt completely English. When I'm filling in forms and am asked my nationality or ethnicity or ethnic origin, I always want to write European, which doesn't exist as a category, so I write British, but always reluctantly as it's not quite right for me! This does not diminish myEnglishness at all in fact I think it enhances it. Gosh aren't we complicated creatures!

This isn't yet a done deal, but looks very promising and it has helped me to sort out my thoughts and feelings which is a huge bonus! Of course now this may make life more complicated, as I could exit the country on UK passport and enter on french ... which is rather silly l know, but funny!

I will keep you posted...

Ethnicity -ethnic traits, background, allegiance, or association 
Ethnic origin - belonging to or deriving from cultural, racial, religious or linguistic traditions of a people or country


Sunday, 23 November 2008

Keep it Snappy!

BS5 and Suburbia have completed this quiz with answers of one word ONLY...
not that easy..


1. Where is your cell phone? table
2. Your significant other? couch
3. Your hair? brunette
4. Your mother? classy
5. Your father? napoleonic
6. Your favorite thing? family
7. Your dream last night? Gerry
8. Your favorite drink? Gin
9. Your dream/goal? Shop
10. The room you're in? bedroom
11. Your fear? Drowning
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? healthy
13. Where were you last night? home
14. What you're not? svelte
15. Muffins? raspberry
16. One of your wish list items? Contentment
17. Where you grew up? various
18. The last thing you did? shower
19. What are you wearing? duvet
20. Your TV? shared
21. Your pet? labrador!
22. Your computer? friendly
23. Your life? hormonal
24. Your mood? mellow
25. Missing someone? always
26. Your car? berlingo
27. Something you're not wearing? bra
28. Favorite Store? bookshop
29. Your summer? mixed
30. Your favorite color? purple
31. When is the last time you laughed? ten
32. Last time you cried?  fortnight


WHY not have a go!?

Friday, 21 November 2008

The magic of old things










Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

I have once again been inspired to consider and write about a topic discussed on this blog. The post asked the question, 'is there beauty in decay?' and I was thinking about this and why l like old things, the vintage clothes,  authentically distressed furniture, beautiful tea cups and saucers, old vanity items, the bold colours & prints of vintage silk scarves, to name but a few of my favourite things.


My mother is a lover of antique and junk shops and having followed her on endless outings I firmly caught the 'bug' at an early age. In fact my parents ran an antique shop for a time and I was their first customer as I recall I bought a cut glass perfume bottle, which I still have on my dresser. I like nothing better than walking into a shop, a market or a charity shop, wondering what treasure I will find and pondering on what I will be leaving with in my bag.


l love tactile old fabrics in jewel colours, velvet, devore, taffeta , chiffon, rayon, silk. My husband thinks I'm not a little weird in that I seem to him to live in the past, (pot, kettle, black,  spring to mind) and perhaps I do or is it that I'm afraid of change? I think both may be true in small part, but it is much more than that ...

I love the history,
the possible stories,
the hidden secrets,
a life lived in full,
the glamorous nights and a sweet tryst
hidden amongst the frills, pleats and bows.

l may have a silk scarf tied to my bag today or be wearing an old silk petticoat under that LBD (little black dress), which I'm thinking of wearing to the  Christmas dinner.

The dress, the bag, the scarf, they keep the secrets of a lady who once danced, who sang, who loved, who dreamt, who cried...

It may be a bold bark cloth printed skirt from the 50's or a confetti lucite box bag which harks back to a love lost or a friendship made, these are all memory keepers.

This fills me up, like the pages of a good book, like the warmth and comfort wrought from a roaring fire in the dark of a winter evening. Or like the light cast by the candle  in the night, evoking what may be, what could be,  what should be.

I don't inderstand the horror when people are aghast that I may be wearing a dead persons clothes .... LOL, I know I probably am, whether it is a 1940's dress, a 1930's coat or a flapper opalescent string of twinkling glass beads or a fine silk pouch bag, they are most likely the items of a woman no longer living.

Or perhaps they are sitting in a favourite comfortable armchair, staring into the fire and beyond, reminiscing about the party they once attended, wearing my dress, carrying my bag and being whirled around the dance floor or terrace, stolen moments.

