It was a week before Christmas…
It’s madness in the cities on this little island. Madness, I tell you. People driving like crazed loons, minds anywhere but on the road, crowds in the supermarkets and stores and so on.
We went to the city for two days but then fled the angst as if it were a noxious fog.
I ask myself the same question every year – why does it become a madhouse, because we know every year that Christmas is on 25th December and surely we can build organisation into our lives?
Mind you, this year it’s just a little different. This year, there’s a commonly held opinion that the madness may be because our state borders have opened for the first time since March 2020. Our island population of about 600,000 is justifiably nervous as most of us have been lucky thus far. We have a vax-rate of nearly 90%, so we’re all hoping we’ll be okay, but maybe the madness is because folk are trying to get in and out of cities and shops before the incomers do indeed give us Omicron.
I’m fairly organised. We’re a small family and so I finished shopping and wrapping a few weeks ago. The Christmas cooking is all done. And from Open Borders Day, my family and I plan to keep a low profile – not mixing with anyone we know who has been interstate or overseas until their obligatory tests have been done and proved okay. We also don’t plan to mix in crowds. We’re lucky we can shut the gate on the world when we want and only visit isolated outdoors places. But that’s our way of protecting ourselves and our loved ones. Some might think we’re practising overkill. So be it!
For us, Christmas is all about our little grandson who at three and a half, now has a slightly more enlarged appreciation of Christmas trees, presents and fun. We want his memory-bank to be filled with such good and positive things to bolster him in life. If he can draw on those in the tough times, then it’s a nice insulation.
If I have any problem with my own pre-Christmas, it’s that the kitchen and kitchen garden take over my life. It’s summer, and the produce comes thick and fast and who wouldn’t want to take advantage of organic fresh best? But the preponderance of hunter-gatherer jobs means that I barely do any writing at all. The saviour is that I go to bed and after I turn out the light, I tell myself the next few pages, and the next and the next after that.
Before the light’s switched off though, currently I’m reading The Watchmaker of Dachau by Carly Schabowski on my Kindle. It’s such a poignant story but so well-rendered, conveying the horror without being gratuitous. The characters are overflowing with depth – my favourite kind of narrative.
In print, I’m reading 100 Chapters in the Life of Prince Phillip by Ian Lloyd. Fascinating and gives an unusual reveal on the man who was the Queen’s ‘strength and stay’. I absolutely love that description – it’s filled with such love and respect.
And in audio, I’m listening to Bernard Cornwell’s Harlequin. I’m an enormous fan of his writing, and the narrator Andrew Cullum is wonderful. I’ve taken to carrying my phone all around the house while cleaning, ironing, whatever – so I can keep listening.
I was also privileged to listen to a fabulously narrated audition of my own novel, Tobias. But more on that in a future post. The narrator just got it! It was thrilling! Just between you and me, I felt a little bit as if I was listening to one of Bernard Cornwell’s beautifully narrated stories. Please don’t think I’m comparing my meagre output with Cornwell books. Not in a month of Sundays. Oh that I wish I could be such a writer! But I think it was just that my narrator gave Tobias that ‘sound’.
Anyway… in the spirit of Christmas and summer and gardens, I won’t be working on my WIP this week and may Brother Bruno, the lead character in Oak Gall and Gold forgive me. I’ll be trying to work on the production notes for Tobias if I can…
…but most likely I’ll be picking more broadbeans, more berries and helping OH trim the hedges which have ‘growed like Topsy’.
Welcome back!! Glad you got everything straightened out.
It’s madness in my city as well as Christmas draws nearer but I’ve been ready for a while. My children are grown and we used to do a name draw for gift giving but gave it up years ago as we all decided that we’d take the money and donate it to local service groups who provide for those less fortunate that us. There are two young ones in our family so we purchase something for them. I am always on the lookout for some little thing or another for my grandchildren. Both of them have birthdays not far from Christmas – granddaughter (age 11) in early December and grandson (almost 6) on Robbie Burns Day – so some gifts are put aside for the birthdays and the others are for Christmas. They each have a subscription to Nat Geo kids magazines as they love to read and Grandma and Papa will happily feed that love! We do a collective family meal so I have just a portion of what I used to do when I was raising my children on my own. For us, it’s always been about family, food and memories. I like to discuss plans in October with the family with a target day so that they all can look at work schedules and we always seem to make it work out fine as some have in-laws as well. It sounds like your Christmas with family will be lovely – enjoy that young fellow 😉
Thanks for sharing some interesting reads! I’ve marked Harlequin as to read (Cornwell is a new name to me) and it’s at my library. I am looking for a copy of The Duke and The Watchmaker of Dachau as it’s not in either of the library systems I belong to. Requesting them from our Interlibrary Loan system which covers my whole province.
Dear Prue, I’d like to wish you and your family a very Happy Christmas and hopefully a better 2022. May you continue to be inspired in your writing (I’m really enjoying Reliquary) and all the best!!
Judy, hi. I braved the city very early this morning (9AM) and it was almost empty – quite strange. So I did last minute shopping and raced home, spending the rest of the day gardening with hubbie.
Hopefully, we can shut gates on the world from now and on…
Have a wonderful Christmas, Judy and a super New Year. May we all survive safe and well. And again, thank you for being my Number One fan. PS: Hope it’s not too chilly in Canada!
Not overkill at all, I’m doing the same here. I feel that we have to do everything we can for our family’s sake and if that means staying away from everyone, then so be it. I have read Harlequin by Bernard Cornwell, like you, I’m a fan of his books and have quite a number of them. I must add that I’m enjoying your books too, love all your descriptions, the colours, the smells, the scenery, I feel I could be there with your characters!
Hi Pauline, thank you so much for your kind comments on my books. It’s always such a relief that readers so in fact enjoy them.
I’m a late starter with Cornwell but having started, I feel I have found a goldmine to mine again and again when I want a very very good read. I love The Last Kingdom series as it rolls out, the Arthurian series and now the Grail Quest.
Re Covid, we had our borders open less than 24 hours and had our first Covid-positive traveller into the state but I suppose out of the 5000 that arrived on the island yesterday, one is not so bad…
Husband and self don’t qualify for boosters till mid-end January, so we really do want to try and stay as immune as we can!
Have a great Christmas and may you and all your family stay safe.
Great book choices, I think I’d like the one on Prince Philip, shops aren’t too bad here, having said that we’re only going in when wer’e out for another reason, I have my online shop coming monday with the fresh veg etc, we have the main bits in. If there’s anything we need it will be tuesday morning when we pick up
Heather from the garage after she drops her car off for servicing, then home gain. Sadly in the UK Omnicron seems to be gaining ground rapidly. so we will be staying home.
Have a fabulous Christmas with the family and the littleist farmer, keep safe and well <3 xx
Libby, the Ian Lloyd book on the Duke is refreshing in the facts it shares. No opinion pieces, no attempts to gild the lily and tear it down. Just an informative book – I actually think the Queen would approve of it. Especially after Annus Horribilis Mark Two.