Remains of the day
I don't know about you, but I'm always quite pleased when Christmas is over - the decorations packed away, the loot gloated over and stashed, the children back at school. I finally finished finding homes for all the new booty today, and found myself reflecting on how long I was likely to own each of the items. Some of them I know will be around for years - wellies, scarves, books. Some will disappear rapidly - perfume, soap, chocolates (especially the chocolates). Only one thing I think will be with me still when I am old, and it's not actually a thing, it's a card from my aunt.
I've always loved my aunt dearly. Fifteen years older than my mum, she's been a gallant, interesting, colourful presence all my life. Never married, she lived for most of her life in a hotel; conducted a cathedral choir in Africa for the best part of 50 years; smoked cigarettes in a long tortoiseshell holder and wore beautiful black eyeliner like a 50s film star. Now though she's very old, and a big part of her has already moved on to a different world.
We saw her on Boxing Day, and though she was as charming and gracious as ever, there was no recognition in her eyes and I wasn't sure she knew who we were. Just as we were leaving though, she said suddenly, 'I've got something for you darling' - and after much rummaging in her handbag, produced this card, rather chewed round the edges.
Inside it said, 'To my precious niece, happy Christmas darling girl - with my dear love'. So it is in my treasures drawer... being, like so many of its kind, far more than just a card.