This afternoon I stayed in and lazily watched a Christmas episode of Agatha Christie’s Poirot. It was too cold to do much outside. I scattered salt in case we get ice on our steps and sorted some recycling tubs out there but came back in to the house pretty quickly.
It seems an age ago, as witnessed in today’s episode of 1930s Poirot, since I’d seen a Salvation Army playing their brass trombones and collecting funds and rattling tins in front of Christmas shoppers.
Children wrapped in scarves, hats and knitted woollens singing carols while their feet went blue with cold - not a common sight these days.
It also seems a long time since we could go into a fine chocolate emporium, sample tasty toffees, caramels and soft centres from a silver tray and leave by shaking the shopkeeper’s hand and wishing him or her a merry Christmas. When did we last use a sharing plate and shake hands?
When was the last time we sat in a train carriage and chat to a fellow traveller without any social distancing? And can you imagine being squashed in a taxi cab - three to the back seat - swapping comments and stories with strangers but without wearing a mask or visor?
What did you do on Christmas Eve? Have friends and neighbours in for a merry mince pie? Or did you lean in close to each other in the billiard room to get the cue tip pointing exactly where you wanted it? Or were you kissing under the mistletoe next to a ten foot Christmas Tree? Such customs seem to be things of the past.
This Christmas we were told by our Secretary of State for Health that on Christmas day we were not allowed to argue nor to kiss. What a state of affairs we are living through!
Christmas in our household meant getting tested, waiting for covid results then, upon finding we were negative, staying away from people from the 20th December onwards. When you live with someone who is ill you have to make sure that anyone entering the house is covid-free. On top of that I had help to do a deep clean of the sitting room and kitchen - making it ready for our Christmas guests. On the day I served mulled wine and nibbles ( on non-sharing plates) outside. Then, back inside, we sat in socially distant fashion and Richard and I served turkey, all the trimmings, my own cranberry sauce and gravy, creamed sprouts and roast vegetables. Richard didn’t try to roast the spuds. The timing was out. But the pudding, trifle, cheeses and choccie log went down a treat after another spell outdoors - which - as advised by gov.uk - allowed fresh air through.
Shopping this Christmas has meant a lot of waiting in for deliveries. Quite different in Poirot’s day. He wandered in to a store at will, spoke to the sales assistant, and left in his own time with no queuing nor fear of catching the virus. A lot of things have changed. Who could have imagined a festive period being so constrained as this year?
Do you remember Christmas? Not the way it was this time. But the way it used to be.
I hope so. Christmas should be jovial, relaxing, social and fun. Roll on the next one!
And let’s hope for a much better 2021.
Meanwhile tomorrow it becomes law in the UK that we stay indoors for lockdown#3. I doubt I’m the only one feeling weary but I try to remember to be thankful that we are well.
KBO ( Keep Buggering On)