On Christmas in Spain and British People

Christmas day for me was spent in Granada. Actually, travelling from Granada to Cordoba. In Spain.

They drive on the right hand side of the road, as opposed to the left side which is the side we stick to in Britain. This was confusing to say the least. There were several incidents where we drove straight into oncoming traffic. To say we angered the Spaniards is to make a colossal understatement.

It was a great holiday. We did not have brussel sprouts at all, which I am glad for. I went through a period in 2013 where I had brussel sprouts daily for months. Needless to day my stomach suffered horrendously. No, on Christmas day we ate dry cereal for breakfast, then for lunch we didn’t have anything and for dinner we had, well, I can’t remember. I think we had a late lunch in an Italian restaurant. We had a very cheesy pizza with almost no crust and a beschamel soaked tortellini stuffed with something sweet. It was a very cheesy meal, and also very delicious. Later that night I awoke from some very cheesy nightmares involving a particularly stinky brie. We walked miles and miles that day, I think we did around 18,000 steps. We relaxed and watched the sun set.

My husband checked some women out and I got super pissy about that. He did it blatantly and not just once but hundreds of times throughout all seven days. And it made me severely doubt the power of my booty. Which is a pretty good one if I do say so myself.

I am, still pissy about it and it has ruined my holiday and makes me not like him very much at all.

But the holiday itself was lovely. So peaceful and I saw and learned a host of incredible things about the Nasrid empire and the Catholicism that took over soon after. The battle of cultures is emphatically displayed in the magnificent architecture of the palaces and castles and mosques in Granada, Cordoba and Malaga. It’s a clash of religions and you know, it’s stunning. You can clearly see the gothic architecture competing with the Islamic designs and there are places where whole ceilings have been replaced, only to be broken in some corners and the mathematically intricate designs of the Islamic architecture carries on along the wall and some floors are mosaic and some are flagstone and you just stand there and stare at the deathly silence of it all; and if you stand very still you can hear the echoes of civilisation forming and building and living and dying and flighting.

It is phenomenal. Humans are phenomenal.

There was one point in Granada when we were exploring the Nasrid palace in Alhambra, when a tour guide was explaining the history of the palace to an older couple. I was eavesdropping very blatantly, because we didn’t get any audio guides and there was no information at all anywhere. What he was saying was so captivating, I simply could not help myself. The guide saw me eavesdropping and I felt like such a cheat. But he did not say anything, he just carried on talking. Maybe he felt I should have given him a tip at least, if I was too stingy to pay for a tour!

But oh, Spain was so beautiful. Courtyards and cobbled alleyways and mesmerising views and palm trees and thunderous beaches and orange trees galore.

When we got on the plane to go home we were surrounded by British people and I was reminded of how much I really don’t like British people. Maybe that is a generalisation. But a man of fifty odd years was swearing horrendously at his mother who was limping along using a walking stick. And he was effing and blinding in a most British fashion. And it just reminded me of city streets and uncouth louts.

And I got this super strange stare from him on the plane and it felt very judgey because of how big my bag was. But I guess I am judging him and maybe he was just reminded of another bag in some other place which made him angry. Or something.

Anyway this man who was around 65 started talking to my husband about the forty years he served in the Navy. He spoke to my husband during the entire two and a half hour flight and while I didn’t hear much of what he had to say because the general sound in the plane is thunderous, I learned some interesting things.

And I felt bad for generalising my own people. The British. We are not so bad. Sometimes we can be awful, and drink too much alcohol, and reveal our pale, hairy bottoms in airports, and be generally quite stiff and awkward, and not like to speak what we think but like to show it in a manner of tuts and glares.

But some of us serve in the Navy for forty years and others do a myriad of different things and are their own people.

And some of us are not strong because we react to emotion. A strong person is not one who can fight and win. A strong person is one who can control themselves when they are angry. That is what I learned this Christmas.

IMG_0740.JPG

My photo of one of the courtyards in the Nasrid palace of Alhambra, Granada.

IMG_2732.JPG

A stunning view over Sacramento from atop Alhambra, Granada.

 

What Is This Madness?

hes terribly ugly is he notAn old joke in my family is to buy me hats for Christmas. I have a rather large assortment of hats, actually. Boxes of them.

I have a large blue Mexican hat with bobble tassels. That’s my favourite hat. I usually wear it out when it’s dark, and have creepy old Indian ladies glare at me.

Well, that actually only happened once. Terribly daunting, though. Killed myself laughing at the time, however.

So, why do I get hats? Well, it’s an old joke, you see. A take on the Mad Hatter, as it were. A pokage at my belief, of sorts.

