It is now officially January. Christmas is over the decorations are packed away and all the glitz and colour are gone and everything seems drab and without energy. Everything has quietened down to the frenetic energy and hard work and fun involved in preparing for Christmas season. Fresh trees are either replanted or sent to the Council shredder, Christmas cards are used to make Christmas cards and tags by the home crafter for the next season or recyled at special points i.e.Marks and Spencers in aid of the Woodland Trust.
The weather is cold - well it is this year. The coldest it has been since I was a small child. Brrgh... We need this cold, to break down the soil for nature to do its work and to kill off all the nasty bugs that cause too much damage and to restore some balance. However, we don't have winters like we used to. What we are experiencing today is but a shadow in many respects of what we used to endure then. In the Autumn the farmers setting up snow fences in vulnerable areas where the snow was likely to drift, sometimes miles of it. Cold winters where the ice used to be on the inside of the window and we used to draw patterns in the ice leaving a semi-melted train in the thrall of our finger tips;.Sparkling white snowdrifts and villages and hamlets being cut off for days segregated from civilisation but we got on with our lot. Early morning walks sometimes consisting of miles through deep snow for children to go to school and husbands to go to work. Houses where we did not have central heating and were lucky if we had one coal fire to huddle around to get dressed in the morning before being served up with a bowl of steaming porridge, or to get ready for bed in front with our jim jams warming on the fireguard before slipping into them.
A different slower way of life but full of rare qualities which is so sadly lacking in today's society, and yet we seem to work longer hours these days. Sometimes parents working several jobs to keep the wolf from the door - even more so now that the Credit Crunch has affected everyone.
The state of "family" isn't what it was. Families, friends and communities used to help themselves, and support each other but then the Mothers were often at home.Working all the same keeping house and home together, teaching good honest homespun values to their children and commanding respect. Seasonal events were looked forward to; no one who was on their own was turned away at Christmas and many's the time I went to my grandparents and we would have extra visitors for dinner and tea and to be in good company. We learned to mix, we learned to respect and we knew we were loved. We probably didn't have the toys and luxuries that today's children do but what we did have was much appreciated and we knew it was either hard earned or made but with love. We were never promised things, as to promise a child and then let it down causes emotional damage, but we were always met with the phrase "one day". That one phrase did not deny us and always encouraged hope but because it was not promised if we never attained it we were not disheartened.