There is the shadow cast from a young woman's whimsical dream, the yearning and the hope bound up in the weave of the fabric's lifetime.

When I'm alone, I often make a pot of tea in a 1930's earthenware teapot, which has a decorated band around the top of pastel flowers. I lay a tray with a cloth and place an assortment of mismatched china out and enjoy a long cup of tea or two. I like the experience, the comforting warm feeling it evokes within me. It is also a little self spoiling , which is what every good -or bad- woman needs. Cherish and indulge your good self.

I recently read a new edition of a fiction book originaly printed in 1936 and this too made me wonder if my grandmother, who was a voracious reader, may have read it. I'm now on a mission to find an original copy, just to have the essence of nostalgic veneer of things past in the present. It's all in in there somewhere, life's rich tapestry.

I find it fascinating and it pulls me in...



Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek



A contender for post of the day at Authorblog, thanks again for the mention David!

Thursday, 20 November 2008

SKY WATCH FRIDAY - A piece of sky


For other participants in Dot’s concept, go to Sky Watch HQ.





'A Roman Cumbrian Sky'



this is a piece of sky 



the sky above Hadrians Wall


but ...


are you  thinking 



that something


 is not quite right?

Well you would be right ...

This is a painted sky 

which hangs over

 the Hadrians wall exhibit

 in the Museum where I work!




For other participants in Dot’s concept, go to Sky Watch HQ.




Monday, 17 November 2008

My Nana

1953 aged 42

My Nana (grandmother) Iris Eleanor Young, June to her friends,
was to me a marvellous woman, a glamorous woman and a brave woman.

My earliest memory of her was when I was about five or six ,
I guess she would babysit me as I was often round her home and probably like most little girls,
I' d to love looking through her jewellery box and her cupboards 'n' drawers.
For some reason I remember I used to play with her box of rubber bands she kept in a drawer, of which there were many - I suppose she would save them or buy them so I always had them to play with. When I got to school age I used them to make french skipping bands. Her makeup and jewellery was a stash of glamour and I felt a sense of naughtiness playing with them I know not why! This memory has a touch of irony as it was many years later I would powder her face and pencil in her eyebrows, after she could no longer do this simple task for herself. Something I recall daily as I pencil mine in. Like Nana I cannot see my public or go anywhere without my eyebrows and my red lippy.

She had a huge loom installed in her home, probably by the social services or invalidity people, to help her keep moving her limbs. She would then have been about fifty - jeez my age now- and living with grandad (Harry see Moannie) I think I instinctively knew all was not well between them, but this post is about my memories as a child and he was always kind and gentle with me. He would bring home fish and chips for us all as he ran a fish 'n' chip shop and his fish and chips were always very tasty. I would sit and eat with them and watch Crossroads, a uk soap from 60's and 70's. He would give me threepence or sixpence or a small 2penny bar of Cadbury's chocolate, covered in blue foil, he'd tell me stories of how he lost some toes, or l'd marvel at his huge earlobes, which he told me had ha'pennies in them. This the man that was horror personified to my mother, so out of respect to her I won't post any images of him.

Nana would sometimes collect me from school in her three wheeled invalid electric car. She would tell me to get in quick and get down low as it wasn't allowed as she didn't want to lose her licence, the car was probably the only small amount of freedom she had left to her. I remember when I had nits and my long hair was cut off, my mum and Nana sat picking at each others locks. Often we would shell peas together or peel spuds.

It's weird what a young child picks up, I was aware of an atmosphere when my parents were around Harry, but I was never affected by it. Of course I now know of  my mothers childhood, of her unhappy time in the orphanage, how her mother could not cope, but I also know as an adult, wife and mother, it isn't really for me to judge, we all make our choices and our mistakes.

As her condition deteriorated ( I believe she was diagnosed in her late 30's)  she was no longer so mobile and unable to do things easily for herself and Harry. I'm not sure of the how and why exactly but it seemed to me Harry couldn't or wouldn't cope and she was of no further use to him.  Nana was admitted to a NHS hospital/institution for the old and infirmed - she was only in her mid 50's and she stayed there for 3-4 years . It was awful for my mother to see her in there, a woman who still had some use in her arms and hands.A woman who was still a vibrant force and character and only hospitalized because she was -a at that time- partially paralyzed, but couldn't take care of herself and apparently noone to take care of her. Awful for her also, as many of the women in her ward had dementia or worse. I remember my mother was always fretting about her while we were in Canada/Mexico, always checking the post hoping for a letter from her.

