So Christmas starts with the mulled wine and mince pies on Christmas Eve. Beside the roaring fire with my beautiful glittering tree teetering in the corner with it's slightly nerve wracking (will it/won't it topple) presence.
Carol singing round the village. It is minus 10 degrees. westart with a mottly crew of about 6 of us, but we build in stature as we slip and lide our were around the village streets singing under street lamps.
Father Christmas joins us with a jeep pulling his sleigh. Ah but the driver is wearing ntlers and has a red shing nose due to the cold – he is really Rudolf in human form.
By the end of our tour we are thirty strong and a merry bunch who head for the village hall and more mince pies and mulled wine.
Christmas morning, prezzies, stockings, ribbons and bows. A happy Idgy as she rips and paper and laughs at silly presents from the animals. Gives gifts to them too and we laugh at their antics.
The chursh bells are ringing for morning service as we drive through the village. We are heading for 2 days at Rosemary's. Friendship and festivities.
And this is were we are off to, Jo's house for lunch. not a bad little place is it?
Rosemary and Idgy arriving with the prezzies.
There is a warm welcome awaiting us and a great lunch. It is a good day, a Christmas with new people, a diverse mix of outlooks, ideas and conversations. So different from our usual quiet meal at home. Back to Rosemary's in the evening, relaxing by the fire, tired from too much food, talk and wine.
Boxing Day at Rosemary's means another full Christmas lunch. I am feeling a tad Vicar of Diblyish with all these festive meals. One more whiff of turkey and I shall cluck and gobble and waddle off into a corner and collapse under the weight of it all!
I can't thank Rosemary enough for her wonderful hospitality, her kindness, great food, wine and entertainment- even if she did beat me at Bananagrams on 4 occasions!
All this was lovely, it was a good Christmas. But something happened next which knocked all this into a cocked hat. Blew it all away, made the food, gifts, house, tree, wines, champagnes, company and jokes seem slightly unreal.
You see yesterday when we left Rosemary's in the morning, we drove on to Musselburgh to see Colin and visit Mum.
Now doesn't my darling bro look well now. Isn't he handsom, such a star. He is a changed man, he is fit and well and he has positive plans for 2011.
My mind flits back to a call to me in France in the summer, a heartbreakingly sickening call when he thought he wouldn't see this Christmas, wouldn't survive the illness, wouldn't see this day.
Now look at him and see him smile, he is here, he has passed the doctor's tests, he is smiling both inside and out.
He is a star.
More to come, we visit Mum. She is not in her room, she is in the lounge with the other residents, she is sitting in a pool of sunshine, I take a moment to stare, to marvel.
We all sit together, she opens her gifts and likes the jersey and cardigan, they are good colours, they are pronounced 'ideal'. My heart skips a beat, for it is only a few months since she couldn't bear to see me, I could do nothing right. Whatever I gave her, whatever I said and did was wrong. I had failed her, I thought I had lost her completely to the ravages of time, the cruelty of age and dementia. I wanted to and did, scream and cry and howl to the moon. I wanted my Mum so very, very much and thought she was gone.
But no, there, right there in that little room I got the biggest, shiniest, bestest Christmas present in the whole damn world – I got my Mum back for Christmas. My old Mum who asked how the animals all were, who quizzed Idgy about her school and friends, who asked about my book and TV work, who wanted to eat chocolate, and who remembered going to see 'White Christmas' on stage in Edinburgh with us two years ago.
My brother and my Mum, all this in one day. If you are a regular reader I think you will know just a little of how much this means to me. I can't help but cry when I think of it and write this, it all means so much, so very, very much.
I'm sobbing and crying as a release from months of torture and fear. I'm crying tears of joy and tears of releif, I'm letting it all out.
I clutch this to my heart. I tie it in the ribbons and bows of Christmas. This is my memory of Christmas 2010. This is my prezzie, my joy.
To Mum and Colin, the merriest, brightest, happiest Christmas and all the love in the world!