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Faith, fiction and cancer stuff.


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The night before Christmas

‘Twas the night before Christmas when all through the house

No laptop was whirring, nor a computer mouse.

The children were tucked up in their warm cosy beds

While dreams of tablets and scooters danced round their heads.

Mum and Dad watched a box set, on sofa sat

with hot chocolate, popcorn and Toby the cat.

 

A glass of milk and ginger biscuits on a plate

For a special guest on coffee table did wait.

“Let’s go to bed,” Mum said yawning, “it’s getting late.”

“Soon a visitor will be opening the gate.”

“Yes,” agreed Dad, “I have wrapped all of our gifts,

I’m glad my boss hasn’t got me working night shift.”

 

When the family were finally fast asleep,

In the garden landed reindeer without a peep.

And out from the sleigh that they magically lead,

stepped Father Christmas, dressed in white and red.

“Reindeer, wait here. I have some gifts to deliver.”

“I’ll be back soon. I see the snow makes you shiver.”

Then the jolly old man took out his magic key

and unlocked the front door slowly and quietly.

 

He was just putting our presents under the tree

When he looked up with a smile and spotted me!

I had heard a noise and crept slowly down the stair

And could hardly believe who I saw standing there.

 

“Sorry!” I gasped. “I didn’t know you were real.”

“I am!” He chuckled. “Will you join me in my meal?”

So we sat on the sofa and enjoyed our snack

While Toby purred happily on Santa’s lap.

“What’s it like, travelling round the world,” I asked

“each Christmas eve, it must be a difficult task?”

“I love seeing all of the countries,” he replied,

like Poland, Botswana, Japan and Paraguay.

People live in interesting homes, that’s for sure,

In tents, wooden huts, caves and on the sea shore.

All children are unique in such different ways

But with a love of toys and play, they’re all the same.”

 

I ate my crunchy biscuit and answered “Say,

I’ve never thought of it before in that way.

The other children might not look or talk like me,

But we all need fun, and the love of our family.”

 

 

“I must be going,” he said, “I have elf-made toys

To deliver to many little girls and boys.”

 

I looked out of the window to see the sleigh

With reindeers and Father Christmas, flying away.

I heard his happy call as he flew out of sight,

“Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”

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YBCN (UK)

I have been part of the Younger Breast Cancer Network (UK) group for a few months. It’s a hidden group where any (verified) members can go to ask questions, have a moan or share good news.

I have found it very helpful, just knowing that there are some ladies out there in similar circumstances to myself, that I can talk to whenever I need an understanding ear. They are full of good advice. It also helps to see that there are other young women and mums out there- it can feel quite isolating when you are the only person under the age of 50 in a cancer clinic.

Due to the type of group that it is, there is obviously some sadness and pain. But there are happy stories and friendship too. For Christmas, they asked for silly photos of people in Christmas hats or dos for ‘Christmas chemo head’. I enjoyed making my hat and taking part – it’s just a good community.

Christmas chemo head Alex


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A tale of two pigs

A tale of two pigs story drawing 3 1 2016Once upon a time, there lived two pigs who were neighbours in a village called Muddsville. They were called Percy and Pansy. Percy loved Christmas, and spent all year planning everything: what the starter, main and dessert would be; what games to get everyone to play; and the perfect present for everyone. Everything had to be just so.

Pansy also loved Christmas but she took a more laid-back approach. She loved hosting for friends and family on the special day, oh yes. And she spent quite a lot on food and drink, oh yes. But she realised that Christmas Day would never be perfect, simply because no day could ever be perfect. And nobody is perfect either.

Percy spend most of Christmas Eve night double- and triple- checking that all the food was just right. He re-wrapped a few presents that were just a little untidy. He swept all of the floors while his family slept. He had a restless night, worrying over details, and woke up bleary-eyed and headachey in Christmas Day. When his three little piglets ran into his room first thing, he asked his wife to get him some painkillers and a very strong cup of tea. It was going to be a long day. His kids loved their presents, but he worried that they were making too much mess with the wrapping paper and bows.

‘I supposed I should sweep the floors just one more time before everyone arrives,’ he thought to himself with a sigh.

Pansy woke up with her two little piglets jumping in her bed to give her a cuddle. They opened their stockings, and she let them eat all of the sweets and chocolate that they liked. She hugged them hard, realising that soon they wouldn’t be so little, and there weren’t many Christmasses left when they would want to wake her early for a hug. Her family had a lazy breaskfast of toast and jam while watching ‘Stick man’ on telly. She suddenly realised that guests would be arriving soon, but there was always time for a nice soak in the bath first.

Percy’s family and friends had a very good Christmas. The food was delicious and the expensive presents were much appreciated. But Percy felt sad. His Christmas was not perfect. Great Aunt Pollyanna fell asleep during charades and knocked over an expensive bottle of wine. Percy spent ages cleaning the floor. Baby Poppy cried when her parents opened the doll that Percy had spent ages trawling the shops for. Why couldn’t she be more grateful? Grandad Pig drank too much ale and made a fool of himself. Percy went to bed early that night. Where had it all gone wrong? Next year he would just have to try harder.

