Tag Archives: Abney Hall

The Day The Boy Nick Knocked

28 Dec

It’s all about the dignity with me…

As usual, it’s gone as fast as it came; the cupboards are still full and the wallets still empty.  We had our usual quiet but lovely Christmas.  The Hub and the boys like it when it’s just us.  They get to play with their toys and sit around in pyjamas all day.  I prefer a full house but I have to say I like not running around after guests and just enjoying myself.

We went to the cemetery on Christmas Eve, as usual.  My Dad died on Christmas Eve, 2000.  He was a lifelong smoker and lung cancer was inevitable.  Thankfully, he had a short illness – three weeks from start to finish.  He was 64.  He is buried next to a week-old baby and that always reminds me to be grateful for the time he had.  I save one flower from his bunch and we go round to the other side of the cemetery, and lay it on the grave of one of Tory Boy’s best friends, who died in his sleep at sixteen, from an epileptic fit.  I look at my boy and I’m grateful he’s fit and well. 

My Dad, like me, was a scouser and tormented the life out of my husband for coming from Manchester.  He always teased the Hub that ‘lots of people come from Manchester but nobody ever goes there.’   The Hub likes that he had the last laugh – Dad is buried here in Greater Manchester.

We usually come home then, and crack open the wine; but this year we have a dog, so we took him for his walk to Abney Hall Park, which is just up the road from us and is famous for its Agatha Christie connection (see the link for details; this post is going to be long enough without historical asides thrown in). 

A new form of fly-tipping

The Hub and I walked around the frozen ponds while the boys went sledding, then ambushed us with snowballs.  To be accurate, they ambushed me with snowballs because they respect their father too much to attack him i.e. are terrified of him, as you can see>     The Hub had forgotten his walking stick so we couldn’t stay out as long as we’d have liked to, but I was ready for my wine so I didn’t mind.  On the way home we saw a snowman in an unusual place: .

In the evening, I went to the Christingle service at my church, where it was my job to cut the red tape and stick it on the oranges.  We were also encouraged to make plasticine animals to add to the nativity scene.  Perhaps because of the wine, my animal started out as a dog and finished up a dinosaur (a rather fetching stegosaurus, if I do say so myself).  The curate was very gracious and told me that all animals were welcome at the nativity, and no-one wondered at the paradox of a dinosaur worshipping at the manger.  Mind you, it was a purple dinosaur; and we all know they sing songs about love.

Someone reminded me of Spud’s first Christingle service, when he was three: he started crying when the candle was lit because ‘my orange is on fire.’   This year was the first one that I didn’t have a child with me: Spud has finally outgrown it, and Tory Boy gave it up long ago.   I don’t understand how they have outgrown the Christingle yet I still have to read them ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas’ before they go to bed on Christmas Eve.  One of those traditions that will always be a part of their Christmas experience, I suppose.  On our first Christmas together in 1982, the Hub bought me an expensive card with the poem inside and I kept it and displayed it each Christmas.  I started reading it to TB on Christmas Eve when he was two, and I have done so ever since.  These days, there’s a lot of messing about and joining in, especially the last line, but my thirteen year old son and his nineteen year old brother refuse to have Christmas without it.

We got to bed at a reasonable time (after midnight) and Spud had strict instructions not to get us up before seven.  Adhering to the letter of the law, it was 7:05; what he didn’t tell us until much later was that he had set his alarm for 6:59. 

The gift-giving ceremony was a little shorter than usual because the presents were more expensive, but there were no complaints from the crowd (hold your breath now because I am never a pretty sight in the mornings, and worse on Christmas mornings):   

 Netting a netbook from Santa:             An HD Ready Spud:       

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