I have to write the overseas Christmas cards today. I must. I hope they will get there in time. I know, I have been putting it off. I am not sure why. Nobody else is going to do it. The Senior Cat hates writing cards. He hates writing anything these days.
I was going to write the cards yesterday but something more than delaying tactics made me prowl off to do some visiting in the afternoon. I took Christmas shortbread and cards to people who needed them.
I was greeted by the daughter of the first person with a hug and a kiss, "Cat, Mum will be so pleased to see you."
And yes, she was. Their house has a tree and tinsel and lights and the cards properly hung up.
We sat and chatted for a bit. The daughter is an only child and, while married, has no children of her own. Their Christmas will be small but they plan on all the "proper" things. "It's the way we have always done it."
I eventually left and pedalled on much further to my second destination. The person I went to see is one of my oldest friends and I worry about her. She lives alone in a small unit and, although her sister lives in the next door unit, I know that she is lonely. She moved from another state to be closer to her sister - her only close relative.
Once she would have been out and about and doing things but arthritis means that she has trouble even breathing now. The front door was locked. She had to get up and, somehow, walk about two metres to unlock it. I let myself in after that. She had sunk back onto the chair exhausted by the effort of letting me in.
I know she should not be there on her own but efforts to get her into a nursing home have failed. She has tried but, at a mere 71, she is considered "too young". The Senior Cat is 91 and is much more able than she is.
She is depressed, although she tries not to show it. She has tried not to be bored but her physical limitations are now such that she has to put all her energies into doing simple daily things like brushing her teeth.
Pleased to see me? Yes. Card? Pretty. Shortbread? Lovely because she does not do any baking like that.
Is there anything I can do for her while I am there I ask. At her request I pull the blind down against the glare of the afternoon sun
and let her go on talking. Talking these days involves effort too. I can see that but there are things she wants to tell me. Distant cousins came to visit and, as I suspected, the recent death of her only first cousin was due to a brain tumour.
I eventually left her and pedalled off along the quiet back route. Visiting her depresses me. I was glad to get away. There were no other cards in sight, no Christmas decorations. I wonder if she will even exchange presents with her sister this year. Perhaps. Perhaps not.
When I get home the Senior Cat has just put the kettle on for his afternoon cup of tea. He is standing there with the Christmas cards we have received.
"I suppose," he says, "We should put these up somewhere...try and make the place look a bit Christmassy?"
I told him I will do it today. I think I know where to find the coloured pegs which usually hold them. And the Whirlwind is coming in this afternoon to ice the Christmas cakes... mmm... perhaps we do need at least a little bit of Christmas.