When we returned from Canada/Mexico and my parents bought a 'Home for Gentlefolk' .  It was here Nana, now 57, had her own large room, her own nurse and my parents could provide her with the care she needed. 
As I got older Nana and her room was my sanctuary, where I went when I was in trouble, when I wanted to have a chat or just to be some company for each other. Later, I rented a room in a house opposite - I didn't move far from home when I left - and I could see her room window from mine, it was the first thing I looked at when I woke up and the last thing at night and quite comforting. I would take me friends and boyfriends to see her and she would sparkle and even flirt a little, they were always moved and touched by her personality and apparent joy of life even in her circumstances. She enjoyed the cricket (!? go figure) Come Dancing, her gramophone and her books were still a passion. She was full of love and praise for my mother and always grateful to my father for giving her a home and she wouldn't hear a thing against them, though she would listen to my teenage moaning and groaning with sympathy. She was a confidante and she would regale me with her dancing stories, I do wish l had written them down. I remember her tales of her standing very still on stage, as she posed nude but for a flesh covered bodice, other times bare breasted but she couldn't move but for the Lord Chamberlain slapping a banning order and closing the theatre. She told me she was an early partner of Victor Silvester and she danced in many a chorus line.

When she was almost totally paralysed from the neck down, I would sometimes help with her 'toilette' and I was so amazed by the condition of her legs. They were a pure white, like alabaster, blemish free and amazingly toned in appearance and so long. Her feet were baby soft and her knees like little buttons. She had gained a fair amount of weight, as the then treatments were cortisone/steroid based, so her face was wrinkle free and her eyes sparkled with a naughtiness that would make me smile and very curious. Her room, from which she rarely left, as it was difficult to lower her to ground level, and then push this quite heavy lady around in a fairly basic wheelchair. It happened occasionally, but not latterly. I'm sure she wold have had more equipment and entitlements available to her these days.

There is one truly astonishing fact to tell about my Nana and that is I never her heard moan about her situation once, nor did I hear of it second from the staff. Itwas hard to understand why she had Multiple Sclerosis, but I do recall her saying she thought it viral and that was why it was difficult to understand it. She always said she had had her fair share of fun, frolics, love and drama and she said she had no real regrets. I think that shows incredible bravery, courage and a tough 'get on with it' survival instinct. That is something all my grandparents seem to have had in common and I'm thankful that I have it too!



A contender for post of the day at Authorblog, thanks again for the mention David!

Sunday, 16 November 2008

What to write?!


 I don't often have a post in mind to write and then I read other bloggers' posts and I'm inspired by my comment and train of thought, to elaborate on the theme, I just love that! It's like magic!

For instance a couple of days ago,  David - authorblog McMahon wrote about things old and worn out (?!)  and asked if there was beauty in decay! HERE

So I have a couple of posts in draft waiting for suitable images.

I wonder if anyone else finds inspiration in the same or similar way?


Thursday, 13 November 2008

PHOTOSTORY FRIDAY - SKYLINE


Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

I was fiddling with my mobile phone and exploring the options I didn't know I had, 
when I noticed a panorama mode,  so I played some more...
the first  was of the extended view of the Castle opposite my work. 
I have posted a view of the Castle from the museum before, 
but never quite like this...



... and this is the view from behind the picture above.
On driving home, well l know it appears lazy and unecofriendly but it was pouring today!!
Anyway this is the skyline view in panorama mode!


from left The Cathedral then the Castle and then Dixons Chimney
 (which is l believe the tallest mill chimney still standing in Europe, can that be right?)

this is normal mode and you can just make out the green of the cricket ground through the trees,

Not bad for a mobile phone eh?

Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek


btw. my phone is  Sony Ericsson K770i

Is it better to give than receive?


I read a blog earlier where someone had recently raised a few £K for charity, great stuff, but it left me feeling the cringe factor big time, as the blogger was then praised to high heaven in comments and I dithered about as I wondered if should I write something too. The post was interesting and warm but I felt cold as the emphasis shifted. But all I wanted to ask was what her motivation was in the telling ... and is it about giving or receiving?

