The Christmas break is a time to restore oneself from the stresses of the past year. I like to stay up late and watch a Christmas film, knowing that there is no pressure to go out to work in the morning. I made last year’s 1,000-piece jigsaw. I find it one of the most therapeutic things to do. Your mind just empties of stress as you find colours and connections across the table.

I love being able to make choices about how I can spend the day. In our working lives and farming lives, our days are ordered and planned. They are a little less so over Christmas. The break from routine is valued.

My grandson, Ricky, turned three just before Christmas. We had a few small parties for him. His cousins, Tom and Daniel, came to visit to play tractors and enjoy Ricky’s new toys. He got a space ship for his birthday. I asked Ricky if I could have a ride in the spaceship. He looked at me, exasperated. “Granny, it is a pretend spaceship and you can’t have a ride!”

“Could I have a pretend ride then?” I asked.

The little boy’s face lit up. “Yes, you can have a pretend ride!” We sang, “I’m leaving on a spaceship (jet plane), don’t know when I’ll be back again! Oh Ricky, I hate to go!”

“Where are we going, Ricky?”

“We going to the moon, Granny!”

Off we went to the moon. Now that Ricky is three, I’m very conscious of the fact that, from now on, he will be able to recall the memories he is making. Wouldn’t it be cool to remember going to the moon with Granny! Ricky started playschool last September and he is enjoying it. He’s growing into a confident little fellow who brings us enjoyment every day.


One evening, I was doing the usual tidy up of the bits around the kitchen. Julie was chatting with me. I put water in the kitchen sink and added a little washing up liquid. There were a few utensils at the bottom of the sink. I started to wash them. My fingers felt the jagged edge of a handle. I followed it wondering what I was washing. I pulled it up. My mood changed instantly and I burst out laughing. I held it up to Julie. She chuckled too.

It was a legacy from Christmas, 2020. It was a strange Christmas, but one where the little things mattered most. Colm and Philip came with their fiancées to exchange the Kris Kringle presents. Philip was making mulled wine (he’s one industrious lad). The flavour was corrected and all was well. Tim had the cheese out and some of us were stealing chocolates.

Ricky was transferred from arms to arms as cuddles were stolen. All of a sudden, there was a shout and a melee in the kitchen. All we saw was Philip bursting for the patio door with a flaming tea towel and something inside it. I instinctively opened the door.

He flung all out and closed the door, dusting himself off. Tim asked, “What was that?”

There were no answers forthcoming. That’s Philip – deal with the problem and get on with the task. The following morning, I noticed something black on the ground. I’d forgotten the incident of the night before. It was my newly decorated soup ladle.

I’m sure people will wonder, in years to come, why a soup ladle with a half melted handle wasn’t put in the bin. I keep it because it reminds me of the fun scene and I remember the love and closeness of that strange Christmas. That fun-loving Philip had to take a pause this Christmas while he mourned the death of his mother-in-law Martina (RIP), along with his Granddad, while supporting Aileen in her grief at the loss of her mother.

The year 2022 was an eventful one in our lives. Emotions went in all directions, from the beautiful high of Colm and Elaine’s wedding, to the death of Dad and Grandad, John Campion (RIP). Then, there was the call for a kidney transplant for Diarmuid. Every day, Diarmuid is improving and getting stronger. Circumstances change every year, making it important to seize the good times and enjoy them to the full. We never know what tomorrow brings.

On the eve of 2023 we hope that the year ahead will be a good one - without too many surprises.

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