Sunday, 30 December 2012

Rolling with the Season

There have been storms here in my little corner of the world, wild frenzied winds have ripped through the valleys and torn trees from the sodden earth. The nights have been filled with howling and the battering of tattered rain against our windows, with drafts finding every crack and crevice, billowing out the drapes and sending shivers down my spine. The deluge that has fallen from the skies in a seemingly endless pattern through these dark days of winter, has drowned the already sodden land. Water has gushed in torrents and streams where it has never run before, roads and footpaths and gardens and fields have sprouted random rivers that rush and race down hill towards the sea, sometimes clear, sometimes muddy brown like the churned up river below.
My lady and I live high on a hill and so we are not threatened by the floods which have devastated so many people's festive plans right across the country, not just here in Cornwall, but the threat of landslides is a worrying one, there have already been several in our area. Our flat is not the sturdiest of buildings and I do wonder what is going on down in the foundations as more and more of our steeply sloping gardens are washed away. And yet despite that, I am grateful I have a roof over my head, that we have warm shelter from the wind and the rain. These are the things we should all be thankful for at this time of year.
I am well known for my 'dislike' of Christmas. My family affectionately (I hope!) call me Granddad Grinch! It's a reputation I have polished and honed to perfection and I "bah humbug" with relish but if the truth be known, and I'm letting you in on a little known secret here, it's not actually Christmas that I hate. I hate the commercialism and over-indulgence, and the fact that I can't turn on my radio from mid-November without hearing Last Christmas or some other such drivel. I hate that the whole pantomime seems to start earlier and earlier every year, and the tired old 'whose holiday is it anyway?' arguments come rolling out. I hate that people spend money they haven't got on people they don't really like and eat way too much, not because they are actually enjoying it, but just because it's there.
But.... and if you tell anyone I said this I shall deny it...
 I love that warm, comfortable feeling of closing the doors once the family has been visited and presents delivered, and the shopping has been done and settling in to watch my Witch drag in half a ton of greenery to decorate the fireplace for the Winter Solstice, celebrating not only the festival itself but the anniversary of the night we got together 14 years ago now.
We never actually have a tree. A lot of people make the mistake of thinking that's because we are pagan and have some sort of aversion to a Christmas tree. You wouldn't believe how many Christians go to great lengths to explain the pagan origins of a Christmas tree to us! As if we didn't know ;) The real reason we don't have a tree is it's our own little tradition. It started when we first moved down to London and were living in a bedsit, we didn't have the money or the room for a tree but my lovely wife was not to be thwarted. She raided the walls of the tower block we were living in for ivy to swag across the fireplace and then strung the fairy lights and tinsel through that before hanging baubles from the leaves.
 Who needs a tree when you have a bit of imagination. We've done it every year since and always will. We wouldn't have it any other way.
And then I love the smells that start to come from the kitchen as the true magic of the season happens and a handful of the most basic ingredients become delicious, aromatic treats to assault my nostrils and delight my taste buds. I know my witch is never happier than when she's mixing something up in her kitchen and as long as she is happy to cook for me, I will be more than happy to eat. When we first met she insisted 'the way to a man's heart is through his stomach'. I think she may have been right. The glorious meal of Roast Duck that came out of her kitchen on Christmas day made me one very happy man. Especially when instead of Christmas pudding (I'm not a fan of Christmas pudding) it was followed by this. All home made. Yes, I think the way to this Druid's heart may well be through his stomach!
I wouldn't want you to think I've done nothing but sit here and eat however. Tempting as that has been, I have made it into my work room on occasion over the festive period and I have several projects on the go, not to mention the multitude of ideas swirling around in my head ready for when I swing into action really get my finger out in the New Year.
Here's a little taster to be going on with... he's just a 'work in progress' at the moment and the batteries have run out on the camera so I can't show you any more until we've got that sorted, but what do you think?

The picture quality isn't fantastic, but hopefully I'll be able to get some better shots of him when he's finished. He's my most adventurous to date, I think, and I'm particularly fond of his nose!

Well, I hope you all had a wonderful Solstice/Yule/Christmas/Winter Holiday and I'd just like to leave you with this...
Let this be a warning to you all.
NEVER keep a witch from her sparklies!
My wife swore her revenge when I jokingly (I was joking, honest!) made her walk through the Christmas department of a local store with my hands over her eyes way back in November when she wanted to ooohh and aaarrh over the sparkly, twinkly things. It provided much amusement to everyone in there at the time (OK, all the men, I think the women may have been on her side) and, eventually, it provided much amusement for my little Witch. This is not a dignified way for a Druid to spend the Solstice!!!
Never let it be said that I don't have a sense of humour. She certainly does! Oh how she laughed, especially when she plugged me in!

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