She obviously wanted to help the charity concerned and to raise awareness during the event itself. But to then 'boast' (my term) about her laudable behaviour and gaining much praise, seems to negate the generous act - in my opinion.

I've always considered that one who gives to or enables fundraising for charity- and one can do so in so many different ways be it charity/thrift stores, direct debit, volunteer work etc, do so for enjoyment, self-fulfillment and spiritual enhancement, but surely not for reward or even praise.
 

So I wonder, which is more rewarding - the helping, donating, fundraising, volunteering for a charitable cause and keeping mum about it or is it considered self serving in talking about it.

Am I completely off my trolley!?




Tuesday, 11 November 2008

ABC Wednesday - Q is for ...


... Queen & Quebec



http://wednesdayabc.blogspot.com/


RMS

QUEEN ELIZABETH

Cunard


In October 1968, I was ten years of age and

the adventure which had begun two years earlier was coming to an end.

In October 1966 we emigrated to Canada to start a new life.


We left Southampton docks

on the Cunard ship Arcadia and five of us shared a small cabin class room,

two sets of bunk beds and a cot for my 6 month old sister.

We settled in Pointe Claire, Montreal, Quebec.

The following year we moved to Mexico City

following the death of Papacito, my grandfather.

My grandfather was French but longtime Mexican resident.

He moved to Mexico as a young man and was latterly

the General Manager of the very swish department store

Paris, Londres.

We left Mexico and flew to New York,

where we stayed for a few days in the now long gone Hotel Manhattan,

in downtown Manhattan, New York.

A few days later we embarked the Cunard ship RMS Queen Elizabeth,

a much grander ship I had never seen.



First class Verandah grill

A fabulous adventure for young children, I recall watching many films in one of the several cinemas, my brother aged 4 and I exploring the ship. One day we went down some stairs and down and down until we found a swimming pool, but were asked by a steward to leave, I remember feeling very mischievous.


I also ran down a stairway straight into a wall and my nose bled for ages and until it was cauterized twice in '75 -when I was at school in New York state- I often suffered 1-2 hour nose bleeds.


First class Lounge


I remember the trip vividly, especially the last morning when we sailed sedately up the St. Lawrence river in the early hours and which has already been described beautifully here.



On this journey we travelled first class in a 'stateroom', which consisted of adjoining rooms.

My room was shared with Mutti, an elderly lady who was a family friend.

I remember the furniture was covered with green frilly floral upholstery, curtains and bedding.

I remember thinking it was very grand.

Mum & Dad dressed to kill for Captain's Cocktails

1968 Final Voyage RMS Queen Elizabeth

New York/ Southampton


This is also very topical as today the liner HMS Queen Elizabeth II began it's final voyage also!


RMS Queen Elizabeth

The world's largest liner 1939-96




Monday, 10 November 2008

What is normal?





The Wilkins family, 1974, From Reading.







I have been following the recent series, 'The Family' on  C4 wednesdays, although rather haphazardly and in the wrong order on the online  C4 player.

It sparked my interest because I can recall the first series upon which this one is seemingly based. Way back in 1974 it introduced  us to the Wilkins family and it was considered  groundbreaking at the time. It was probably the first fly on the wall documentary as it was refered to then or now as a reality programme. I was also interested as the family in this series live in Canterbury, my old home town before we upped sticks and moved north in 1996.

Both are hardworking and families in the traditional sense, with a mix of teenage and young adult children. 
What amazed me is that even though we have moved through nearly three and half decades, the behaviours,attitudes,  arguments and family dynamics were so strikingly similar!

I was also amazed to find myself saying  and admittedly so out loud,  variations on the phrase,

 'So we/they/he/she/us/I/ am/are normal then!?'  emphasised with much relief.

