Wednesday, October 3, 2007
Christmas in England
It didn't take to long to get the furniture in place and hang pictures on the walls, but no one knows the pure agony and ecstasy of unpacking boxes like a military wife. That is because we do it so frequently. Rarely are we in one place for longer than 3 years. More like 2 and once it was six months. Depending on how long your belongings have been in boxes decides what the ratio of agony to ecstasy is. The longer they've been packed, the more ecstasy you can expect. After all, the clothes you packed to take on a plane or in a car is minimal. I was so glad to see my ratty old house coat and pajamas, I think I cried at the sight of them. Not wanting the hotel people to think we were deprived in any way, no comfy old grundge clothes were allowed in the suitcases or hotel rooms. This housecoat, or dressing gown (my Lord what a high falutin' word for that holey piece of plaid flannel) as they are known in England, had been my comforter on the many lonely nights that Mac (WTHF) had been at sea. I would wrap myself up in it, laying in bed with a good book and a large kingsize pillow at my back and almost believe he was there. I forgot to mention, it was actually his robe/dressing gown, I just commandeered it after the first Med Cruise I underwent as a Navy Wife. (I give myself capital letters as I was a Capitol Navy Wife. ) So, as I had so brilliently marked the boxes, each and every box was in the room it was supposed to be and it only took me about two weeks to unpack. We had bought a Christmas tree and decorated it and Beaconsfield felt like home. England felt like home. It had actually felt like home to me from the minute I arrived. Mr. Gwaltney, the milkman, delivered the egg nog on Christmas Eve, we had our neighbors, Charles and Violet (Bubbles) Green over for dinner in repayment for their kindness while we were in the process of settling in. Bubbles had a lovely English Spanial named Cinda(rella) and she encouraged me to get a dog while we were here, so that Cinda might have a walking companion. I think she knew that I was lonely for canine companionship, myself. I had only went over to dognap Cinda about 10 times ,when she announced to WTHF, "my dear boy, you simply must get this dear girl a pup, she is pining." Yep, those were her exact words. And dear girl was pining. I've never been without a pet, at least one dog and one cat. But we decided that we'd wait til after the new year when the boys were back in school from the Christmas Holiday and I would have more time for its' housetraining. In the mean time, I accompanied Bubbles on walks into the village and onto the football fields (read soccer here) where she collected worm castings for her garden. I had never seen this done before or have I seen anyone do it since, but this was the most lucsious dirt for the flowers that I have ever gotten. I would say procured, but it sounds like something naughty (which I told to Bubbles the first time I heard her talk about going out to procure castings...I swear, I blushed crimson and giggled.) Bubbles took me all about the area and helped me collect holly branches for the stairway and door wreath. She and I went into London where I bought scads of new beautiful glass ornaments to go on my tree. My favorite were the red birds I found with what looked like a tiny drum brush for a tail. (A drum brush for playing drums.) I had about a dozen of the little Mary Jane dolls for the tree, a dozen little wooden nutcrackers and the most exquisite Angel Topper. Of it all I have the Angel and 2 of the dolls, six of the nutcrackers and one bedraggled little glass redbird with most of his brush/tailfeathers missing. Sometimes, moving takes its toll on even the least of these. There was no good news about our Hostages in Iran and as we gathered around our Christmas Eve table, we all gave thanks for being together, asked God to protect those in Iran who certainly needed his protection, and sat down to lovely roast turkey and cornbread dressing. Bubbles and Charles oooed over it, though I know the taste was different to them. But still they said it was wonderful, and you know, it really was. The boys, who knew that Santa was called Father Christmas over there, could hardly wait to get to bed so that the RedRobed old Man could call. I never thought about it then, but I'm sure it must have disturbing to them at times, all that moving about. But they were such good boys, and I know that they loved it there as much as we did. Christmas dawned cold and white, it had snowed during the night and I thought my heart would stop it was so beautiful. Our first Christmas in England was proving to be just about perfect.