My response to The Word of the Day #Guidance.

The last Sunday before Christmas and as you can see the word is Guidance. Actually, this is my first foray in to the daily prompt site. Any of you readers, story tellers or bloggers can join in … by pressing ➡ Here! ⬅.

This year, the spirit of Christmas has been aloof. On Friday, yes 22nd December. I finally made an attempt to decorate for the festivities. Random visitors, maybe popping over to see us during the time between 22nd and 2nd of January we need to be welcoming, and have made the effort.
This year, there is no formal gathering of the clans. No, ‘Our Christmas.’ No magnificent meal for 21, including seven Grand children aged between nine months and fourteen years and two dogs. No wild inappropriate jokes to laugh at, and no story telling or present gifting to the Grandchildren under our roof … next to our tree. All of which we love doing and having; as we did last year. But this year, we are at the youngest daughters for Christmas lunch, at the eldest daughters for New years eve. All gifting will happen on doorsteps Christmas eve, but we won’t get to see the opening, the bright eyes, the ohhhs and ahhs of excitement only found at the point of the opening. Unfortunately, we only fit that amount of excitement, chairs tables and laughterand food , in our house … on a seperate day, ‘Our Christmas.’

Families, often have absent Mothers or Fathers, in-laws, step sisters and brothers. Extra Grandparents, uncles, Aunts and pets. They all are missed by someone … if away from home. It is just the way life is. To accommodate all, under one roof at the same time is nigh on impossible. Though we try, we invairiably miss out someone, an ex Husband that you cannot bring yourself to even pretend for a day to want under your roof, or a miserable Aunt, or the nephew that gets raucous after a tott or two … and has been known to moon at the people passing by the window, who unsuspectantly get a shock going home from church. Morbid Malcom, who wishes his time had passed, and voices such, every fiftythree minutes; once fuelled with Sandyman’s Port, or Harveys Bristol Cream..

It would be unkind to want everyone to fit in with us. Not every year. When have what we call ‘our Christmas’ which is at a date somewhere between 25th Dec and 7th January. Depending on when we can get most people to be … at the same place and same time. Most of the food (prepped by me) is cooked by ‘The Husband’ who stubbornly refuses assistance, until clearing up time at least. As you may realise by now, we are missing it, before we would have had it. I wish I had seeked out some guidance before saying “Not this year.” Truth be told we have both had obstacles during the year, and I felt, it would be too much, both for him, and me.

So up went the tree, cards were written, parcels purchased and wrapped, all in four days. I will bake a special cake for the four Grandchildren at our eldest sons house and deliver cake and gifts Tuesday morning. Christmas day’s desert I will bake on Tuesday evening, while ‘The Husband’ delivers gifts to the youngest son’s home and two more Grandchildren. Christmas will be on time, with nobody missed. All will be wonderful, in it’s special Christmas day slot, this time with our youngest Grandson George; seeing his first Christmas day.

Let us hope for a healthy New Year. Maybe, just maybe, I should have listened to my own guidance. Another year we will accept the help of everyone. It would be better than not have one at all. We, after all, can only do it as long as we are still here.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Have a cool yule Solstice, Enjoy your festival of light and Hanukkah. Any other beliefs I have missed out please forgive me, and please, have a peaceful new year.

What do you do for Christmas? Let me know in the comments. 🎄🎅🧚‍♀️

Meet Our Own Angels.

She watches down from above my books, keeps an eye on me. When Christmas is about Angel takes up a different spot. Overlooking the whole affair, smart with tidy dark brown hair. Her coat a ruby shade of red, like santa’s, it has been said her wings and heart shaped bag glisten in the Christmas lights. She is my favorite ornament.

Our other Angel is Lilly, Pictured below. We were lucky to have got her on 2nd January 2018. Our beautiful pup rescued from Romania has become our angel. A year on and our lives, as well as hers  have total changed. She is the reason to wake early, the reason to walk daily,  and she brings us new and exciting  adventures, including some we would have rather not had (a live mouse).  Sometimes I wonder who rescued whom. We will celebrate her gotcha day, and she may get a little treat or two this January 2nd. Ten minutes after this photo carnage had taken place …. poor Christmas lady bug did not stand a chance. *gulp*

Charlie A Poem At Christmas.

“Charlie.”

Charlie wasn’t keen on Christmas, because of the paper, the lights and all the waste, He didn’t think it good to eat so much, when others went hungry, It soured the taste.

