I have noticed that there have been a lot of posts about the holidays recently and it is clear that holidays can be a very different experience for many. I personally don’t observe any traditions that have origins I don’t feel comfortable with. But I love time off work with my family and great friends. It’s nice to have some naughty food during these cold dark gloomy days.
It was interesting to see the questions from Finding French Charming as some of them are about the holidays, and as I looked through them I thought about all the posts I have seen about the holidays – for some bloggers, they seem to be having a whale of a time. But for others this seems to be a time that can provoke stress, loneliness, heart-breaking memories and a forlorn longing for something that every human being should have – genuine warmth, security, love.
The world just ain’t right! Never mind politics and economics…there are too many people out there without what makes humans thrive regardless of your economic circumstances.
Take a look at the fabulous Liebster Award post from Finding French Charming. I think a lot of you are familiar with her posts, but if not…please go back and look at her posts from earlier this year – they are so much fun to read through.
- Acknowledge the blogger that gave it to you and display the award
- Answer 8 questions that the blogger gave you
- Give 8 random thoughts about yourself
- Nominate 8 other bloggers and notify them of their nomination
- Ask your nominees 8 questions
The Questions From Finding French Charming:
Is there a famous person you strive to be like? (Style, accomplishments, attitude)
The thing about most famous people is, I only see a glimpse of them, often a carefully coordinated glimpse that is controlled by their media agent. They have very little interest to me. I did not have a television for over ten years, so I am not very up to date with who is famous anymore, there seem to be a lot of “celebrities” whom I have never heard of or seen before.
I only strive to be like the people I know well, mainly my parents and some of my wonderful friends who have spent years or even decades working as volunteers. I have a few famous friends. I strive to imitate wonderful qualities like kindness and compassion in any of my friends whether they are famous or not. Fame is a very fickle thing indeed.
I truly admire my ex-flatmate Jack, because he gave up so many opportunities to enrich himself, when he became a full-time volunteer. Instead he has used his fame to be a positive influence on young people. I applaud that.
What is the craziest color your hair has been? Was it an accident or on purpose? How old were/are you? (add a pic if you have one!)
I have never dyed my hair.
This was my hair colour at around nine years of age I think. And this is my hair colour today. I do notice the odd silvery hair though. My Dad who is seventy has the same colour hair and he has a few whisps of silver. I am wondering if I will be the same.
Mandy my sister has been dying her hair since she was eleven. She loves to change her image regularly. I always say to her “Go light in the summer and go dark in the winter!”
My mum once left us with Dad one afternoon so she could go to a hair appointment. She came home with an unusual shade of red and a perm. We were all a bit shocked to be honest. Mum now has beautiful long golden white hair. It’s not white, and there is no hint of grey or silver and it’s not blonde, it’s almost platinum blonde I guess. Anyway whatever it is, her hair is in gorgeous condition. She normally wears it up when she goes out. But around the house she might have it down and it is very beautiful.
As the holidays are around the corner, do you have a favourite decoration? Where did you get it and how long have you had it?
Me – no, not at all.
But I remember when we used to visit my Grandparents during December, they always had quite a large tree in the corner of the front siting room, near some French doors that led through to the larger living room at the rear of their house. I was quite taken by the Cinderella carriage lights they always had in gold, blue, green and pink. They were kind of pretty.
Who has been the biggest influence in your life in regards to how you celebrate the holidays?
Well, for years I have worked during the holidays because I have been working in healthcare and that requires staff 24-7-12-365! My oldest sister is a nurse. My brother is a Doctor. Mumma was a nurse and always worked on the bank holidays. She could get either double or triple pay on bank holidays. Dad was a window-cleaner, and so it made sense for him to take time off during the winter holidays when the weather was rotten.
Because Mumma was out all day, Dad allowed us to have one duvet day. We were allowed to stay in our pyjamas and watch cartoons, but only for one day. He did not want us wasting the whole two weeks school holidays by being lazy. He made sure we were active and had fresh air. We have always been summer kids. When the weather was bad and we were stuck indoors we would all suffer from cabin-fever. We could read and play games, but we longed for outside and Dad would have to make sure we were all wrapped up. He then took us out on brisk walks around town, so he could keep us active and make sure we were tired out and would sleep properly. He used to get us running and climbing and having races with him. Dad could make anything fun.
There were a lot of older ones we knew who might be alone over the holidays, so Dad would often take us to visit some of those he knew would be alone. At the time, I don’t think we understood how much it meant to some of them to have my Dad turn up with his young crew who invaded their home for a couple of hours before he took us elsewhere. We thought it was great because we were fed cake and pie and chocolates everywhere we went. So we were well up for it. We chatted away to our hosts who apparently would have spent the holidays on their own. Dad couldn’t bear to think of older ones without any family being all alone. It was a mutually beneficial arrangement – I think. I don’t know if it was odd. But I do know we were a very popular little crew.
