wings and things

A hot Christmas Day


The first picture is of my nephew and niece over here with my brother from the Solomon Islands for Christmas. As you can see Gutsy9 was a hit! The second is of my mother and brother talking to Anthony (who is unfortunately out of the shot), with an ecstatic harpist in the background.

It is Boxing Day here and warming up to be another stinking hot day. Christmas Day was, as predicted, 40C so I am very glad we had cold crayfish for lunch. I always make Anthony’s mother’s cocktail sauce which consists of cream, tomato sauce, worcestershire sauce and lemon juice – yum. I had purchased four enormous cooked crays and my hands are now covered in little cuts from peeling them but it was worth it.

There were only four of us – Anthony, Ming, my mother and me. We usually do a bigger family thing at my mothers on Christmas Eve, but Christmas Day has always been fairly quiet which is the way we like it. We sat in our only air-conditioned room and ate the crayfish cocktail on our laps. Then Ming served pavolova with cream and bananas and we watched an animated film called Brave that Ming had chosen for the day. Anthony wasn’t coping well with either the heat or the air conditioning and he was extremely immobile but I sat in my usual spot on the floor between his legs and he stroked my hair and kept kissing me on the head, his hands on my shoulders. He loved having Gutsy9 on his lap.

It was indescribably hard to see him off when the taxi came to pick him up and take him back to the nursing lodge but, all in all, it was a brilliant day.

Later in the evening I rang Ants a few times because he was very low and I caught myself thinking about how heartbreaking Christmas Day is for so many and I got a big lump in my throat.


Harp happiness!



Ming’s Christmas presents

I am beside myself with excitement about Ming’s main Christmas present. It is being delivered today at 3pm while he is milking the cows. He has no idea and yesterday afternoon we sat outside and played a guessing game and he didn’t even come close – yay!

This is the first Christmas where we haven’t done the pillow case thing. Every year since he was born, we have put a big pillowcase at the end of his bed on Christmas Eve and I’ve secretly filled a matching pillowcase with presents. Then, in the very early hours of Christmas morning, I secretly swap the empty pillowcase for the full one and try (unsuccessfully) to go back to sleep. The Santa magicalness of this faded somewhat last year, not only because Ming was 17 and a little old for this but also because Anthony was so ill and, no matter how hard I tried, those gifts were bought in a state of stress rather than my usual euphoria.The brat was disappointed, I was despondent and Ants wasn’t even well enough to eat the huge meal of turkey, ham and all the trimmings. It was a complete fizzog.

So Ming decided that this Christmas there would be no pillowcase and that, instead, we would all get three presents each. So present 1 for Ming is a book about how to play the harp; and present 2 is a voucher for five harp lessons. Can you guess what present 3 is?