A Merry Christmas to you

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Finally we’ve arrived at Christmas Eve and it is time to take a look around and count my blessings.  I have 2 healthy daughters, one studying for her GCSE’s and the other who has just – today – passed her final exams to become an ambulance technician – very, very proud of her, and now that I know just what is involved in order to get this far ( not everyone does)  I have an even greater respect for those who work in the emergency services.

I am blessed with many other loving family members, my Dad is visiting tomorrow and my older sister is currently driving her way here and due to arrive shortly. I’m so excited about this as it’s been some years since we spent a Christmas together and I’ve cleaned, scrubbed, polished and sparkled everywhere !

I have a clean, warm home and cupboards with plenty of food for us all to share. When I recently took a survey to see how my income fared in comparison with other people in this country, I ranked in the lowest 18% in the country … and yet I feel that I am abundant with wealth.  I guess it’s a matter of perspective, I have enough for my needs, a little bit to save and why should I want more than that ?

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We have the delightful Tiny Harris living with us, she’s, fluffy, adorable and her help with gift wrapping and card writing has been immeasurable 😀

Our home is looking all festive and sparkly, warm and cosy and knowing that for the next 2 or 3 days my cherished family and I will be safe, fed and warm within is a great comfort. My thoughts are with those who are not so blessed.

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We’ve had warm sunny weather today and a beautiful sunset, it seems my Teen’s desire for snow at Christmas will not be fulfilled this year – can’t say that I’m too upset!

So, having delivered cards to some neighbours, shopped for those last few bits such as fresh veg and stuffing for the chicken ( no turkey in this house…) I went out to the garden to cut a few stems for the table.  The birds have had all the holly berries and that’s fine – they need them more than me – but each year I cut some of the beautiful viburnum which is not only simple and pretty, but scented as well which fills the home and that is our table centre piece. Nothing fancy or dramatic, just a simple decoration comprising a left over log piece from a project at work, some stems from the garden – popped in an old mustard jar and tied around with ribbon –  and some tea lights for warmth and light.

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Merry Christmas everyone, I hope yours is equally filled with love, peace and joy.

x Lula x

Drifting until the wind changes

Ohhh, I am a bit rubbish at keeping this updated.  I am not taking all the blame however, there has been an intruder in my writing space;  which has claws in all four corners and gets ever so narky if I try to put my laptop down.  That face means business, “move me and you’ll be sorry” kind of business.

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Seriously though, I’ve been at a kind of impasse for what seems like ages.  Admittedly I was busy with work and  getting in to the swing of the new school year, but I was completely stuck, incapable of taking any action or making any kind of decisions; including what to eat, which holiday cottage to book, even which clothes and books to keep and which to throw away.  The paperwork was piling up, the home was a mess… so I did what works for me, I went in to deep hibernation with a box set !  For two whole weeks I read nothing, watched no tv and barely communicated other than the basics.  I was even coming home from work and going to bed for a sleep before ‘making’ dinner.  Other days I was having a bath and getting in to pyjamas by 6:30.

I find living within my moods and states of mind, as opposed to trying to artificially alter them, enlightening and interesting.  In the past I have needed help to alter my frame of mind and I’m now very alert to changes and mostly, I’m able to bring about the shift to a more positive one myself.  I’m fortunate to have been able to do this and I have a deep sympathy for those who can’t manage alone.

Two weeks of immersing myself in seasons 1-3 of The Wire complemented  by 10 refreshing and soothing days away from work have worked wonders.  On day 1 I wrote out a list of all the things I needed to get done during my time off. Today is day 10 and there are just two tasks left to be done. One is booked to happen this Friday and the other will happen at some point this month.

Most of my tasks were home and garden based and I have cut grass,  taken bags of garden waste to the tip, broken up fallen branches, harvested my two pears, and even discovered a few hardy flowers

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I have cleared out my wardrobe, again. Packed away all cottonish knits, brought out the woolly ones. I bought a few basic items to replace those which were worn ( yes, I failed at not buying anything new until the end of the year)  and charitized those which still had wear in them, but just didn’t suit me. I  cleared out the bookcase and took all  unwanted books to the library.

