Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Christmas Past

When I first saw this window display in Libertys I did not know whether to laugh or cry the memories it evoked transported me right back to my childhood. This is, give or take a mince pie or two my gran's living room circa the mid seventies.
I loved my gran's house was a Victorian Villa it seemed huge to me as a child, lots of nooks and cranny's and an endless garden. It was very chaotic and disorganised. Shelves would groan under the weight of clutter, cupboards too were crammed full to bursting so that every time I opened a door most of the contents would spill out.
Under every cushion of every seat would be a pile of newspapers, if you placed an empty vessel down for more than an hour it would be filled with any number of useless half broken objects.
Christmas at my gran's was extra special, tinsel & paper chains headily clashed with the already busily patterned environment. I would long to go for Christmas day itself but we frequently had to wait until the afternoon or worse still Boxing day, before making the long journey down.
Of course from my Mothers point of view it was less than idyllic, she would march through the back door and round up each and every reeking dishcloth and tea towel before launching them into a pan of boiling water filled with soap powder where they would sit sterilising for and hour before being rinsed and pegged out a few pounds lighter until our next visit.
The bathroom too was grim and she would roll her sleeves up to make its use palatable. We girls of course ran straight through the back door and straight into the pantry where every single ancient tin would be opened revealing fairy cakes and iced chocolate sponges. We would leave, mouths crammed full before slobbing on the sofa to be waited on hand and foot. My father would for the entire time we stayed sleep in the corner in a winged back chair, occasionally moving to reach for proffered cups of tea. Men were kings in this house, women were here but to serve. What my Mother hated the most was her sister & co always came a day earlier and bagged the last bedroom, leaving my parents to sleep on the front room floor. Her sister would then leave for a couple of days to stay else where but make sure enough stuff was left to secure the room in their absence.
My mother was one of five and she had over five cousins who lived close by so Christmas was a big brash family affair. My gran cooked lots of traditional fare and out favourite game was to find out who would get the tiny fragment of Oxo wrapper that invariably made it's way into the gravy, trust me that in a mouthful of fillings was not nice! Oh and how high the flame would rise after she had dowsed the Christmas pudding with brandy.
I was oblivious to most of the politics of family get togethers and so enjoyed the freedom and chaos, don't forget I had an uncle just 3 years my senior and he came replete with plenty of male friends so as I got older I had even more to look forward too!

An apology. I reread the previous post and realise I may, just may, have use the stress word just a little too much. I felt very low last night and having reread it, it is clear that because I have so few friends if it were not for this blog I would have imploded last week!
This blog is now a stress free zone for this week at least, then I won't be here anyway...

1 comment:

materfamilias said...

No need to apologize! You balance the steam-letting with all kinds of goodies for your readers. Today's vignette of Christmas past is a great example. And, after all, it is a very stressful time of year.