It is happening again. I hoped that last Christmas was a ‘one off’. If we could get through that, then this year would be fine. We did not send cards then but gave to charity instead. We did not have visitors but made a special Christmas bubble to see my eldest sister. We drove on Christmas day stopping only to have cheese sandwiches for our Christmas lunch.
This year it was all going to be different. But we had not reckoned with the Omicron variant curtailing our festivities. However, we thought that at least we should write cards. This time I thought we would send to people who sent to us. Simple, when a card arrives, we write one and send a greeting back. But what about my aunt who is sick, my niece who is in hospital, my friend whose card always arrives after Christmas? And then there is my godson who has had a rough time this year. My plan is in disarray.
To cheer ourselves up in our limited festivities (again) we have decided to revive our photographic competitions. One of us decides on a title, such as ‘Clouds’, ‘Trees’ or ‘Sunsets’. Then for that week we take photos on our phone when we see a good competition entry. There are only the two of us in the competition, but we take it as seriously as if the entries were nation-wide.
This week the title of the contest is ‘Red’. That should be easy at this time of year. There is the post box down the lane, the father Christmas in the house over the road and the berries on the holly bush in our garden. But we need to be original. I am looking for something that Mr T will not think of. My best one so far is a robin red breast clinging to the side of a vertical shoot.
You would think that there are not many birds with red on, other than the robin (which is, in fact, orange), but if you have a bird table you may see the spotted woodpecker with its red rump. Or you might see the red on the goldfinch either side of its beak. There are of course the Scandinavian redwings which have flown in overnight grubbing on our field for insect larvae. But their wings are only red underneath and very difficult to show on a photograph.
We do the judging together and usually agree on the best, sometimes it is a draw. Sometimes we take it in turns to win. I wonder if my robin could win, it will make a good Christmas card for next year.
Taken from my column n the Shropshire Star