You know it’s a bad sign when normally sensible young women go shopping wearing Santa Hats. If they’ve got some poor bloke in tow as well then things are doubtless about to get stressful.
I walked into town today, not really to buy anything but just to shunt money about and make sure various other jobs had been done. So I didn’t really call in any shops or spend any money, but it was interesting just to watch everybody else. A lot of people were cheerful, some looked a bit stressed. I did call in to one shop to pick up some pickled onions. (Living the dream here, we know how to do Christmas, and you need something to go with the cold meat.)
Talking to one of the lads stacking shelves and he commented that people had already started ‘panic buying’. Given that the shops will be open this weekend, open the 24th, and open again on the 27th, it’s not as if we were laying in provisions for a re-run of the siege of Troy.
What gets me about Christmas is the stress some people seem to inflict upon themselves. I’m afraid I’m past that now.
On two consecutive Christmas Days we had power cuts (but fortunately we cook using an oil fuelled Rayburn.) On the next Christmas the Rayburn ran out of oil on Christmas day at about 10am, but fortunately we had electricity that year.
The most ‘exciting’ Christmas for me was where we had a power cut on Christmas Day, we had a dairy cow who needed a caesarean on Boxing Day, and the day after that, as I was putting silage into the troughs for the milk cows, the tractor put a front wheel through the slats on the top of the slurry bit, breaking a concrete sleeper and toppled over slowly, stopping at an angle of 45 degrees, stuck. I had to phone someone with a telescopic handler who dropped round and lifted the front end up so I could back out. By this stage I’d had enough of the entire Christmas experience, especially as I was doing two men’s work, but was paying someone to sit at home because I couldn’t afford to pay double time for them to come in and help.
It was at that stage that we started redesigning the business to eliminate the need for paid staff.
I think Christmas needs to be put in its place. My mother was a teacher, she had Christmas ‘up to here’ at school in December, so Christmas started at home on the day after she broke up. So decorations went up on December 23rd and came down promptly on 12th night.
Christmas is a different festival to New Year. There are five working days between them. We always worked on the principle that if we couldn’t contact a supplier between Christmas and New Year, we didn’t need them during the rest of the year either.
And Christmas Day? A decent start, get stock fed, if things go well might even make 9:30am service. Then after dinner, read and/or snooze, Queen’s Speech, back outside to feed round again and check everything is OK before finishing in time for tea. Finish up with a relaxing evening with family.
So relax. Sit down; pour yourself a glass of something restorative. Dip into a nice ebook to take you out of it all.
Numerous reviewers recommend
“This is the first book by Jim Webster that I’ve read, but it will certainly not be the last!
The world that is opened up around the main character, Benor Dorfinngil, is an interesting combination of historical fiction, legend and non-magical fantasy (although some of the creatures described are certainly, in some cases thankfully, not existing in our world).
Gripping tales, interesting situations and characters, clever plots and thoroughly entertaining.”