Charlie loved wearing Granddad’s flight jacket, the best ever Christmas gift, Grandma said he wore it each day, walking back from his overnight shift.

The coat was cumbersome and heavy, if zipped it came past his throat. His arms needed to be longer, and the leather smelt like a dirty old Goat.

But Charlie could fit mucky Ethel, underneath it when the rain soaked all her card. Or the snow made her fingers go blue … as she sat in that old butchers yard.

He could fit a curled up ham sandwich and an apple from Grandma’s dish, Deep inside the fur lined pocket. And he made a new Christmas wish.

He wished that all people had bedrooms, a place to rest their head. That mucky Ethel could have a bath and a coat to hold over her own head.

But Santa, he did not come calling, to the people who lived on the street. Instead he hoped they would have their own Charlie, who would give the shoes from his feet.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B7WJ-42kvYrWZVJhRWxLVDhxMUVQbjhJOF9obUU2clJxd3Jz/view?usp=drivesdk

I added a sound bite for anyone wanting to hear me read this. “Do you think a child has opinions on subjects such as this?” I would love a comment please 😁

This year my Christmas cards were bought to support Shelter, we sent them only, to close family and even closer friends. But I purchased one item a week and two when I could, th as extras to my weekly shopping all year. I googled a list of what I should get, to be sure I was providing what was most needed. I trawled charity shops for sturdy rucksacks once cleaned I stuffed them tight. A female sack was complete by August and delivered to the drop in center in our charming market town; you would not think there would be a homless problem here. Just before the cold of December a male back pack was ready to give, being near Christmas, I included a card, a tiny bear and a notebook and pen as extras. My gifts make me tear up as I write this, because who is to judge and it was so little for some but would mean everything to them. May this season and coming year bring roofs for the homless.

What Is The Colour of Christmas Mummy?

Inside a tiny house, nestled in the suburbs of London. Emma looked up at her Mum. “Mummy the sunshine in my picture,” she said pointing to the drawing on the fridge door. “It is sunshine colour, isn’t it? The grass, with Daddy and Mummy, it is grass colour… isn’t it?” A frown shaped her face as she waited for an answer.”That Orange” Emma poked the pencil into the paper, “It Is an orange Orange isn’t it.” Emma’s neck was stretched to its full length, her lips pursed and a chubby hand holding a colouring pencil was pointed at her drawing. Mary dropped to her knees beside her daughter. Intently, she looked into her eyes and explained about colour and how a few had the same name as the things she drew; like Orange and lemon. Emma and her Mother drew and labelled a colour chart, while her little brother straddled Mary’s hip. They learned the colours of the clothes in the laundry bag and the cushions on the sofa; though Emma’s wings threw in some confusion. During the day they sang songs and told stories, together glued tissue paper rainbows to add to the already crowded fridge door. Mary and Joe Carpenter, went to bed that night almost as tired as the children. They were both happy, knowing that tomorrow would be Christmas. The anticipation of the excitement on their children’s faces, the reactions to the parcels beneath the tree. Though not many, each one had been chosen with love, and need in mind.

On Christmas morning Emma skipped into the Kitchen. “What colour is today mummy?” Mary lifted her head, wearing a huge smile. Her eyes crinkled as they met that face. Her five-year-old was clutching pencils and pursing her lips. Her hair knotted from sleep; her giraffe under her arm. Mary’s pride shone from her face, as she wiped her forehead with the back of her flour encrusted hand and bent to her daughter’s height. “What colour do you think it is?” Emma screwed her brow and as if contemplating the world and left the room.

Within the hour Mary had worked her magic, children clean, fed and playing nicely. Food cooking nicely and preparation almost complete. Mary wriggled and hummed to the music on the radio as she cut the last sausage roll. She wiped her hands on the tea towel stuck in her waistband. Throughout the house, the air was thick with the scent of pastry and cinnamon and the sounds of happiness. The little girl’s question forgot; in the excitement of the day.

Tom crawled up the hall chasing his new train blowing spit bubbles; giggling as he went.
Dad burst through the front door stamped his feet and brushed a light dusting of snow from his hair. Joe’s nose was red and he rubbed his hands briskly to warm them.”Kisses” he called as he smacked his lips and waved mistletoe above his head.”Kisses I want kisses” he roared. Emma and Tom rushed to be lifted in a sloppy lip smacking embrace.
There were lanterns, twinkling lights and paper decorations dangling from every space in the little house. Carols rang out from the kitchen radio and sparks snapped against the guard on their open fire. It looked a perfect Christmas to him.
Dropping everything Mary ran to join Joe for a kiss; Singing as she went. Flour covered kisses ended in chuckling and tickles. With all four sat breathlessly on the floor. Emma looked up into her Mothers eyes and quietly said
” I think the colour is Christmas mummy.”

