promise Hannah I’d talk about Christmas, and am going to cheat and talk about the
past, the one this year will be marred by the death of a very good friend who
always shared the day, plus other problems, so thinking of a time when Christmases
seemed perfect is a balm.
I remember coming
back from getting milk with an uncle in his car (a very grand thing to have in
50’s Wales) and not understanding how he could steer, there where thick
flurries of snow and strong winds. I thought him very clever.
my grandmother (Nain)’s house, front door straight onto street, and dashing
though the snow inside and with uncle closing the elements out and standing there
in the stillness and warmth with soggy shoes - shoes that were taken away to
the fire and slippers provided, told I’d “catch my death” from cold wet feet. I suspect the idea of wet footprints on freshly polished lino may
have has some bearing on the matter too.
quickly set to shelling peas (which tasted good raw) ready for the pot.
room (used for 'special' occasions only) was laid out for dinner, many places set, and more uncles siting in armchairs
by the coal fire, drinking stout (which was appropriate) while numerous aunties bustling in and out from the kitchen
laying out the special Christmas meal, compete with turkey.
was ready and the meal commenced, more to eat than was comfortable, but who
could stop? I was even allowed a small
half glass of stout , a special treat - that tasted like medicine though I
In came the
pudding on a huge dish, alight with brandy flames and held down by a sprig of holly. My portion had a silver shilling in it -I
think Nain cut it specially so I got it.
presents from under the tree which was covered in candles (far too dangerous nowadays)
and a star on top. Numerous hankies and knitted socks
from numerous aunties, and a wind-up train on a circular track from Nain.
bed, snug beside my tiny oil lamp tucked up with a ceramic hot water bottle,
listening to the departure of all in musical voices, followed by the sounds of wind gusting
heavily in trees and beating on the window panes.