Something In the Wind

For many years now I have thought of Christmas as nothing more than a Chore, a mad frenzy of people spending money they don’t have and mountains of food going to waste. It was something I had decided was just for the kids to enjoy and look forward to.

I was very Bah Humbug about it all, or should I say thats how I did feel until this year.
It could be the weather…..it could just be wind…..but for some unknown reason this year feels very different.

Something in my head has changed and it feels like it used to do.
It’s a rather simple feeling…. far more relaxed and perhaps a little nostalgic.
I find myself looking forward to a walk though the park with frost & leaves strewn everywhere, and a hot mug of steaming tea and a mince pie waiting for me when I get home.

I cannot put my finger on exactly what it is that has changed….perhaps its something simple like knowing that another spring will be approaching soon after, but there is something in my head that thinks that the approaching New Year will be a really good one.

Fingers Crossed I am right, and we all have a good year next year…. but if it turns out to be wind I will be sure to let you all know lol xx

79 Responses

  1. cilla says:

    How nice Ali, I hope it is a brilliant year for you. :o)

  2. cazrym says:

    I’ve felt like that before but that was when i worked & did’nt have much time I’m pleased you feel better about it now Enjoy it :)

  3. gertie says:

    Great Ali…I know that whimsical waft of feeling…something intangible that brings back the good of childhood. It’s rare enough to enjoy with surprise and intense pleasure, but often enough to be real and treasured. Hope it comes back for you soon. :D

  4. Hayley says:

    What a lovely post Ali. :) Isn’t it strange when something just clicks and suddenly there’s a different thought process in your head. It’s as if a light is turned on which helps you see another path and, in so doing, an alternative view. Keep hold of that feeling ;)

  5. shedsue says:

    Nice one Alison, Its lovely when something like that happens :)

  6. Yewbarrow says:

    It must be something in the wind, feel very excited about Christmas, haven’t for a very long time but this year,somehow it feels different.

  7. Beanstew says:

    This is such a lovely post, and its almost eerie to find someone else is recovering that lift of anticipation and simple enjoyment of our Winter festival – because I feel the same too. As far as I am concerned, I wonder if it has anything to do with the fact that I decided to simplify, spend less, and make more? A throwback to poorer times when the kids were young, and I was swept along by their excitement? Who knows? but I’m glad it happened.

  8. AliCat says:

    Thanks for all your comments, it has been a strange year….the worst weather we could all think of, and whilst 2013 may be an unlucky number, I think it may be a little cracker :o)

  9. AliCat says:

    Hi Beanstew, perhaps getting back to the simplicity is the key to it all :o)

  10. Beanstew says:

    Perhaps it is. I look at pictures of very poor people in Africa etc, who really have nothing, and they are laughing and happy – try comparing them with harrassed Westereners who are falling over a lot of stuff they could easily do without, and they are tense, unsmiling, and uncaring. We have sold our souls for a mess of pottage, maybe? (Having said that, I’m really glad I have a bathroom).

  11. dixon says:

    I think I need a bit of star dust sprinkling over here Ali. :-(

  12. AliCat says:

    Where would we be without our bathrooms lol……I shall send you some of mine Dixon……for some unknown reason I have laods of the stuff :o

  13. gibbon says:

    I am realy happy for you Alison, no star dust hear however,I hope you have a fantastic year, but for me it is still humbug, I am a realist but am happy with my lot,chrismas is just a boar and I am glad when it is over so that we can get back to normal, but you enjoy it I do not begrudge you it,

  14. Great blog Ali, I must admit to feeling somewhat different about Christmas and wonder if as Beanstew has said it has to do with actually having less, we as a family have decided to concentrate of having good food&enjoying each others company with just a token gift given. Also wonder if the Olympic feeling perhaps hasn’t worn off yet!

