The 12 days of Christmas are upon us. This time of year can get pretty claustrophobic. The days are short. It doesn’t really get light until nearly 8 am and its dark soon after 4 pm. It isn’t as cold as it should be – which is worrying in global terms but does make going outside a bit easier. The shops opened again on Boxing Day but without public transport (there are some buses between Xmas and New Year, but on a limited service) that won’t make much difference to me.
There isn’t much to do except batten down the hatches and embrace the traditional way of dealing with this time after the winter solstice: stay at home and eat! Or, in a more modern tradition: watch TV. Living in the same house as mum, who’s a TV addict and hard of hearing to boot, it’s impossible for me to beat it. So, even I, who has only owned one TV in my whole life, am studying the Radio Times to check the schedules. If I can’t beat them, I might as well join’em.
And actually I always do try to make this time as nice as possible. For several years now I’ve thought ‘this might be mum’s last Xmas’. This year, for the first time, she wondered that herself.
Anyway, I knew I’d never get through the exhausting run up to Xmas and survive the holidays and the period of hibernation that follows, without first having a respite break to recharge my batteries. At the beginning of December, I got the train to Paris and stayed with some friends who live there. I saw exhibitions, went to the movies (for the first time in over a year!) and had interesting conversations, which I didn’t have to repeat ad nauseum! On my way back through London I managed a couple of get-togethers with old friends and by the time I returned here I felt quite like my old self. Mum also returned from her stay in the care home in very good spirits.
So, the Xmas tree is up, the candles are lit, the TV is on. And I have a novel and a bottle of scotch tucked away. Hopefully, mum and I will manage to survive this Huis-Clos type holiday period without any major flare ups!
And I wish all of you who read this, a happy and peaceful 2016!