A Wishlist for the Disappointment of Christmas

Ah, now that Christmas is but crumbs and recycled paper, we stare at what counts as presents and ponder – did it really have to be this way? It occurred to me that I probably don’t voice my opinions on gifts that much, but Christmas is difficult to manoeuvre. People disrupt my brain!

After all, if one deigns to drop to material lows for a gift to me, why not make it count for one or two bigger gifts instead of buying me loads of small gifts I’m only going to throw away/sell.

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Lest we turn into Dudley Dursley.

In no way give me chocolate. I don’t even like chocolate. (Unless it’s expensive. But even then it makes me sick.)

And thus, it occurred that I should have a wishlist. At least, or even, for my own sake. An eternal wishlist applicable any year:

> Lush products. ‘Til I die.

> Nightwear, pyjamas or nightdress. Also because these things have a limited life with me.

> Classic beanie babies, thrifted lovingly.

> Collectible or limited edition items.

> Tea/coffee things. Yum.

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All Kermits aside.

> Vintage dresses I can’t afford on my own terms, i.e. Bernie Dexter, PinUp Girl.

> Lacy underwear sets. Yes, please!

> Personalised gifts or frames. After all, who doesn’t want a present tailored to their interests?

> Money. For Pete’s sake, money! In my engaged, student state, money is the most loving gift you can give me. I asked for money towards the wedding and the 1 I received (well, 3 if you count the 2 displaced money gifts of £40 in Starbucks and M&S vouchers) was from a family I hardly see.

Thank goodness for the love of strangers!

For once, it would also be nice to be spoiled with a pretty set of crystal earrings the likes of which are features on television adverts.

Just saying.

Photo of the WeeK: Dainty

Well, it’s been the usual Christmas, of course, full of its usual trivialities and And the week, I suppose, has passed just as usually passing. The highlight, indeed, was The Fiance’s birthday last week. He got a lot of Lego things for his pleasing, and I enjoyed watching him tinker with them.

And what photos do I bring? From Christmas trees with glasses to Lego Scamanders to eager cats on tabletops.

None of that.

AlexB_FairyOrnament2.jpg Here’s a fairy garden ornament of family’s.

7QT: Twas the Week Before Christmas…

…And not much was stirring. That’s the problem with being on break from the usual routine; one loses the rhythm that once inspired blogging. 7 Quick Takes Friday is hosted by This Ain’t the Lyceum.


Well, it was my partner’s birthday on Sunday. A week before Christmas, poor lad, but at least we got to celebrate with a relaxing time at home after Mass, and then went for a meal with his dad and siblings.


The remainder of the days I spent with him consisted of the usual if one’s usual is playing video games (Lego Dimensions, Slime Rancher) 😉 and reading. I hate to admit it, but the holiday is, in some cases, for relaxing – even when I would honestly rather be working.


I’ve also been working on my assignments for January – a four-part Phonetics assignment which in each of its parts uses the Praat acoustic phonetic programme.

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An example of a spectrogram one can analyse in Praat.


Of course, though, the persistent winter cold has returned with a vengeance – and I can only hope that any form of ‘refreshers’’ (meaning the second term of new-to-uni activities) flu will be short lived if lived at all. I have had rather enough of being illed. It gets in the way of my studies, my games, and my mind, like a fog across the frontal lobe, infecting every inch of my spirit until it is no more than a mush.


I look forward to when the Christmas kerfluffle is out of the way and we can all just get back to the winter as it was without the needless commercialism. Even the togetherness can be stifling, can it not? Some of us are not used to it.


Editing has been slow – big surprise there, eh? 😛 – though rewriting has been somewhat of a success. I finally finished chapter and ramped up the tension and, most importantly, the plot. The extract below follows Cathy and Petite Victoria as they argue over the bartering of freedom for the crew.


So, this was it. This was Victoria’s deal?

“So you planned to steal me away from my comrades to keep me captive from them?” She was surprised how calm her voice sounded. “What next, push me off a cliff?”

“I offer you asylum,” Victoria said simply.

“Asylum from what exactly?”

She spread her hands wide. The bands of heat above the plateau rippled in response. In front of them, the sea thrashed against the rocks like the orchestra pit of a play-house; behind them, a wasteland trawled until it hit the settlement, the only signs of life and survival for miles.

“Without my help, your crew have no way home.” She paused, and Cathy heard all the meaning in her silence. “Unless they plan to walk to Roma with no food or water.”

She was right, damn all heavens!

“Unless you plan to sacrifice them and their little guild for your own freedom.”

“So, you use me as the bartering chip,” muttered Cathy.

What Advent means to me

CAFOD blog

CAFOD volunteer Trevor Stockton, from St Anthony of Padua parish in Wolverhampton, reflects on the significance of Advent in his life, past and present.

Trevor Stockton speaking at a Romero Mass in St Chad's Cathedral, Birmingham Trevor Stockton speaking at a Romero Mass in St Chad’s Cathedral, Birmingham

Advent was a word I didn’t know about until I started going to church in my teens. The period before Christmas and Christmas itself really took on a new meaning for me thereafter.

Before then, as a child in a working class family in the 1940s, Christmas was simply all about having a few treats that we didn’t get all year round. Having an ordinary stocking filled with nuts, dates, a tangerine and other similar luxuries was amazing.  A few, and I mean a few, simple presents followed by a family Christmas meal made the day. There was no television and the day continued with playing games. So, the weeks before Christmas were spent…

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Photo of the WeeK: Light

Seeing this flower and match in my room one day this week reminded me of a Poppy, the dark centre and the bright ruby red flare outwards, and a twisted stem.

It’s from my Yankee Candle ( ❤ ) advent calender and is one of the ‘Christmas memories’ candles, smelling festive – warm and bright and rather sweet. It’s almost frankenscence in terms of its headiness, which is why I don’t light these ones often, but I will admit that they’re visually pretty.


Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from my family to yours!


Our dinky Christmas tree, mark 2. This is one of three real trees growing around the house. Last year lost its place as ‘Christmas’ tree when it grew too big for its boots/bucket and now welcomes visitors anytime of the year. This new one is the present tree, garnished with baubles. 🙂