Thursday, December 22, 2022

The dark and the light

The dark

Two of my Christmas messages…

"Dear Sue

I hope you are coping well with the end of civilisation and managing to keep warm."

"Happy Christmas to you and Dave.  You have to believe 2023 will be better but the rational man or woman would have their doubts!


I've been reading some of my blog posts from the beginning of the pandemic and how cheerful they are! Of course, it was springtime and sunny then. But I was making a determined effort for the sake of readers to make my posts upbeat. I'm sorry that's a struggle right now, but I can do dark and light (the light is lower down, which you can scroll to now if you like.) 

In a FaceTime chat with the aging hippie in California this week she said she’d been reading dire things about our current state in the U.K. - that one third of the population are on food relief. I said that certainly a third of children are living in poverty, and many people - including those in work - have to choose between heating and eating; that we are short of 30,000 nurses; and short of doctors, yet the government restricted the number of university places in medical schools this year; that I know someone who waited 9 hours for an ambulance for her son, and that a friend of mine waited 14 hours in A and E last week.

Last night I watched the first half hour of Dr Zhivago where the cavalry with unsheathed sabres ride into a peaceful hunger march and mow the marchers down. It reminded me of the Peterloo massacre in Manchester in 1819 when a peaceful crowd of 60,000 people had assembled to demonstrate for parliamentary reform, and the cavalry rode into them, killing 15 people.

It feels as though this government - with MPs who have received a 28% pay rise since 2010 and who are refusing fair pay and conditions to so many, many workers - are carrying out a passive massacre, of people and of services that serve the public, of which the NHS is just one. This government's 12 years of heartless intransigence is just as bad as the brutality of those men on horseback.

The light

First it's the Winter Solstice, which English Heritage filmed live from Stonehenge this year, and I just watched. The concept was more magical than the experience, because there were so many people swarming around with their phone torches on, but the fact remains - it's getting lighter everyday from today.

Dave and I are watching back episodes of The Repair Shop every night and I've realised that just one of its attractions is that it is very healing to watch a skilled and dedicated craftsperson mend something, whatever it is, when the country out there appears to be broken. 

Dave brought in the tree yesterday which seems to have grown 15 inches in a year. Amazing. I think we’re going to have to buy it a bigger pot, but if we do I don’t know how we'll manage to carry it into the house next year. I bought it 6 years ago for £25 when it was knee high to a grasshopper and now it’s taller than me. What joy.

Bring in a tree, a young Norwegian spruce,
Bring hyacinths that rooted in the cold....

...Bring in the shepherd boy, the ox and ass,
Bring in the stillness of an icy night,
Bring in the birth, of hope and love and light.
Bring the Christmas life into this house.

This is my favourite Christmas poem. You can find it complete, here.

Dave gave me my home made Christmas card last evening:

...which I love, love love!

other nice news...

Lux asked me to give her Christmas money to a charity planting trees, and Cece asked for an e-voucher to spend on the Choose Love site, which means buying gifts for refugees. 

And Tate, my grandson, is raising money for the homelessness charity Crisis, by asking people to sponsor him doing 2023 chin-ups in January. 

Here is his JustGiving page. 

I'm still getting over Covid, but I'm so looking forward to seeing my local family in the coming days.

I wish you all a warm and loving Christmas.


Anonymous said...

Hi Sue, Hope you can shake off the pesky covid soon. You must feel so proud of your grandchldrens & their present choices. Have your Colorado family been affected by the extraordinary weather there?
My family are all here now, I do love it when we're all under one roof.
Happy Christmas to you and yours & Best Wishes for a better 2023! Sally 🎄🌟❄️

Sue Hepworth said...

Thank you, Sally, I hope I can shake it off too, it’s lingering.

Yes I am incredibly proud of my grandchildren’s choices.

My Colorado family were driving home from a trip away when the temperature dropped alarmingly very suddenly, and they were warned by traffic police not to stop or they would freeze to death. They got home safely and are keeping warm inside.

The last time my family were all under one roof was for my 70th birthday three years ago and it was very special. I know just what you mean.
Thank you for following the blog and for your faithful engagement.
A very Happy Christmas!