This is a story I wrote a while ago, revamped, extended and wearing its very best party frock I have bought it back. I hope you like it, and it gives you everything you need; putting you firmly in the seasonal mood.

Merry Christmas to you all, followers, friends and visiting readers.

Do leave me a comment I love to chat.

Suggestions and Stonking Good Stocking Gifts Inside.

Dark visions horror anthology Buy Here

I won’t lie, I may be biased slightly … because I have a flash fiction in this book. But, and the but is huge; I am very proud to be part of this Anthology. Stuffed full of stories; some you can read in a snatch, others that fill a lunch break. All will fill your thirst for the weird, the creepy and the scares. Ask your local shop to get this best-selling horror anthology in stock. Order it from the library or purchase it from Amazon. Either way, you won’t regret giving, reading or receiving this gem. Twenty-seven Authors and 34 stories to stir and startle your imagination. Ideal for the unique individual in your life. The quirky shopper that wants to be the best present giver. The toilet reader. Ideal for the Allotment snuggler; sat in solace in the shed. For the wise man (maybe three of them)😃😂 escaping the world with this book before bed.

NEWS FLASH! any moment now this book will be available in audio I will pop a link here as soon as it is live.

My next choice is this. A fantastic little piece of kit that will thrill any guitar playing person. It has to be a must for a stocking I am filling.

https://drummondandhammett.com/product/accessories/trans-amp/

screenshot_2018-12-12-11-56-09

A great place for a special gift Drummond and Hammett make some amazingly unique items; the whiskey tumblers above are only one of many hand-made items on offer.

RIGHT HERE

This Gift stop is for …

All writers and readers

or library feeders,

sketchers and scribblers

and stationary givers,

drawers and doodlers

Fiddlers and stencilers,

And collectors

Or pencilers.

A small niche company in Ireland who makes exquisit gifts one of my favorites are her hand rolled pencils Press Here to find my favorites.

Next is a doozy of a gift.

Geoff LePard’s Book

Apprenticed To My Mother

Buy Here
Geoff painted a clear picture documenting the lives of his Mother and family. Her quirks and idiosyncratic ways are brought to life with carefully chosen words. His words have you standing in the corner of the kitchen; watching her show her boys how to cook. The story is punctuated with his father’s extraordinary poetry; received by his wife throughout their lives. It paints a picture of a time past and fortitude shown. It has laugh out loud moments like the comments she made and the diplomacy she fooled you into believing she used. A cracking good tale one well worth reading. Told beautifully by a loving son, and a damned good storyteller.

The cushion in my photo is a fluke, but Geoff mentions his Mothers dabble with Beekeeping so I thought it apt in the circumstances. The cushion is mine purchased from Dunelm. A super stocking filler, even those surgical stocking wearers who we can never quite please … will wipe a tear and cast a smile at the strength and the love in this book. Three generations of my family have thoroughly enjoyed it so far. This book will Grace many a comfy seat, accompanied by a slice of perfectly baked lemon drizzle cake.

My final gift idea is time.

It doesn’t have a price-tag because it is priceless.

Offer time, Pick a date and time; time to sit, and listen. Share a cuppa with someone who is alone, share a story or two.

I owe you two babysits written in the Christmas card. To give a young couple the time, to do as they wish; time for themselves.

An invitation to supper or breakfast, sharing food is rarely about eating. Sharing food is more about your caring; you cared enough to ask, to share your time.

What are your best gift Ideas and did you enjoy mine? I love to talk, leave me the gift of a comment.

Merry Merry Christmas.

For my virtual friends all over the world “Merry Christmas” Happy Holiday’s whatever your beliefs be kind to each other. To you all “Peace on Earth”.

I will be away for a while but will See you next year. Xxx.

Our Christmas tree.

https://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=video&cd=2&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwjU0p3zlvzQAhVYNVAKHdp9AJMQtwIIIDAB&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DJKJExBXRorA&usg=AFQjCNGwQn0b_e4u8wmmelaZYT0v55eqnQ&sig2=50zeOoKehYeOiiJSy0nO7Q&bvm=bv.142059868,d.ZWM

Enjoy festive music if you can keep your eyes off Mariah’s chest… ooooherrr missus.

