My last few weeks before Christmas were hectic, showcases and parties at school combined with the last hasted Christmas shopping and cleaning before flying to Italy (a must-do chore in order not to do it when I fly back and start work again). I also managed to squeeze in a day in London visiting exhibitions with my daughter and went to the cinema to see Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, amazing. I was overjoyed to be in the marvellous Harry Potter world again (I had missed it so much) and look forward to see more.
Decorating my house for Christmas took some time as well, as I keep buying Christmas stuff every year, feeling the festive mood and being naturally attracted by all the cute hearts, stars and Santa in different formats. The result is that my Christmas tree is usually overloaded (it collapsed a few times), I had candles and lanterns everywhere and keep adding new items to my typical Italian Presepe (an expanded nativity), this year an English cottage and a blue donned angel from a charity fair. When my son came back from uni he said: ‘the usual clutter’, looking around the house. He referred mainly to the kitchen table, almost full of piled books, mags and notebooks (I normally put them on one side to lay the table when it is only my husband and I at home, which is most of the year).
Before Christmas I was invited to one of my colleagues’ house, a charming lady originally from northern Europe who welcomed her guests with warm mulled wine. I couldn’t help noticing how tidy her house was: no piled books around (maybe they hid them for the occasion), few pictures on walls and shelves, a sensible Christmas tree matching the surroundings and sparse lights on the windows. In my house there is hardly a space left on walls and shelves, crammed up with photos and souvenirs. We buy stuff everywhere we go, and keep everything. We collect dolls, shells, stones, tumbles, glass things, and still buy books. The result is maybe confusing, too much, or ‘clutter’, but for me it is lively as well. Perhaps one day we will give up the house to our books and collections and live somewhere else.
I flew to Italy a week before Christmas but, to be honest, I didn’t long to be there this time. I wished to spend time with my mum, of course, but I was aware that there were still too many things to settle after my father’s death. I knew it would be hard. Though I had some good times as well: good food, nice shopping and plenty of family time. Everything about these on my next posts.