Tag Archives: Christmas

Paperback in town!

Paperback of Once Upon a Christmas Eve

Once Upon a Christmas Eve, a Christmas Mystery

I have jumped through hoops with the formatting, made some mistakes and learnt a lot. Here it is then, the paperback version of my debut novel (debut in the sense it is the first of my novels to be published) Once Upon a Christmas Eve.

Christmas is upon us and tomorrow I will be watching yet another nativity in which my two younger grandsons are starring. One is a King, the other a camel. I say starring because aren’t they all stars?
The first nativity I attended as a grandparent was quite eventful. Child number one was overcome with anxiety and stared out like a frightened rabbit from the makeshift stable where I think he was in the choir. His mouth barely moved during the singing. His cousin, on the other hand, sang with gusto and even had a few lines to say as he tramped through the land to reach Bethlehem. As child number one faltered and whimpered and had to be led from the stage, more confident child number two, led his shepherds to a resting place at the back of the stage. Delivering a faultless line to the watching parents, he then sat down, crossed legged only to miss the stage entirely and be upended so that the last we saw of him was his feet as he plummeted downwards. As we all gasped and wondered what might occur, he pulled himself back onto the stage and hung his head in shame, his bottom lip trembling. It was a little while before he recovered enough to rejoin the singing.
It was my newest granddaughter who stole the show though. She had arrived several weeks earlier than planned and was still tiny at two weeks old. My youngest daughter had wheeled her in and had sat at the back of the room. The headmistress, seeing an opportunity here, asked permission to take the little one to the front of the stage where she explained to all the children, that this is what what baby Jesus would have looked like. The baby’s elder brother, the one who had had to be taken off stage in tears, beamed with pride though could not be persuaded to get back onto the stage himself.
I can only imagine what might happen in tomorrow’s nativity but I am looking forward to it.
Happy Christmas!

Christmas Tree

Happy Christmas

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…and a stale cake for the pantry

The festive season has arrived and for once, I appear to be ahead of myself. I have presents bought and wrapped, well maybe not all wrapped but more than usual!  I have scoured online shops and braved the madding crowds in town. My Christmas cards have been written and if I remember to buy the stamps, they will actually be posted early for a change.

My mother is not a big fan of online shopping although we do go through a painstaking task each week of preparing her grocery list which I then order and have sent to her through Sainsbury’s website. Over the last year, we have had some particularly bad experiences with her weekly shop. There was the time I sent nine bags of apples instead of the 9 loose apples she had requested. This was marginally better than the time I ordered for my sister and she received, one orange, one banana and an apple instead of a bag of each. Mistakes happen! There have been out of date items received and her favourite chicken dinners substituted with another brand entirely.

Despite her misgivings, my mother has been quite active within the online shopping brigade this year via yours truly. She has bade me order underwear and household utensils with varying degrees of success. At one stage she was receiving bags of underwear daily as she changed her mind about sizes and type.

Last week, she called me to tell me she had received eighteen food items she had not ordered. She read out the receipt. It included sherry trifles,

—“Well, I didn’t order those!”

Liver and bacon,

—“I don’t even like liver and bacon, can’t stand it!”

She went on to name a motley selection of items never before asked for.

I could sense she was getting irate.

“So, did you give them back to the delivery man?” I asked.

—“No, I didn’t really look at the receipt until he had gone.”

I told her I would phone the company and sort it out. She seemed to have someone else’s shopping.

—“I do don’t I?” she agreed.

The company was helpful (after I had stayed on the line for some time, listening to jingle bells or was it Tubular Bells? —I went to the same school as Mike Oldfield as it happens though he is older than I) but of course, customer services had questions such as, had she received any of her ordered items? I wasn’t sure. I explained that she lives over a hundred miles away from me.

I phoned my mother again. Had she received any of the items she had ordered?

—“Oh, only milk, oh hang on, I can’t remember now – yes, milk, oh and bread, oh and the curries and…”

It transpired she had all her order. The truth was slowly beginning to dawn,

“Mum, do you actually have liver and bacon and sherry trifles in your cupboard?”

—“Well, no, of course not, I didn’t order them, but they are on the receipt.”

