20 December 2021

A Christmas Card from Snettisham


This will be our first Christmas in Snettisham, our new home village, in Norfolk, and it's looking pretty. Despite all, it may be a better Christmas than last, though even without another lock down things are ever so slightly grim. 

Last year, on Christmas Day, after we had made remote contact with our daughters, Amanda insisted she wanted to go somewhere, but could not explain where or why. She was carrying something in a bag, and wanted to get into the car, so we set off, me desperately trying to find out what this was about.....

Eventually I twigged, and so, though I knew it was pointless, I took her to the Care Home where my mother had been in the last few years of her life. Of course, owing to lockdown, there was no way we could be admitted, but anyway my mum had died over a year before. Amanda tried the door, repeatedly, and then, sadly, gave up and we returned home.....

So, this year will be different, in several ways.  We are not quite so locked down, but we won't be going far, and we don't have family to stay, nor will there be guests to dine.  To most intents and purposes for Amanda it will be a day like any other.  Routines are important, and we will go out to walk, then rest, then eat, then rest then walk, then bath, eat, sleep - perhaps.

But that's OK.  We have good neighbours, and the Salvation Army over the road, and people  are friendly and will say, Happy Christmas, and Amanda will chuckle and we will go on our way. It could be far worse, and I know it is for many.  I think of those separated from their partners by Covid regulations, or by sickness.  I think of those with no resources - migrants sleeping rough at borders, and those sleeping rough on our streets.  I am not a faithful church goer, but the ever lasting story of a woman giving birth in the dirty straw of a stable should be a message that confirms a belief in a health service which is able to care for those in need.  When I hear of people dying in ambulances or in waiting for an ambulance, I think there is something careless  about government.....

Snettisham is full of light - there's a tradition of illuminating St Mary's and of brightening the market square:

On lighting up night there were fun rides for children:

And sweet stalls and the like: Thompson's:

And Maria's:

And there was music, and dancing and there were carols:

And yesterday, inside St Mary's, the local variation on a theme by St Francis took place, with animals from Park Farm in stalls for all to stroke:

Even down to a variation on the theme of camels:

And a tiny premature baby lay mewling in the manger, to remind all of the vulnerability of some....

While overhead ragged skeins of geese stream towards their roosts on the mudflats of the Wash, winking in the dark of a winter evening:

Though for feasting, some may prefer the humble chicken:

Or maybe just a pint round the fire in the pub, with a moment of comfort and company:

The village is bright. It is good to light the darkness:

Even individual houses down my street glow in the dark:

And all this brings cheer to an otherwise gloomy time of year, with the drizzle and the mud and the cold winds from the North Sea.  It is good to light the dark, and good to share kind thoughts. We are in a good place, and I send my very best wishes to all for peaceful, happy times.....

Oh, and as a footnote, on the subject of light, here's an ancient joke, rehearsed by Anne McElvoy, senior editor at The Economist, in The Observer, yesterday: How many psychotherapists does it take to change a lightbulb? The old answer is just one: but the lightbulb really has to want to change

However a new one is that Johnson's party may now decide that the great source of heat and light is fading to black.

There is hope!

Happy Days!

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