Christmas post - I just love it!
I love coming home from wherever we have been, unlocking the door and stepping onto a door mat covered with Christmas cards. Oh, the anticipation!
The tearing open of envelopes, the inspection of the card within (snowmen or Santa, Christmas tree or figgy pudding, a Baby in a manger or the travelling kings on their camels - every one a delight for which I am grateful). The perusal of occasional newsletters
accompanying the festive greetings. I do understand why some people choose not to send cards - but, oh, the missed chance to make somebody's day!
Our postie is retiring on Christmas Eve. She left us a sweet
card, bearing a photograph of herself on the front, delivering in the snow. OK, the cynics among you will be saying, she was hoping for a special Christmas box. Why not? I respond. She has given us plenty of pleasure over the last twenty years, she knows where
to leave parcels in a safe place if we are not home, she always has a grin for visiting grandkids when they clamour at the door to collect the mail. She will be a Hard Act to Follow. Her name is Wendy, not Pat, and I have no idea whether she has a cat, black
and white or tabby coloured - but she has served us very well.
Today our post was particularly exciting. Not one but two newsletters to read; a sweet card with a photo of some friends' twins, one dressed as
Santa, the other as an elf; plus two very special cards from my Little Welsh Boys. Sam's clever drawing of Father Christmas swooping across the sky above the roof-tops was chosen by his school as one of their official school Christmas cards. Well done, Sam,
we will treasure it not just this Christmas but in Christmasses to come. Also tucked in the envelope, a card hand-made by two year old Morgan, depicting a Christmas tree so dripping with "jewels" that not all of them have remained affixed to the card but are
to be found at the bottom of the envelope. I remove them all carefully and, with the help of a handy glue stick, replace them on the card. Inside the greeting reads: "Dear Nanna and Grandad. I have made this card especially for you." Both cards will take pride
of place on our mantelpiece.
Mr B and I have been watching a programme entitled Meet the Street which is about loneliness. The presenter, James Martin, with the help of various celebrity friends, has been
visiting different communities to uncover hidden loneliness. Not just among elderly people, but among young mothers, people with disabilities which make it difficult for them to leave their homes. The concept is a simple one - bring the lonely ones to meet
neighbours who can help them, whether that means discovering groups like the amazing Men in Sheds, finding comfort in an animal sanctuary or meeting up with other young mothers, all feeling the same way about coping with the early days of motherhood.
Mr B wants to know if I felt lonely in my early days of motherhood, all those years ago - and the answer is yes, especially in the earliest days with two babies with just thirteen months between them. I think
what saved me was the love and company of my little daughters who kept me endlessly amused. I've never been one to bewail the boredom of a life with babies - my girls were the very best of company.
I tell Mr B, the TV programme has an important message so I suggest that whenever we see a person on their own we should exchange a few friendly words, just in case we are the only people they have spoken to all day. We try it out in Harry Ramsden's where
we are enjoying a Sixties Special (you have to be 60 or over to take advantage of this offer) where a sweet old lady seems very happy to chat.
Of course I know what will happen. I will have taken refuge in
Marks and Spencer 's cafe to rest my weary, shopping feet, claimed my free cup of coffee by redeeming my loyalty card, and settling down to send a few texts to my Nearest and Dearest just to check out what they are all up to. Then, just as I am starting to
enjoy myself, a really, really annoying person on the next table will start to chunter on with somewhat forced jollity about the changing weather, the trials of Christmas shopping, the crowds in the cafe and whether I will be at home for Christmas. I will
sigh as I replace my mobile phone in my handbag and enter into the conversation.
It will suddenly dawn upon me that my neighbour thinks I am probably a sad and lonely person who needs a dose of James Martin's
community medicine. I will listen a little more carefully to her conversation and will realise that it is more or less the same chat we enjoyed with the little old lady in Harry Ramsden's.
James Martin, you
have a lot to answer for. But keep up the good work!