Ah, it all became clear. I phoned the company back and they promised to send the correct receipt out. Clearly, the delivery man had mixed them up. My mother did not have a cupboard full of unwanted goods after all.

Not to be thwarted by this time-consuming and mildly frustrating experience, I was only too happy to order something else for her this week, apart from her groceries. My mother required a vacuum cleaner and had seen just the one she wanted on TV which she told me was the same as my middle daughter has. I researched it. It was the lightest model, the most compact when stored, both important criteria for my mother who is barely five feet tall.

After a long discussion, I ordered the said item which arrived the very next day.

Alas, it was not the one she had in mind, despite it being identical to the one my daughter has. She phoned me, apologetic and worried that she had spent so much on the wrong thing. I am glad I was able to reassure her that we could send it back. I rang the company and they are sending a courier to collect it today. Unfortunately, my mother is not able to get it back into the box and close the lid properly as she cannot remove the cleaning head she attached when setting it up. Not being able to ask my daughter, who is away, I looked up the instructions online and passed them along. The process involves the use of a flat-head screwdriver to lever something off—most odd! My mother tried but it was beyond her.

I have told her to put the entire box into a black bin bag which she is doing. Hopefully, the courier will not mind taking it like this.

We have decided that when my mother visits us for Christmas, we will take her to the electrical shop and she can choose the cleaner she wants.

Online shopping is great—but this will be so much easier!

Meanwhile, I have prepared a little song for my mother. It should be read or sung to the tune of ‘Twelve days of Christmas’ and I hope she will see the funny side!

Enjoy and Merry Christmas!

On the first day of Christmas, my daughter sent to me,

A stale-cake for the pan-try.

On the second day of Christmas, my daughter sent to me,

2 sherry trifles

And a stale-cake for the pan-try.

On the third day of Christmas, my daughter sent to me,

3 chicken dinners

2 sherry trifles

And a stale-cake for the pan-try.

On the fourth day of Christmas, my daughter sent to me,

4 Weight Watchers curries

3 chicken dinners

2 sherry trifles

And a stale-cake for the pan-try.

On the fifth day of Christmas, my daughter sent to me,

5 golden crunch,

4 Weight Watchers curries

3 chicken dinners

2 sherry trifles

And a stale-cake for the pan-try.

On the sixth day of Christmas, my daughter sent to me,

6 pairs of knickers,

5 golden crunch,

4 weight watcher’s curries

3 chicken dinners

2 sherry trifles

And a stale-cake for the pan-try.

On the seventh day of Christmas, my daughter sent to me,

7 large bananas,

6 pairs of knickers,

5 golden crunch,

4 Weight Watchers curries

3 chicken dinners

2 sherry trifles

And a stale-cake for the pan-try.

On the eighth day of Christmas, my daughter sent to me,

8 bras not fitting,

7 large bananas,

6 pairs of knickers,

5 golden crunch,

4 Weight Watchers curries

3 chicken dinners

2 sherry trifles

And a stale-cake for the pan-try.

On the ninth day of Christmas, my daughter sent to me,

9 bags of apples,

8 bras not fitting,

7 large bananas,

6 pairs of knickers,

5 golden crunch,

4 Weight Watchers curries

3 chicken dinners

2 sherry trifles

And a stale-cake for the pan-try.

On the tenth day of Christmas, my daughter sent to me,

10 Dyson cleaners,

9 bags of apples,

8 bras not fitting,

7 large bananas,

6 pairs of knickers,

5 golden crunch,

4 Weight Watchers curries

3 chicken dinners

2 sherry trifles

And a stale-cake for the pan-try.

On the eleventh day of Christmas, my daughter sent to me,

11 pairs of bloomers

10 Dyson cleaners,

9 bags of apples,

8 bras not fitting,

7 large bananas,

6 pairs of knickers,

5 golden crunch,

4 Weight Watchers curries

3 chicken dinners

2 sherry trifles

And a stale-cake for the pan-try.

On the twelfth day of Christmas, my daughter sent to me,

12 wrong receipts,

11 pairs of bloomers

10 Dyson cleaners,

9 bags of apples,

8 bras not fitting,

7 large bananas,

6 pairs of knickers,

5 golden Crunch,

4 Weight Watchers curries

3 chicken dinners

2 sherry trifles

And a stale-cake for the pan-try

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