Jaqui's Daily Blog

Celebrating Christmas - Twice Over

My Boy has gone up into the loft to check out any treasures I may have hidden there. He is prompted by my rash assertion that my New Year's Resolution is to clear the loft (almost certainly in easy stages - it may, indeed, still be my New Year's Resolution come 2017) so that we can take advantage of free loft insulation on account of Mr B's Great Age.

I am pretty sure I wouldn't have thrown out anything precious belonging to my son but better safe than sorry. And what treasures he discovers! He rallies the (Not So Little) Welsh Boys to see the toy bunny rabbit he had when just a wee tot. It is wearing, he points out proudly, a Gillingham striped scarf which I knitted for it many years ago. The boys gaze sceptically upon The Rabbit with expressions far removed from the wonderment their father was expecting. It is, after all, just a stuffed rabbit, with goggle eyes and slightly grubby fur. My Boy places it, carefully, in the cardboard box of Treasures to be, well, treasured, along with the letter accepting him for entry to Cardiff University and a photograph of his cricket team in 1985. We know it is 1985 because one of the team is helpfully carrying a card bearing the date. I wish all our old photographs were so helpful.

It is the End of Christmas 2015 and I have been fortunate enough to spend time with all my Foursome and their Families. Christmas Day and Boxing Day were spent with the Youngest of the Darling Daughters, her long-suffering (on our account) fella and her off-spring - plus my fellow grandmother. I have always maintained that no Christmas is complete without at least two Bouts of Helpless Laughter. By "helpless laughter", I mean the kind of fit of the giggles which has you weeping and snorting with laughter, choking on words which simply won't come out of your mouth in any kind of coherent order, in a way which has the rest of the gathering looking at you with pitying eyes.

You will want (possibly. Or possibly not) to hear about the very best moments, as far as Bouts of Helpless Laughter are concerned. One was in the middle of The Game of Life, when I chose the names for the off-spring of my couple, Elsa and Olaf. What else but Icicle and Igloo? The trouble is, it's not really the done thing to laugh at your own Silliness, is it? Bouts of Helpless Laughter, however, are not subject to such dictates of taste. I laughed, I cried, I snorted, I babbled incoherently. As Bouts of Helpless Laughter go, it was among the best. The second occasion was around the Boxing Day dinner table when, armed with whistles from the pack of Musical Crackers I had sourced, we were determinedly led by our hostess / conductor in several well-known, if not immediately recognisable, Christmas tunes. The sight of my fellow gran worriedly awaiting her turn with two whistles (numbers 7 and 8) held to her lips, as if puffing away at illicit cigarettes, set me off again.

In between times we enjoyed delicious meals, a frenzy of present opening, fun with Faris and The Twinkles (in their matching Santa dresses), watching films and Conversations in the Conservatory. A truly Happy Christmas.

Two days later it was my turn to play host for a Second Christmas or what I like to call the "Can I Come Too? Christmas." Almost all the family arrived - sixteen of us in all. "What would you say," queried the Youngest of the Darling Daughters as we left her home for ours, "if we turned up too?" Do you know, I almost thought she might.

The Darling Daughters cooked our dinner, my main contribution being two apple pies, as requested by grand-daughter Eleanor. "Excellent!" she said, when I proudly showed off my pies to her and her sister, "That's one each, we presume!" We toasted each other with champagne provided by the Eldest of the Darling Daughters, then sat down around my appropriately festive table. We saved food for the Welsh Contingent who had inconveniently broken down in the fast lane of the M4 but, having been rescued by a "very, very, very nice man" from the AA, they arrived in time to join us for pudding, presents and playtime.

Yesterday was Panto Time - Peter Pan, you need to know - for the (Not So Little) Welsh Boys. Oh, yes it was! I had been worried about our seats, second row from the very back of the Alexandra Theatre in Bognor Regis, but tiered seating meant everyone had a Grand View. My favourite moment, apart from a spirited snowball fight in which the entire audience participated, was when Peter Pan asked us all to save Tinkerbell's life by clapping to demonstrate our belief in fairies. The Duracell Bunny, sitting on his mother's knee, clapped enthusiastically, bless him. Young James and Mr B, on my other side, kept their hands firmly folded in their laps, stolid unbelievers the pair of them.

Another Christmas. Another set of memories to be treasured. I won't, however, be storing them up in the loft, to be retrieved like poor dusty Bunny many years later.

I think I'll just keep them close in my heart. They'll be perfectly safe there.

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Latest comments

23.04 | 20:15

lovely and heartwarming - an inspiration to us all x

09.03 | 12:07

Love this story told as ever beautifully.x

10.11 | 21:31

What a super account of a special event. I loved meeting you last night and seeing your creation come together. I’m so pleased you got so much from the activity

07.09 | 13:17

I have broad shoulders x

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