I sorted through my paperwork, filed and binned as required.  I sourced new car insurance,  I updated my savings funds, spent quite some time working out my budget for November and have started to make soups again.  We love soup.

I consulted the Teen and booked a holiday cottage for next summer. Ridiculously – and this shows my previous state of mind – I have booked the very first one that we both agreed we liked the look and location of , about 6 weeks ago.  When I say I’ve booked it, I haven’t paid for it all yet.  Some good friends and I take part in a challenge whereby we save all the odd pounds and pence from our online banking and ‘sweep’ them over to another account or ‘pot’ in order to save up for things.  I have chosen to use my  ‘pot’ to pay for the holiday cottage.  Well, I say ‘chosen’ … it’s probably more of a challenge than a choice.  I have until 10th of May to pay the balance.

There will be progress updates.

There have been some home updates going on too.  A few years back I bought a lovely round table and 2 chairs via ebay. I didn’t like the nasty orange varnish colour, but they were nicely distressed looking and full of character.  They were even more distressed by the time I’d finished brandishing the wire wool and sanding paper at them.

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Finally, with the help of a very old tin of paint that I’d been keeping for just this purpose … ( full credit due for the paint still being useable after all that time, although they’re no longer in business … and the tin has now gone to the tip along with the rest of the clutter that was in the shed)  I still remember when I asked for that colour ( a pale turquoise aqua – blue rather than green) to be mixed, the young lads looking at me and asking if I was sure.  Err yes, thank you,  and I still have and love that colour now … and vastly overestimated how many tins I’d need !

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I now have two chairs in a colour I like, which I’m happy to actually use and have in my home, rather than lingering in the back of the garage … where the matching table still is. In a disassembled state.  The heart hanging on the door was a surprise gift from a lovely friend and is a beautiful magenta and gold swirly design.  I love it.

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So, one of the chairs lives in my room and is my writing chair, the other lives at the dining table and melds in beautifully with the other chairs.  It intrigues me that I was once very concerned with having all things matching, and yet now I love mis-matching and irregularity.  Probably an age thing; acceptance that life cannot be just packed into neatly labelled boxes and expected to unfold as planned !

Last night’s impulse project was to turn this musty-smelling old thing into something  fresh and pretty.

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I found some brilliant spray paint in my local hardware store.  The owner is a magical man who stocks just about anything you want, and if he doesn’t have it, he’ll source it and have it in the shop within 2 days for you.  Now THAT’s what I call good service.

I’m not entirely sure about the result … perhaps if I’d remembered to brush all the cobwebs and leaves off first it might look better.  As I didn’t, it does rather have something of the Miss Faversham about it !

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Hmmmm not convinced. It certainly smells better… but I still don’t really like it, maybe a cushion will help.  Or perhaps it can go on our midwinter bonfire.

I love Samhain, Hallows Eve, Hallow’een, or whatever you prefer to call it.  I’ve attended gorgeous celebrations and rituals in woods, under ancient trees, I’ve been to ‘excuse-for-a-blinding-night-out’ style parties and there was the year that the girls and I  dressed up in full costume and went to a theme park event.

They still haven’t forgiven me for that.  Eldest painted her face orange and black and dressed as a pumpkin, youngest had a cat face and costume, I was in full vampire get up, complete with very itchy wig.

We were the only people in costume.

I thought it was hilarious, they were mortified and have point blank refused to go with me again.  So, for the last couple of years youngest and I spent the evening in costume, but at home, we decorated and  enjoyed waiting to scare the trick or treaters, then went out for a walk around the neighbourhood to see how other people celebrate.

This year, Teen went to a party.  I barely knew what to do with myself, I really wanted to dress up and still go out roaming the streets as usual, but that’s a bit odd alone.  In the end I chose to light candles for loved ones who have passed and spent a couple of hours reflecting and remembering, saying goodbye to the old year and welcoming in the new one.

The seeds have been sown for new adventures and I feel lighter in spirit and heart.  I’m looking forward to seeing what the new year brings.

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