There is a survival technique, one of many, that I’m not alone in adopting for situations that can’t easily accommodate multiple uses of the word ‘pardon’. Throughout my whole childhood well meaning friends, relatives and strangers all offered the advice that surely it was better to say pardon than to bluff and hope that you were smiling and nodding in the right place. It’s terrible advice! Completely and utterly impractical. Not only do you wear yourself out, you bore the pants off everyone else too. I’m reminded of the time I took a week long course in cued speech and met other profoundly deaf people for the first time. Jeepers, it’s really hard work making yourself heard! I got a taste of what it’s been like for those around me for years so I’m actually glad I spared them all the extra ‘pardons?’ A well placed nod or verbal agreement simply buys time until you’ve picked up sufficient clues and worked out what the heck everyone is talking about. No harm done.
Christmas Day was always about bluffing so that I didn’t spoil the occasion. The only problem being that after years of this it eventually became a day I dreaded. I found that I was actually bloody annoyed that I couldn’t properly take part in the chat and annoyed with myself for sitting there for years having this rather empty experience with my own family. When the kids were small this came to a head and I resolved never to pretend again. Nothing changed as far as keeping up with the conversation went but inside I felt free from the social obligation to smile and nod as though I was part of it. Instead I enjoy the dinner and I observe facial expressions and if I do follow a thread of conversation then it’s a bonus.
So, the festive feeling may have been late arriving this year but it’s beginning to creep in. M has another week in London to endure and I’m tying up loose ends here, walking the dogs and feeding the teenager. I finally got round to making candles. This always seems to be a Christmas activity these days. Some years I save all the leftover bits and throw them in the pot to make new candles but this year I’d ordered soy wax flakes because they are a bit more environmentally friendly.
They seem exactly the same to work with as wax pellets but I did notice that they sink much less in the middle whilst cooling and only needed one top up to level out. Normal wax sinks a lot and needs several top ups to get a flat top surface. I used a blend of three essential oils, including the pine oil I found in Dublin. Although I felt I was being extremely generous with them it turns out you can’t be generous enough. Next time I will double what I used, the scent is a bit subtle.
Half way through pouring the wax into the rusty baking tins we picked up earlier this year it occurred to me that they might not even be leakproof anymore but luckily they were all ok. I already had several packets of short wicks to use up but next year I’d like to try those wooden wicks that crackle, despite the fact the kids think it’s funny that I’d want a crackling wick I can’t hear. I just need to remember to look out for some interesting containers throughout next year, these rusty tins were fun but a bit small.
I didn’t take on too much gift making this year. I decided to focus on making only things that I know are needed. M only has a tatty old fleece hat he used to wear for fishing and it’s a shape that he can just about get away with so I made a new beanie using the same proportions, ie a big chunky turn up, and in a colour that I think he will really love. Likewise J doesn’t wear hats anymore but suffers with cold hands so plain ribbed wrist warmers seemed like a useful thing to make. He has one pair from when he was ten so he wouldn’t see the need for a new pair but the thumb was so badly made on those I’m hoping he will find the new ones an improvement. I have other gift makes I can’t share here yet!
I still haven’t done anything useful with my crocheted snowflakes from last year. I should really string them up and pop them on our tree I guess, or maybe make a garland. They were supposed to be made into cards but I’m not great at repetition so I must have given up after six and concluded that making 20 was too dull for words! I could make another six this year I suppose but there’s so much else to try too! I’ve got my eye on a few Christmas makes but I shall only start something once all the wrapping has been done and the cards sent off.
E has been having a good time in Edinburgh for her 21st Birthday treat. It’s been a bit cold, wet and windy but it sounds like there’s been plenty to see and do. A highlight being pandas and penguins at the zoo. It’s funny how I can remember the day she was born so clearly. When she was finally placed in my arms she clamped her big dark eyes on mine and seemed oblivious to all that was going on around. Non verbal communication right from the start. In contrast her little brother was probably just wondering when his next meal time was!
We are planning a Christmas Eve family craft session this year, with my niece and the kids. If all goes well and the glue actually sticks, we may have some log Father Christmas’s to show for it. M cut some logs especially and they’ve been drying out in the hall for a few weeks. J hasn’t batted an eyelid, he’s used to strange things lying around waiting to be made into something!