Tag Archives: Christmas

Just a little Christmas story

 

The sea eagle dipped gracefully over the ocean and tilted its wings toward the golden sand to glide along the surf line. The water sparkled with the midday sun as the eagle banked along the shore and reflected tiny stars of light. Stars that caught on the underbelly of the fish grasped tightly in sharp eagle claws. It was a deliciously fat, round fish with a chubby belly of scales. The weight of the fish pulled the eagle down further. A trail was drawn across the smooth surface of the ocean as the water tickled the underbelly of the fish. Yet with the merest beat of strong wings the eagle lifted just enough to soar onwards. Just enough to catch the wind, to continue effortlessly above the turquoise waters and pass the bathers turning various shades of pink under the sun’s rays. The wind ruffled the sleek white feathers of the eagle underbelly as it passed by and exposed taught muscles, the perfection of nature and her aerodynamics.

 

The eagle came to rest at the far end of the bay on an outcrop of sharp black rock that stood out against a hot cloudless sky. The rock held fast amongst the underwater gardens of the coral reef nestled around it and provided a perfect dinner table. It was no more than a five minute swim from the shore yet the eagle sat unnoticed and undisturbed atop her perch. The fat fish became nothing more than scale and flimsy bone over the next hour as the eagle picked at it lazily. Nobody noticed. Not a single person on the beach saw the eagle and her prey glide by. Not a single person had looked up to that rock and witnessed the eagle’s presence with excitement in their eyes.

 

The bathers continued to lie, to loll on coarse sand and turn like sausages on a grill. They picked up tiny flecks of sand as they moved; round beads of sweat gathering on brows and meandering into crooked elbows that held books against the sun. They morphed into shades of pink, caramel and deep brown as the day wandered onwards. Human chameleons, colour charts of skin and sun exposure from around the world. Too preoccupied to glance seaward and notice an eagle and her fat fish pass them by.

 

As I watched that story unfold at the beach this week it really struck me that nobody else noticed, or reacted to, the presence of the eagle. I had to sit on my hands and bury them deep into the sand to stop myself from running after it in my excitement and awe. As I sat upon my frayed yellow beach towel, fingers curled tight into the sand, I realised how easy it is for small, precious moments to pass us by. We are all so engrossed in our own worlds, our own worries and dreams, ambitions and expectations that we forget to really look sometimes. If we took a moment to stop and observe the world around us perhaps we would experience that much more. Build a mountain of small moments that become the memories of a lifetime.

 

As Christmas approaches, people across the globe become even more consumed and frantic than usual. We barely stop to look around us and appreciate small moments before they pass us by like that eagle. We spend money we don’t have on lavish presents, we rush around searching for the last bag of sprouts and wonder what on earth can be made with the tins of chestnut puree that suddenly appear in supermarkets everywhere. We consume strange drinks named Eggnog, Snowballs and Advocat yet nobody knows what they are. Pigs in Blankets are recognised as an actual foodstuff and men, in their time honoured tradition, buy their Christmas presents at the last possible moment on Christmas Eve. With military precision we plan how to visit every single family member across the country in one day…as if the world were going to end in the morning. Foot to the gas pedal and high on the sugar from a mountain of flaky mince pies we drive on exhausted into the night. We listen to carols sung under star-filled skies, the Queen has a chat on the television about stuff and the adverts promise us joy, happiness, sales, Christmas music, more reasons to shop and a lavish sprinkling of Christmas cheer. And then we get up on Boxing Day and do it all again. People queue from 4am for the Christmas sales before the festive season has even come to a close and buy sofas they don’t need.

 

It is a frantic time quite unlike any other and I can imagine that watching it as a newcomer to Planet Earth would be absolutely hilarious yet slightly unnerving. Humans high on too many Quality Street, running around in paper hats and wielding explosive crackers that contain pointless toys. Make of it what you will extra-terrestrials. We love it.

 

I absolutely adore Christmas and I wouldn’t change the joy, laughter, Lindt chocolate santas peeking out of woolly Christmas stockings and strangely named drinks containing eggs and nog for anything. But perhaps I would change one thing. I would ask people to step back for a moment from the consumerism, from the frenetic rush to Christmas Day and look around. Take a moment to appreciate the small and seemingly insignificant. Give someone less fortune than you, someone that finds Christmas difficult, a big warm hug and a reason to smile. Forget the money and excessive shopping, stop trying to please everyone all at once and notice what truly brings you joy. Can you remember how it felt to wake up on Christmas Day as a child and, before you opened your eyes, you wondered if it had snowed overnight? Do you remember that feeling of excitement in the pit of your stomach at something so simple? Go and find moments with your loved ones that bring back that feeling and cherish them. For they mean so much more than the presents.