On days when we were all together we would visit my grandparents. They would give us a parcel each with one “big” present and a host of other things like a new year diary, embroidered handkerchiefs, a jumper, gloves, sweeties etc. Other days we would meet up with lots of other friends and their families and go for a walk, sometimes there were about a hundred of us. Either in the Lake District or North Wales. Or a couple of times we went somewhere like Chester Zoo. Then we would split up into smaller parties and go to someone’s house for food and games.
When I used to go back to school the other children would boast about all the expensive gifts they had received. I didn’t like that. But I do know, we didn’t miss out on anything important. As I grew older, and especially once I left school and started working, I noticed people would come back to work after the holidays grumbling about their family and were clearly stressed from over-spending and over-indulging.
What was the worst holiday disaster you’ve experienced?
There are a lot more heart attacks, mental health break downs, suicides during December and January, so of course that is one of the reasons why working in healthcare, this time of year is dreaded. I have often worked long hours and come home completely wiped out.
The worst was one year when I was working extra shifts for a local nursing home and we had half of the normal staff levels because of illness. There should have been two nurses throughout the day, with ten carers during the early shift and six during the late. But there were six of us during the early shift and only three of us during the late shift. Then we had a call to say there had been an outbreak of the Norovirus at a local hospital and they were bringing eight patients from that ward to our facility. I was utterly exhausted after those few days.
This year I will be off from December 24th right through to the following Monday. I am so so thrilled to have almost a whole week off. I think it might be the first time for over fifteen years. I will be in Wales, but will be seeing all of my direct family and a lot of the in-laws.
Are you a “Black Friday” shopper? If yes, explain your strategy. If no, how do you do your holiday shopping?
I have only heard of Black Friday within the last couple of years. But so far I have not had chance to make the most of the sales. I think we have just had Black Friday – I worked for fifteen hours that day and was not involved with any shopping – except that I did pick up some vegan fish-style burgers. But they were not in any kind of sale. I just really wanted to try them because I am curious as to what they might taste like. I have not had fish since before I was six years old, and the only fish I actually remember is fish-fingers.
What place of business do you frequent so often they know you by name? (besides where you or a spouse works)
The post office staff are so lovely. They all know my name and where I work now and where I used to work. I have noticed they always look a bit fed up with some of the customers who take out their frustration about the long queues and not being able to obtain the service they had queued for. So when I appear, their little faces light up. I always try to cheer them up with a little friendly chat and a joke (I don’t know many jokes). It seems like a nice little token towards someone who has spent the morning having customers shout and grumble at them.
What kind thing has a stranger done for you recently? Did you pay it forward?
There was a man at a railway station I went through who was randomly giving out beautiful roses to people passing. One rose each. I thought he was selling them at first, but he said to me, he just wanted to do something kind. People do look very stressed at this time of year. Maybe he wanted to try to brighten someone’s day?
Have I paid it forward? Well, I have not been giving out roses to strangers outside railway stations myself no.
But I did give those chocolates I was given by a young man who should not be giving me chocolates to my workmates. They enjoyed them very much as far as I could see when I was back at work.
Eight Random Facts About Me:
- Before my head injuries I hated hats – the only hats I was willing to wear were hard-hats on construction sites. But now I have twelve wide-brimmed hats, a couple of bucket hats and eight woolly hats. I feel a lot more confident when I wear a hat.
- I have been too scared to drive since I had my head injuries, although before then I drove up and down the country with confidence.
- I love my food processor. I love making my own hummus, pesto, coleslaw and how much easier it is to make parts of other dishes – for example a biscuit base for cheesecake. It’s really hard to imagine not having a food processor now.
- I have taught several adults how to swim, including three women from Pakistan who had never been a swimming pool before they came to England.
- I live in an area where there is a lot of limescale from the water. To combat it, every time I have a shower, I spray a solution made of water and a little white vinegar all over the glass and then squeegee the glass and the tiles and wipe everything down with a terry-towel. My walk-in shower always looks perfect.
- I used to drive a ride-on lawn mower to keep the lawns of a rather grand estate where I lived immaculate.
- I love having cookery lessons from friends from other countries. I have had cookery lessons with friends from Ethiopia, Germany, Ghana, India, Iran, Italy, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Spain and Thailand – and I am always eager to learn more.
- After Goldfinch has left, I am thinking of moving closer to my family, because I am giving up hope that I will ever make it back to my home and career on the other side of London. I am having too many problems since my head injuries. It is making me despondent. I don’t think they can accept me as a full-time volunteer. If I can’t be here in that capacity, I think I would rather be where my family are – which is difficult because they are spread all over the country. But I like idea of spending some time in North Wales for a start. I would love to see my nineteen month old niece growing up.
Eight Question For My Eight Nominees:
- How long have you been blogging for and why did you start blogging?
- What kind of food do you enjoy during the colder winter months?
- Do you wear hats and if so – what kind of hats?
- Have you ever had any unusual jobs or ways to earn money?
- What do you do to cheer yourself up when your heart has been broken by someone?
- Have you ever worked on a construction site?
- Have you ever had an overnight stay in hospital? How was your experience?
- Have you always lived in the same area? Or have you relocated within the same country or abroad?
My Eight Nominees: