24 December 2021

A poem for our times

A friend sent me the following poem he'd received from somebody in Canada. It's an updated version of the poem "T'was the night before Christmas when all through the house....".  Enjoy. 

Twas the night before Christmas, but Covid was here,

So we all had to stay extra cautious this year.

Our masks were all hung by the chimney with care

In case Santa forgot his and needed a spare.

With Covid, we couldn't leave cookies or cake

So we left Santa hand sanitizer to take.

The children were sleeping, the brave little tots

The ones over 5 had just had their first shots,

And mom in her kerchief and me in my cap

Had just settled in for a long winter's nap.

But we tossed and we turned all night in our beds

As visions of variants danced in our heads.

Gamma and Delta and now Omicron

These Covid mutations that go on and on

I thought to myself, "If this doesn't get better,

I'll soon be familiar with every Greek letter".

Then just as I started to drift off and doze

A clatter of noise from the front lawn arose.

I leapt from my bed and ran straight down the stair

I opened the door, and an old gent stood there.

His N 95 made him look pretty weird

But I knew who he was by his red suit and beard.

I kept six feet away but blurted out quick

“ What are you doing here, jolly Saint Nick?”

Then I said, "Where's your presents, your reindeer and sleigh ?

Don't you know that tomorrow will be Christmas Day? ".

And Santa stood there looking sad in the snow

As he started to tell me a long tale of woe.

He said he'd been stuck at the North Pole alone

All  his white collar elves had been working from home,

And most of the others said "Santa, don't hire us!

We can live off the CERB* now, thanks to the virus".

Those left in the toyshop had little to do.

With supply chain disruptions, they could make nothing new.

And as for the reindeer, they'd all gone away.

None of them left to pull on his sleigh.

He said Dasher and Dancer were in quarantine,

Prancer and Vixen refused the vaccine,

Comet and Cupid were in ICU,

So were Donner and Blitzen, they may not pull through.

And Rudolph's career can't be resurrected.

With his shiny red nose, they all think he's infected.

Even with his old sleigh, Santa couldn't go far.

Every border to cross needs a new PCR.

Santa sighed as he told me how nice it would be

If children could once again sit on his knee.

He couldn't care less if they're naughty or nice

But they'd have to show proof that they'd had their shot twice.

But then the old twinkle returned to his eyes.

And he said that he'd brought me a Christmas surprise.

When I unwrapped the box and opened it wide,

Starlight and rainbows streamed out from inside.

Some letters whirled round and flew up to the sky

And they spelled out a word that was 40 feet high.

There first was an H, then an O, then a P,

Then I saw it spelled HOPE when it added the E.

“Christmas magic” said Santa as he smiled through his beard.

Then suddenly all of the reindeer appeared.

He jumped into his sleigh and he waved me good-bye,

Then he soared o'er the rooftops and into the sky.

I heard him exclaim as he drove out of sight

"Get your vaccines my friends, Merry Christmas, good-night".

Then I went back to bed and a sweet Christmas dream

Of a world when we'd finished with Covid 19.

* CERB is the Canadian furlough scheme.

15 December 2021

The First Christmas

Things have been hectic of late. What with stupidly decorating a difficult room (see previous post) too close to Christmas, it meant that everything else I normally have well in hand became all behind. There were Christmas cards to write, presents to buy and wrap, food to get in and freeze, the house to tidy and clean, not to mention trying to get out into the garden in a dry spell to sweep up the leaves and put in winter bedding plants. (I swear the leaves are falling from the trees later and later each year. They used to be down by the 5 November, but now the last leaves don't seem to drop until the first week of December.) So I have been on a treadmill of never-ending chores. In addition to all that, one of my choirs had its concert last weekend, so there were scores to learn and rehearsals to fine-tune everything. 

I have finally come up for a little breath and have two days to prepare for Kay's visit  at the end of the week. We are celebrating Christmas a week early. She has managed to escape it for many years, but has drawn the short straw and is working over Christmas - Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day. Not only that, but 8am to 8pm (call that 10pm in reality) shifts. It won't be worth her commuting the hour-long journey to me at the end of each day so it means she will spend what is left of those evenings on her own at her home. Her boyfriend will be with his family. It also means it will be my First Christmas entirely on my own. I have no brothers or sisters or even cousins. My nearest close friends live 60 miles away. One did invite me to share her Christmas with her wider family, but she added it would be a nightmare as everyone ends up arguing and shouting. I declined. The current surge of Covid cases again is a little off-putting and a train journey to get to her, plus the thought of heaping more stress on her family, seemed to be a bad idea. In a bizarre way, I am actually looking forward to spending it alone. Normally I am up to my eyes preparing turkey and pigs in blankets with all the trimmings. By the afternoon I am exhausted and fit for nothing. This time I can relax with the TV remote and a box of chocolates from morning till night. and channel-hop to my heart's content. 

I shall still have the magic of Christmas, but a week early, as Kay and I unwrap our presents together and have the festive meal. So a Merry Christmas and a Happy Healthy New Year to you all. 

10 December 2021

It's never too late

Not surprisingly alcohol deaths have reached a new high according to the Office for National Statistics.  More people died in 2020 from alcohol abuse than in any year before, soaring by 18% compared with the previous year.  In terms of people, that was 8,974 deaths. The blame has been put squarely at the pandemic which has increased loneliness, depression and anxiety, plus of course alcohol is cheaper to drink at home than in a pub or restaurant.

For all of those affected by alcohol or living with an alcoholic, it is not too late to seek help before the inevitable happens. Don't believe it can't happen to you. Just click on to the tabs above. The prognosis tab is a scary list of what could face you if you continue to drink heavily. The useful contacts tab will help you seek help. Do it now. A new year and a new start beckons.