Lots of houses nearby have been decorated far more beautifully. They look good, and of course contribute to the spirit of Christmas.
At the market on Sunday I found a hand-crocheted tablecloth, in white cotton, in perfect condition. I bought it for a mere $20. It is now on my dining table, awaiting the Christmas festivities. I have a smaller one, which my grandmother made for me, about 50 years ago, and I feel rather guilty, but it does not fit the dining table, which seats eight. Such beautiful, detailed work. All of a sudden, great quantities of crocheted or embroidered linen are to be found at markets. I'd love to know their provenance.
This morning I dashed out to buy more food. My local grocery shop does not stock moderately priced mineral water. So I ventured into the depths of the adjacent suburb. This proved a useless endeavour, as there was nowhere to park. Mineral water is heavy so I did not want to have to lug it too far, but even the areas of too far had no parking spaces.
Therefore I set out for my usual shopping centre. As did everyone else. There were men guiding traffic in and out of the parking lot. Much to my surprise, I found a spot quickly, and ventured into the very crowded supermarket.
Despite the crowds and the queues, everyone was smiling, courteous, friendly and happy. Nobody growled, or looked impatient. It felt so good. I love it that we all share these joyous festivities together.
My provedore had apparently run out of raspberry gelato, making me make do with a tub each of mango and passionfruit, but cream could not be found. Therefore I went to my very local shops, and found a carton of cream. (This is just in case I make a pavlova.) The man next to me at the dairy cabinet was on his mobile to his wife, checking out just what sort of cream she wanted bought. The top of the dairy cabinet is way above my height, but these days they have placed a stool there for the short and tiny to clamber upon and thereby search for cream, etc. So I offered a carton to the man, who was tickled pink. In other casual conversations, milk varieties were discussed, but no one seems to know what permeate is. I remain puzzled.
As everyone was so good-tempered and friendly, I thought I would pop into places like the bank and the pharmacy, and wish them all a happy Christmas. They liked this.
I discovered from Molly that the cake tin she used was a bundt tin. I had never heard of its name, although I have seen such tins. I looked them up on the internet and discovered a myriad of such tins, full of swirls and curves and odd angles. Most impressive, they were, but daunting, and it seemed to me that turning out the baked cake from a bundt tin was fraught with dreadful possibilities. Tell me it is not so!
All the ironing is done. I cooked a lamb curry and will eat some of it tonight. Tonight or tomorrow I must wrap parcels. My son and daughter won't arrive until late afternoon. Apparently my granddaughter feels hard done by because I buy her things instead of giving her gift cards or money. Life can be tough, right? As it happens this year she will have both.
There are lots of interesting books to continue reading. In Melbourne I found one by Munro Price, The Perilous Crown, about the period in French history from the fall of Napoleon to the 1848 revolution. French history is not something I have read much about, and this book is quite riveting. I also found, at the local market, the final volume of the diaries of Victor Klemperer, covering 1945 to 1959. The three volumes of his diaries document his life in Germany from 1933, giving chapter and verse of the appallingly detailed and merciless discrimination, persecution and extermination of the German Jews, followed by postwar life in the German Democratic Republic. I love secondhand books. They really facilitate excessive buying.
In addition, I have another couple of books on Dorothy L Sayers, a fascinating, and erudite writer, a book on the trials of Margaret Clitherow, martyred in the reign of Elizabeth 1, a collection of essays by Simon Schama, Scribble, Scribble, Scribble, a couple of books by Niall Ferguson, Empire, and The War of the World, Margaret Atwood's The Year of the Flood, Simon Garfield's On the Map, David Sacks' The Alphabet, and some other novels and biographies. These should keep me busy. There is plenty to read, and my concentration and attention span have been improving. There is always the atlas to be perused, not to mention the provocations and irritations of the daily newspaper.
And there is the blogging world. Which is such a comfort.
Thank you, all you kind commenters and friends, for your comforting and encouraging words. I still feel gloomy, but realise that all this must be borne, and perhaps one way of coping is to lower my hopes and expectations, and withdraw to some extent. One of my sisters rang this evening. We spoke civilly, but neither of us mentioned 'the war'.
Happy Christmas to all of you out there. I am with you in spirit.