  15. AliCat says:

    Hi Cliff, Hi Lynn, I think there is a lot to be said for good food and good company.
    Presents are for the little ones, though a token gift to the ones near and dear is always nice.
    I think I may have finally grown up and realised that the best things in life are free lol

  16. gibbon says:

    I agree with your senterments ,every one is diferant, I sea this time of year as mid winter,befor the church steped in when they got stuck in to some good feeds to guard aginst the cold and they hung strips of coloured rags on firtrees to word of the evel sprits that brought the cold, I am a bit pagen in my thinking, but what ever makes people happy I am in favour of, so longe as I do not have tojoin in, not misrable,Ijust think that I am a REALIST, love Cliff,

  17. mick1970 says:

    i love the joys of kids happiness on a day when everychild should smile,i am so glad you have turned the corner life is too short ,one thing i try not to do is lose my smile,at least you have found that the things what make you happy nature will never let you down……..happy days ahead…….,i am a realist too cliff but when you have kids you have to bend the rules abit but it bugs me.

  18. gonewest says:

    I’m gradually refinding the joy of Christmas again too. For me it’s been growing a little more each year since I stopped working and life isn’t so hectic anymore. I have time to think what it is about for me, and what I’d like it to be about for my family. It’s also going to be a simpler affair this year because everyone who’s coming has mentioned that they’d like it kept that way. I will be having daughter’s boyfriend’s Mum again who said that she really enjoyed being part of a family Christmas with us last year and this year we are adding son’s girlfriend and her Mum (who I’ve never yet met but it’ll be fine).

    In between Christmas and New Year we will be having brother-in-law and his family of 3 children who have all asked Santa for books and different craft and learning activities. So lovely to see they’re not eager for every last techno gadget.

    Then for New Year we will have a cousin who came to us for the first time last year after he was bereaved. We were so stunned when he called us on Boxing Day just to talk to someone because he had been alone for Christmas (he has a daughter and we’d assumed he would be with her), I just immediately invited him as we always have a quiet New Year and that’s what he wanted, but just with some company at hand. He found it therapeutic to get away from the lonely (for him) bustle of London to come to somewhere he could just relax and do as he pleased, but away from the particular 4 walls that made him feel so alone. I have to say I was greatly daunted by the prospect before he arrived, and I was a bit concerned to tell OH what I’d done in inviting him on a knee-jerk reaction. However, it couldn’t have been better. It was so enjoyable for all of us that he asked if he could do the same again and we are looking forward to it. He didn’t hang around looking glum but took himself off for walks in our countryside to blow the cobwebs away, and really enjoyed coming back to a welcoming cuppa, a piece of Christmas cake and a little inane chatter to stop him brooding on his situation.

  19. Allan says:

    For a change i do agree with Cliff,

  20. Allan says:

    Try again,,,I got cut off then, And told that i had made this statement before, Then i tried to edit, And was told, Access denied! Your site administrator has blocked your access to the word press ,back-office, ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,So,,,,,,, I do agree with Cliff AKA, Victor Meldrew. To some extent, But i would miss the coming together of the family, for this once in a year occasion, With just the two of us being here all year, What a welcome change it is to have children and G children running around,Be it only for a couple of days,The next time we will have a get together, Will be next year for our golden wed anniversary,We are not looking forward to the anniversary, Just the family getting together, A home is just a house without kids running around,And Christmas is their time, They are not kids long,, Make the most of it soon goes,

  21. gibbon says:

    I agree about family coming together Allan, but I am not that fortunate, so there is just one of us hear 365 days a year, so I just get on with it.

  22. dandlyon says:

