Saturday, 10 December 2011

A bit more complicated than that

Posted by Tania Kindersley.

I do not feel very Christmassy at all. I really want to get into the Christmas spirit but I cannot currently locate it. This afternoon, I rather grumpily put up some decorations whilst watching the racing and stumped about in a bah humbug way.

I’m going to say something really stupid now, which only certain people will understand. I feel really, really sad that this is the first Christmas without my dog.

I always miss my dad on a Saturday, because I watch the ponies, and that was what he did. I’m getting used to missing him on a Saturday; it’s stitched into my week now. But today I had a sudden violent regret that the Duchess was not here.

She was a dog; she did not even know what Christmas was. But she loved this time of year. She was a real snow dog, and she looked so elegant against the whiteness with her shiny black coat and her regal bearing.
I suppose Christmas was always going to be difficult this year. I’m doing the whole I’m fine thing, because mostly it is true. I am fine. There are moments when I am happy, and moments when I am sad, which is the very definition of human life.

When the sorrows come and beat me up, I feel slightly foolish, as if I should butch up a bit. I duck my head and hope no one will notice. I wonder if I should write about it, and then I think: no, don’t tell them that. Give them soup and politics and jokes. There must be jokes. Or at least mildly amusing idioms. Or something. Not the dull old truth, which is so universal that it is worn thin with use. And yet, at the very same time, I think all I ever want is the truth.

I think: I am a crazy old bundle of paradox and I used to think I knew something about the human condition and now I have to admit I know nothing.

Anyway, I think that’s why I’m a bit up and down at the moment. I just thought: oh, lovely, Christmas, deck the halls. I had not realised that it was, of course, of course, going to be a bit more complicated than that.

Forgot to charge the camera battery, so there were no photographs today. Here are a few from the week:

10 Dec 3 09-12-2011 14-29-08

10 Dec 4 09-12-2011 14-30-18

10 Dec 1 09-12-2011 14-20-55

10 Dec 2 09-12-2011 14-28-14

10 Dec 6 09-12-2011 14-30-45.ORF

10 Dec 8 07-12-2011 14-56-02.ORF

10 Dec 9 07-12-2011 14-56-26.ORF

10 Dec 5 09-12-2011 14-30-18.ORF

Every time, the snow on the nose just kills me. Every time:

10 Dec 13 06-12-2011 15-02-26

Also, do you know anyone else who can have snow on their nose and still manage to look like Grace Kelly?:

10 Dec 14 06-12-2011 15-02-11

Hill in panorama:

10 Dec 15 09-12-2011 14-23-10.ORF


  1. It makes total sense to me that you'll miss the Duchess. Perhaps if you were to re-post some photos of her-- perhaps, say, some snow photos-- it would make you feel a little better... I think I speak for the vast majority of the readers in saying WE certainly wouldn't mind...

    The snow-on-the-nose photos of the beautiful Pigeon are wonderful. And I will admit here, re: dogs, that I am currently on the outs with a friend who was very close, and one of the things making me the saddest is that-- I miss her dog and am afraid I might never see him again (he is an enormous and enthusiastic chocolate lab). So.

  2. I can only speak for myself, but I'd rather read a month of blog posts about how much you miss Duchess than one post about politics. Glad you put up the decorations anyway - good for you!

  3. The truth will always out, and I've always admired your honesty and courage in admitting when you are feeling a bit down.

    You express your feelings so eloquently that it is a joy to read, and of course, it helps me feel normal too, in an 'Oh thank goodness, someone else has those thoughts' kind of way.

    Christmas gets tougher as you get older. Too many memories, too many loved ones no longer here. It is only natural that you would be missing The Duchess and your father especially at this time. Thank goodness you have dear sweet snow nosed Pigeon to snuggle up to.

    Take care and look after yourself.

  4. I don't blame you at all for feeling this way. I am struck as the years pass how utter sentimental I have become about Christmas gone by. It's just a time of year isn't it, but a time that is so heavy with feelings. I do actually worry about something bad happening at Christmas time as it will alter my currently untarnished view of it all. Plus I would not want the reminder for every Christmas from then on. So there: I have admitted that I am as pessimistic inside my head as you are soft for missing your dog. We all miss her in a funny way as seeing them in photos bounding together was a pleasure. But seeing one bound is just as good - just different. And there is no better Grace Kelly impersonator in the canine world; of that I am sure. Whereas my dog looks like a cross between a mop and a muppet. No Grace Kelly for me! But I do still love him and find myself thinking about his first Christmas. So we are all as soppy as each other. Right, done now, Lou x

  5. I think people often put themselves under too much pressure for "high days and holidays" - Christmas, weddings, birthdays etc. The only significance they have is that which we bestow upon them...every day is equally another challenge, another adventure, another marvel...there is no sacrosanct imperative to jump through hoops just because of a number on the calendar; each day we all do the best we can, and it's only natural that some days that best is better (or worse) than other days, because we're only - gloriously - human with all the capacity for strengths and flaws that that entails.
    Incidentally, loving the cognac-amber hedge picture - looks like a big fuzzy bear of the distinctly cuddly type :-)

  6. I completely understand, I celebrate Christmas and the holidays quietly. Its the only time of year when we are faced with what we have lost, who's not there, broken families etc. Sorry I'm not being cheery about this but I do think that you should allow yourself to mourn the fact that one of your beloved companions is not with you any longer.

    Maybe its also because its the only time of year when we're meant to happy/gleeful and if we're not, there's something wrong with us. xxx

  7. I love the snow-on-the-nose picture. Duchess was a beautiful dog and it's only natural you should miss her as she was a member of your close family after all


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