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  • Kay Fletcher

New Year Niggles 10/01/2015

The worst weather seems to always be after Christmas, in the New Year – fact or fiction that’s how it feels. As I write, the view in front of me is changing by the minute, the valley seems to have a grey sash draped about its treetops, it stretches and dissipates, then comes together again and thickens obscuring my view of the trees now, and that of the valley itself. Fog, it meets the frost still clinging to the ground, everything now seems grey, top to bottom.

I turn away from the window and walk through the house putting on lights here and there to combat the murky gloom, hoping they cast a warming, cosy glow. I start to look through the Christmas cards we received which I have taken down with all the other seasonal decorations. Is there something about Christmas cards and what they can be used to communicate over and above the obvious? For instance the ‘special friends’ card we received last year ‘downgraded’ to a general one out of a pack this year? The competition for who can send the smallest or the least festive or the darkest (black) Christmas card? And the ones that don’t add your name at the top of the card but just leave a blank space and sign their name at the bottom – was it too much bother I wonder to add our name or was it done in some production line process that precluded personalisation? Then there are those that don’t send a card at all, its absence can be a communication in itself, just like the arrival of a Christmas card posted to arrive well after the day is over…

All this makes me think of a friend I had at work whose mother-in-law communicated via the family photographs – where she placed them signalled her favour or otherwise. On the table next to her chair and you were doing great, on the table by the door where over eager guests often knocked the door in to the table leg and so sent the photos tumbling, and you were out in the cold – literally, but she never said anything… Similar I think to Christmas cards. Yet sadly it is the absence of cards from those people who can no longer send them that communicate the most.

I leave the rest of the cards where they lie and go to let the dog in. I open the door to the utility and immediately notice the new water feature I find there – interesting. I don’t think our dog will appreciate it, even though he’s a Labrador, a breed with a supposedly deep affinity with water, he may resent his bed floating around the place… Ah, Christmas and New Year – why is it that all electronic and domestic appliances in general seem to go wrong at this time? They threaten to derail events in the lead up to Christmas and over the festive season, the television has chosen a volume setting independent of any choice we may make, our telephone very often sounds a shrill alarm and then relays noises reminiscent of early computers whirring away crossed with guitar feedback. While our washing machine has obviously now decided to go all out and flood the place for New Year.

New Year – fog and faulty appliances – I haven’t even thought about resolutions yet, but I tend to think about them in the form of a bucket list for the year, as things I would like to achieve or experience for myself or as a family. Shopping for a new washing machine may not make it on to this list but after I finish my paddle maybe I should think about my intended resolutions … I will not be using my computer though, it’s not working….

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