We spent Christmas in snowy Clackmannanshire, trapped for a day or so until we got the shovels and grit out. Not that we were going anywhere. The kids took all day (in Cubling's cousin's case more than that) to unwrap their presents - they were actually more interested in playing than unwrapping. The magic of Santa worked, milk, carrots, home baked cookies and some reindeer dust made sure Santa came and left rather a lot of presents.
And you know what? I love toddlers. Why? Well, how creative can you get with a barbie doll (can I hasten to add that the doll was not my responsibility) and a crane? I was in stitches. What a fabulous idea!
Christmas for us was also a time of great sadness and loss. So, in a way I'm glad this Christmas is over and done with, and that we got through it in one piece, with the kids having bucketloads of fun. A candle was burning all day and in the evening, we lit paper lanterns and let them rise to the sky. There was a physicality of letting go which couldn't escape me, followed by the fading beauty of the light as it rose towards the moon in the ice cold winter night, before changing direction towards the north east and disappearing from our sight. The lanterns that will not return gave us a moment of beauty, togetherness and mindfulness.
Santa brought a toyshop for Cubling with all the gear, including a very popular ice cream stand and a chip and pin till. We are exposed to endless questions of "what do you want to eat?" before she proceeds to fill the basket with random stuff, as much as will go in, and charges £3 for it every single time, with lots of change handed back too. She takes her new job as shop owner very seriously, making sure all her customers are very happy indeed.
When the temperatures rose to come close to zero, not much time was wasted to make good use of good snow man building snow. Three generations were at it, Grampa, Daddy and Cubling herself. And I discovered the monochrome setting on my camera. Hurray! (I'm not one for reading instructions...).
Once we got up the driveway again, we went home, spending boxing day at home mostly, before setting off to the west coast to visit family and friends who I hadn't seen in a very long time. While on the road between Ayrshire, Renfrewshire, Glasgow and Clackmannanshire, much knitting was done, but oopsy daisy, I did got distracted and did the armhole shaping for a 6 year old, rather than the 4 year old version. So either I'm going to unravel and not have a summer dress ready for our holiday in a few day's time, or I'll pretend it didn't happen, try to fiddle about with it, adjust the back, make a second armhole for 4 year olds and pray it'll not look quite so bad. Haven't decided yet. I keep thinking that really there's not much in it between a 4 year old and a 6 year old armhole, is there? half an inch? Then I wonder how Cubling's 2 year old arm will look in a 6 year old armhole.... Decisions. Bottom line is I'm knitting ferociously to get the dress finished in time for our departure to sunny shores on New Year's Day. Time's running out and it doesn't help that I think I also found some errata in the pattern. Or maybe it's me?
It was lovely to finally have some time to visit family and friends we hadn't seen in a long long time. Some days, I feel very isolated, as if my friends are fading away because there is no time now to speak, meet and generally keep in touch. It's all the more reassuring when such opportunities to visit arise and the threads can be picked up where they were left dangling. Sometimes, time and distance don't matter. Of course, other times they do and it hurts when long standing friendships evaporate in front of my eyes and all my efforts are not enough to keep a good friend.
In between I kept admiring the winter wonderland that this Christmas had to offer. The Cart winding itself through a snowy suburban landscape, fog lingering over it in the sunset. Branches first weighing down heavy with snow, later turning white from frozen dew, a winterscape changing every day. The wide white expanse between Kilbirnie and Lochwinnoch, lochs that held trees prisoners in their frozen waters. The view across towards the majestic snow covered hills of Arran looking down on Cumbrae and Little Cumbrae.
Now then, I shall disappear for a few days in a pile of yarn trying to save that dress and get it ready for our holiday. I'm doubtful that I'll be able to blog on our holiday so it may be quiet on this site for a little while.