    Have always loved Christmas not the hectic rushing to shop till you drop,buying presents through out the year as my mother did when she had a little spare money.Never did find where she hid them .We used to spend hours as a family making Christmas decorations,the house would be full of cut up paper bits of holly and mistletoe.News paper on the table while we painted leaves gold or siver.We used to make paper roses out of crepe paper then dip them in melted candle fat.These could be washed in warm water and when there time was finished used carefully they made cracking fire lighters.Not many cars in the 40s plus petrol was rationed so our relations from 10 miles away used to arrive Christmas eve by bus cousins,uncles and aunts that onlysaw now and then.Spare mattress’s on the floor .Boys one end girl the other.Around 20 people in a 3 bedroom house,being an old pub they were large rooms.The joy Chrismas morning un wrapping pressents then out in the street to see what your mates had.Christmas evening no pubs open at night that day the adults would sit down to a game of dominoes always a big table cloth on the table one that hung well down the sides of the table ,this was where us kids sat under the table draining the drinks bottles that the adults put on the floor so there was room to play dominoes on the table.We still have a family gathering now noy on the scale of the 40s most have cars so its a vivit for Christmas dinner a late tea then off to their own homes.My grandchildren love the Christingle sevice in our church just before Christmas ,the orange to repressent the world the candle for the light in the world each one goes to the front of the church to get their orange then the candle lit carol service.it makes no differance whether you believe or not this is a peaceful and moving time these children get along together fine it’s when adults interfere problems begin.Enjoy what you have while you can

    • mick1970 says:

      thats the true meaning of christmas,when children appreceated everything they got ,everything was family motivated ,i enjoy christmas day but the rest of it i hate,if it came back to the way you explain i could enjoy the full holiday period cheers tony one day maybe

      • Beanstew says:

        Every cloud has a silver lining – and maybe the Recession is what we needed to retune our sense of values. Hopefully we won’t lose it again too quickly.

        • mick1970 says:

          i cant see it bs ,a lot of people go into to debt the newer generation would find it impossible to go back keeping up with the jones is far more important,but i do hope

          • Beanstew says:

            I’m counting on the fact that being in debt can’t be much fun – what a grind to constantly have to curtail any mad flights of fancy because of payments to be made. Being a consumer is not surely our main importance in this life?

    • Beanstew says:

      Your post brought a lot of other things back, Tony. How could I possibly have forgotten the paper chains we made every year, and packed away carefully so they didn’t get crushed – but they always did, and looked sad and tatty the following year. The other thing it brought to mind were the real wax candles in little holders that clipped to the tree, and the dripping of the wax – why there weren’t more house fires around Christmas, I will never know. And my father sneaking off early evening up the hill to the Forestry Commission ground, to select the most beautiful tree he could find.

  23. Tiggy says:

    So enjoyed reading your blog Ali ! I have lost my mum and dad and a great many friends over the last 10 years, and it has had an effect on me. This year however, I am looking forward to it. I have a 7 year old grandaughter and she is so excited, and it is rubbing off on me. Also, I am still buying gifts for the family, but I really have cut down on the amount I am spending. I need the money for next year’s plants lol !

  24. Star says:

    THought some of you might enjoy this……..I know I did.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vnt7euRF5Pg

  25. VegVamp says:

    I’m not religious, but this really did run tingles up my spine, and brought tears to my eyes, beautiful. Thank you Star, I have seen the ones of the Hallelujah Chorus, but never seen this one before.

  26. gonewest says:

    Last year our choir flash-mobbed the hotel we had our Christmas meal in, but we are a rock choir so Christmas songs not carols. Got the party started – as they say. I was singing along to that video though, my alto parts are hard-wired in for the songs they sang though including O Night Divine. When we go to Midnight Mass my son and I always sing the alto and tenor harmonies no matter which church we’re in. Mostly that’s because we can’t reach the high soprano notes though. In the choir I sing with now I sing with the men because we didn’t have enough of them at first. Now we have a good section but I can still sing lower than some of them! So I’ve stayed in that section.

    • cazrym says:

      I ‘d love to be in a choir i must enquire locally That sounds great GW you cant help but sing along & smile:)

    • Star says:

      How wonderful to be part of a flash mob Liz……………….if only I could sing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • gonewest says:

