The Christmas dinner Mary sent down !! Just right !

Deck the halls . . .

Christmas almost upon us ~ the weather dry and mild but windy with hurricane Barbara racing towards us across the Atlantic ~ first thing, I must tidy the little attic which has somehow filled up with rubbish including stuff for the charity shop which I'll deal with after  Xmas.

Later : 5.30 and dark and wet ~ I think I've sent all e-cards now ~ in years gone by, there was always last minute shoppin or cooking ~ just a quiet day tomorrow and on Sunday too ~ to be warm and comfortable here with everything under control and these days no money worries ~ the family all happy and flourishing, and good friends around me ~ I feel truly blessed.

Christmas Eve : Mary just sent me down a generous slice of roast pork ~ they are so kind ~ I've put it on top of the Aga to keep warm while I boil a spud and a few sprouts ~ yummy !  Christmas used to be so stressful ~ trying to make the money stretch over presents and food.   In those days, having no money other than the family allowance  I'd order the children's presents out of my friend's Mail Order catalogue ~ trouble was you had to order well in advance so that it was paid for by Christmas ~ Georgie was about ten and still playing with her Cindy doll the year I ordered some Cindy furniture for her ~ bedroom furniture I think it was ~ oh Lord !   Maybe she was eleven ~ whatever, by Christmas she'd grown out of toys, dolls and all such childish stuff ~ I remember the brave face she put on it, unwrapping the bed and dressing table and wardrobe ~ I could have wept as there was nothing else for her from me, though cheerful oddments in the parcel from my family.   Eventually the Cindy stuff was passed down to Kate, but what a disappoinment for Georgie ~ and for me !

A similat thing happened once with Richard ~ from Bet's catalogue I ordered him a splenndid microscope which cost far more than I could afford even on the never-never  but again, it was a mistake ~ I don't think he ever used it.   Dear Gawd ~ so many mistakes never mind my best intentions ~ thank goodness those days are behind me ~ now all I do is send a pot of hyacinths to each family, Georgie, Will and Kate ~ hyacinths from Thompson and Morgan ~ and that's it !

Christmas Day : very mild again ~ Kate tells me over there in Heptonstall it's pouring ~having tidied round and washed my hair I've put my sparkly jersey on and I'll go down now and open my parcels . . . 

Later ~ 7pm : I've been so lucky ~ chocs, bottles, a large wall calendar ~ and best of all a small black sheep from Kate to add to the crowd along the back of the sofa.   Last night in addition to The Snowman, The Snowman and the Snow Dog, and Carols from King's weI had an Alan Bennett marathon ~ an hour of him waffling on in his unique way, followed by his play, "The Lady in the Van" ~ an incredible story.   Tonight there is nothing apart from Dad's Army at 8pm.

Chris and Annie were coming for tea and cake tomorrow but she came round to tell me he was whipped into Scarborough Hosital yesterday ~ oh dear, Chris is 90 and frail.   Annie will come anyway tomorrow ans maybe by then she will have some idea how long he is likely to be kept in hospital ~ it is only ten days or so until they move from their little old cottage to a sheltered flat on the West Cliff.

Too late to do any more tonight ~ I'll start a new entry tomorrow ~ suffice it to say I have had a very happy Christmas with so many loving friends and family, visitors and phone calls all day long.  Incredible.

The darling little sheep Kate gave me ~