Monthly Archives: December 2013

Poor Mylo

My very handsome cat Mylo is not looking quite so handsome today.  Although seeming perfectly fit and healthy when I left for work yesterday morning, during the day he developed circular sore patches under his chin, on his stomach and on his leg.  He has scratched at them and drawn blood. They look very deep which is a worry.   It may be related to a similar problem he had a few months ago which was never really resolved by the vet.  Fortunately he seems well in himself but he is not eating much.  However he is still sufficiently interested in the Christmas tree and the presents under it for me to feel he is not too upset by his injuries!

Luckily my husband has managed to get an appointment with our local vet for this morning.  The vet who will be looking at Mylo is called Magic.  I am not sure if this is his first name or his surname but I am really hoping that he lives up to his name and can magically cure Mylo …

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The Christmas present waiting game

Oh dear.  Christmas stress is setting in.   I am waiting anxiously for Christmas presents bought on-line to be delivered.  Will they come in time?  Once they reach me, they have to be wrapped elegantly, thrust into an envelope and put in the post to family in London.  Why didn’t I get them delivered directly to their destination?  A very good question and one that I have been asking myself for the last day or two!  I wanted them delivered to me so I could personally wrap them and write a personal gift tag to attach to each present.

The last posting date is later this week and I shudder to think how long the queue at the Post Office will be.  Oh well.  Hopefully all will be fine and all the gifts will arrive on time.  But until then ….

Are Christmas cards a thing of the past?

Do you still send Christmas cards or do you prefer the speed and simplicity of sending a Christmas greetings email?  Or will you be putting a festive message on Facebook or sending a seasonal tweet to your followers on twitter?

Is it a generational thing?  My daughter sends very few cards.  She certainly doesn’t exchange them with the majority of her friends.  I wonder if this will change as she gets older …

I don’t send as many Christmas cards as I used to but I do still send a fair few.  I find that buying Christmas cards helps put me in the festive mood.  For me it’s akin to firing the Christmas starting gun.   I try to choose very carefully, keeping in mind the recipients.  Some are humourous, others are more serious, and some show a traditional Christmas scene.

I must admit I get pleasure from thinking about the recipient of the card as I add a festive sentence underneath the card’s often bland printed greetings message.   The more unluckier of my friends, who I do not see often, may find that they receive a longer rambling letter!  This is particularly the case for elderly friends and relatives.   I hope it implies that I am sending  them a personal message and that I am thinking about them at this time of year.  Obviously I think about them at other times of the year but it somehow seems more important at Christmas.

I also get a great deal of pleasure from receiving cards.  However, I am not a fan of the “round robin” letter.  I don’t really need to know everything that has happened to one particular friend and their family during the preceding year.  Particularly if it’s from someone that I see regularly so I’ve already heard many times about their exotic holiday in the summer or how wonderful they are finding their new car!

I do buy charity Christmas cards.  Possibly this may be seen as a token gesture but hopefully someone benefits.  I have friends who no longer send cards but donate the money to a good cause instead.  An admirable approach but not one I will be adopting quite yet.

As a confirmed luddite, I also write each individual envelope rather than producing printed labels.  Probably a nightmare for the postman as my writing can be pretty illegible (think drunken spider) but I try and convince myself that it adds that personal touch!

There is of course a cost involved in buying Christmas cards.  And postage is not cheap.  Fortunately I only have a few cards that need sending abroad but they are to the USA …

But are we putting undue pressure on ourselves by sending cards?  Do you find yourself sending a card to someone just because they’ve sent you one?  Do you feel shunned if you send a card to a “friend” but they do not send you one in return?  I remember as a school child finding that it almost became a popularity contest.  There was certainly a great deal of kudos in receiving a card from an older child in a class above you!

Gosh.  When Sir Henry Cole sent the first Christmas card in 1843, do you think  he could ever have imagined what he was setting in motion?

Last night we heard of the passing of Nelson Mandela.  It was no great surprise because he had been ill for so long but nevertheless it was sad news.

We all  know his history and background so I don’t intend to make any comment on his life or his achievements.

I do, however, have two personal memories involving Nelson Mandela.

I remember so very clearly  the day he was released from Victor Verster prison.  11 February 1990.  I was in hospital awaiting the birth of my daughter and watched coverage of his release on television.  It was a day to remember.  My daughter was born the next morning.  Another day to remember!

I consider  myself very fortunate enough to have seen Nelson Mandela when he came to Leeds in April 2001 to be made freeman  of the City and to officially open Millennium Square.  It was such a significant event that the Manager of the charity I worked for at the time closed the office so we could witness this historical occasion.  There were thousands and thousands of us waiting in Millennium Square for him to arrive.  There was slight confusion about when he was actually going to arrive and we seemed to be waiting for ages.  Jon Snow did a brilliant job trying to keep the crowd both informed and amused.  We were entertained by children from a local school and the wonderful Ladysmith Black Mamboza.  Then suddenly he appeared on stage.  The great man himself with a beaming smile. There was wild applause and a rising sense of excitement and expectation. On his arrival, the choir sang Nikosi Sikelel, the South African national anthem.  It was very moving and made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.   We didn’t even mind when he referred to Liverpool  even though he was in Leeds!  Although in his 80s, he looked well if a little frail.

I am so glad that I was able to be there on that day and to witness that beaming smile!

RIP Nelson Mandela

One down, many more to go ….

Well, it’s happened.  I have wrapped my first Christmas present.  I am feeling a smug glow of satisfaction. I only hope it meets the criteria of being attractive and appealing to the recipient.

I was ably assisted in the wrapping process by my cat, Mylo.  Mylo is a very  curious cat.  As with most cats, he is attracted by movement.  The sight of the wrapping paper being rolled out on the floor in readiness was all too much for him.  I was treated to all the classic signs of a cat about to pounce:   that look of concentration, his chin almost on the ground and the wiggling of his rear.  Bless him!

Here he is, looking as if butter wouldn’t melt ….

Mylo

Although I enjoyed wrapping my first present of the festive season,  I’m not looking forward to the inevitable queue in the post office when I go to post it ….

Advent calendars

Today is December 1st.  It’s the first day of advent.  As a child I used to love advent and would wait excitedly for my mother to put up the advent calendar.  Being one of three children, we used to have to take it in turns to open a door and my father opened the last one to avoid any arguments!  We didn’t have chocolate advent calendars.  They weren’t around when I was a child.  Instead my mother always bought us one with a religious theme. I can still remember the excitement of getting a picture of a robin or snowman but always feeling disappointment is it was something boring like a snow scene!   Even after I left home at 19 my mother sent me an advent calendar.  She kept doing it until I had a daughter then they were sent to her and not me.  This is possibly when I realised I was finally seen as a grown up by my mother!  She still sent non-chocolate ones because she felt chocolate ones were too commercialised.  When L started school, she realised that there were such things as chocolate advent calendars so I used to buy her one.  I think she secretly preferred the one sent by mother but enjoyed the chocolates.  The last advent calendar my mother sent to L was in 2004.  Unfortunately she passed away in January 2005 so there will never be any more from Grandma.

I have kept the tradition going by giving my daughter an advent calendar each year.  However, this year is the first year we will not have on in the house at all.  When L was at university, I sent her one but she always brought it home with her during the Christmas vacations and it was hung up with the other decorations.  L has now moved out of the family home but she was given her advent calendar yesterday.  She seemed pleased!

I expect I will do exactly the same as my mother did and thus a family tradition has been created!