I don’t believe in Christmas, as we have established. Therefore I wait until after New Year to give all my ‘Holiday’ presents. People used to think this was very pretentious and annoying of me. Like I was shoving my beliefs down their throat. They were also mad because they wanted more presents. Greedy pigs.

Anyroad. I said to them, “Well, humans, the thing is, you’re shoving YOUR beliefs down MY throat, by MAKING me celebrate with y’all”

That shut them up quickly enough. So, my parents and siblings agreed to let me give them their presents after New Year’s day, and I agreed to receive hats for Christmas. Well, I didn’t actually agree. They just do it. Rude cows.The Christmas presents I do get, I generally don’t open until well after Christmas. I generally don’t get them from family. Which is a good thing. Jolly good. Capital. And the rest of it.

This may be a little far fetched. But it is a fact, and a fact it remains.

Either way, I got seven hats today. One from each family member.

One hat was miniature. So, I put it on my mini globe. She feels the cold, poor dear. Then I got a bowling hat. That was green. So droll. I am wearing it as I type. I also got a beret, and it is red. I also got a tophat, which is green also. Like ‘That Green Gentleman’ (Shoutout to Panic! At The Disco fans!). I also got some other hats, but they were general hats, and not very specific hats. All in all, I am terribly pleased with my hats.

Hatrific day, as it were.

WELL, I SUPPOSE IT’S CHRISTMAS.

Merry Capitalism

It’s Christmas, folks.

Huzzah.

If you’re into that sort of thing.

I expect one would be expected to leap around in joy, clapping one’s hands, and releasing odd little squeals that tell of the inner hysteria, trepidation, frenzy and elation one is supposed to be feeling.

Well let me tell you that I am not doing any of those things. I am eating my decidedly unfestive dried figs, drinking my decidedly normal cup of honeyed green tea, and sitting in my decidedly messy bed, writing this decidedly melancholic blog.

My room also smells decidedly odd. I sniff at it through the blockage caused by my chest infection, and think to myself, yes, this is a decidedly mousy smell. I expect my little micies are running rampant under the floorboards this holiday. There is simply no getting rid of them. You catch one, and there’s always ten to the one you’ve just caught. It’s all very daunting and morbid, but in the grand scheme of things (I seem to be thinking about things in the grand scheme very often these days), I suppose it isn’t much worse than a burnt cookie. They will eventually leave, or we will eventually leave, and they won’t be much more than a spatter of a memory, too faint to be of any consequence.

At least, I hope so.

Anyways. Back to this Christmas fiasco. It just seems to me to be desperately overplayed!

It really does! All this tree buying and ornament hunting and gift wrapping and special singing and odd candling and remarkable cheering and frantic stressing and worrisome argumenting and ridiculous spending and extravagant, mindless indulging.

I was watching a vlog the other day, where this young lady was going out to BUY Christmas day clothes! How absurd! One already has a wardrobe full of fancy beauties, and one is going out to BUY nothing but a velvet T-shirt, for Christmas day! Now if it were something special, like a pretty dress, or something party-ish, then yes, go for it! But it was so decidedly something like all the other things she owns. What is the point in wearing something so decidedly like every other thing you own!?

I just think it’s all rather toshy, really.

tumblr_ldqewmpBcC1qzw1bio1_500_thumb

Especially considering lots of humans really want a piece of bread for dinner, and nothing else.

Especially how they prepare you, FORCE you into this festive mood, MONTHS before the actual occurrence. It’s all a terrible mistake, really. People stuff themselves full and count down… all for what? A sack of presents, a bit of fairy lights, and some dinner?

download

And the significance? Oh please. Jesus was not born on the 25th of December, darlings. He wasn’t even born in the winter. He was born somewhere around the eighth month, to be exact. So, really, now, this whole Christmas palava is a bit of a joke.

So. What I have to say about christmas is, I enjoy the fact that there is rather a tonne of chocolate at a great price in the shops, and there are rather good sales after the event, but really, when it comes down to it, Christmas is just a material event, laced with materialism and things, and everybody loves each other and all that, but sometimes they don’t. and people’s expectations are raised too high, and they are pressured into spending a foolish amount of money, which they would benefit much more from investing elsewhere, and really, c’mon, stop allowing yourself to be pulled in by the shameless and rather obvious bit trickery the world of retail is indulging in.

pcxmas

There. Now I shall finish my tea, and eat my figs, and go to sleep, because I am poorly, and being poorly is nice, in that one doesn’t have to work as much. Even though one has to fit into a dress by mid January, so bit pointless of one, really.

GrinchF_xlarge