Sunday, 28 December 2014
I Saw Three Ships........
................but not sailing into Bethlehem on Christmas Day in the morning. In fact it's a puzzle as to what geographical/divine intervention made possible this event, but never mind. These three ships were in Bristol harbour on Boxing Day in the morning. Two ferries and a tethered restaurant boat to be precise, but very interesting all the same.
It was a different sort of Christmas, the making of new tradition and the end of the old, a sort of rite of passage for me as I will be 75 tomorrow and life changes for all of us.
The old tradition, for my sons and me, was heavily involved in the church where my husband worked. I use the word 'heavily' with care, because it was. The duties for all of us were onerous, and Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were somewhat fraught with duty and responsibility and hard work.
We spent many a Christmas Eve scaping wax off the tiled floors after the Christingle sevice when little children were given lighted candles stuck into an orange and when wax was dribbled into medieval tiles.
I spent the later part of Christmas Eve in a state of apprehension, knowing my husband to be alone in church full of the most valuable silver, and knowing that the churchyard was populated by people who had spent the evening drinking in the local pubs and probably also knew about the silver. There were no mobile phones in those days, no communication between the church and the house in the churchyard where we lived. Only a locked door.
But it was a privilege, always, to have such access to a beautiful building nine hundred years old, to be behind the scenes, to realise just how much dedication and hard work went into the production of the music that created a powerful emotional response for so many others.
Tradition was all around us, centuries of it, tangible.
This Christmas was different, away from home for me, but at home for my younger son and his family. Time for me to let go of some things and let others create new traditions. Time for Granddaughter in her Christmas fairy tutu (which she's inclined to wear pulled down around the knees or up under the armpits) to give out the presents. Time for an evening round of a rather racey new game to be played on a different kitchen table, a game whose instructions advise that it is not suitable to be played with older mothers or grandmothers. I am both and can hold my own in the rudeness stakes. There is nothing new in that.
But some different some things I hope will not become traditional, foremost among these being the slamming of my elder son's head in the car door (by me) as we loaded up.
The disagreements with SatNav will probably be thoroughly traditional with many by now. I have it set on a nice, calm, female voice and I do as she tells me. My sons use a different system which is obviously better than mine. More masculine.
But we got there, as I drove through an unfamiliar city centre late at night, gibbering with exhaustion and fear as the nice, calm female directed us in what was clearly the opposite direction, advising us on 'U' turns all the way.
Perhaps the Wise Men argued with the guiding star? The principle is the same.
We got there, as they did.
Happy, peaceful New Year to you all.