Friday, January 10, 2014


What have I done so far since the last weeks of 2013 wafted away and  2014 blasted in. 

I have felt weary, tired, but definitely not fed up; I am not affected by the long dark days at this time of year.  What I am affected by, I believe, is the relentlessness of the festive expectations that are manipulated by commercial interests.

 For heaven's sake, Christmas trees hanging from store ceilings in September, all dressed up with their tinsel and faux parcels! I was pleased our town's street lights were not switched on until the 7th November 2013. That's weeks behind the lighting up in major cities. The lights are pretty, a gentle tradition to brighten up the darkness.

Then there's the need to get packages and well-wishing correspondence sent by mid October if you want it to definitely arrive in time for mid December in the Antipodes and the Americas, we're told, notwithstanding the blatant profiteering of the mail system; the costs of posting anything have soared.  There are leaflets telling you what can and cannot be sent and where whatever it is, can and cannot be sent. Added to that, there's a memory test, you are interrogated by the teller as to what is in the parcels and packages.  It is almost like airport security. My gift package of two mini Xmas puddings was checked against an explosives list!!!! 

We travelled on Christmas Day, 25th December.  It's rare to share the road with many cars on this day.  This year was an exception. People had taken note of the severe weather warnings and delayed their journeys.  One of the few businesses open, a Brewers Fare restaurant, was quiet when we arrived before the lunch rush. We were looking for restrooms and a hot drink.  The staff were so accommodating, finding a space for us to sit and have cups of coffee, then giving us takeaway drinks for the journey. 

On lower ground it poured with rain. Up high, there was some snow; the snow ploughs and gritters were busy at work, we passed four. 

At The Portrait Gallery Edinburgh
When we returned home, it felt so good slipping back into my own bed for the first time in 2014 and drifting off to a relatively restful sleep.

This week, we have waved cheerio to our  liquid petroleum gas (LPG) tank, a garden feature for far too many years. I got to connect the lifting chains.

The hydraulic lifting mechanism was a fine bit of engineering.  It took quite some time to complete the manoeuvrings both sides of the fence. Once on the lorry in the right position, our tank had to be strapped securely into place.  Regulations prohibited the vehicle to be driven off till the remaining LPG was drained out of the tank into the fixed white one on the trailer. 

A morning and two mugs of tea later, (for the driver) a signature on a receipt for the tank's removal, the job was completed and the driver was off to pick up the next tank.

Click on the pictures to make them bigger.


Snowbird said...

I totally agree with you about the over-commerialisation of Christmas and the price and hastle involved with sending a parcel.
Gosh, that all looks rather exciting re the tank removal!xxx

ZACL said...

Hi Snowbird,

I am glad I thought to get the camera out for the action, (just as it started). There's a whole batch of them, some not yet examined.

I'm trying to work out how to back-off from all the pressures of Christmas and make life a little more simple.

Money saved this year on alternative methods of greetings - just the start - added to charitable funds.

Jenny said...

Totally agree about the expectations of Christmas which, for me, considerably lessens the enjoyment of it. I couldn't wait for normal routine to resume this year.

Anonymous said...

I do so agree about the relentless lead up to Christmas. Your comment about your mini Xmas puddings made me laugh.
You were lucky to find somewhere open like that on the day.
I bet that you're glad that tank has gone. Flighty xx

ZACL said...

Hi Mr F,

Let me say, I am just as the stage of losing the exasperation over the mini Christmas Puddings, and beginning to find a bit of humour in it. Another month or two and maybe I will have got there!

We found that Brewers' Fayre were open last year, they do festive lunches, especially when they are attached to a Premier Inn. So, yes, it was fortunate. It was the only place open on our route, and we arrived at it, at the right time.

You're right about the tank. It was stuck in one of the best sunny corners of the garden. It was always an eyesore in that position.

ZACL said...

Salut jennyta,

You might get this twice because blogger comments had hiccups.

Your sentiments accord 100% with mine.