It was a great Christmas, everyone was in total agreement. We sat around the table taking our ease, chatting and laughing, opening crackers in a desultory manner. The turkey cooked to perfection and all those I love present.
The cat, in a state of shock, was even allowed to sit in front of the fire. Principally because since we got an inset stove I'm not afraid of her usual trick of trying to see what's up the chimney when the flames go up. This new feature in our family room has also removed my long held fear of a spark on the carpet setting the whole place alight.
Believe you me, up at this height when the gales blow, it is a distinct possibility. Since my childhood I can remember occasions when my Mother put out the fire on gale force nights, as she called them, and we felt the cold chill of a winter's night, rather risk a downdraught and it's consequences. The view is glorious...but as with anything you pay a price.
The general topic of conversation, however, on New Year's Eve was, on occasion, rather grim. Neighbours dropped in, an old friend who has moved back to Ireland arrived unexpectedly by very welcome nonetheless, and the right kind of relative, those you know make such an event were with us during the day.
The conversation ranged from changes in the place in the almost nine years since Mum passed away, to how much youngest daughter is enjoying her new job. After three years of seeking work this was truly a gift from Santa, and the smile on her face as she hurries off to work is definitely my best present.
Chief topic of chat was the future. Where will things go from here on a global and national basis. We're Irish. We love talking politics. We love trying to see into the future...we're all convinced we're mystic minded, but with the way the world stage is playing out, this year there were no definitive "we will..." this year; "If God spares us we might..." was more the norm. Even during the Recession when everything went totally pear shaped, we Irish kept the bright side shining as best we could, but this year...well we'll cross everything, pray to God and steer clear of the rocks...and hope that things won't be too bad.
The cat, facing either her 14th, 16th or possibly 15th year has no such worries. OH will continue to feed her as if she was suffering from malnutrition. The rats will continue to sit waiting for her now corpulent form to catch up with them. I think they misjudge the hussy. One found to his cost last night that Madam may be making up for the skinny years with a girth like a beanbag, but she can still cut it with the best.
On the lane two houses have been sold. One of the neighbours was a childhood friend and will be very much missed, the other, well let's just say that the new people are truly friendly and we look forward to seeing their smiling faces for a long time to come.
Mary Mulgrave* bought herself a new car. The other one was 25 years old. No scrappage deal could tempt her to get rid of Horatio as she called her car. She's already a liability on the road. Things go beep she tells us. It's one of "them new fangled gewgydags" and she's been back to the sales man twice to order them taken out. As he explained to her, they keep the car running. Well, her son did warn her that she should have bought second hand. There's a dent on the front wing. That came about because the "whatjacallit" beeped [seat belt alarm to you] and the button she thought was a demister started telling her where to drive..."sure didn't she know the roads better than that gobbledeygook thingummy" she told us.
A very Happy New Year to one and all...I'm off to find a lane Mary can't drive on, and where there is shelter from the gales and Mozart playing in my ears so I can't hear anymore world news!
* Not her real name