My thoughts are with DG this Christmas. I met a friend in town this morning and she said that, her father having died earlier this year, it's bringing home to her all the more how much she misses her mother too. I've been feeling the same, with the 40th anniversary of my father's death coming up, I've been missing both my parents very much. I said as much to her, though I haven't mentioned it to my family - only my sister would understand. And a lot of you do too. It doesn't matter how long ago it was, you never forget and you still feel the loss. *Cough* - group hug?
Right. Moving on.
Just while I'm here, I'd like to thank people who have been working their socks off this last week in the freezing weather and very difficult conditions, many of whom have received a lot of criticism when actually they could not have done more.
The people - nearly all men, I'm sure - who've been out restoring power. They're done their best. Miserable to be cold and have no electricity, but they were colder.
Those who drive gritting lorries and clear roads who've kept our main roads as passable as they could - they're not going to get down the side roads. They never did, in fact, I've never lived in a road that has been gritted. Can't be afforded and most years it isn't necessary. If we regularly had temperatures well below zero for several days and night after night of snow, it would be worth the investment. We don't so it isn't. As a result, we'll come to a halt sometimes. If it might snow, keep a shovel, a few sacks, a rug, some water and some chocolate, and some stout boots and a stick in case you end up walking, in your car. The main roads should be gritted, but don't blame the people in the lorries, blame the ones in the comfortable offices who didn't get their act together. And sometimes, during a snowstorm, gritting doesn't help or the amount of stuck traffic on the roads stops the lorries getting through.
Delivery people - yesterday, Al was in a pickle because his big order didn't arrive until after 9 o'clock, when the shop was full, he had still got orders to complete (he does them on the day ordered) and he had to stack everything outside and spend the day sorting things out. However, he didn't complain. The order arrived in full and as soon as the van could get there. By the way, if the supermarket or farm shop sells brussels sprouts stalks at well over £2 each, as I've seen them, they are robbing their customers. Al has put the price up to £1 this year (90p last) and he makes a satisfactory profit at that.
Everyone I've ordered anything from over the internet - all despatched promptly, thank you.
The Royal Mail - realising I couldn't get out to do any shopping as the pavements were more treacherous than the roads, I did a final last-minute order from Amazon on Monday afternoon. Two out of three packages have arrived, although they said they couldn't guarantee it. I think that's damn good - the only things I haven't got are some books for Zerlina and she'll be pleased with more parcels to arrive next week so it doesn't matter.
And an apology to anyone who thought they might get a Christmas card from us this year. Er, yes. Sorry about that. I think my Christmas card writing days are over.
It's thawing now, but that means that the ridges in iced-over roads and paths have smoothed to a glassy surface and actually it's more difficult to walk anywhere that isn't completely clear. I went out to the Co-op this morning and had to carefully pick my way around the drive to avoid the worse bits. A stick didn't help as it slipped and didn't hold. It isn't very busy in town - Al says he expects to be (and was) far busier the day before Christmas Eve, and this year, CE is also market day so he didn't get more in than he needed for his orders and for a usual weekend. So he's pretty relaxed. He's got Eileen and Reese in, and they are managing fine, so he's taking the view that what he doesn't get in takings aren't paying out another person's wages, so it'll balance.
Time to start wrapping presents before long, I think. Always more fun at the last minute.