Whodunnit? Xmas Special

28 December, 2009

I had a fantastic Christmas. The kids loved their presents. Asha (2) spent the morning playing with a 10p party blower and a balloon, he refused to open his ball, truck or stocking. Amba (4)  refused to wear the special sparkly dress I bought her – “You see, it’s a summer dress mummy”. She left the house wrapped up for winter, in a sequinned vest and sparkly shorts. Sami (7) took his trophy with him to Mr. Ex’s – that was really sweet. We piled out in a rush at noon, headed in different destinations. Hats and coats tossed between our cars, until Mr. Ex had basic winter apparel for each of the children.

I went to Oxford, to meet friends for a pre-xmas-lunch, lunch. In the city there were quite a lot of people out, on their way to special dinners in smart winter coats.


It was chucking out time as I passed Blackfriars, (Catholic seminary) a lot of very clean, happy people, fresh from Church, were chatting together, next to a girl sitting on the pavement, asking for change. I offered her Xmas lunch instead of cash, she turned me down. When I came back an hour or so later the streets were pretty bare and she was gone. Everyone had arrived where they were going, turkeys and trimmings no doubt being devoured. But I did notice a few single souls in the distance, as I walked along. An old woman with her walking stick. A unusual looking woman with some bags, again on her own. I wondered if these people were out and about so that they didn’t have to spend a long day at home, alone. Just noticing them, made me feel so grateful to have so much going on at Xmas. The children all morning, lunch with friends in town and overnight at my friend’s (Earth Mother) house.

So on to Earth Mother’s, lovingly crafted, organically home made, Christmas. Full of festive spirit and good tidings to all. As in previous years we’ve split the cooking between us to make it fairer. I made a big bowl of roast potatoes and prepared all the brussel sprouts. She made, nut roast, apricot stuffing, fresh cranberry sauce, roast parsnips, real bread sauce, sweet potatoes, carrots, peas, mashed swede, veggie gravy, a Xmas cake, mince pies, steamed date pudding and her very own chocolate truffles. I did remind her later that she’d forgotten to do the yorkshire puddings.

Earth Mother’s husband, “Forester Father”, manages a woodland and he made extra Christmas money this year by selling handmade items at the Oxford green fair. He’d whittled lovely wooden catapults for kids. Made traditional fire-lighting sets which were either a bow drill set

Bow Drill firelighter

(wooden bow), or a little tin filled with flint and kindling. He prepared his own charcoal and assembled it into drawing gift-sets and carved wooden spoons. His stall sold out because his stuff is just so lovely. Then with the proceeds he asked his own children what they would like for Christmas. They asked for, a pair of Nike trainers, a Ben Ten scooter and a game for the Wii. I walked round his house with him, to see some of the other things he’d been up to. He’d renovated the bathroom in reclaimed wood. And made amazing shelving from green oak with the bark still on it. Then, with mischievous eyes he said, “Look what I made my mother-in-law for Christmas” and proudly held up a full size witches broomstick.

Earth Mother’s Mother is a witch. She is a member of a proper Coven Imagine the typical cliché of a witch – long, flowing, velvety clothes, waist length salt and pepper hair, a pocket full of herbs and odd trinkets – well that’s not her. She arrives in a silver thigh high mini dress and gray leopard print tights. She works out three times a week and has the body and spirit of a rebellious teenager (and at times the language too). The youngest of her four, adult, children, Tobias, accompanies her.

Tobias is one of this year’s incredible Christmas gifts, returned to us from lost inside his mind. I look into his shining eyes and I see a light that has been gone for so long. It is just brilliant to be able to talk to him and find him present in the conversation. He and I chat about his incredible recovery and I ask him what it was like when he was ill. It’s interesting how he describes it. He says it was as if his mind progressively began to slow down. It got slower and slower, until it got to a point when people spoke to him he was no longer able to reply in their time frame. He entered a different time, a world within a world. He said he’d know that people had come into the room and had spoken to him, but while he was still deciding if a reply was needed, they would have left. At that stage, they were probably spending an hour or more visiting him. Then he said, it was as if it eventually just got so slow that it stopped altogether. He just wasn’t able to physically move for periods of time, or think thoughts, they didn’t go anywhere any more. His mind simply didn’t work. I have to say that I really didn’t think I’d ever have a conversation like this with him. I really didn’t think he had much quality of life ahead of him at times this year. It is the most amazing thing to see him so much better. He tells me about his plans to return to education. It’s a very moving lesson in just how incredibly resilient and resourceful we human beings are, when it comes to healing and living.

I leave on Boxing Day, and collect the kids from Mr. Ex’s boat. I catch him doing a Rihanna impression on the deck outside. He is uncannily like her  – if you take into account he is a six foot bloke who can neither sing or dance. The kids and I get home and find, to my shock, that our front door is wide open. In our happy absence, I can see we have been burgled – at Christmas. I shout to the them to stay in the car and I rush inside. I can’t believe it. It feels icy cold in the house and so does my heart. The hall is strewn with stuff, I trip towards the living room – their lovely gifts and toys, under my feet. I’d left it all in neat piles under the tree. In there it’s worse, everything’s been thrown all over the place and the tree is barely upright, the lights are all over the floor. It’s unbelievable chaos. Someone’s deranged mind has torn through my house. They must have come the night before, Christmas Night. I wonder what it’s like upstairs and I try to think if we have anything of value to steal – only my laptop. Sadly I walk into the kitchen – it’s a mess, but it was when I left. Then I see, to my absolute amazement, my laptop is still on the kitchen table. How can it still be here? It’s so visible, so available, sitting pretty in the middle of the room, but they didn’t take it. What the hell did they want? Slowly I realise the truth, it’s hard to believe. This isn’t a burglary. The kids have wrecked the living room, deranged on Cadburys selection packs and over excited at Mr. Ex.’s arrival. I bet cute little Asha did the tree over – when he discovered Santa had covered it in chocolates. I had no idea, I was calmly doing roast potatoes in the kitchen.

But who the hell has been round and left the door wide open? Slowly, a hazy memory comes to me – didn’t I leave the front door ajar, while I checked for my car keys? Surely, I went back to slam it?

Honestly, we did make it ourselves. Bet you thought we'd bought it.

10 Responses to “Whodunnit? Xmas Special”

  1. Presents Says:

    Some people save money year round so they have much xmas cash. Presents

  2. Sharada Says:

    Some touching and beautiful observations which give food for thought.

  3. Fab post! Love the description of Earth Mother’s mum.

  4. I’ve never left the door open, no not me! 😉 Glad it wasn’t s robbery. Great gingerbred house, BTW!

  5. Oh, and I’ve just tagged you over at my blog. Come take a look. Can’t wait to read your reply post!

    Mwaw xxx

  6. Pippa Says:

    I was so worried you had been burgled! Glad that everything was great 🙂

  7. kim Says:

    so lovely to read about earthmother,s wonderful cooking … forest father’s outstanding creative outburst and the intrepid witch……x fabulous.x

  8. Hari Says:

    I’m so glad we weren’t burgled either. Thanks for reading guys. Happy New Year. xxxx

  9. MelanieDawn Says:

    Wow!!! You’re hilarious! More please!

  10. Hi there! Do you use Twitter? I’d like to follow you if that would be ok. I’m definitely enjoying your blog
    and look forward to new updates.

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