When does Christmas begin? Actually, more to the point, when is Christmas over? As you already know, we’ve been in the UK staying with family to celebrate the festive period. We woke up on the morning of the 29th December to find that Christmas had abruptly ended in our family home in England. Just like that. No warning. No consultation. The Christmas tree had been dismantled and packed away. Christmas cards that had formerly adorned the bookshelves were gone. Sparkly lights and wind-up ornaments were…no more. That was it. No more festivities. It was a sudden end, but seeing as my mum is a habitual tidier, a chucker-outer of things, and has an intolerance to clutter, it came as no surprise. She did well to hold out so long.
You see, all good things must come to an end. There’s no avoiding the inevitable, reality must recommence, mince pies can’t be eaten year round and…well…actually, why can’t mince pies be eaten all year? Why can’t we keep watching films during the day whilst devouring boxes of chocolates? Why does it have to end? Let’s start a petition.
The last few weeks…
The last few weeks have passed in a blur of family gatherings, catch-ups, tea drinking, biscuit dunking, mulled wine, baby guinea pigs and other general festive pastimes. Hang on a minute, guinea pigs? Yep, you can’t beat a baby guinea pig, they are adorably cute and Mr SN has a soft spot for guinea pigs.
P.s – Don’t buy baby guinea pigs just because they are cute, they need love, affection, care and time. We don’t condone buying an animal at Christmas on a whim.
Mr SN has been working most days, so I’ve been very busy getting other things done. That’s actually a complete lie. It’s the guilt. Whilst Mr SN has been working hard, I’ve been thoroughly enjoying the novelty of being back home*** Those very important things have involved: 1) Sitting in pubs drinking pints of local ale. 2) Listening to carol singers. c) Drinking lots of frothy coffees with my parents. The latter is because they have recently purchased a milk-frother, which means that homemade cappuccinos are decidedly in favour…which is absolutely fine by me. The above mentioned activities are all in the name of critical thinking and explorative research.
*** I say “home” to both the UK and Crete. Both places hold that special feeling of belonging, but in different ways. You can’t get sprouts in Greece and in Sussex you don’t find a heard of sheep descending the high street with a Shepard in tow.
In my defence…
In my defence I have been supplying Mr SN with packed lunches, home cooked dinners and moral support. I’ve waved him off every morning with a merry smile before skipping back to bed with a cup of tea. Don’t tell him. He thinks I’ve been working really hard on this blog, luckily he never reads it, so he’s none the wiser. He has absolutely no idea what I write on here, the other day I overheard someone congratulating him on his blog! They told him how naturally he writes…he just nodded and smiled. Erm…don’t get me wrong, he’s very talented at many things, but this blog is mine, all mine, mwah ha ha ha!
It’s been difficult to write whilst being in the UK, partly because it’s been hard to find time in-between frothy coffees, and partly because it’s such a grey time of year. It’s hard to muster up motivation and inspiration. Christmas has offered some solace with it’s gaudy lights and tacky tinsel, but when the festive show is over, we are left behind like the cast of a pantomime removing costumes and wigs. The stark reality is that summer is a distant memory, Spring isn’t in sight, and someone’s got to risk their life getting the Christmas decorations back in the loft.
Have I ever told you how I come up with ideas for writing this blog when I’m in Crete? I do most of my thinking whilst sat on the back of Mr SN’s little motorbike (called Carrie). As we trundle along the mountain roads lined with wild herbs, fig trees and an alarming amount of litter, my mind wanders. More than once I’ve yelled at Mr SN to pull over whilst I jot down some ideas. As we stand in the back of beyond, surrounded by bleating sheep and flowers the colour of egg yolks, I scribble away. Mr SN has learnt not to interrupt my thought process, because my ideas can quickly unravel like a loose thread on a knitted jumper.
How was your Christmas?
So, how was your Christmas? Most people I’ve asked have replied that it was exhausting. Too much food, too many presents, too many people to see. Why do we do this to ourselves? We spend the whole year seeing no-one and eating a balanced amount of food until the Christmas period arrives. Then within a few days we frantically run around meeting up with the world and his wife, scoffing as much food as possible. Where’s the balance?
Our Christmas was perfect. Not the kind of perfect where everyone looks immaculately wonderful and receives the ideal gift. Nor the kind of perfect where glasses are clinked to fake laughter and chit chat, whilst snowmen are built outside. Our Christmas involved handmade gifts, burnt stuffing balls and an ageing family dog with bad breath. Swap the snow for mud and you’ve got a pretty average Christmas Day on your hands.
The end of one year and the beginning of the next…
The end of another year is drawing to a close like a flower that’s past it’s best. The last twelve months have been full of successive colourful blooms, but as the petals begin to fall we can look back with satisfaction and content. The beginning of a new year lay ahead, tantalisingly empty, waiting expectantly for adventures to begin.
In a couple of days we will leave the UK and head back home. We are hurriedly satisfying our appetite for Brussel sprouts, before driving back to Crete via Eastern Europe. The road lay ahead with the promise of exciting new cultures, languages and currencies along the way.
In answer to my former question, I suppose the reason that mince pies, chocolates and daytime film watching can’t go on, is because everything is fine in moderation. Let’s enjoy these activities whilst the weather is grotty. and gleefully overindulge. Everything has it’s place. I’m looking forward to wild flowers in the Spring, watermelon and cucumbers in the summer and pomegranates and grapes in the Autumn. I miss the hot summer sun and lazy days at the beach. Who wants to eat mince pies on a scorching hot August afternoon? Me neither. Let’s call off the petition. In the mean time, lets make plans for the new year and take selfies with guinea pigs.
You, like me are probably desperate for an injection of Greece. Coming back to the UK has revealed the contrasts of our new life living in the mediterranean. I’m reminded of why we wanted to escape, and with your permission, I’m committed to dragging you on our journey, sweeping you up into a whirlwind of lemons, goats and all things Greek. Please say yes.
Next stop: Eastern Europe…as long as that’s ok with you?
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