Christmas, present…

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Image | Copyright Chiromancer 2017

I have always loved Christmas, even though I’m a grown up and don’t quite believe in Santa any more – well, a little bit of me does, so I always leave a carrot out for the reindeer, but that is another story!

I love the sparkly lights, I adore the shiny decorations, I sing along to cheesy Christmas songs. Most of all, I love Christmas dinner.  Well, everything except the Brussels Sprouts! Since I grew up in the Southern Hemisphere, we always had dinner on Christmas Eve –  doing a roast with all the trimmings on the day is a bit hectic when it’s 30 degrees celsius outside and you are dying for a swim instead of turkey with stuffing!

This year, my Christmas will be special.  My mom and middle sister are joining us – me, The Belgian & his 2 reindeer – for a continental Christmas. I feel so grateful we have this chance to connect and spend concentrated time together.  It’s been over a year since we’ve seen each other, and several years since we’ve had a family Christmas.  This brings a whole new set of blended traditions – crackers, trifle, hapjes and kroketten – unfortunately for me, I’m outnumbered by the Anglo-Belgian mini cabbage-lovers! 

One thing I do know – there will be loads of food, laughter and warm memories made. It’s the best present I could hope for. So…here’s my present for you –  wherever and however you choose to celebrate – I wish you peace, I wish you light, I wish you hope. Merry Christmas 2017!

The Year of the Cat…

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Image: Copyright Chiromancer

The cat – as with so many things this year – arrived in an unexpected way. The Belgian and I were enjoying a late-evening aperitif and some ‘hapjes’ (a.k.a. bar snacks) – when a skinny creature made it’s approach, miaowing plaintively.

Since we were living in two places and I was working in a third, pets were not on the agenda.  We had only just had a funeral for the gerbil so I really didn’t need another crash course in  pet care for step-parents!  

 ‘Do not feed the cat!’ I was instructed. Which of course, I was compelled to ignore. Surely a small and surreptitious snack would not do any harm? ‘He won’t leave’ The Belgian muttered. And he was right…the next night the cat arrived for another late night bite.  Clearly the cat was domesticated, so he must be someone’s pet. ‘If he is here again, I’m going to take him to the animal shelter’ said my husband, darkly.

Instead, he took the cat to the vet, got him micro-chipped, vaccinated and issued with a pet passport so he could travel.  The Belgian is nothing if not kind-hearted, and that is why I married him!  We named the cat Watson. He purrs louder than a tractor, and since his batteries must have been removed in one of his previous 9 lives, sleeps 18 hours per day. He is of course, totally perfect for us.

Sometimes in life, you get what you need, but it’s not necessarily what you thought you wanted.  Thanks Watson, for being one of the good things in 2016.

The Year of Living Dangerously…

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I’ve never considered myself a daredevil. I’m no coward, but as I get older, my sense of self preservation prevails over my sense of fun.  The realisation that if I break myself, I shall be unable to work is probably a more powerful incentive than wanting to show off my hell-raising skills.  Well, on occasion I have been known to channel my inner vixen on the dance floor, but that is the subject of another blog entirely!

For this reason, I tend to avoid hobbies like base jumping, snake charming or dancing the cha cha on the wings of an aeroplane. This year, I decided life would be a little different. Having laid out my annual manifesto in my Burning Woman post, I concluded that unless I learned to live dangerously, life would stay predictable. So…I took a risky decision. I dared to chance it all on love.

Which is why I now find myself commuting by ferry, celebrating Christmas in two countries, and generally leading a life I thought was well beyond the reach of one so resolutely single. Stepping up – and out  – of my comfort zone has been scary and exhilirating.  Kinda like dancing on the wings of an aeroplane. But you know…50,000 feet up, without oxygen…feels less like something life-threatening and a lot more like something lovely.

This festive season, I wish my family, friends and dedicated readers of this blog as much love, light and laughter as they can handle. Merry Christmas!

The List…

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So, I’m officially on holiday for the summer. This was something I’d promised myself about 2.5 years ago when I was in serious need of some significant R&R. Something promised, but only just realised.  In my mind’s eye I envisaged sipping champagne on the beach, soaking up the sun on the coastal reaches and generally living la vida loca.

Ha, bloody ha…

In fact, the last 2.5 weeks have been a frenzy of builders (yes, they are still back doing snagging) , sorting out the boxes in the cellar (thank you universe for spiders, …not!) and doing heavy labour in the garden (mega slugs, you are not my friend and will die).  And of course, I haven’t mentioned the five page ‘to-do’ list that is the inevitable result of working away from home for months at a time.   In fact, it was while I was focusing on the ‘to-do’ that I found ‘The List’…

Now I should state that ‘The List’ is not a specification for a decent man. I found him already and yes, he does have his own hair and teeth, so if you want to know more, read my blog A is for attraction. Anyway, I digress…

Aforementioned ‘The List’ captures my ambitions, hopes and dreams. It’s called ‘47 things I’d like to do before I turn 50! ‘  It’s 47 for a reason. Why be conventional and pick 50!  I’m still adding to it, but what struck me is that instead of chasing the extraordinary, we put our dreams on hold to pursue the everyday.  Life is short, so make it good. Make a list. Follow through.

Personally, I’m determined to tick some of the following:

List Item#1: Learn to shoot clay pigeons.  Now, I admit this isn’t what you’d imagine as a first choice. It’s just a way for me to deal with unexpressed anger. Yep, try explaining that to the man who gives out gun licences!

ListItem#2: Travel on the Japanese Bullet Train. In my imagination, Japan is the land of BladeRunner. The explorer in me wants to go somewhere so culturally different that I might as well be on another planet. The sci-fi geek wants to do hi-tech in Tokyo!

ListItem#3:Fall madly in love, at least one more time.  Ticked that one!

ListItem#11: Trace my family genome. OK, I like weird science and I want to know if I’m related to the Vikings.

ListItem#15: Drink cocktails in BoraBora.  Well, that is definitely one for the big 5-Oh!

In the meanwhile…I’ll give the slugs some beer and sip champagne on the sundeck.