Pansy left the turkey in the oven too long, so everyone had to have extra potatoes. Uncle Peter accidently opened one of Aunt Petunia’s gifts, and insisted on wearing her frilly pink housecoat for the rest of the day. Two of the cousins fell out over a cracker and had to have a time-out.

When all the guests had gone home that evening, Pansy sat down with her husband on the messy sofa and yawned.

“How do you think that went?” He asked.

“Well… just about perfect,” she smiled. “Now let’s get to bed. The cleaning can wait ’til tomorrow.”

 

 

 

 


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More Christmas crafts

Our new Christmas tree is up! And it just about fits in the house.

The angel is made from loo roll, felt and cardboard. The elf is from a kit from Hobbycraft.

The cardboard Christmas tree has felt and cardboard home-made decorations, with velcro at the back so that they can be easily moved around on the tree.

I enjoyed making the Nativity scene with the kids. There was an incident where my daughter decapitated baby Jesus, but I soon fixed him and we have agreed not to speak of it again.

 


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Christmas felt crafts

It’s Christmas next month, so it must be time to get out the craft materials.

I made these cute penguin and reindeer finger puppets with a set from Prima Christmas Makes magazine.

Great for stocking fillers or they could easily be turned into Christmas tree decorations with the addition of a bit of ribbon.

Craft kit with Prima magazine.

Penguin and reindeer finger puppets.

I decided to give them hearts. 🙂

Good for stocking fillers.

My daughter has been asking for a nappy for her doll for a while now. The poor thing was naked (the doll, not my daughter). So I made her a nappy, using buttons for fasteners as I don’t have any velcro.

Nappy for doll.

Baby wears nappy

After that, I thought that doll still looked a little underdressed, so made her a raincoat. It’s not waterproof, but looks the part. Now she needs some wellies.

Doll wearing raincoat


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A different Christmas

“Dinner everyone!” Shouted Mum.

The family rushed to the table. It looked delicious – turkey, roast potatoes, loads of veg, gravy, Yorkshire puds. A small fir tree in a cheerful red bucket  and topped by a gold star served as the centrepiece.

“This looks fab!” Smiled Dad as he carved the turkey.

“I helped with the potatoes.” Piped up Daisy as she filled her plate with veg.

“I set the table.” Announced Thomas, pouring himself some fizzy drink.

“Thank you Lord for this meal and our family.” Prayed Grandma.

The Christmas tree in the corner of the room twinkled with fairy lights, and was surrounded by beautifully wrapped gifts.

“When do we get to open our presents?” Asked Thomas, eyeing up a schooter- shaped one.

“I told you already,” Laughed Mum, “After dinner and the Queen’s speech.”

“Ok.” Sighed Thomas.

“These potatoes are excellent,” said Dad, “They taste almost like the ones I used to have when I was a kid.”

“Thanks,” replied Mum, “The food techies are getting better and better at the flavours, don’t you think? You’d almost think that this turkey once ran around in a farmyard.”

Dad laughed.

“Mum, did people really used to eat food that grew from the ground?” Asked Daisy.

“Yes. Well, things like fruit and veg did. Some of them from trees, too.”

“Trees used to grow actual food?” Wondered Thomas.

“Oh yes,” said Grandma, “I used to grow apples (from trees) and potatoes (under the soil) in my back garden.”

“Wow.” Both kids were silent for a moment as they processed this.

“But this ain’t bad.” Smiled Dad as he munched on a parsnip. “The butter could almost have come from a cow.”

“Those were the days, eh?” Reminisced Mum.

After dinner, the family sat in front of the telly wall to watch the Queen’s speech. She almost looked human, in the right light. The eyes gave her away though – you could always spot the cyborgs from the glint in their eyes.

Thomas peered out the window at the sky full of stars. One day, they would hopefully find a planet of their own again, like his parents used to have.


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The Stairgate

I visited the Stairgate, a parents’ and toddlers’ group, recently. It takes place upstairs in the Gate, a second-hand book, toy and furniture shop in Swindon town centre, on Thursday mornings from 10:30-12 (term time only).
There is a fenced area for the little people (under 4s) to play in, with a good selection of toys (my daughter Bethany loved the ride-on car); while the parents can rest on the comfy sofas with a (free) cup of tea or coffee, kindly provided by the friendly volunteers.
There is free play time, followed by crafts; a snack (usually healthy I’m told, although Bethany enjoyed the choc-chip cookie when we went); and then story and song time. All through December the crafts are Christmas related. I hear that there will be a special visitor from the North Pole on 18th December.
I felt welcomed during my visit, and there is a multicultural fix of families who attend, including British, Spanish, Portuguese and Hungarian.
There is a suggested donation of £1.
And if you have any good-quality toys that your kids have outgrown, I know that they will welcome your donations for the shop, especially at this time of year.

On three Saturdays in December (6, 13 and 20), there will be special The Lion, the Witch and the wardrobe themed live performances in the large window downstairs (all welcome to visit); with a Christian message.
The Gate is run by Dawn Prosser of Gateway Church Swindon, who also heads up the Gateway Furniture Project. For more info, contact:
furniture@gcswindon.org.uk