Well, here we are again at the end of another year! Who would believe it!! It seems only yesterday that I was penning my letter to you all for 2012 (whoops, yes, I rudely neglected to fill you in on our little successes and adventures last year!!) and now the end of 2014 finds me taking up my pen again, older (and hopefully wiser!!). As I contemplate the looming spectre of middle age (yes, I had another birthday this year!!) I find myself turning philosophical and it strikes me as quite remarkable how one day follows another and one month leads into the next and so a full cycle of seasons begins and ends, each containing their own little triumphs and heartaches!
The children continue to grow and develop as children are so wonderfully wont to do! It was a big day for us when the 12-year-old was selected to represent her class at District Sports!!! I'm proud to report that she would have won her race if she hadn't been outrun by three others!
What she displays on the sports field, the 10-year-old makes up for in intellect - this autumn he entered a poetry reading competition at school! I offered to lend him my copy of Shelley, but he wanted to surprise me and gave a moving recitation about vomit from a contemporary anthology called Disgusting Poems. He modestly tells me that he didn't win, but his originality makes us so proud! Unfortunately, space doesn't allow me to fill you in on all of my pair's remarkable achievements in school and out over the last two years, but you can see a full list here: www.mylittlegeniuses.com (including downloadable photos!!)
I have also enjoyed a few modest successes myself since my last little missive!! The glamorous lifestyles of my Fleet St colleagues inspired me finally to enrol in a members club, so I mustered the £20 subscription and added my name to the rollcall of the Mothers Union! Moreover, my team-leadership skills saw me headhunted in spring - I was appointed chief supervisor of tea urn during the community singing group on Fridays!
Hot (although sadly not literally!!!) on the heels of spring came summer! I know we're among the very lucky few in these times of austerity to be able to bake on warm sands among the mountains and dive for exotica in limpid seas. Yes, the water at Llandudno is like sushi, all swirling green growth and condoms and the 12yo was able to double the size of her collection of Tango cans after skimming the surf!!
Summer 2013 was dominated by loss. Our local Co-Op closed for four months!!! This caused heartache for the kind of mother like me who likes her kids' diet of fishfingers and beans served fresh and so drops everything and dashes down the street when the supper hour arrives each night. The extra few yards we were obliged to walk to buy bread from Budgens would have put a strain on many marriages, but the Vicar and I have come through our shared endurance all the stronger for being so tested. And, in a way, those challenging weeks served as a reminder, as I read the headlines of the deprivation in Margate and the Ivory Coast, that we should not take our blessings for granted!
Our headline news since last I wrote is that I have recruited a cleaner!! I take great pride in my domestic duties, but my efforts to create wildlife corners in the vicarage worried the Vicar (so many Christians are asthmatics) and so we decided to do our bit for the local economy and employ a lovely South American girl called ??? (note to Vicar: could you ask her name if you see her when she next comes) who can do remarkable things with the Miele!
September was a milestone month in the vicarage. The 12 -year-old started big school!!! I look at my baby and think - where did time go??!! She's already proved that vicarage children can exert a powerful influence in the classroom - half her class mates now wear their skirts rolled up to mid thigh and their top four buttons undone!!
As usual the Vicar and I have devoted ourselves to intellectual enhancement in modest hope that we can, in our small way, enrich the minds of the parish faithful. It's so easy, I find, to let domestic monotonies suffocate the psyche and so in spring I read a novel (note to Vicar: what was the name of that Sophie Kinsella we got from Age UK?) and the Vicar has mastered the science of Twitter which has allowed him to keep abreast of the evening menus of friends and strangers and the ponderings of the General Synod!
I write this in some sadness as I come to terms with the loss of old friends. It was all so sudden: one minute they were pacing about their old healthy selves, the next it was all over. The rubber had perished you see and so all the wet seeped in! As you all know, I paid £67 for my Hunter wellies and their short life has affected me badly. But if there's one thing life has taught me it's that whatever will be will be!
Whatever it is, I hope it will be wonderful for you all this Christmas and New Year!!
Love and hugs,