I agreed to do this house sit six months ago, my friend wanted to be sure that Henry choc lab would be well catered for before she went ahead and arranged the holiday. He has never been in kennels, I think he would feel abandoned if he was left, he is a sensitive soul. I am sharing the duties with another sitter, so I'm coming and going a lot. Back home, which is only three miles away, my friend Janet is sharing cat duties with me, we have a rota, so all the animals are being cared for. The morning duties here are that Henry gets a one hour long and fast walk, he is a big boy with loads of energy, which suits me because I like striding out at a fast pace. After breakfast Rocky gets a more sedate stroll and sniff round the village. I don't walk them together because their needs are so different.
The layout to this house is a bit different to my own, whereas I am facing the window looking out over the street when I am sat at the table, here I have a wonderful view of the long garden and the wood beyond. It is lovely and peaceful here, I am using this time to escape from the madness of Christmas, it has all the ingredients you would want for a retreat. I find that the weeks leading up to Christmas is a time when I reflect a lot about my life and the role I play in the grand scheme of things. As I sit back and watch the world going crazy, I feel a sense of calm, a sereneness wraps itself around me.
I have always preferred being on the outside looking in. I like to see people enjoy themselves, but I haven't wanted to be the middle of the scrum. It's easier to sit on the sidelines and be happy for others. I am happy when they are happy, I don't need to join in.
I was reading an article in the BBC magazine, 'The people who choose to be alone at Christmas.' Reading the comments I see I am not alone. Many people enjoy a quiet Christmas on their own. Here is a quote.
"I try to be as vague as possible when people ask me what I'm doing for Christmas," she says. "From past experience, when I have said I plan to be alone, some people have actually been quite hostile about it".
Yes, I have done that. I get invited to family do's, but I really don't enjoy sitting around for hours eating and drinking myself silly. It's a relief that they don't ask any more.
"Trite as it sounds, Christmas is what you make it. For every individual filled with the ardour of spending the day with family and loved ones, there is someone who might have no inclination or responsibility - be it familial or religious - to do "something special".
I don't feel that I need Christmas to do something special, every day is special to me. I am blessed with nice friends, we help each other.
I sincerely hope that you all have a lovely Christmas. I have two dogs and three cats to share mine with, couldn't be better. Lots of love xxxxxx