Updated: Jan 1, 2022
(but I lie about my my past - Tango 'Til They're Sore - Tom Waits)
(Edited - When I first published this post, I lost half of it due to my cat sitting on my keyboard! So this is a revised version)
Christmas is a difficult time for me, which is why I haven't been online much. I've never much liked it. The consumerism, the waste, the noise, empty conversations, the falseness of it all, is all I can see, don't get me started on Christian religion, or at least the basis of this season.
As I child, though I don't remember a bad Christmas, (apart from the time we moved into a bungalow with no chimney, so my dad told us Santa had no way of getting in and therefore no presents, naturally my siblings and I didn't take him seriously until 4 am, sneaking into the living room to find we had, in fact, no presents! Do you know what that does to a child? We were sent back to bed and magically Christmas resumed as usual - don't worry dad, it hasn't scarred me but it's one that sticks in the mind and makes me chuckle!) but I could feel the tension in the room and it wasn't until I had my own children that I understood it, or at least part of it.
When they're small, you can buy them anything and they'll be happy with it, the joy is in the unwrapping, the magic of it all but as they get older it gets trickier, now we're being compared to school friends and then social media happened and we were being compared to the rest of the world.
I have never been a collector of material things, it probably stems from moving around a lot (I say that like it's a thing of the past, maybe), so I set about teaching the kids that Christmas isn't about how many gifts you get, but about being grateful for what we did have and that was (and still is) each other. So instead we had things we could do as a family, train sets, working together to build it, Raspberry Pi, to learn how computers work not just having the latest gadget, a variety of musical instruments and art materials, books and music (lots of books and music!) which is still a favourite now.
(Detectorists by Johnny Flynn) Played by Dylan Harwood and others.
With all that pressure, add a narcissistic husband into the mix, it all had to be about him and if it wasn't, chaos ensued, quickly and loudly. You kind of get used to it after a while, the constant walking on eggshells with baited breath. Not an easy feeling to shake.
And then...add the death of my mother. Again, this was some time ago, but some things stick with you. We weren't close, we hadn't even seen each other since I was 16, (not for want of trying) until she turned up on my doorstep one day when I was in my 20's. Her death wasn't a big deal really for me and that is what saddens me, that we never had the chance to reconcile any kind of relationship...
and never will.
My sister and her family and most of mine. The Block and Barrel - Haverfordwest
Obviously I celebrate a gift giving day with my children, in fact this year it was a few hours, as some of them are working now. as usual, lots of books and music and singing.
Apart from that, Christmas is a distant thing. The New Year, however is something to celebrate, although that's debatable the past couple of years!
For me, it's a time to dust down the the previous year, and start again, I don't make resolutions, the time is too unpredictable but I do think over the things I am grateful for and there are things that I look forward to with anticipation.
I'm lucky to live in the most beautiful part of the country. I am surrounded by everything I need. I paint when I can, knit when I need to, rest at every possible opportunity.
Newgale Beach - New Year 2020/21
I've left the photograph at it's largest I can fit on here, so you also can imagine being there.
I particularly love these moments when we can take the boat out. We don't go far, just between the mooring and the boat yard, but it's a beautiful journey, so peaceful, gentle. The last time we were out, we watched a family of Buzzards, parents teaching the youngsters how to hunt, but in the middle of them all was a Kite. They're not seen often this far south of the country, it was a real treat.
And despite this years uncertainty, there have been many moments that have bought me great joy. It's only really been the past couple of years that I have spent so much time in front of a computer screen and actually experienced the art communities online. There are so many inspiring people out there, the encouragement and support is immense and when I needed to feel some kind of connection with the real world...there you were, at the touch of a button. And some of you I even managed to meet in person!
I leave you with a gallery of my precious moments of the year.
Thank you for making this an easier journey.
All Paintings ©angiekjames2021