It is indeed way past the first of January. I’m almost a week late with my resolutions for the New Year. Some people might say too late.
I’m not one of those people.
But you knew that anyway, didn’t you?
Perhaps I should explain a little.
It’s been a bit of a whirlwind, this whole Christmas holiday season, what with the making of cakes, pies, hams, turkey stuffings, trimmings, and all the other food-based tasks we endeavoured to get *just right* for the Big Day. Actually, for a point of record this Christmas, believe it or not, (and of course, if you know me well, you will truly find this unbelievable, but non-the-less it is factually, truthfully utterly without invention or inaccuracy, true. Yup. not a word of a lie. Honest.) not one thing went wrong! Seriously, we were quite incredulous as each item of food was cooked to perfection, beautifully garnished, immaculately presented at the table and frequently it was actually perfect. Yay! First time in thirty four years!
The decorations were gorgeous – understated, but immensely pretty – as the eight foot tree was adorned with fairly lights and around three hundred assorted glass baubles in every colour and shape, including the newly acquired Christmas Owl, Christmas Rabbit and fluffy snowballs with carrotty noses. I kid you not. What made it even more delightful was that our eldest daughter had finally decided to spend Christmas with us and it was she who expertly placed each bauble to such delightful effect. We have so many because every year I’ve insisted that we add something new to the collection and so now it’s become a great tradition to hang the tree decorations, recalling the various details of when and why each particular decoration has been acquired.
None are more precious than two particular ornaments. Both were made by our eldest daughter, the first whilst at Nursery school and the second a few years later at Junior school. The first ornament is simple in design – a cut-out egg carton section, made from green polystyrene, turned upside down and adorned with copious amounts of silver glitter (which is still firmly attached, thirty years later! Thanks Mrs Gladstone!) and held onto the tree with a curved pipe-cleaner. The second is a little more sophisticated, having two triangular pieces of green felt cut out, with a small rectangle of brown felt; the whole thing is carefully stitched together with pink embroidery yarn and has variously coloured stars added for effect. We’ve treasured these small ornaments for many years and no matter what fashions in decoration have come and gone, these two have always adorned the tree, in pride of place, for all to see.
So it was with great delight that she placed them carefully upon this year’s Douglas fir. Coincidentally, the glorious Christmas Movie, The Santa Clause (3) accompanied this activity, providing a perfect backdrop for this ritual.
The slightly alarming angle that our tree-top fairy adopted gave the impression that she’d been at the sherry, but even that seemed utterly appropriate!
On Christmas Eve, we were ready hours earlier than usual and had a lovely night’s sleep – invaluable for ensuring that Christmas Day went smoothly, as tempers were significantly calmer than usual, so that everything flowed perfectly.
Each person was delighted with all of their gifts and it was, without doubt, one of the loveliest occasions I can remember! Santa made a brief appearance and was merrily delighted with his mince pie and milk.
We repeated the whole shabang a week later when our younger daughter arrived with all the grandchildren. Truly, sufficient sleep is the keyword for our family gatherings and it has been a blissful, heartwarming holiday this year.
The only drawback has been that I’ve had absolutely no time to devote to writing, hence the hiatus in blog posts for the past couple of weeks; if you have been waiting, with bated breath, for updates, I can only apologise for my lack of written communication. But please, rejoice in my contentment with me!
So, what of this year’s crop of New Year’s Resolutions?
My final school, probably my most formative one of the ten that I attended as a child, had a *House System*, which is (for those who are unfamiliar with this idea) a way of organising groups of students that differs from their usual tutor or class groups, thereby engendering a vertically grouped, familial sense of belonging to this larger group within the school’s overall structure. Many events are organised where students compete against each other in order to gain ‘house points’ and prizes are awarded to the winning house or ‘team’. These activities promote the development of essential team-work skills, important for making useful contributions to society. So they tell me.
I mention this because I went to school in Whitby, North Yorkshire. Whitby’s most famous son (apart for the immigrant Count Dracula of course!) is Captain James Cook, widely known as the Discoverer of Australia. Unless of course you choose to consider that the continent had been populated by the Aboriginal people for some forty thousand years or so prior to this *discovery*, in which case you may think of Cook as a somewhat impertinent, overly pompous upstart who ‘bigged up’ his achievements considerably. Nonetheless, he did head up a marvelous adventurous exploration of hitherto unknown lands (to the Brits at least) and sailed across the world at a time when such explorations usually meant certain death.
So, our houses at school were named for his three pioneering ships – the Endeavour, the Discovery and the Resolution.
These were represented by the primary colours of yellow, blue and red, respectively. I was fortunate enough to be Resolution’s Games Captain and flew the red flag with great pride and, yes, resolution in my heart to always try to do my best. It’s funny what affects you when you’re growing up isn’t it?
So making a Resolution to me is an Important Thing.
I don’t make them lightly. In fact, I rarely actually make New Year’s resolutions because they always feel like they’re not even really MEANT to be kept, so whatever is the point of going to the trouble of actually thinking them up?
But this year, a year in which I suspect will be a momentous one for me and my family, for a variety of reasons, I feel motivated to make my resolutions. I’m fairly convinced that resolutions should be personal, pertinent and possible. You cannot resolve that others should achieve or undertake something of course, that’s why they are PERSONAL! Here they are:
1: I resolve to make sufficient time each day to accommodate my need to be creative; this may be setting aside time to write, draw, paint, knit, sew or cook, but at least part of each day during 2014 I will ensure that something is produced as a result of my creative endeavours.
2: I resolve to be kinder, more empathic and understanding towards other people. I know I can be self-obsessed at times and I want to be more accepting of other people’s qualities rather than judgemental about what I frequently perceive as their foibles.
3: I resolve to complete my search for my own roots, which are complex and intricately entwined in half-truths, forgotten lies and legendary events. Many of the people who might shed light on this are no longer with us, but I’m not going to let that stop me! I may even tell you all about this as I go along – in case you’re interested.
So, there you have it… perhaps you too have made resolutions for the New Year. I wish you every success in achieving them if you have! I hope that mine will help me to grow as a human being, giving me something that I feel I lack. I hope these aspirations will give me a future, a present and a past. Who knows? Happy New year everyone!
Thanks for reading 🙂