The Colour is Christmas.

Inside the tiny house that is nestled in the suburbs of London Emma looked up at her Mum. “Mummy the sunshine in my picture, ” she said pointing to the drawing on the fridge door “it is sunshine colour, isn’t it … And the grass with Daddy and Mummy, it is grass colour isn’t it?” A frown sat on her face as she pursed her lips; waiting for an answer. Mary crouched beside her daughter and explained about colour and name, she drew her a colour chart while her little brother straddled Mary’s hip. Mary told her the colours of their clothes and the cushions on the sofa. During the day they sang colour songs and told rainbow stories, drew rainbows to add to the already crowded fridge door. Emma and Tom Carpenter, went to bed that night tired and happy, knowing that tomorrow would be Christmas.

On Christmas morning Emma skipped into the Kitchen. “What colour is today mummy?” She lifted her head, wearing a huge smile Mary looked at the five-year-old who was clutching pencils and pursing her lips. Mary’s pride shone from her face, as she wiped her forehead with the back of her flour encrusted hand and bent to her daughter’s height. “What colour do you think it is?” Emma screwed her brow and as if contemplating the world and left the room.

Mary wiggled and hummed to the music on the radio as she cut the last sausage roll and wiped her hands on the tea towel stuck in her waistband. Throughout the house, the air was thick with the scent of pastry and cinnamon and the sounds of happiness. The question forgot in the excitement of the day.

Tom crawled up the hall chasing his new train giggling as he went.
Dad burst through the front door stamped his feet and brushed a light dusting of snow from his hair. Joe’s nose was red and he rubbed his hands briskly to warm them.”Kisses” he called as he smacked his lips and waved mistletoe above his head.”Kisses I want kisses” he roared. Emma and Tom rushed to be lifted in a sloppy lip smacking embrace.
There were lanterns, twinkling lights and paper decorations dangling from every space in the little house. Carols rang out from the kitchen radio and sparks snapped against the guard on their open fire.
Dropping everything Mary ran to join Joe for a kiss; Singing as she went. Flour covered kisses ended in chuckling and tickles. With all four sat breathlessly on the floor. Emma looked up into her Mothers eyes and quietly said
” I think the colour is Christmas mummy”.

This is a story I wrote last year revamped, extended and wearing its very best party frock. I hope you like it and it gives you all you need to be put you firmly in the seasonal mood.

Do leave me a comment I love to chat.

A Favorite Christmas Decoration.

My idea for this came from here go check out her blog and handsome decoration.
Lindsey left a question on a post yesterday, asking “what is your favourite Christmas decoration and why”.

I thought about the Xmas pud my daughter made at four and the Santa boot my eldest made some thirty years or more ago. The snowflake, it was from my youngest son all white and sparkly made when five; I remember them well, their memories are the ones I treasure with a motherly equality and a sadness when each year I find them gone. The jointed Father Christmas who has pride of place stands two foot tall, he was my own first decoration. My daughter thought I’d like him as I had left so much behind; the beginning of a new life new Christmases to come.

But my own favourite, the one chosen by me… the me I am now, the one I purchased and placed here that is my best.  An angel in a red coat with sparkles on her wooden wings dark neat painted hair with a gold halo and a heart shaped cross body bag. I purchased her at a pop-up shop; a locally crafted display of all things Christmas. My visit was a surprise as I didn’t know it was there… it just popped up. She silently called me, at one point I do believe she winked; that part could be put down to artistic licence *sniff* but none the less drawn we were. At first, I stood her alone in the picture window facing the outside world, when I re-entered the room I turned her facing us. I have had her ten days now and we are getting the measure of each other, up to now she has been the only Christmas adornment to our home but today I will decorate the tree. And my scarlet angel will find her place as I have mine.

After Christmas, I may swap her heart shaped bag for a muff and make a fluffy headband to hide her halo but the wings elude me, maybe a classy fabric draped like a wrap to gently secrete them out of sight. I could put her betwixt my books in a bookcase to watch over us when Christmas has gone. I am not sure why I have become so attached to my scarlet angel but there it is; I am naming her as my favourite Christmas decoration.
What is yours? And why? Leave me a comment or just let me know what you think… And Merry Christmas.