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Sunday, 13 December 2009

Pause in Advent

Today's Pause in Advent post is rather short and lacking in photos I am afraid but forgive me as I have been away in Paris for a few days and only got back late last night.

Picture of the sort of stove Granny used courtesy of Google image

Have just been over at Menopausal musings and was reminded about the time I lived for a while at my grandfather's house in the Forest of Dean. It was a 2 up 2 down semi and had no running water, indoor toilet, nor electricity. Cooking and heating was done on a range and the flagstone floors having no damp course were constantly wet in winter not only with the wet brought in on shoes but with damp rising from the ground beneath the stones.

I thought of my grandmother (who I never knew as she died when my mother was just a girl) and how difficult it must have been for her to bring up her family under such circumstances on very little money. Then I thought of how much I have now - warm dry house with all mod cons, enough money to buy the essentials etc. I so often complain about this or that and yet I have so much more than she ever had. According to my mother Granny was often to be heard singing "Count your blessings" so if she who had so few could yet sing and remain cheerful why is it that I can feel depressed and miserable when I have so much.

Christmas must have been quite a different affair in Granny's days - no fairy lights, no turkey (it wouldn't have fitted in the oven which was very small even had she been able to afford one) no piles of gift wrapped presents under a tree....

In Paris the lights were fantastic (will post about this later in the week)and the shops on the Champs Elysee decorated and filled with fantastic gifts at prices we could only imagine in a game of Monopoly and yet there were also many beggars and people sleeping roungh and I was struck by the contrast.

Let's not forget that Christmas isn't just about decorations, lights nor costly gifts but remember the REAL message it brings.


  1. And to think we (well, me anyway) lust after the simplicity of their stoves....

    Lovely to see the Gallerie Lafayette.... I have only been once but adored the interior dome.

    I agree with you re the beggars etc. We seem to have so much but not happiness...... the real stuff I think we all aspire to have just can't be bought, can it?

  2. We are very lucky today to have what we have, especially our central heating!!!
    Lucy xx

  3. I was lucky enough to visit Paris before Christmas a couple of years ago. Am so jealous that you've been this year. Just remember it being beautiful and sparkly and gorgeous, especially the blue dome at GL. Looking forward to seeing your photos

  4. You're right about the REAL reason for Christmas but it's all too easy to forget in the daily rush. It's good to be reminded. Glad you enjoyed Paris. I am envious!

  5. I remember a stove similar to that one in my Belgian Grandmother's house. I was always fascinated by it as my parents didn't have one.

    What a wonderful time to visit Paris, all the lovely lightys. What is sad to see are all the beggars, as you say, such a contrast. A very sad time of the year for some.

    I look forward to seeing more photos!

    Warm wishes
    Isabelle x

  6. We often forget how lucky were are these days with so many modern conveniences. It is good to take time to appreciate life.
    Looks like you had a wonderful trip to Paris!
    Have a lovely day.

  7. Yea, it is that time of year when it is so easy to take our comfortable life styles for granted, just when we should be thinking of others. But what a lovely time of year for a visit to Paris, my husband always says that you must have some of the festive fun along with that goat for a deserving family.

  8. Paris look swonderful. I haven't even visited Toulouse this Christmas! It is incredible what our ancestors, and others around the world today, put up with yet feel blessed. It realyl makes we wonder why we have so much but feel that something is missing...

  9. Absolutely Jane! I couldn't agree more and I think once you decide not to go with the peer pressure bit and make Christmas what you want it to be then it all fits into place again xx

  10. I hope you had a lovely time in Paris! Thank you for good wishes for my birthday, Norfolk was lovely but I'm now back to a stack of typing so no Monday poem (as yet)!
    I so agree with you Jane, it's so easy to forget how lucky we all are and how we should never take too much for granted ..

    Jeanne x

  11. Amen! Thank you for such a sweet reminder! :)

  12. I sometimes think about how grateful we should be for things we take for granted; central heating, washing machines...
    Good point at the end. I totally agree.

  13. Great post Jane, we do get used to all our modern comforts don't we!
    I saw a quote the other day that said Christmas should be more about 'presence' than 'presents', special time with family/friends. Have a great one x

  14. Paris at Christmas time sound like pure heaven. Great fun post. Reminds me of our trip there a long time ago, back in my travel agent days...


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