I feel a bit like Miss Havisham, that memorable character from Charles Dickens’ “Great Expectations.” Miss Havisham (for those who need some background) was jilted at the altar by her intended and spent
the rest of her life wearing her increasingly tatty wedding dress, living in a ruined mansion surrounded by the grim relics of her wedding feast, complete with crumbling wedding cake and brought up her adopted daughter to wreak revenge on men.
Okay, I hear you say, can we just replay, rewind and explain. Unlike Miss Havisham I was not abandoned at the altar by Mr B who, despite admitting that his legs buckled under him
as soon as the organist struck up with “Here Comes the Bride” on that Saturday afternoon almost 55 years ago, stuck manfully to his station. Nor am I wearing my old wedding dress though I do still have it, in its original cardboard box from good
old C & A, along with my veil and tiara. I rather doubt I could fit into it now so Miss Havisham obviously kept herself in pretty good shape over the passing years. I am wearing my Winter Pandemic-wear of jeans, jumper, socks and slippers plus a navy blue
woollen wrap which I bought as an insurance against cold weather either for My Boy’s wedding to the Darling Daughter-in-law (seventeen years ago this year) or that of the Youngest of the Darling Daughters to Dunk’em Dave (sixteen years ago this
My house is neither a mansion, nor ruined though I do have a problem with the supply of hot water from the mixer tap in my kitchen which has meant
I have had to boil kettles all over the Christmas and New Year period in order to wash up my pots and pans. This has invoked in me a kind of Blitz spirit despite the fact that I was not born until after the war. Nor have I sought ways to wreak revenge on anybody,
male or female, for simply existing - though like most of us, I would suggest, I wouldn’t mind hitting back at the pesky pandemic somehow.
resemblance to Miss Havisham, I have to admit, is that while she lived on surrounded by all the paraphernalia of her Wedding That Wasn’t, I am still surrounded by All Things Christmas. The tree is still up in one corner of the living room, its lights
glinting in the gloaming of the early evening. Christmas cards are on display, the garlands are still up at the windows, the festive wreath remains pinned to the front door, my shining star light continues to brighten up my kitchen window looking out into
the road outside. In short, dear reader, I have told Mr B that I won’t take the decorations down until he comes home - when we will celebrate Christmas all over again. To be strictly honest he probably isn’t too bothered about the greetings cards,
the tree, the garlands, the front door wreath or the star in the front window - but he is excited by the fact that the large piece of corner cut topside of beef, which I ordered for our Christmas dinner before I realised that I would be Home Alone, is wrapped
up securely in the freezer, pending his arrival home.
I am usually very punctual about taking down my Christmas decorations on Twelfth Night but I am assured that
it is perfectly fine to leave them up until Candlemas on February 2nd. If Mr B is not home by then, I shall have to think up another deadline...
I thought I might be setting a trend by refusing to take down my decorations but now it seems that many, many other people have had the same idea. It seems they are all motivated by a strong feeling that we all need cheering up in these dark days - if we have
to stay at home, as Professor Whitty tells us, then we might as well pretend it is Christmas all year round.
So there you are. I am not Miss Havisham, I’m
not even a trend-setter. People calling at the door are beginning to look at me strangely.
Don’t they know it’s (still) Christmas?