It was the end of November. I had been away for seven weeks but I had cleaned my many inherited brass ornaments, made my Christmas cake and pudding, written my Christmas cards and made chutney. How can this be? Do I never sleep? The truth is that I was without a functioning laptop for a week; hence the paucity of blog posts lately. The old one died of overheating, Basically, if it was turned on for more than ten minutes it turned itself off in order to cool down. I became adept at judging the crucial ‘save’ point before it died but any attempt at proper work was thwarted. I have been provided with an early Christmas present in the form of a new ‘industrial strength’ laptop. I did ask if I was required to save it for 25th. Strangely, the generous donor did not relish another month of associating with me whilst I was computerless.
Either I am turning into a grumpy old woman (I can hear my descendants muttering ‘turning?’) or I have been surrounded by an unusual level of incompetence lately. Firstly I was totally confused for a day and a half (easily done) by the fact that the new computer’s date was set for 24 hours ahead of real time. I couldn’t understand how I was receiving emails marked Yesterday that had clearly been sent today. Next I attended a local planning meeting where two architects, who looked about twelve, were defending the indefensible. They lost all credibility when I discovered three errors on their presentation boards within five seconds. I know it isn’t necessarily a word in everyday use but surely an architect, or at least their spell checker, should be able to spell vernacular? Then FindmyPast announce their latest indexes and appear to think that the 1600s are the fifteenth century. Not sure that inspires faith in the accuracy of their transcriptions.
Whilst on the subject of FindmyPast, I returned to the 1939 Register to try again to find my grandparents’ home at 159 Davidson Road. This time, I ploughed through all 600 properties in Davidson Road, arranged in random chunks of odds and evens but about 30 numbers were missing and somebody-or-other’s law dictated that this included number 159. After some very imaginative searching I discover that these properties had been listed with the address ‘Davidson’ instead of ‘Davidson Road’. Why had I not been able to find my grandparents by name you ask? Well I had identified a possibility for granny – the middle initial had been wrongly transcribed, either by the enumerator or by FindmyPast (I still haven’t succumbed and parted with money) but I had dismissed this entry as she was not accompanied by Grandpa. Mystery solved – Grandpa’s birth year was incorrect by twenty years – sigh.
There have been various social events in the locality in the run up to the festive season, including a village quiz. I was enlisted on to a team who were, we later found out, identified as the pre-quiz favourites – we did in fact win but mainly due to a very lucky choice of round on which to play our joker. The trouble with being recruited on the history platform is that one is expected to know everything about the history of the whole world from yesterday back to the dawn of time – no chance. I failed spectacularly on UK Prime Ministers and the Wall Street Crash but my moment of glory came when required to name the Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtles!
Then there was the saga of the decorations. Two years ago I blogged about my treasured historic Christmas decorations. Suitably large tree purchased I ventured up in the loft and brought down the decorations. Lights affixed I went to hang the most precious decorations first. Exasperated, I realised that I hadn‘t got that box, so I waited for assistance and returned to the loft again. They weren’t there! They had to be there. I knew exactly where they should be and in what box – a red and white box that had contained a turkey in the 1960s. With a sense of rising panic I ransacked all the boxes in loft. This is harder than it sounds as the height in my loft means you can’t stand upright and I am still recovering from the car accident so heaving a very large number of heavy boxes in a manner that would alarm ‘lifting and handling’ trainers was not desirable. Boxes heaved not once but twice and I am in despair/in tears/beginning to think I am losing the plot. Martha contemplates a 600 mile journey to help me look. I was disproportionately upset about what are after all just ‘things’ but I haven’t ever spent a Christmas without these decorations on my tree and they bring back many memories. I cannot understand where they can be. After all, half of my loft had been emptied and sorted this year and they should be in the other half – notwithstanding I check the other half as well. Surely they can’t possibly have been given to a charity shop during the clearing of the other half of the loft? Irrationally I search every cupboard in my house, places in which I know they cannot be. Equally, I know they are in the loft. Do I have Borrowers? Have I had burglars? I know, what self-respecting burglar is going to leave no trace and only steal a box of Christmas decorations?! I spend a sleepless night. Next morning, loft search take three. Eureka! There they are, ok the turkey box is in another box but this is a box I swear I have looked in three times already. In the same box was the stocking my mum made for me for my first Christmas and its twin that I made when I had a second child – I hadn’t realised these were also missing, so that was a trauma avoided!
If I don’t get a chance to blog again before the big day – have a lovely Christmas and I hope that 2016 will be a year of peace, tolerance and joy.