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Run boy, run for the hills I tell you

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You know, this is something I have wanted to write about for a long time. Since way before I started this blog, yet I struggle to find the right way to pitch this. To write about it with my voice, my own take on it, because I know it is a sensitive subject and I am not looking for sympathy or judgement. They are two extremes of reaction that I know this subject results in and I ask you not to give me either. I am telling you for the humour that I now find in this, for the surprising discoveries it has led to and because quite frankly I can’t go on blogging unless I get this out of my system.

But yet here I am skirting around the subject already, thinking about how you might judge me and about how ‘putting it out there’ for anyone to read might impact upon my future and how I am perceived. Well balls to that. This is about freedom of speech, writing for myself and if I don’t get this out of my system I will continue to think about this blog entry every night as I go to sleep (yes I have done this a number of times). So in the interests of my sleeping patterns and sanity here we go.

My name is Kat.  I have been engaged twice and both fiancés left me a matter of weeks before our weddings. Yes, that’s me…I have not one but TWO runaway grooms to my name. Two and both occurred in the last four years. Yep, that’s me. Dumped at the almost-altar not once but twice. Groom Number 1 left me for his now-wife, it was entirely out of the blue as he walked out of the door and just before Christmas and our wedding. Groom Number 2 left me, in his words, to find God and my bad energy was stopping him. Not heard that one before and he also departed somewhat close to our big day. Unfortunately I had given up my home and career in the UK to live with Groom Number 2, so that was a bit rubbish when he announced his departure and I was left homeless and careerless. So yes, I am that person. I am the tragic story that could probably sell for £50 in Woman’s Own or Heat magazine. The story that people instantly respond to with the kind of look that says….Dear God, what is wrong with her? She must be a right nightmare, proper high maintenance bunny boiler. Imagine that hey Doreen? Being left twice? Oooh the shame.

Sit with it for a moment, digest the fact that I may as well have admitted I have a third nipple it is that embarrassing (no offence to anyone with three nipples though). Are you done yet? Can you imagine how much of a tool I feel with that history to my name? Seriously, I have judged me a lot for this until quite recently. I mean really? What kind of a person does that make me to have two runaway grooms? It is properly pathetic with a big P. I mean I have seen some absolute weirdos get married, all sorts of people manage it on a daily basis without getting it wrong. I almost managed it but ran smack into the last hurdle, twice. I think you get the drift that I am none too proud of this yet I feel the necessity to tell you all, as it does also make me laugh a lot at the funny side of it.

There is nothing quite like recognising the hilarity of having your own un-worn wedding dress stored under your bed, an engagement ring in the bedside drawers and two custom made cake toppers in the wardrobe. Can you imagine if you started seeing some hottie and then brought him back home and he asked what was under the bed? Oh yes darling, I’ve been meaning to tell you. That is my wedding dress and if you look in the bedside drawer you will see I have an engagement ring good to go. Fancy a cup of tea? I can see him running for the hills now, a panicked look of terror in his eyes as I shout I Doooooooooo! My friends and I decided it would be really funny, if I ever did go on a date, to wear my wedding dress to said date and see what reaction it got. Just for a laugh. But then we also realised that was my fast track to dying alone and I’m already doing quite well on that one. But still there is a part of me that wishes I had done that with the dress. It would be SO worth it. Thankfully I saw sense and eventually sold the dress and no longer have to worry about it lurking under my bed ready to pounce on poor unsuspecting men. Ah, but what of me pouncing on poor unsuspecting men?

