Monthly Archives: November 2013

NSRW Charles Dickens
NSRW Charles Dickens (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round, as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys.

Charles Dickens

And so it begins …

Today I braved the shops in an attempt to start my Christmas shopping.  Was I successful?  NO!  I was mainly trying to get inspiration for presents but even when I saw something I liked, the queues were so long that I was deterred from actually buying anything.

I do like Christmas and I can accept the commercialisation (although I hate it) but I don’t have the patience for shopping in crowded conditions.  And can you tell me why people just stop still at the top of escalators?  How annoying is that?  I almost bowled someone over because they stopped, but I couldn’t. But they then had the cheek to glare at me as it I was the one at fault.  Jeez ….

I didn’t encounter too much in the way of seasonal music on my shopping expedition which actually disappointed me.  I do like to hear some jolly music when I am being squeezed to death by too many people in a confined space!

But the city centre was lit up with Christmas lights and the Christmas Tree in City Square looked lovely with the lights twinkling beguiling.  I’m glad it’s Christmas time but slightly relieved that it only comes but once a year!!!

My job dilemma ….

I work on a short-term funded project for a charity.  My current contract expires at the end of March.  That’s not too bad you might think except that I work within the third sector where well-paid jobs are very thin on the ground.  Originally my contract ended in December but was extended so at least I don’t have the worry of finding a new job when I should really be concentrating on Christmas merriment!!!  We have applied for continuation funding but it is unlikely to be successful.

Am I worried that about job hunting?  Hell, yes!  It get’s harder as you get older.  I am in my mid-50s.  I don’t have a degree but I do have a wealth of experience.  However, the lack of a degree rules out many openings.  The age factor shouldn’t make a difference but it does.  I am now haunted with images of spending years unemployed.

Why is it a current issue?  Because I’ve seen a job advertised that I know I could do and would stand a very good chance of being shortlisted.  It is a 3 year contract which is brilliant for the vol/com sector.  The problem is that is would mean taking a pay cut of £6000.  This is not an insignificant amount.  We could survive on the salary but we would have to be very careful and life wouldn’t be fun.  Do I want that at my age?  Surely at my age  life should be getting easier not harder?  If I apply for it am I devaluing my worth?  I am being unduly pessimistic that there will not be a better job waiting around the corner?  At the back of my mind there is the fear that if I pass this job up, I may be making a big mistake.

However, I have decided to go for a more optimistic view on life and not apply for the position but assume that there is a better job with my name on it waiting for me in 2014!!

Wish me luck ….

Christmas music

So, do you have a favourite Christmas song?  In my household, we always slightly overdose on the Phil Spector christmas album as my husband is a great Spector fan.  But those old classics such as Frosty the Snowman, Santa Claus is coming to town, Marshmallow World do make it very hard not to sing along!    I only have to think about chestnuts roasting over an open fire to get nostalgic about the perfect Christmas card Christmas.

The Christmas music I listened to growing up includes such gems as  Slade, Wizard, Greg Lake.   Even Wham’s Last Christmas brings back memories ….  I don’t listen to much music these days but last year I was  introduced to Tracey Thorn’s Tinsel and Lights album, which is excellent and will be played again this year.

One thing that I try never to miss is the broadcast of Festival of Nine Carols and Lessons from Kings College, Cambridge.  That always gets me into the true Christmas spirit.  I love all the carols and know them practically off by heart.   I remember hearing the lessons at my Church of England  primary school.  My favourite lesson is Isaiah 9 – The people that  walked in darkness have seen a great light ….

Not that I am religious.  I think it’s that transportation back to childhood Christmasses and rituals that stirs the heart.  And perhaps the memory of those who are no longer with us to share our Christmas…

Christmas is on its way!

Can I just declare with my hand on my heart that I LOVE Christmas!  It’s not the present giving commercialisation that I love (although I do not turn any presents away!) but the atmosphere.

In Leeds the Christmas lights are up.  The Christmas tree in City Square looks lovely as do the decorations in the various arcades.

For me Christmas kicked off last night when I went to see a production of the musical Scrooge at The Grand Theatre.  The part of Scrooge was played by Tommy Steele.  Now, being on the old side, I remember him from decades ago.  My 23 year old had no idea who he was and declared she would google him when she got home!  The production involved singing and dancing – well it was a musical – humour, ghosts, cute kids and excellent sets.  For a first night performance, it appeared perfect.  There was an energy about the musical and it genuinely seemed that the cast were having fun.  We all know the story of Scrooge but that didn’t detract from the enjoyment gained from watching this production.  Tommy Steele received a good ovation at the end.  It has to be said mainly from the older members of the audience but I would say he deserved it.  He is no spring chicken but he was very light on his feet, sang with a strong voice and proved he can still dance.

It may not go down as a classic piece of theatre but it was FUN!

So Christmas is on it’s way.  Bring it on.  I’m ready!!!!