Diane Hollingworth

''Throughout lockdown my art helped to keep me sane; I have amassed quite a number of paintings and amazingly sold a few! The money from the pictures sold went to charity.''

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Margaret Silverwood

For many years some of us have been the lucky recipients of one of Margaret's delicate, hand-made, gold thread Christmas cards. Here is a selection.

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Debbie Nuttall

Debbie Nuttall writes stories, mainly for children and young adults. A triumph among her poems, which she also enjoys creating, is this one which she read aloud at the village concert in 2019. At the time Brexit was the public preoccupation.
With gatherings like the concert forbidden this year, the poem is well worth a second reading. The sentiments still convey a meaningful message and we now wonder was Debbie being prophetic when she wrote,
‘But the children have this virus, it’s doing the rounds I think.’?

 A Christmas Feeling (it starts with a spark)

It doesn’t feel like Christmas. Not just ‘cause there’s no snow.
It’s the dark grey cloud of Brexit –Will we stay or will we go?
And all those politicians, green, yellow, red or blue,
With their gifts & accusations –just how much of it is true?

And everything’s a hassle, everything’s a fight;
8 calls and 3 long hours, ‘til my mobile contract’s right!
And Friday may be black now, but my bank account is red,
Perhaps I need to hibernate; I’d really like my bed.

I know I should be grateful; I know I shouldn’t moan
Homeless freeze out on the streets; kids without a home.
Smuggled people dying; others worked as slaves,
I really need to get a grip; put on a face that’s brave!
But the children have this virus, it’s doing the rounds, I think.
And with Christmas Fayres and Christmas plays, I’m feeling on the brink…

There’s no rest for the wicked, and even less rest for the good,
Advent calendar’s on count down; and I know I really should:
Order that fat turkey, and write a card or ten;
Hang the tinsel, deck the hall, and trim the tree again.
Go out and buy a party frock, the works do’ll soon be here,
With festive wine and festive beer, and too much festive cheer…

I know I’ll over-eat again, the odds are sure on that;
5 pigs and all 5 blankets, it’s not just Goose that’s getting fat!
I know I’ll feel so happy, when the Big Man’s been and gone;
And the party’s finally over, and the washing up’s been done.

So is that the Christmas feeling then? Tired, and full, and stressed?
Whilst knowing that you’re lucky? Whilst seeing that you’re blessed?

But then I sang a Christmas carol, and then I saw a star,
And then I saw some old friends (in a new & trendy bar);
And then I helped a stranger; and then I saw a play;
And then I saw I had to see and feel a different way.

‘Cause then I got this Knowing: It’s not just another fib,
But to keep our Christmas real, we’ve got to take it to the crib.
All the rest is packaging. All the rest is fluff.
Kindness, love and understanding, that’s legendary stuff!

So if it doesn’t feel like Christmas, let’s turn it on its head,
Let’s make it feel like Christmas, for someone else instead.
Two random acts of kindness, I wonder what they’ll be?
What matters is the giving, for the feelings sparked in me.

Copyright, Debbie Nuttall,
November 2019

Addendum, December 2020

Looking back to this time, last year: “Brexit’s grey cloud!” And!? So what?
Brexit’s but some lonesome cloud amidst the storm-skies we’ve now got!
Three families; five-day windows - and is even that “too much”?
What we’d give to kiss and hug; to feel each other’s touch!

But if there’s one thing this year’s taught me, it’s that nothing is too small.
A tiny virus paused the world; transformed life for us all.
Small things can make big differences. (You only see stars when it’s dark.)
Kindness can spread like a virus does. (But still needs to start with a spark.)

So, no! Christmas isn’t “cancelled”. The paper’s have got that wrong.
Though Christmas this year will be different, its flame remains bright, good & strong.
So, take its light and pass it on. Go make someone else’s day!
For when you’re passing on that bright, some bright in you will stay.

Stay safe, Stay Sparkling.