Sometimes, with the best will in the world, it’s too challenging to recycle, and yet things must be cleared. The little Fiat Panda is chock-full of stuff for the recycling centre, and the cardboard still left over from its store under the big bakery oven felt overwhelming. Another little bonfire was the only realistic solution.
Dry material makes for a smoke-free immolation, and an hour or so after hoiking out the kindling material, and dragging two dumpy bags of the stuff to the field, I lit a match and watched it all disappear. That makes another big section cleared, and the list is dwindling. It’s mostly logistics now and then final packing after the family festivities have finished. The junk is mostly cleared out.
There are carols to enjoy, in at least three venues this season, and also we might hope around our own piano in our own living room, for the last time. Will we all sit around and attend to the King’s Speech on Christmas Day? Somehow that seems unlikely, but no doubt the Nine Lessons and Carols from King’s College Cambridge will be on the radio at the normal time. We remember our son, at the age of about six, singing the first verse of ‘Once in Royal David’s City,’ in a hushed, candle-lit St. Cuthbert’s church. We remember our daughter, filled with the joy of the season, throwing a chef’s kiss ‘Once for Me’ at a school concert. So many joys and memories from the past thirty years of family life here on the high fellside, and in community with the friends and neighbours of Allendale and the Allen valleys.
Today is another busy day of errands and appointments, but there’s always time to reflect on the joys of the past, and to look forward to even more joys in the present and future.