For instance;
Mum and Dad bickering over the kids - we are normal!
Mum muttering to herself that Dad was a soft touch with the kids and she was the 'bad guy' -so that's normal!
Mum sighing heavily A LOT! - So I'm normal then!
The kitchen a mess when Mum came home and she moaned on and on - That's normal then!
The dishwasher was always stacked badly/uneconomically/dirty washing on the floor etccccccc- that's normal then!
Dad slept on the couch a lot (during the day!)- He's normal then!
Dad?Mum complained he's tired/misundertood/hard done by, very often- He's normal then?
Daughters (16+) room looked like a landfill site - She's normal!
Son is 14 (same) lovable and unpredictably aloof- Its not me, he's normal!
Daughter and Mother clash in a range of hormonal rages- We are normal!
Mum shouted alot/ Kids mostly ignored her - Normal?
Parents chasing kids for evidence of homework - Way normal!
Son is mostly found in his darkened room hunched over  homework/laptop/phone/Empire magazine & Mother concerned about future spinal/social problems- This is normal!?
Sometimes like this evening, I am in our bedroom on my laptop, husband is in living room working on his business laptop, son is in his room playing his guitar (attempting Tubular bells), daughter has been napping in bed (its 7pm) and is now doing her homework, we are all apart, but together. This is normal!




















The Hughes family 2008, from Canterbury, Kent



I am reassured! So I'm normal then? Ummmm.......

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Bah Humbug...


I haven't really taken much notice of the Christmas displays and 
 decorations in the shops until today.  I met with my good friend and  fellow southerner ( see Stroppy  southern strumpets),  and 'chief cheerer upper' Lynn, for an early lunch, some good chat, much supportive, 'Oh I know!'s  and 'No! Really!'s  from both of us. After a glass of house red, when we stumbled, quite literally in my case, across two aisle fulls (eye fulls) of glitz, glitter and  much festive ho ho ho  arrays of  festooned garlands, cards, wrap and anything and everything you don't want or need, to make your day special or not.
Indeed I bought some suitable stocking fillers, a couple of  'commercial' Advent calenders,  I just cannot find any 'real' ones anymore, and well hey they do have chocolate in them after all, and other gifts to add to the now overflowing area at the top of  our wardrobe. ( Yes I am almost done!)
We spent  a wonderfully relaxing afternoon actually, finishing it off with the
 'must do' trip around TK Maxx, followed by a warm the cockles latte. We parted and I walked home warmed  more by the friendship and sisterhood, from which I get to feel like me for a unpressurised, stress free couple of hours. 
The reason I call this post Bah humbug is, by the time I got my coat off and settled in on the couch to catch up with the family, I became acutely aware of an atmosphere brewing.  I ignored the warning of the snarling tummy and ploughed on, gave the kids the warm seasonal gloves l'd found them and told them I had bought their advents. The excitement was telling in their voices and as they began to chat, speculate and talk generally about the christmas period, as only teenagers can ... my daughter gets almost sick with excitement, my son too but less so he is more contained. 
A whiff of humbug pervaded the room and I don't mean the classic mint  flavour. 
Oh dear I thought no, don't start please.
 But Mr Grumpy began his furtive murmurings and said he could well do without it, we had done it to death and we should get far away or even better cancel it. I protested - unsurprisingly for those who know me, I never know when to shut up - All I want is to be in our home, with the family and dog and have a quiet relaxing day. But apparently I don't do relaxing on the day and everyone walks around on eggshells. I can smell the egg rot! I do Christmas well, Mr Grumpy doesn't. I wondered if this was for effect, as this comes every year just like Christmas, it happens. The kids love it and although a few weeks ago they said they would have a curry for Christmas day in deference to Mr G wanting a change, I thought to postpone the turkey to Boxing day, after all I've had my way for over 30 years, now they tell me as we get nearer they want the traditional day and so said all of us! (well three of us).
 Even though the kids are now 16 and 14 they ARE still kids.
Yes I agree its all commercial twaddle out there and uber overkill with parents apparently going seriously into hock for  zillions of gifts and ££ presents, that IS the wrong message. 
 We don't celebrate Thanksgiving in this country, though I have experienced it when I lived in the states and it is the spirit, the essence of  that time which I try and emulate. I have created traditions for our festive period. We read story books, light candles, share our thanks in our togetherness.
Apparently I have to drag My G into the Christmas period scratching and clawing all the way. I did suggest he went and stayed with his mother who does Garbo every year. Oh dear watch this space, I don't have a good feeling about this...


A contender for post of the day at Authorblog, thanks again for the mention David!