Time to positively rejoice


Today, Friday, December 24 2021, is Christmas Eve and, while many events are being cancelled and postponed, Christmas isn’t – and an outdoor carol service is still going ahead in St Mary’s churchyard in Rye from 3pm.

And yesterday’s (Thursday’s) weather forecast was predicting some light rain from 5pm onwards, but snow was definitely not on the agenda, unlike one year recently as the photo above shows – and the temperature appeared to be a little warmer than it has been in recent days.

But this year feels a lot like last year, though the official restrictions in this part of the UK are less – and my extended family is far away in Bath, Sheffield and various parts of Hertfordshire – so any sort of “family Christmas” may depend (yet again) on Zoom – and seeing everybody on my computer screen.

A few days ago though, I was staring at another screen from a hospital trolley as a pinhole camera travelled around parts of my stomach looking for the effects of prostate cancer. However 79 years before, to the day, I was lying in a hospital cot and not expected to live so I have every reason to be optimistic – and we all have reasons to  be optimistic this Christmas.

Being positive

The latest variation of Covid is spreading fast, and this could affect staffing levels in all sorts of essential services, including hospitals – and our experience of other “plagues” in previous centuries suggests there could be more variations still to come – and the possibility of more variations means the need for worldwide vaccinations has to be addressed – sooner rather than later.

But, back in wartime London in 1942, I was a premature baby with asthma, and asthma was then still a killer – and two friends died from it as adults. But steroids and much better inhalers rewrote the rule book on the whole – and the rules on cancer are being rewritten, and those on Covid are being revised all the time.

So it is a time to be positive, though I may be out of sight, except in the Eastbourne and Hastings hospitals, for some time to come as further treatment is clearly required – as I saw on the screen a few days back.

And I doubt if I will see my children and grandchildren, eight in total, in the flesh over Christmas this year, and I did not last year either. But I do hope to see them next summer.

Time to mime

I have also not been seen much around Rye for many months for similar reasons as I am excessively vulnerable to infections but I do hope to attend the open air carols at St Mary’s, though I may avoid the indoor services.

If so, I hope to see those I have not seen for many months, but because I am tone deaf and my breathing gives up below 18 degrees I will probably just be miming to the carols – and will probably lurk near the mayor if she is present as her singing is overwhelming.

Enjoy your Christmas as I aim to do and think positively about 2022 because things are getting better, jab by jab.

Image Credits: K. Bird .

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  1. Thank you Charlie for this uplifting piece. We wish you the happiest Christmas possible in these difficult circumstances. As you say we all have reasons to be optimistic and we look forward to a brighter New Year. Enjoy the carols!

  2. Dear Charlie – very best of luck with your health. Thank you for all your direct and lively writing. Have a warm and peaceful Christmas and look to the new year with hope for better times.

  3. Hello Charlie,
    A very good piece of sentiment. Do so hope to See you around soon. I think I owe you a Hope you have a lovely Christmas. Cx

  4. Thank you for this Charles. It is very thoughtful, touching, and positive. I hope you have a lovely Christmas despite missing the family.


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