Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Happy Christmas!

Happy Christmas, anyone who might be reading this. It's wierd how intensely Christmas forms its own traditions. In the last few years we've developed one in my family where my mother and I argue about the content of the midnight mass sermon. It was a pretty inane one last night. But heigh ho, that's not really the point. For once I found myself able to let go of that and enjoy being at that service with a group of people whose actions (if not their words) I admire. It's a Christmas miracle!

About a fortnight ago the people who sometimes graze their sheep on one of my parents' fields turned up at our front door with a carrier bag with half a lamb in it. So for Christmas dinner we had a big leg of lamb. It was very delicious. I don't know how far away it had to go to be killed, but it spent its life within a couple of hundred yards from where I am sitting now.

My mother gave me a device for forcing a hard-boiled egg into a cube shape. I feel quite good about this. I gave my grandma a book about her home city of Bath in the Blitz, with pictures from the time next to pictures of the same places now. Bath's blitz was short but intense. My grandma was a young woman at the time, working for the Ministry of Defence. She told me that she remembered her little niece Jenny, who was four or five years old, saying "You won't let them kill me will you aunty?". (We talked to the same Jenny, a self-assured old-aged-pensioner now, after lunch.) I hadn't known that one of my grandma's second cousins was killed together with her small child. I'm not entirely sure now whether the book was a good present. My grandma clearly finds it very interesting, but are the memories it's bringing back still painful? It's hard to tell. I find it interesting to hear about it, myself. I wished I had asked my grandpa before he died -- he was down in Plymouth at this point, which was far more badly hit, and he didn't move up to Bath and meet my grandma until 1943.

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