        I bet you can really Star. The thing about singing in a choir is that although we have a few stand out singers it’s not really what you want for most of the singing – you need to blend in so you sound like a choir and not a lot of soloists competing with each other. That means you can feel more confident to belt it out. I know I have a distinctly average voice. Most of the people in our choir have never done anything like this before and can’t read music. Although our glorious leader puts scores online for us, every so often she will tell us we are learning the next song by ear which makes everyone equal, but then I’m not sure I’m right on that because those who always learn by ear have developed the skill more fully to those of us who cling on to our scores. For practice in the week she uploads recordings of herself and her husband singing the individual parts separately and one recording of it all blended to how it should sound added together. Now that’s a skill and a half because it’s got to be done so accurately to time so that it all starts and ends in the same place. Before she does this she’s had to spend ages getting inspiration for how the whole song will sound with all of us singing it then writing the separate parts down, then checking that what she’s written actually works put together. We take anyone who wants to join without audition and it’s lovely to hear a Johnny-one-note developing their singing ability. I am placed beside someone who no-one else wanted to be next to because he was always “a bit orff” shall we say. That’s not because I’m any great shakes but because I was less put-offable so when he went wrong he isn’t totally surrounded by others who’d suddenly stopped singing as a reaction to his off note or timing. On the other side of him (I sing with the men) there’s the first person from the next part so he can’t follow her. Eventually he started clicking into what I was doing and now he’s fine. He only resorts to my assistance sometimes when we’re learning something new or there’s a particularly tricky bit, but I’m just as likely to get in a pickle then. The other thing is that so many of us find it very therapeutic to belt out a good song and are there for fun – not to be all deadly serious.

        I remember our first week – 80 people many of whom had never met before, roughly split ourselves up into the parts we could manage – many not knowing what that even meant to sing in parts. Half an hour, each line having had Sarah by turns sing our part to us then we sung it back three or four times (quite time consuming for four, sometimes five parts). Then she said “let’s try putting that together”. It was only the first 3 or 4 lines of Overload by the Sugababes for goodness sake, but when we immediately sounded like a choir with 80 voices belting out in a small hall it sent shivers up your spine and Sarah had to take a moment before she could speak to us again. We started after May half term and in June we did our first public performance of only 3 songs in the town. Went down such a storm that we had to repeat a number of times and then had the audience joining in with our silly warm-up songs.

        • Miriam says:

          Ah, singing – I used to be in a choir years ago. I can’t do it any more, 40 years of smoking have put paid to that, but the thing that’s guaranteed to have tears pouring down my face within 5 minutes is a proper choir, although it does depend what they’re singing to an extent. Male voice choirs particularly – I’m someone who wells up listening to the crowd in Wales singing before a Rugby match. Bagpipes have the same effect on me, but not because I hate them, I absolutely love ’em.

        • Miriam says:

          Ha ha, I know loads of people hate the pipes, in fact, I don’t think I know anyone personally who likes them, but I find them wonderful!

        • Star says:

          Liz…….my OH says I was taught to sing at the “cats” school for singing. Mind you I use to be in the school choir.

    • Beanstew says:

      Noticed Star’s Freudian slip there – “Badpipes” – the truth will out!

      • gonewest says:

        In November 2011 and 2010 we sang at concert organised by the local British Legion to fundraise for remembrance time. It was a 2 choir concert us and the other choir was a Welsh Male Voice Choir. Absolutely wonderful. Two very different choirs – they’ve been going for about 40 years and extremely professional whereas our choir was only about 6 months old when we sang in 2010, but everyone including the Welsh choir members and their leader said we held our own opposite them. In fact it was them who asked to come back and sing with us again.

        I used to sing in the church choir at St Mary’s near the Bunny Park in Hanwell Miriam, and some of the music we got to sing was so wonderful. One of the first things we sang after I joined was Zadok the Priest which was a favourite of my Dad’s. I knew I’d have to gird me loins to get through it and as the weeks went by practising, it certainly got easier. It was the last piece we were to sing before processing out at the end of the service. I sang it absolutely fine, but the moment of pure silence and stillness after all that power was what got me. I only just made it out to the choir vestry before I completely dissolved. The one member with whom I didn’t get on was the one who hugged me and got drowned for her efforts. My husband had to be sent out to mop me up.

