I am aware that this painting is one that has been seen more than once but it is the painting on the front of the Albert Christmas card so I felt that it was appropriate considering that I have reached the point where I have to admit that Christmas has most certainly arrived. Some of my neighbours have had decorations and trees up for almost two weeks now but for most, they are now beginning to appear. So in the next day or two, I will have to venture up into the loft and bring ours out and get them up.
It is not that I treat it all like Bah Humbug or that I am a misery. It is more that I was brought up in the traditional twelve days and very little happened prior to that.
We all have different ways of looking at this time of year. As a minister of the Church, it was a very busy time but it was also a time when I became very aware of the loneliness of others and I cannot remember a single Christmas as a minister that there was not a tragedy to be dealt with. I cannot remember a year that I had to leave the dinner table for a tragic death or another equally sad happening. The cost of caring.
So it is nice to appreciate the time of year, but for me in the old ways.
There were, of course, the real funny happenings and things that went wrong in Christmas services like the time during the midnight church service when the one thousand capacity church was filled beyond that. I was in full flight and when saying amen at the end of what I thought was a worthy prayer opened my eyes to be facing a blank wall with my back to the congregation.
But let me tell you about Martha. She had decided to move with the times and get involved in the delights of microwave cooking. She purchased a brand new microwave cooker.
She decided to use it for the Christmas pudding. All the ingredients were assembled and in the mixing bowl. She had still got the family involved as was a tradition in her home. Each had mixed in a little surprise.
She looked at the microwave cookbook. She could not for the life of her belief that the cooking time was ten minutes, so she decided to go with the time she knew which was fifty minutes.
She started it as per manual instructions and went off to watch the television. Being in the living room she was not aware of all the spitting going on or the smell of burning sugar, or the mini explosions taking place in the high setting oven.
When she opened the door what she found was something that looked like a ball of tar. She could not even prod it with a fork, probably not even with a pneumatic drill. It took a big strong screwdriver to remove it from the base plate of the oven.
In a fit of pique, Martha threw the shrivelled pudding out in the yard. After a few days and an enjoyable enough pudding from the local store, she was able to laugh. The upside was that even next Christmas eve rover was still having fun with the new ball he had got last Christmas.
Yes it is beginning to feel a lot......... Have a marvellous time I better go and see if I can get myself up into that loft.