In a month when you can be anything-be kind.
January. In a month when you can be anything, be kind! …please
When I was a wee girl, I’m told I used to cry at the end of the Christmas holidays. Perhaps I didn’t want to return to school? I don’t remember the reason but I do remember that I didn’t want to holidays to end. I wanted the Christmas/midwinter/Hogmanay celebrations to go on. Was it about Christmas? I did regularly go to church and Sunday school, at that time and admit to being captured by the Christmas story. But I was never the one who got to be Mary in the nativity, I was more of a third donkey type! I loved the carols, the special services, the hope and optimism. They settled around might heart like the tinsel on the tree. They lifted the mundanity of winter in our wee village. And Hogmanay whilst whisky fuelled adults were sometimes unpredictable I savoured the fun, the gatherings ( even parties) and the cheer from visitors and family who too were freed from daily grinds. Winter in Scotland was grey, austere, cold but the lights of the festivities were not. The temporary relief saved us all in some ways.
I didn’t mention presents because we always were treated so well, with parcels, sweets, fruit, dates, new slippers; every Christmas cliche and they had to be practical ( new jumpers) or good for learning ( board games) or bikes of course. The memorable years were pets like the budgy, called snowy. That year school was a poor second to watching the budgie! Of course I am so old that the TV was pretty poor in those days. But really although I always enjoyed the presents they weren’t the star attraction.
No it was time with family and our friends that made it special. My father was even off for some of it and so he became part of our lives again - if not for long. Had I been up at that time, I would no doubt have noted the stoop of his shoulders as he headed back for his shift down the pit. The shifts that meant, in the winter, daylight was missing for months from his world.
Our home, a prefab, a perfect small bungalow ( above with me allowing a rare photo) with a big garden but no insulation. Ice on the inside of the window, the excuse for slowly emerging from heavy and cold almost damp covers. The hot water bottle had been fought over at the beginning of the night and carefully avoided by the morning by which time it was colder than ice. But if you were brave enough to kick it from the bed it’s stone frame caused a small tremor that measured on the Richter scale!
I shiver as I picture that room shared with my sister. Our circumstances are so dramatically different now thanks to our parents hard lives and work and education made possible by grants and good local schools. But my memories of those festive periods warm my heart like no hot water bottle could. But getting up in winter remains grim, inspite of central heating and good insulation and the love of my family. Therefore next month, when I qualitify for my old age pension
my first goal is never to get up early in the cold, however many winters remain!
May January be kind to us all and May 2022 bring you all health and happiness!