Friday, 28 December 2012

Time's running out, again........

The last days of 2012 are ebbing away and to be quite honest I'm not that sad! This year has been a mix of good and bad, with a side-order of 'indifferent', so I am looking forward to 2013 in the hopes that lessons learned this year will help me to avoid or deal with any further less pleasant issues that may arise!

Christmas has been and gone, much enjoyed, but I'm in the hiatus point betwixt festive celebrations and the coming New Year - waiting to take down the decorations and get tidied up!

I'm not going to set myself New Year resolutions - I always fail! However, I have great intentions of being more 'regular' with my blog posts, across all my blogs, and being more methodical rather the 'hit & run' attitude of late!

Whilst on that subject, I am considering adding comment moderation here for a while - I have been targeted by spambots a lot recently, so I'm hoping a spell of confounding them may deflect the activity away. I HATE having to do this to readers who are trying to leave comments but I promise it will only be for a short period to see if it makes any difference.

So, looking back on 2012, this year I didn't read as many books as I'd planned and haven't written as much as I'd hoped; I seem to have been very busy but appear to have very little to show for it (except knitting.....see my knitting exploits! )

The Family History project has been picked at occasionally - I plan to get that into a more readable format next year; currently it is like a mental jigsaw puzzle and I know where the pieces fit but no one else in the family would have a clue! I'm also hoping to bust a few genealogical 'brick walls' and see if I can get any further back than the early 1600's - there's a challenge!

With a few possible jaunts abroad in the pipeline, next year is beginning to look interesting! DD and I are planning a trip to Amsterdam and Haarlem in the Spring - and our cousins across the 'pond' are tempting us over for a re-visit to New England (and maybe even a quick jaunt up to Montreal!) :-)

I've been told, by the OH that I can plan a new kitchen in the Spring, too - a '1st' in 32 years of marriage - I've always had to put up with the kitchens we've inherited in various house moves, designed by others and not entirely to my taste! So I shall become boring as I pore over catalogues and consider appliances - but there is a limit to what will fit in the small kitchen space we have allocated; I'm hoping space-saving gadgets and cabinetry will turn it into a kitchen of Tardis proportions!

There may also be the merest hint of acquiring a new four-legged friend in the offing......but we'd need to re-lawn part of the garden before we could even consider adopting another hound! (probably an elderly pooch needing a quiet 'retirement'!)

With all the family illness issues that have beset us lately I really hope the next year will give us all time to catch our breath - no doubt there will be challenging times ahead!

So, I wish you well for 2013 and look forward to being able to speak with you all very soon, even if that is only digitally!

Please call in when you're passing and if you'd like to leave a comment (and can be bothered to negotiate the moderation!) I'd love to hear what you think - this world (and life in general, of late) may have sucker-punched me this last 12 months but.......I Refuse To Go Quietly!


Saturday, 22 December 2012

Have yourself a merry little Christmas!

The shopping is done- what we don't have we can manage without! Middle England is dull and drab, cold and damp, and we shall be most probably having a wet Christmas as opposed to a 'white' one.

It's time to sing carols, eat mince pies, drink mulled wine and retreat into the bosom of our families.

This year, as I hung the decorations, I was inspired to think of making more things rather than buying them,

but time ran out - there is always next year!

Watching the Wartime farm Christmas edition the other day,

someone commented that it means more to you when you have to 'make' Christmas, rather than just go out and buy everything

I was reminded of austere family Christmases of my childhood. Looking back, we had none of the fancy trimming of today - yet we didn't consider ourselves hard done-by. I remember the fun and sense of anticipation when we'd sit making paper chains to string up around the room.

My Dad had created a sort of artificial Christmas tree, mainly comprised of a broom handle to which he'd attached the bristly arms of some old-fashioned loo-brushes (new and previously un-used, I hasten to add!!). This was not so long after WW2 and the idea of make-do-and mend was still very much the order of the day. The whole thing was painted green (I think he must have just dipped the  loobrush-ends into the paint) and then added red sealing-wax 'berries' at the ends of the 'branches'.

A basic set of tree lights were made by my uncle, with small 'bakelite' eggcups utilised as shades around the little electric bulbs - they were decorated with Walt Disney transfers (heaven knows where they came from!)