        The other thing that is guaranteed to get me is the likes of a Salvation Army Band. My husband found that out the first Christmas we were together. We were still students and we were staying with his parents. He took me into the local town to meet his old school friends. Lots of other returning students were doing the same thing so the pub was crowded but we managed to get the last table by the pub door. Then the Okehampton Silver Band came in and played right beside us. Among other things “In the Bleak Midwinter” with its particularly mournful tune. There was more liquid in my glass by the end of that I can tell you. In later years my childrens’ high school invited parents to join their pupil and staff choir for Christmas. Another tricky moment, my row standing on chairs so that we were all visible on different levels. We hadn’t needed more than a quick rehearse of verse 1 to ensure everyone had the right harmonies, but we were told to mark “tenor soloist” in our copies for verse 3. So here we are in the performance:

        Enough for Him, whom cherubim, worship night and day,
        Breastful of milk, and a mangerful of hay;
        Enough for Him, whom angels fall before,
        The ox and ass and camel which adore.

        You guessed it – my 18 year old son! Crikey I’m wellin’ up now at the memory.

        • Beanstew says:

          Lovely bit of reminiscence to share with us, GW. We all keep sniffing and blinking like mad just now, and its good to “let go”. Can’t help wondering if some of us are feeling like that because times are so bleak, and we are tired of holding the upper lip stiff. “In the Bleak Midwinter” has always been one of my favourite carols – and may well appear somewhere on GC sometime soon (if I can find it).

        • VegVamp says:

          There is nothing that compares with that amazing feeling of power, emotion and pure soaring of spirit that you get when singing in a choir. I used to sing with a few choirs years ago, one in particular, led by an inspirational musician who often wrote additional harmonies for pieces we sang . He got us singing everything from Air on a G string (with the the basses taking the melody!) to traditional ballads to high Masses, Handel’s Messiah and St Matthew Passion. Remember Zadok the Priest too, now there is a powerful piece.
          Thanks for reminding me Lizzie, makes me well up even thinking about some of it, pass the tissues. :(

          • gibbon says:

            I used to sing in the Welsh guards choir, and enjoyed every moment, we had tenners ,second tenners of which I was one baritones and base baritones,but we did not sing different parts we all sang together,and the different tones complemented each other, in later yerars I developted in to a baritone and was in grate demand, but I could not enjoy diferent singing different parts, and hated singing solo unless it was an interdruction to a song, my favourate s were the welsh songes, and even when I singe them to my self I get a tear in my eye amd mervamwee, spelt like for english pronuncation, it realy gets to me, we are fortunate living hear for all though we have a number of Welsh choirs visiting we have the Brymbo male voice choir localy and they are knowen all over the world, we often the brimbo singers as they call themselve they are part of the chior,and there are 5 groups ,( it is a big choir ) but any Welsh male voice will do me ,as for the pipes I love them and they stir my blood, meny rout marches behind a Scots guard piper, those pipes would move my legs for me, and any band I can listen to for hours ,there used to be a program on the wireles called solders in the park and the opening tune come listen to the band and even as a kid I knew witch band it was after the first few notes, but caroles are so easy to sing and we were brought up with most of them, so a good old carol sing in the village will allways get me to turn out,

      • Star says:

        Well spotted there BS……………..I didn’t notice till you said.

      • dandlyon says:

        Miriam just love Amazing Grace,why do the Amerians claim it ? was written by John Newton ex slave trader who turned to God and preached for many years also wrote several other hymns

  27. AliCat says:

    Ahh yes, making the paper chains and chinese lanterns from coloured paper, ohh and the blue peter tinsel coathanger mobiles, those were the good old days, that and the cat runing up and down the tree and eating the silver stands lol. We always had to nail our tree to the floor and tie a rope to it and fix this to the wall because of the cat….now he was a funny one, I can distinctly remember chasing him round the house with a little bit of the silver thread sticking out of his mouth trying to catch him to remove remove it lol.

