Posted in Personal life, Writing

Happy Chinese New Year (and sorry Christmas passed me by…)

A visit to the Bath Postal Museum renews my guilt at failing to post as many Christmas cards as I’d intended. My negligence is another tiny dent in the viability of our postal service. So two reasons to feel guilty.

Laura dresses up at Bath Postal Museum
Postman Laura - role play at the Bath Postal Museum

Every November the same thing happens: I buy second class Christmas stamps as soon as they are issued,  smug at my preparedness.  It strikes me as indecently early to start writing my cards just then, so I put them to one side.

December dawns, but while the days of the month are in single figures, card writing seems less than urgent. I determine to wait until the Advent calendar doors reveal more than they conceal. By then, I tell myself, I’ll be feeling Christmassy enough to write cards.

And then, all of a sudden, the last posting date is looming.  I scrawl a quick signature on the cards that don’t require an accompanying letter and whiz them up to the pillar box. With misplaced optimism, I set aside the others into my letter-writing pile. So far, I’ve refused to succumb to the catch-all standard letter as issued by some friends and family, but maybe I should, as without such drastic recourse, those cards awaiting letters won’t make it as far as the postbox, never mind the intended recipients’ mantlepieces.

Christmas card from Hawkesbury Upton
Village greetings

For a small subset of these people, it’s no big deal if I miss 25th December.  These are my Jewish friends. To them, the Christmas festivities serve simply as a trigger to an annual exchange of news. One of them pointedly writes to me each year on Christmas Day itself, just to remind me that they’re not celebrating.  That’s fine by me: the main thing is that I hear from them. They may even interpret my delay as a thoughtful recognition of their faith.

Christmas Day passes, and Boxing Day.  Well, who wouldn’t welcome a New Year card instead? I love New Year and its promise of renewed good intentions.

New Year comes and goes; the unwritten cards remain on my desk.  I despair until I realise that despite the BBC’s broadcast of 2012 dawning around the globe as it turns on its axis, there are still some quarters in which the New Year has yet to arrive. It’s not too late for me to wish my friends a happy Chinese New Year. That doesn’t fall until next Monday, 23rd January. So all is not yet lost.

新年快樂,as they say in Beijing.


Posted in Family, Type 1 diabetes

Run, Rabbit, Run

Year of the Metal Rabbit
Image by OnTask via Flickr

January 1st was a rotten time to make New Year Resolutions.  The excitement of Christmas was over, the decorations were losing their charm, and the mornings and evenings seemed darker than ever.  Relentless advertising for the post-Christmas sales rubbed in the fact that it was an awfully long time till payday. It’s no wonder that January 24th was officially designated the most depressing day of the year.  This January had only two highlights for me: the opportunity to write cheques dated 1/1/11 or 11/1/11 and, a week later, my birthday – though, goodness knows, the novelty of birthdays wore off for me a very long time ago.  So this year I decided to be realistic about New Year’s Resolutions: I resolved not to make any.

But then, a few weeks into the New Year, something wonderful happened: I looked up into the sky at 5pm and realised it was not entirely dark.  A tiny tinge of blue was still hovering behind the impending night sky, a promise of the spring to come.  It was enough to make my personal sap begin to rise. Then I spotted in my diary the fact that we’re on the brink of Chinese New Year.  We’re entering the Year of the Rabbit.  It wasn’t too late to make those New Year Resolutions after all!  Before I knew it, I found myself signing up to run the Bristol 10K.  A leaner, faster, fitter new me is just around the corner of 2011…

But it won’t only be me that benefits.  I’ll be fundraising for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.  Every £60 I raise will pay for an hour of research to find a cure for Type 1 Diabetes.  This horrible disease has blighted the life of my husband and my small daughter, through no fault of their own. (Type 1 diabetes is not related to lifestyle choices).  100 years ago, their diagnosis would have been shortly followed by their death.   Decades of research has made it possible to live with diabetes, provided you submit to constant and costly medical intervention, including multiple daily injections or the use of an infusion pump 24/7, plus half a dozen or more blood tests every single day.  The next ambition of researchers is to make it possible for Gordon and Laura and millions like them to live without it.  At present, there is no cure.

So, with my resolve strengthening as the daylight hours are lengthening, I’ve signed on the dotted line for the 10K charity run.  I just wish I had a Chinese bank account.  Because then, when I write the deposit cheque, I could take enormous pleasure in dating it for the first day of the Chinese New Year: Rabbits Rabbits Rabbits / Rabbit.

(This post was originally written for the February edition of the Hawkesbury Parish News.)