This simple tree was brought out year after year, (sometimes needing remedial work before it was safe to use!) but oh, how we loved it!

Christmas dinner was always a chicken - very expensive in those days and very much a treat! I always remember that  the Sunday dinner before Christmas day was always egg and chips - we couldn't afford TWO roast dinners in a week! That was also another sign that Christmas was coming. :-)

We made our own fun, with a very old Bingo set being brought out for our amusement; card games and board games were to the fore, until the evening when we'd settle down around our little black and white TV set - only 2 channels in those days so you had little choice in what to watch - but you watched it all the same!

These days, we invariably have too many choices on which channel to watch, plus DVDs!

However, we often play boardgames to break things up and this year will be no exception - I am planning a board-game Olympics - there will be prizes! We have quite a plethora of options but a few 'favourites' will definitely be taking centre stage! (Careers, Cleudo, Mindtrap)

Amidst all this, we will be taking time to remember the reason for the season and we're looking forward to celebrating the birth of Jesus, as we join with others to sing carols and re-read the Christmas story in church.

Thanks to a 'nudge' from lizy-expat-writer (she has posted an online Christmas 'card' to all her readers!) I've decided to follow her lead and use the *image at the top of this post by way of wishing you all a peaceful time this Christmas and my very best wishes for all that comes your way in 2013!

(*image - picture of a tea-light Nativity scene on my daughter's mantle-piece)

Friday, 21 December 2012

'Choose Your Own Apocalypse' Blogfest - With a bang or a whimper...?

Well, as the Mayan calendar counts down and we reach the date (21/12/2012) that some think will herald apocalyptic events it can only be a matter of time before the world explodes in some sort of catastrophe.....

....or then again - not!

However, a few of us have got together to have a

 - sort of a 'winding-down-to-the-end' party - check out the others via that link!


So, are we about to be attacked by an inter-galactic death-ray from some hitherto unnoticed alien race, or will the hole in the ozone layer finally admit enough solar energy to fricassee us to a nice crisp? Perhaps the polar caps will melt overnight and submerge the all that banging and hammering coming from over next door's fence in fact the result of ark-building? (nah, that's been done before!)

Personally, I don't think this date has any particular significance as regards unleashing global disasters. 

Despite the best efforts of the Doomsday Preppers, when the 'end' eventually comes there probably won't be anything they can do - which begs the question, why on earth are they so obsessed in the here-and-now with  using every minute to stockpile food and weapons? Seriously, they spend every waking moment keeping their own panic at bay by canning, bottling and building ever-bigger storage systems in case of impending doomsday scenarios and learning how to 'defend' themselves from the poor unfortunates who were not as enlightened as themselves to prepare for Armageddon - they have no 'life' now, but they have no guarantee of a life in the future, either!

As a Christian, I believe the 'end' will be heralded by the return of Christ, together with the events described in the book of Revelation in the Bible. Exactly how that will play out is anyone's guess - the writer (the apostle, John) witnessed this in a vision; some of it is difficult to comprehend, but then exactly how would a 1st century writer describe the concept of something far into the future? Imagine someone from that time being confronted with even our modern-day technology like the internet, for instance - given the global accessibility of the 'web' it could be theoretically possible that Rev. 1:8, which says "...everyone will see Him..." could be describing the event witnessed worldwide, instantly, via the internet or TV.

Regardless - if we are to be hit by a giant meteor, or zapped by sunflares, or irradiated by global weapons of mass destruction, or the Biblical second-coming, we puny humans will be powerless to stop it!

I have a feeling that if the Mayan Calendar stopping at this date indicates anything, it is more likely to be that we have reached the end of a cycle of consumerism and that we will be re-evaluating what is important to us. Already, there has been the collapse of financial systems which has lead some to reconsider the wisdom of financial security; more people are wanting the comfort of spiritual experiences, rather than the amassing of 'things'.

I fully expect to wake on 22nd December, 2012, none the worse for wear. I don't believe the world will blow up the day before and if Jesus chooses to appear, well - none of us will be concerned with the internet or apocalypse blog-fests anyway!

In the mean time - by way of entertaining you all, I'm reminded of a flash-fiction challenge I took part in a while ago. Kick back and have a read of  'THE LAST DAY'  .....and if the world doesn't end on the 21st, feel free to leave a comment! ;-)