A brief entry today to wish any passers-by all the very best for the festive season and a peaceful New Year.
The post was triggered by my coming across this not-too-brilliantly-scanned slide from Christmas 1962, taken in my bedroom in Kuru, Northern Nigeria. I was soooo thrilled by the doll’s cot (actually big enough to incarcerate poor Peter, my friend & neighbour’s little brother!) because it was a complete surprise and, most of all, it had a real DROP-DOWN SIDE! Clearly to my 7-year-old eyes, this was the height of chic sophistication. I can still remember the excitement – don’t let the apparently placid picture fool you. There had been much entanglement with the mosquito net in my scramble to get out of bed and get my hands on the little beauty.
The cot was beautifully dressed in hand-stitched bedding, too. Unknown to me, ‘Auntie’ Gwen (every adult was an honorary aunt or uncle in those days) had been busy crocheting, sewing and embroidering all the lovely kit for the cot when she’d been visiting my parents during the previous weeks, crafting away as she chatted… embroidered pillowcases, a reversible blanket edged in satin ribbon, a crocheted multicoloured blanket and the floral eiderdown you can see. Does the detail of my recall confirm that I was well impressed?
The cot itself had been made at my parents’ request at the local Trade Centre at Bukuru, where ‘Uncle’ Harry, Gwen’s husband, oversaw the production of my little masterpiece. I was clearly very chuffed with it as it also appears to be a feature in the living room during the Christmas party – I only realised today that it was serving as armrest for the chap seated by the tree!
There are many things about these little scenes – the kindness of friends, the thought, skills and effort people put into creating lasting pleasure for a (very grateful!) child, the importance of friends and colleagues when the rest of a family are many miles away – that mean these memories have stayed with me for over half a century.
Merry Christmas, and may you too make many lasting and sweet Christmas memories.