After my Yorkshire adventure, a week at home. A kind of enforced staying indoors. The weather has been atrocious with little let-up from the howling gales and driving rain. At least the chimney's now sealed up but we still have a mysterious damp spot in the bedroom which comes and goes.
The weather and constant gloom haven't - alas - resulted in hibernation. I long for a period of dormancy but instead I've been stuck in a maelstrom of making (Christmas fairs) and preparation for festivities, of list-writing and socialising and family commitments. Joe continues to get up in the night and play very loudly in his room. He was 'Just sorting out some tea towels' (in his toy kitchen) at 2.10 this morning. I'm hoping this little phase of adjusting to the new house passes quickly as we're all exhausted.
So my last craft fair of the year came and went. It was, of course, a horribly wet and windy night. The turnout wasn't up to much but I left having made a modest profit and some new contacts. I now only have a few commissions to deal with before Christmas and I'm keeping it that way.
Compromises have been made in terms of the house being finished prior to the Big Day. The joiner (a reliable one this time) will be back next weekend and the bathroom floor should have been fitted by then too. The rest can wait. Small, niggly jobs that aren't vital. And with the state of the world right now I'm definitely of the opinion that we should count our blessings; we have a home and warm beds and food to eat. Complaining about a bit of woodwork seems so trivial.
The weather eased a little today so we went and bought a Christmas tree: a living one, in a pot, which is currently still netted and awaiting Joe's bedtime so we can put it in the alcove by the chimney. It seems as good a place as any and we don't actually use the fire so it shouldn't dry out and drop its needles. I hope.
There's a party at playgroup tomorrow. I'm supposed to be taking the crisps. We don't have any, unless you count the fancy root vegetable ones I treated myself to yesterday. And I doubt a room full of two-and-three-year-olds would go for those. So procuring Wotsits is on my morning to-do list.
I haven't written my cards out yet, or thought about Christmas food, or even what we'll be having for Christmas dinner. It'll be just the three of us I think, as the rest of the family are all spending the day with other extended family. And I quite like the idea of a quiet, relaxed time. My brother brought his eldest (aged five) over this afternoon. It was mayhem. No, really. I thought Jay was going to blow a fuse and that's something he never does.
I've been looking for little moments of brightness during these gloomy, grey days. And wondering whether we should have painted the house white after all. But we don't want to paint anything ever again. Or at least, not until spring. Not even my dining table and chairs, which is irritatingly 'shabby chic'.
There have been some good things on TV, like Detectorists and The Middle. I know, the latter's hardly high-brow but it's something we enjoy watching.
I'm reading PG Wodehouse. Again, silly but light and his writing makes me laugh. Laughter is very important in this house.
We've been to the garden centre a few times lately. Any port in a storm (quite literally) as all this indoor time with Joe is enough to give me serious cabin fever. Finding something to do undercover which doesn't involve trailing around shopping centres - one of my pet hates - is difficult. He's enchanted by all the cut trees and sparkly lights and polar bears. And going midweek means it's not overly crowded.
We currently have some nice festive things in the house: the aforementioned tree, fragrancing the air as only a real tree can. Mounds of satsumas and pomegranates. A new discovery: salted caramel-coated nuts (so very good).
Not so good - imitation Baileys, bought yesterday. At £4 a bottle I didn't expect much but it's really not very nice at all. Watery, overly sweet and a strange artificial vanilla flavour to it. Even in coffee it's pretty undrinkable. Elegant economy, in this case, does not apply.
Finally: I'm slowly working my way through all the lovely blogs I've missed out on reading these past weeks. It seems it's just one thing after another what with moving house and squeezing in work around Joe.
On Monday, my grandmother died. My mum's mum. She was ninety four so, as many are telling me, she had a 'good innings'. Although she died in her sleep she had been ill for a short time. She was a strong character, formidable after a colourful life which included much hardship during the War. The family name will go with her (although I've often considered taking it), along with many memories and stories. It's hard not to think about the fact that, since last year, three women - each from a different generation - have gone from our family.
The funeral is on the 15th. A service at the Polish church followed by a gathering at the Polish club, somewhere I haven't been since I was a child. The prospect of another funeral is not a good one but I have to go and say goodbye.
I didn't mean this to be a depressing post so apologies if it seems to have ended that way. In fact if anything it's made me realise the importance of keeping our history and traditions alive, both by writing about them and passing them on to Joe. Christmas has always been a 'Polish' time of year for me, and this year will be no different.