I seem to have developed some rare form of, what can only be described as, Runaway Groom Tourettes. Please accept my apology if that offends anyone but I can’t think of a better way to describe it. Since the above events occurred, I am entirely unable to keep my relationship history a secret. And I’m not talking about with just men. It happens with friends, colleagues, passers by, strangers. When we get into conversations about past relationships, why one is single blah blah I seem unable to just lie. Pass me the shovel, I am digging my own grave on a daily basis. Every time someone asks me I end up having this panic inside that goes along the lines of:

Oh crap, here we go. They’re going to ask, they’re going to ask me how I ended up where I am this year, how I ended up single and living my life as it is. Shit. What do I say. Quick, think woman. Think. Lie. How? I’m crap at lying, I go all high pitched. Maybe I could just throw my tea down me or faint. But he’s a hottie. Oh god, I am actually going to have to just do this, I can’t lie. He’s hot, I can’t lie. Watch him run for the hills chick. He’s a runner now.

 ‘Hi, my name is Kat. I have two runaway grooms to my name. Not one, two. Yes, two. You heard me right. TWO MEN LEFT ME JUST BEFORE OUR WEDDINGS. ‘

See, there is no way to make that cool. Believe me I have tried. I have tried saying it sadly with a tear in my eye for the sob story and to get some form of pity. But that was embarrassing and also I don’t feel sad enough to pull it off anymore. I have tried making it into a joke and have been greeted with silence, excellent. I have tried the long-winded version of the story but then I realised it sounds like I’m trying to make myself look better and justify why I am not weird. All that results in is me looking like a bunny boiler and giving the listener a chance to understand precisely why the grooms left in the first place. I am not going to even try and justify their actions or who I am in this….there simply isn’t enough time before I get repetitive strain injury from typing so many words. Though I can’t tell you how much I want to write here the reasons why this series of unfortunate events does not make me like that woman from the film Misery. You know the one; she ties the man to the bed and bashes his ankles in so he can’t escape. Seriously I am not that bad. But as I said, my words will only add fuel to the judging fire and I have that baby well lit already.

So alas my Tourette’s goes on and every time I meet pretty much anyone the ex-groom words fall out of my mouth. But you know what the really surprising bit is for me? Apparently I don’t repel people despite the fact my relationship history is akin to Macbeth for tragedy. Yes, I actually still have friends. New friends that have known me post-grooms and so are not obliged to stand by me. These people don’t appear to judge me at all and, as far as I am aware, they also don’t think I am bat crap crazy (well, not for that reason anyway). This is very heartening news indeed.

AND apparently I don’t repel men either. Now that I do find surprising…I’d run a mile from some tragic man with two ex-brides. Oh come on, it’s weird and I’d be worried about the excess baggage. I am allowed to judge, I am in that club. You however are not. I mean I have even met a normal man who would actually consider a relationship with me despite my history. Seriously, he would. I think that is awesome. To be so open-hearted as to look beyond my circumstances and see the good in me is quite something. I have a huge amount of respect for him and as it happens he is pretty much now my best friend. We shall see what the future holds there but can I please just put out there that I really DO NOT want to be writing in the future about the third groom that ran away. Oh lordy, as funny as it would be…even my family have said if it happens a third time they will disown me. Fair enough really.

And another upside to all of this. I am amazing at planning weddings. Really I could make a career out of it. After all, I have designed, coordinated and organised two big weddings in the past few years and they would have been just beautiful. Every detail came from my creative heart and I loved each moment of the process; from making a couple of hundred invitations to designing cupcakes and writing our own vows. But let me get one thing straight….I am not doing it again for me, ever. I can’t face the idea of a third attempt at organising a wedding. It is great fun but not so much fun when you have to send everything back and watch family foot the bill. Plus I have found other creative outlets that are less costly. If some lucky man decides he would like to marry me in the future and I say yes, he will have to get his head around getting married on a beach somewhere, preferably followed by a scuba dive and a big fat jug of mojitos. There will be no aisle for the groom to run down if he changes his mind and no big meringue dress for me to wedge under the bed. One friend made me nearly choke with laughter when we had this discussion. Oh I do love that woman. We decided that if I did ever get engaged in the future, my fiancé would probably have to marry me the same day as I would be convinced he’d leg it. In fact we went so far as to agree I should give him a pair of running trainers just in case he needed them for his exit. How I love my friends.

So, there we have it. I feel so much better for putting it out there for all to read. I have reached a point where I am able to do so because I actually love me enough to know that even if you all fall about laughing it will be with me and not at me. I am me, baggage and all, and I have a pretty damn good life. In fact I love my life and wouldn’t change any of what has happened. I will pick up my smile and head on out of here reminding you of the two rules of this blog:

a)      No sympathy

b)      No judging

And if anyone needs a wedding planner you know where to find me.