Covid Christmas 2020

Was it worth putting up decorations during lockdown for just the two of us? I didn’t buy a tree and was grateful for that because it seems such a sad waste of trees even though the glorious smell of pine forests infuses the air in your home for a short while. When I was a child, we had a cat who would make a beeline for the Christmas tree and sit in ecstasy in its lower branches every day, sniffing the pine needles and purring like a Rolls Royce.

This is my Scandinavian alternative, which took one minute to install and then a friend sent me a perfect bouquet – so we were all set for being home alone .

adding to the spirit of Christmas Eve

Christmas Day dawned with a bright blue sky – virtual greetings all round before making for the great outdoors and catching the sunbeams across the Common.

The sky on Christmas Day
sun and shadow
willow weaving with ferns and moss
Swanning’ on Barnes Green

It helps to concentrate on small pleasures at the moment … and to slow down and appreciate what Nature has to offer only a few steps from home!

A fox at the bottom of the garden last night, screeching like a banshee, emerald green, red beaked parakeets swooping and shrieking overhead, pretty goldfinches feasting on the niger seeds, and two bold little birds – a wren and a robin – that make sure they get my offering of mealworms under the apple tree.

Robin at Christmas time

The wren escaped me and ducked under the hedge – small and swift, it darts like an arrow … pfft …

simple and elegant
oranges with star anise and cloves – photo sent to me by an artistic friend!
oranges, red berries and pine cones
chimneys with a history … Barnes Common
Leg o’ Mutton reservoir by the Thamesflocks of seagulls and a heron
Barnes Pond – Egyptian geese with ten goslings

Two elegant Barnes residents …

enjoying the sunshine on Christmas Day
Barnes Pond
starstruck
Our neighbour’s wisteria taken from underneath … could be the Mediterranean – but it isn’t!

And now we’re home again it’s time for a special treat …

Christmas presents

And a Christmas teatime …

The MOST ENORMOUS Panettone – from Lina Stores in Soho …

I had almost decided to send Christmas/Season’s Greetings online this year as the stamps almost cost more than the card now … and yet … and yet … I’m glad I didn’t succumb to the Internet because it was so lovely to have so many cards arriving with satisfying thumps through the letter box, some of whom came from people we hadn’t been in touch with during this Covid year. It made me really value both my old and new friends and that they were thinking of us as we were thinking of them.

A sample of Christmas cards sent for 2020

I have to mention that Robert Braithwaite Martineau’s (1826 – 1869) Christmas pudding is perfect – luscious and painterly on its glass dish.

Our TV series of the year, which we both thought was brilliant (this is a rare occurrence) was ‘The Queen’s Gambit’ on Netflix. We also found a programme with other singers and bands playing Elvis numbers and I became obsessed with ‘You Were Always On My Mind’ sung by Neil Tennant of ‘The Pet Shop Boys’, wearing a suit and tie. He just hit the spot for me.

Some of our musical tastes are the same and some not at all – at the outer end of the spectrum John is for Jimi Hendrix and I am for Andr√© Rieu (especially for Christmas). That leaves a wealth of bands and singers in between! I’m relieved I won’t ever be asked onto Desert Island Discs because it would be impossible for me to choose only eight!

There were lots of repeats on TV – extraordinary that Morecombe & Wise still make it for Christmas every year – but I love them. ‘Bring Me Sunshine’ – just sing it and hope!

Hello 2021 …

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