Friday, 21 December 2007

Pride and Christmas

I've saved £s this year... making my own Christmas Wreath, making the family presents, pulling in last year's potted Christmas Tree, recycling old decorations and cutting my own hair. I've saved a few hundred pounds, much needed while my finances are poorly.

My car tyres have been replaced and the invoice will be sent via Royal Mail, who, with a bit of luck won't deliver until after Christmas and by the time my cheque arrives and clears, I could well make the end of the month without too much debt.

Some people don't like admitting they are financially curtailed - I've found in the past that men are usually too proud to mention money, and would rather use wealth or the trappings of wealth as a status symbol to show off to other males. Am I wrong? While we women tend to be more 'up-front' about our state of affairs. Again, I may be wrong, but it's how I see it based on my experiences with others who get uncomfortable when finances are discussed. I tend not to tell people exactly how much or little I have. It should be enough to mention that finances are difficult without going into too much detail, and good friends have understood without question.

I am so lucky to have daughters who despite my saying repeatedly over the years that I'm not a 'borrower', when I have been in difficulty, as is the case recently, one or more have jumped in, despite my protests, and have helped out. I hate taking loans and like most people, I have my pride. My lovely man would not have wanted to see me without anything, and he was the first to help out members of my family if they were in dire straights. He was also very forgiving, something many are not. We all have pride, some more than others. It gets in the way of many things, but, among good friends and especially at Christmas, all should be forgiven - even pride.

Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Let it snow

The sky was clouded over yesterday and the day before with a slight promise of snow flurries. Nope... not a flurry in sight as I stood outside shivering with the trusty car mechanic who was changing one of my tyres. My back, nearside tyre was completely bald on the outside circumference and definitely illegal. Would Renault cover the obvious fault in my Warranty? No, of course not, despite the mechanic speaking over the phone to one of Renault's service managers that there was an underlying cause; like suspension?

So now I have no car which has given me the excuse I needed to do all the little housey, decorating things I've been putting off. The tree is in, up and bedecked and at one point, amongst all the baubles and twinkling lights, a little kitten face appeared through the branches; eyes big and excited. No baubles have yet hit the floor, but he's working on it! He has ventured outside briefly, under cover of darkness, running back in at the merest sound or sight of anyone, or anything. He peers at me as if I'm stupid when I press the cat-flap with encouragement, so then I open the door and he will sit on the door step, sniff the air then prance back to the warmth of the log fire. Perhaps he'll go outside to pee in the Spring?

Without a car I can't take Banjo to the Vet, I can't fetch the boys from school on Friday, and I can't travel down to the coast to fetch my daughter and granddaughter. Nor can I do the Christmas shopping or try one last go at the Gym. Hopefully my car will be back soon. So, while holed up, it may as well snow, then my isolation will be complete, but no problem, I have warmth, water and food and two adorable felines for company, which is more than some folk will have this Christmas.

Sunday, 16 December 2007

I may look like a Swan,,,but,

I have been sorting Christmas decorations all day while cleaning rooms, putting away ornaments to make way for festive stuff, and battling with a not-so-helpful kitten. Like a Swan, I look elegant above water, but underneath, my legs are paddling away furiously.

Some of the decorations are several years' old, we bought them together when setting up home. We had nothing. Both left previous homes from previous lives with nothing much; I had a lamp which was a family heirloom and a suitcase that contained swimsuits and scarves, (I packed in a hurry)! He had some Disney videos and a few teddy bears. So we had to begin from scratch. We bought a Christmas Tree on Christmas Eve; it was the last one, but it looked good; small and with full branches. We were like two children searching for decorations for our first Christmas together, with not much money, no friends and quite a lot of enemies.

So now, when I pull these decorations out of the cold cardboard box, I'm instantly transformed back to the Christmas of 1996. They may be battered but I display them with love.

I have just discovered that my back, nearside car tyre is bald. How could this be? I've only had the car just over a year, from new. So, now I must make phone calls and see what can be done before I travel down to the coast to fetch my daughter and granddaughter for Christmas. And the expense!!! And what is the cause?