CHRISTMAS'S LONG REMEMBERED
Sadly my parents have gone now my Dad when I was only twenty one and my Mum 15 years later but they live on in my memories especially at Christmas.
I know that for many Christmas is a nightmare time of year but for me I only have the very best memories of it and many of them.
My dad always said after he'd finished decorating the living room, the odour of emulsion still noticeable "there will be no drawing pins in this ceiling come Christmas". Of course come December the ceiling was covered with garlands, bells, stars, foil drops with baubles at the end, balloons, snow men, angels and Santa's.
Picture were removed and replaced with something more festive, like huge stars or fresh holly and Strings were strung along the walls for the cards to hang on them.
In one corner on a table stood Santa Claus with his cotton wool beard and red crepe paper suit all the more exciting as we children knew he was stuffed full with sweets.
In another corner stood the tree, a tree of epic proportions so tall that the top 14 inches has to cut off in order to get the fairy on. Every branch was full to breaking point with countless baubles, parcels, bells, crackers and tinsels of every colour and beneath it the ever growing pile of presents.
With the decorations being My Dad's field of expertise it was left to my mum to come into her own with everything else.
She would remove the curtains and nets and either replace them with clean or wash and return the originals.
Everything would get the spring clean treatment the sideboard would be adorned with the best linen runner and all the tables would have their own festive doily.
The fruit bowl was filled to overflowing with bananas, Satsuma's or tangerines and another one of Brazil nuts, almonds, hazel nuts and walnuts.
There was even a Chamber pot decorated with sprigs of holly on the sideboard full of Christmas fare. Smaller bowls would appear over the Christmas period containing peanuts or dates or sugared almonds or chocolate raisins.
Come the day itself presents were placed by the chair that the recipients were sitting in, when we were younger obviously our presents mysteriously arrived at the foot of the bed in a pillowcase left for the purpose but as we got older we joined the adults for present opening.
Mums gifts were always piled so high she always had to sit on the sofa in order to fit all her presents on the seat next to her.
She always still had half of them left to open long after the rest of us had finished.
This was the time for us younger family members to examine our gifts more closely while my dad would sit smiling sagely in his chair puffing on his pipe.