Boxing Day Blues

Boxing Day for me is always tinged with a little bit of sadness. This year it has been five years since the last time I saw my dad. I remember hugging him goodbye and teasing him about losing weight in the New Year – just over six weeks later he suffered a fatal heart attack.

My dad on the left, with my father-in-law, taken at Children of Mine's christening in 2004

But every day I thank God for my other ‘Dad’ – my father-in-law. Together, they made a formidable pair – always there to help in a crisis; always there to have fun at a celebration.

In the 25 years I’ve known my father-in-law, he’s always been loved and recognised for his own individual contribution to the Family’s lives. I remember hugging him, this time at my dad’s funeral and sobbing “…at least I still have you.”

His contributions are endless. He designs, makes, mends, grows and initiates ‘things’: handmade toys for the Children; surprises for his loved ones and friends; vegetables and fruit for the table.  He shares his scientific and electrical knowledge, whether helping re-wire a house or teach Daughter of Mine about circuits; and creates legendary games, puzzles and quizzes for Christmas night.

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Even this Boxing Day night, he left our house armed with a multitude of things he had offered to mend: a spring catch on a secret treasure chest he had made for Son of Mine’s birthday this year; the flag pole on the wooden castle he had made for his fourth birthday (joking that it was now out of guarantee); and the attachments for my Kenwood Chef, to loosen the adjustment nuts (because Husband of Mine doesn’t have a vice). He also left with another wood project to design and make – a series of display boxes for Son of Mine’s collection of gemstones and fossils.

It was also my father-in-law who introduced me to the Lake District and Keswick, back in 1991 when newly married Husband of Mine and I, desperate for a cheap holiday, jumped at the chance to act as support team while my new in-laws walked Wainwright’s famous Coast to Coast walk. We camped, in the rain, near Bassenthwaite Lake then moved our tent to Kirkby Stephen for a few days of glorious sunshine – leaving me in love with Cumbria, but alas, not with camping!

This year we bought him a ukulele for Christmas.

Thankfully, Mother-in-Law of Mine got the joke...

“To ‘Davey’…Merry Christmas…” read the tag, so written because he can play ‘Davey Crockett’ on any instrument you care to mention. He may even get to ‘guest’ with Husband of Mine’s folk band – ‘The Renegade Dogs’!

So with a bit more practice, maybe next Boxing Day’s ‘blues’ won’t be so bad…

Weekly Photo Challenge: Self-Portrait

What this photo tells you about me…

  • That I’ve attempted a cheesy self-portrait in my bedroom mirror whilst pretending I am a real photographer
  • That I haven’t learned enough about Photoshop to clone out the headboard or reverse the Sony wording on my camera
  • I have a red wall in my bedroom
  • I am married (or like to wear rings to look as if I am married)
  • I need to do something about the bag under my eye. Just the one. The other eye is fine.

What this photo doesn’t tell you about me…

  • I had to redo my self-portrait photo shoot when I realised, after downloading the photos, how much dust was on my mirror
  • The last time I took photos in my bedroom mirror I was probably singing into a hairbrush and pretending to be a West End star
  • I have learned enough about Photoshop to successfully crop out all the clutter that you would have been able to see beside me
  • I really like the top I was wearing
  • I actually really hate having photos of me – the ‘real’ me – taken, posted, shared, shown or generally just on display. I much prefer those of the characters I pretend to be, like these shots, interspersed with a few shots of the Lake District, which I use as my Twitter background:

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Waiting

The grey, wet, windy view from my car as I wait to pick Daughter of Mine up from her school.

Usually she walks to her old primary, to meet me and her brother there, but I took pity on her today, given that the weather was so bad. She did also have a batch of Christmas shortbread to carry from this afternoon’s Food Tech lesson – of course, none of us wanted it to end up as crumbs!

Son of Mine came out of school excited too as he has been chosen to sing a solo verse of ‘O, Little Town of Bethlehem’ at the end of term concert.

When pressed for more details of his day, he also declared that it was exciting because today was his first day of writing with a pen, rather than a pencil, because his handwriting is so neat!

Little things…

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I’ve been having a black and white photography day today to match the weather… check out today’s blip over at seen by highonahill