I’ve been waiting for an uplifting moment to write a post for Christmas 2021, but realistically it’s probably best just to get on with it. Otherwise it may be another year, and who knows what things will be like then? I think it’s fair to say that it’s not been the best of years, and neither I nor my family have experienced the worst of it, in that we’re all here and no-one has been particularly ill. I’m about to say we’re lucky – and we are – but we’re not that lucky, none of us have been, and it’s OK to moan about it. So read on with my moany apology echoing in your ears – it could have been worse, but it has been pretty rubbish at times.
I have a lovely Christmas tree this year, although sadly it’s unlikely that many people will get to see it. But my Christmas spirits are lifted by it, along with the festive scented candles that, mingling with the smell of dog flatus, could almost make you believe you were in a stable. Or glamping, whatever that is, but is sounds nice, although I think I’d leave the dogs at home.
Holidays have inevitably been a bit thin on the ground this year, so I’m trying to persuade Richard to take me on a luxury cruise next year, if only in our dreams.. I’ve always wanted to go on one! I mean, what could possibly go wrong being trapped in a large construction on the high seas with all your fellow humans crowding around you? But he will never agree to this, and it’s not just a health hazard for him, I think it may be being trapped with me that’s the problem. He had promised me a lovely Christmas present this year – to get my wedding ring fixed, perhaps even improve it a little. I can’t wait! Except I think I’ll have to, as he asked me to give it to him to take to the jewellers – but has ended up sporting it on his left pinkie himself, and I don’t think it’s going to come off. This is clearly planned revenge for when I dropped his wedding ring into the waste disposal unit, but at least that was an accident..
Josie’s had a couple of job changes this, year, but has landed one she’s happy with, so I’m delighted. She also has a new hobby, which, being Josie, she is taking to competitive extremes – and winning. It makes my eyes water to see the videos of her weight-lifting, particularly the very large boulder things which she hefts onto the side. I assume she’s inherited this latent strength from me – well, obviously latent in my case, not hers.
Elinor has started medical school, and is realising that everything that I said about it was true, except that she seems to like it, so I’m trying to remember what I did actually say. She’s doing a graduate course, so has already been released on the general public, whereas I’m pretty sure I never saw a patient until towards the end, possibly even after I finished, which would explain a lot. She’s just finished her first set of exams, and I hope she passes, although, as I said to her, you’re not really supposed to pass all your exams, in fact that could be viewed with a degree of suspicion. But she seems to be enjoying it, so something must have changed since my day.
Clara has managed a brief period of normality at university, so has been packing in as much as she can, just in case the worst happens, and we aren’t allowed to go out any more. As the family historian, no-one can quite understand why she can’t recite the Kings and Queens of Great Britain, but it’s gradually dawning on us that no-one’s interested in either Royalty or Lesser Britain, as it will shortly be known. She is currently working in that well-known Edinburgh hostelry, The Canny Man’s, where she is seeing the darker side of Morningside, something she could never have suspected she would find in a pub that Richard and I consider our local.
I’m getting used to Richard being around, though he does go to work occasionally, and spends a lot of time on very loud calls, gazing deep into his computer – not something you would have seen in 2019. It’s far too easy to talk to people, I find, which is very nice when you want to talk to them, and hideous when you don’t. Excuses no longer involve car breakdowns, bus disasters or food poisoning, and there is no room for creativity. No, all you can blame is your Wi-Fi, which, frankly, gets a bit boring after a while. But do you ever look around, and wonder where the Wi-Fi is? I do, when it isn’t working. I’ve never seen it, but live in hope.
I’ve remained fairly undepressed this year, which I’d call a win. In all seriousness, it is an ever present worry, which has been harder to prevent in the difficult circumstances. Exercise is a necessity, I’d say, although, unlike Josie, I was quickly crushed by the most minimal weight-lifting, and reverted to some reluctant walking, which, if nothing else, is less likely to cause injury. I’ve also been doing lots of writing, which I find cheering, and my lockdown Master’s was in creative writing (I will never, ever, ever do any more degrees ever again, at least I don’t think I will..). I’m now trying to persuade myself that it would be OK for someone (apart from Richard) to read my totally unpublished – in fact, unviewed – novel. I mean, it’s a work of brilliance obviously, and my creative soul would be crushed by the bewildered looks that might ensue.
The spaniels remain alive and oblivious to my reluctance to walk them, and also of the bigger picture. Jacob copes admirably with his symptomless Addison’s (other than his monthly injections – I tried to give the last one, and this will not be repeated. I am not a vet, and it is undignified to chase your patients while swearing at them). Lola’s old age manifests itself in grumpiness, especially when she has to deal with Josie’s dog, Theo. I don’t blame her.
My thoughts are with those who have had a harder time over the last year. But I hope that most have had at least some moments of happiness, and that we all continue to do so next year, whatever happens. And never feel you can’t moan.