Monday, 16 December 2013

On the Wings of an Angel

There's something that's been bothering me...
It's taken a while to come to the surface, but I think I have finally figured it out.
It bothers me...
 that the magic of Christmas seems to have become diluted,
watered down over time & slowly, disappointingly, run out the door like melted icecream.
Traditions have become dull or been left in cupboards.
So much of the season has been plastered over with a false smile & sweet pavlova insincerity.
What if...
just supposing, we could strip it all down & start afresh?
What would it all look like?
 perhaps, that we're not on our own?
That life will be better: kinder, warmer, healthier, more loving?
A little goodwill?
What is goodwill, really & why would we need it?
Goodwill: friendly, helpful, or cooperative feelings or attitude.
synonyms: benevolence, compassion, kind-heartedness, big-heartedness, goodness, kindness, kindliness, consideration, charity; cooperation, collaboration, friendliness, thoughtfulness, decency, amity, sympathy, understanding, amenability, neighbourliness, mutual support.
I have been looking across the road with a heavy heart many times, every day, these last few weeks, in the knowledge that my lovely gardening friend/neighbour may be coming home for Christmas (Wednesday week) for the very last time. And that, makes me so sad, but it also makes me wonder...
 this was the very last Christmas that I would ever see, what would I want it to be like?
What would really matter?
If we have gifts & mountains of food but no real connection...
 what do we really have?

I have heard so many people say, just lately that all that matters to them from here on, is doing what they want to, what makes them happy & bugger the rest!

Yet, when I heard a frantic knock at my door this afternoon & there stood the son of another neighbour (usually rather cranky & rude), huffing & puffing & so proud of himself for spotting the two young boys that had just nicked a bag of plums at my gate; here he was bothering, caring. I walked him out to the gate & gave him a bag of plums to take home, goodwill blossomed & instead of being cross he was chuffed & I was blessed.
I then walked briskly down the road & spotted the said thieves (running flat out) & a lagging friend. To the friend I said please tell the boys not to nick my fruit, just ask next time...I happily give fruit to kids, ok! Yes Miss, sorry Miss...I'll txt them now!
When my best friends mother wakes on Christmas morning, I wonder what she'll think of it this year, having gone (more or less) blind over the last few months?
I think that that is why I adore Lucy so much. She is so welcoming & friendly & if you turn your head just the right way you'll catch a waft of sweet nostalgia & whispering hope.

I was intrigued to come across this little video yesterday posted by St Paul's Church in Auckland.
Reflections of a few oldies, of just what Christmas means to them...
coming together
just being..

Please do come in & make yourself at home.
I'll pop in to the kitchen & make a pot of fresh tea..
won't be a minute.

It's sunny here
& very warm.

Perhaps you'd like to sit outside in the sunshine,
or pick yourself a little "Heart-breaker" tomato.
Aren't they cute?!
After the roses fell off the back wall & I did some redesigning, I decided to shuffle this old water tank over here in a sunny spot. It's the first year I have been able to grow courgettes really well. Well, so far so good!
So exciting!
Which is also how I felt when I saw these boxes of fresh Thai tamarind in the supermarket last week.
the pods are quite unusual looking & easily broken open...
to reveal a tangy date like beany thing, cossetting clattery shiny seeds within the soft flesh.
They are quite delicious & usually only found as a block or paste in Asian shops.
We discovered a berry farm by accident, a month or two ago & returned there last weekend to gather up an arm load of juicy, fresh picked berries. Ranui berries are now very much my favourite. They had tayberries, loganberries, boysenberries, raspberries & cherries too & a whole kilo of spray free blueberries for $12.50. This was the most delicious fruit salad imaginable. Best to eat them now in their prime & not worry about the rush & pushing & bother for Christmas day.
I am always ecstatic when I find another beautiful picture by Margaret Tarrant.
This lovely illustration is based on an old German legend called The First Christmas Rose.

The Christmas Rose by Sepp Bauer
This story was originally published circa 1920 as a sort of advent calendar. It got lost over time, but was rediscovered in an antiquarian bookshop in Switzerland in 2006, along with the original illustrations by Germany's famous Else Wenz-Vietor. Based on German Christmas traditions, it's a very sweet tale about two woodman's children who want nothing for Christmas but for their ailing father to be well again. Saint Nicholas (who visits homes Dec. 6 in Germany) tells them that the scent of the White Winter Rose has the ability to cure all illness, but to get it they must go on a long, dangerous and difficult journey the Winter Land as The Winter King is the only one that grows it. Along the way the they learn that they must get the blessing of the Christ child, a Christmas angel, in order for the rose to bloom and cure their father. Helped by many woodland and fantastical creatures, the children have an amazing adventure and learn the true meaning of love and Christmas spirit.

Yes, we all need connection.
A place to call home.
And encounter with the wings of an angel every now & then.
I hope that you are blessed with peace & goodwill in this coming week & that you find your own happy, creative meaning in this festive, yet challenging season. 



  1. Oh I love the video! I had to watch it twice so I didn't miss anything they said - so beautiful. I never want to forget what Christmas is really about.

    We do alot of celebrating & decorating for Christmas but I do think we have a lot to celebrate & decorate for! It's the people we're celebrating with & Christ that we're celebrating for! :o) I love to see all the giving that happens around my town this time of year.

  2. Home and family,peace and goodwill x

  3. I like your wings! I have been putting some decorations up and have found myself pondering the Christmas story while doing so. Betty

  4. Hello Catherine - finally time to sit & read your lovely post & absorb it all. I would just like at this moment to hide away in Lucy, & let the world go by I think. She looks so inviting & cheery & lovely. Or I could sit outside on a toadstool while you pop the kettle on.
    I am so glad your courgettes are doing well - I have been picking mine & using them in lots of recipes. Those berries look so delicious - like I could reach into the screen & grab them!!! I love the picture of you with your angel wings - very appropriate my friend x0x0x

  5. I would love to come and sit a while in your pretty garden, a few plums and a cup of tea would be very nice indeed.
    I return your wish for peace and goodwill, and hope you have a wonderful Christmas. Your posts are always so uplifting and filled with beauty. Thank you. I hope to ‘chat’ with you again in 2014. xxx
    PS I also really like the Margaret Tarrant picture.

  6. Hello GK! I love your wings. Very fitting!
    I adored the video of the oldies but goodies, speaking their piece and their peace.

  7. Hello Christine.
    I came over to you from Maria.. "Rosey tined spectacles"...
    I am following you now.. and hope that maybe you might like to follow me.
    I must tell you... this post brought a tear to my eye.. it reminded me so much of the stories my mother used to tell me. My desire so much to have a glampland caravan.. your blog is lovely.. so heartwarming.
    I hope we can get to know one another.
    wishing you a very blessed christmas.
    val. val's alentejo


So lovely of you to leave a comment. Thank you!! ♥

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