Monday, December 14, 2009
I don't know how many people are familiar with the "Lion in Winter".
It depicts the troubled relationship between HenryII, his wife and their rebellious sons.
Well sometimes Christmas back home was like Christmas chez Henry as depicted in the movie.
To be sure I have some distant memories of childhood Christmases, waiting for Santa to come down the chimney, Christmas trees with the same baubles year in year out, and wondering where they went. (The tree in a bin and the baubles back in a cardboard box in the loft kept well out of reach of childish hands)
It is however the later Christmases of adolescence and early adulthood I remember most though even though they were one long haze of alcoholic overindulgence and family squabbling, it is no exaggeration to say that knives were drawn on one occasion (just like in the movie)
And when my dad was no longer around my brother and I would fight it out instead. There was one occasion when we were all drunk, my mum included, and a fight broke out between me and my brother, fisticuffs, grappling that sort of thing. Now bear in mind my mum was disabled and used a wheelchair by this time. She managed to stand up and then toppled onto the floor, she was too drunk to remember that she couldn't walk. Well by that time my brother and I were also on the floor, and the three of us just fell about laughing, the whole thing was so absurd we forgot whatever it was we had just been fighting about.
Things changed however after my mum had become so disabled she could not cook anymore. I remember trying to cook a proper Christmas dinner under her supervision (she was a trained and qualified cook) but it was something of a disaster.
After that we decided (apart from a few Christmas decorations) that we would not celebrate Christmas in the traditional way anymore and would instead take a packed lunch out for a Christmas picnic somewhere away from it all.
From 1987 onwards that away from it all had become regularised into Lake Vyrnwy in Wales, and that is where I still go every Christmas, this year will be no exception.
In case you have forgotten watch this space.
Posted by Larry Arnold PhD FRSA at 1:53 pm