Here are five more short stories which marked the Christmas festivities for me and as we make our first steps into the New Year I remember them and the feelings they inspired in me fondly.
I started writing this post in my mind back on the Isle of Wight where we spent a couple of days right after Christmas, then continued formulating it whilst re-acquainting myself with London in the day before New Year’s Eve.
So, here it is, finally concluded and ready to be shared with you. Read the first part here (if you haven’t already) and have a very successful and full with love new 2016.
6. The Green Pastures of England
One thing that kept amazing me all through the two weeks that we spent in England was the intense green colour of the fields and parks in and around the several villages and cities we visited and/or drove past. Honestly, at times I had the urge to shout ‘Dial down the saturation, man!’. The green was a lush, succulent colour, almost too vibrant at times.
No surprise, really, considering the vast amounts of rain and drizzle which befall England on a, like, daily basis. In fact, most days that we were there it did rain non-stop. Big raindrops fell one after another hitting hard rooftops and cars. Unperturbed, people, all dressed in waterproofs, were going about their daily lives.
Even on the days when the sky cleared up a little bit and the rain didn’t start until later on in the evening, the air was impregnated with moisture which made my face and hands feel slightly wet.
Fortunately, St. Albans, which served as our base, didn’t get affected by the terrible floods which blighted England this winter. But the North of the country had it really bad. I almost wept when I read about the floods in York – a beautiful city we had visited a few years ago.
7. London’s Christmas Decorations
London truly has some of the most splendid Christmas decorations I have had the chance to see. Each year the British capital simply outdoes itself.
During my twelve years spent there, I had a little ritual. As soon as the Christmas lights were up – anywhere from the first week of November onwards – I would spend a whole day just walking around taking it all in. The top places on my Christmas-decorations spotting list were (in no particular order):
- Carnaby Street (with its usually very colourful decorations with a touch of rock-n-roll to them);
- Oxford and Regent Streets – these behemoths of retail paradises had the most stunning Christmas shop displays;
- Burlington’s Arcade with its clutch of high-end shops and very refined Christmas wreaths;
- Harrods’ and Fortnum & Mason’s shop displays which were always exquisite.
8. Family Coming Together
The most precious thing for me this Christmas was my little daughter spending time with the English side of our family. It was lovely seeing her decorating the family Christmas tree with a selection of baubles, ornaments and tinsels which had been collected over four decades by her grandparents with her auntie telling her the story of each one.
When you live in a third country, far from both sides of our Anglo-Bulgarian family, there is always a bit of a doubt in your mind if you have made the right decision not to be immersed on a daily basis in at least one of the two cultures. So, it was good to see how quickly she felt at home.
9. Computer Detox
I don’t know how it happened, but to my utter surprise, I didn’t switch on my laptop for over ten days. Usually, I live glued to it, like the world is going to end if I don’t check something online at this very moment.
Yet, I took my laptop out of its bag once, to write a post for my blog, and then I sort of never had the impetus to switch it on again until the end of our stay. I would still have a look at social media and the news on my phone, but that was about it.
I even dragged my laptop all the way to the Isle of Wight, looking forward to writing this blog post whilst we were there, but, no, the laptop bag came back un-opened again.
I have to say, it was truly good to take this time off. I came back to Italy with a much clearer mind and inside myself I felt much more organised and able to do things.
Unfortunately, I am yet again spending an increasing amount of time in front of my laptop. It is not all bad, as I write more and process photos for future blog posts. But, once again, I am reading all the news I can get my hands on and my heart and soul are simply crushed by what is happening in the world at the moment.
10. Let It Snow
We arrived back in Italy exactly a week ago. Just as we opened our front door and dragged the large suitcase in, it started snowing outside.
It was the first time we had seen snow this winter and, needless to say, we were excited. Big fluffy snowflakes were falling from the skies, quickly covering the palm tree in our garden and the rooftops of the houses on our street.
It was beautiful and peaceful, just a joy to look at it whilst we relaxed in our home and had a cup of strong English tea (which we brought with us back from St. Albans).
The snow didn’t last long. By the evening it was all gone. Hence, I didn’t manage to take any pictures, but in my mind’s eye I can still see the snowflakes dancing down on us.
That’s it! My ten short stories to usher the New Year in! I hope it is a good one bringing us all lots of success, love, health and a better future for our little ones.