  28. dandlyon says:

    Yes Alicat a real Christmas where every one joined in weeks before the event,my mother used to hang chocolate coins on the tree these were wrapped in silver and gold foil,found out how to remove the chocolate and leave the wrapper behind .Got my come uppance when the tree came down and the chocolate was gone.1945 chocolate was a treat worth being grounded for a week.Looked foreward to taking the empties back after Christmas and collecting the 3d chaged on each bottle.We had a tin of salmon over Christmas for a few sandwiches ,this was a big a treat as the cockerel ,as a child never heard any one say they had a Turkey.

  29. gonewest says:

    Tinned salmon, now there’s a blast from the past. This year for the jubilee we had a family tea that included proper tinned red salmon sandwiches. Mum always had a small tin in the cupboard which would eventually come out for something like my birthday, or a posh guest. But she shelled out on a big tin for Christmas. I used to snaffle the choccy coins too. But mostly Christmas afternoon and Boxing Day I had to be kept out of the larder or I’d hide in there picking at the turkey. The door had a ball catch and I could get my hand under the door to close it after me, then when my eyes got used to the dark I could see to pick the best bits, like the crispy skin.

  30. Star says:

    You know I’m quite emotional anyway, even so this story especially touched me……

    A couple were Christmas shopping on Christmas Eve and the whole place

    was heaving, packed with other last minute shoppers

    Walking through the shopping centre the surprised wife looked up from a

    window display and noticed her husband was nowhere to be seen. She knew

    they had lots still to do and she became very upset.

    She rummaged in her handbag and found her mobile phoned then used it to

    call her husband to ask him where he was.

    The husband in a calm voice replied: “Darling, you remember the jewellery

    shop we went into five years ago, where you fell in love with that diamond

    necklace that we could not afford and I told you that one day I would get

    it for you…?”

    His wife’s eyes filled with tears of emotion, she began to cry softly and

    stifling a sob she whispered:”Yes, I remember that jewellery shop…”

    “Well,” he said, “I’m in the pub next to it!”

  31. Miriam says:

    I’m glad you’ve had that gentle lifting of the spirits,Alicat. Its great when it happens, and I find it occurs at other times, for whatever random reason. Being pragmatic, I try to avoid explaining it to myself (probably my neurotransmitters are out of whack, or my hormones are fluttering a bit) and just enjoy it in a relaxed manner.
    I saw something yesterday that made me smile. At the end of the Lane where I live there’s a football club, and a local person hires a part of it nearest the Lane twice a year. In May, he starts selling summer bedding for about six weeks, and from 1st December, he sells Christmas trees. When I turned into the Lane yesterday, I saw a family – dad, mum, 2 excited kids about 4 and 6, and grandfather, lashing a large tree onto the top of their car. Nothing extraordinary about that, you might think – but they were Sikh, and all were smiling, happy and friendly. I know many Asian families in my part of the world have adopted some of our Christmas customs, usually they’re Hindus or Sikhs, and I’m told they have done so simply because its a time of celebration in the dark days of winter and more importantly, feasting and a family event. And if you hold Christmas for no other reason, that seems to me to be a very good one.
    Of course, I’m trying to batten down my realistic side and stop it typing that, in fact, its the kids who’ve made it happen for somewhat more acquisitive motives, lol!

  32. dandlyon says:

    The bag pipes sound great at a distance the West Midlands is just about right LOL

  33. Beanstew says:

    Where’s that blooming “Thumbs-up” when you need it?

  34. Miriam says:

    Well, sorry, I still love the bagpipes, send ’em all to West London! Actually, someone hires the cricket pavilion opposite me and does an hour’s practice about once a week in there – presumably to spare neighbours from what’s perceived by most as a racket…

  35. gibbon says:

    people who don’t like the pipes have never listened to them properly,I am Welsh through and through, but I love the scurl of the pipes,and when they play the flowers of the forest, it sets me a tingle in my blood,and I feel good,

  36. Beanstew says:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KZKzUbIjr30

    There you are gibbon, don’t say I’m not good to you,

  37. Hayley says:

    I loved it Star. Bob Hope is one of my all time favs and in this clip his surname is key. Thank you for sharing :D

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