“Where’s Granny P?
Startled I turned round to scan the throng in the scarlet carpeted church. Granny P is a blogging friend and, to the best of my knowledge, in Spain with her Beloved. Funny to think that she could be sitting next to me and I wouldn’t recognise her. Beloved did do a sketch of her but it was topless and no-one in sight is remotely topless – far from it - as the beautifully decked church is heatless.
It was Christmas Eve and we had brought the children to the Christingle Service. There were a few hiccups – the organist’s light wasn’t working so the tunes were a bit off key and a jolly man in a suit said the lady who should have taken the service was quite ill. He lives in the house next door so was filling in and he asked all the children to come to the front, round the crib.
I was glad we had been early and had a good view of the children and the crib. A two ft high, blonde minx evaded he mother’s grasp and was causing mayhem. Another mother came out front to read from Luke, her docile little daughter holding her hand until the two ft BM spotted her and proceeded to bait her. Docility disappeared – a struggle ensued and Luke was quickly terminated.
Back came the jocular vicar (did you guess the house next door was the vicarage?) disguised as a Bethlehem paparazzi. He confused us all by taking photos of the kings and shepherds who were imaginary beings in the congregation. It seemed Mary and Joseph weren’t photogenic enough so they were dismissed in favour of the kings with presents illustrating (I think) how we have lost sight of the true meaning of Christmas.
The children were asked what was missing from the crib scene and of course it was baby Jesus – because tomorrow was his birthday and if we wanted to see him we would have to be here at 9.30am. We sang carols, prayed and then it was time for what all the children had been waiting for. We didn’t do this when I was a child so forgive me if I get it wrong; the orange represents the world and the scarlet ribbon tied round it is the blood of Christ. The four sweeties stuck on orange sticks represent the four corners of the earth; north , south , east and west and the candle on top is the light of Jesus’ love shining through out the world.
Health and Safety this year had decreed that the candles should not be lit until they had reached the church door. In fact this proved more hazardous and my daughter in law narrowly stopped my coat from singeing,
Sad news on Christmas Day that James Brown had died. RIP James and thanks for the memory.
Our youngest boy – aged six – is still a believer so we had left milk and a mince pie for Santa and a carrot for Rudolph – all demolished. We opened our stockings in our dressing gowns and watched Flash the cat go manic with his toy mouse and then the wrapping paper. By the time we all met up again we were dressed up to the nines and whilst the adults drank champagne the children eyed the presents under the tree.
Eor years I have agonised about the ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’ – never more cruelly apparent than at Christmas. I have had Christmases that were stressed and unhappy and Christmases where I have worked hard in hospital and been joyous, and now I have learnt to be thankful for good fortune while it lasts and not waste it by fretting about the troubles of the world unless I can do something about it.
Lunch was my favourite – ham and turkey with every possible accoutrement and as we were all feeling a little full we decided to repair to the other room to watch Her Maj before pud. Tradition is never more important than at Christmas. How times change: she never said how pride (proud) she was but did let an orphan (often) sneak in. I was surprised she didn’t mention our forces abroad but she had recorded a special message for them. Maybe she was feeling like the DT correspondent whose dilemma was how to ’show richly deserved support for our troops without at the same time appearing to support Tony Blair’s grossly mistaken involvement with Iraq?’
A few tears shed, listening to the Carols from Kings Cambridge and one thought of distant loved ones, loved ones who have passed on and people all over the world. I relished ‘The Vicar of Dibley’ ‘Driving Lessons’ and the wonderful original ‘Thirty Nine Steps’ with Robert Donat and Madeleine Carroll- surely the first of Hitchcock’s blondes? You could almost see the old rascal salivating as he had her remove her silk stockings and then later replace them. It was so nostalgic for MTL and me what with the Harris Tweed jackets reeking of sweat and tobacco smoke. Oddly it made me think of the young Doccie Maroon.