Best present, with bells on

The Alexander Residence prize for the most magical present packaging this year, goes to….drum roll…Warner Brothers.

It was a few days before Christmas. My husband had just finished work for the holidays, we’d been to collect him from the station, we were starting to feel festive. On the way home we stopped at the sorting office to pick up a parcel. All the internet present shopping I had ordered had already arrived, so I had the feeling it might be something unusual. You know when the postie ticks both the ‘too large’ and the ‘needs a signature’ box that you’re onto something exciting.

I emerged from the sorting office with a big brown box, and that’s when I started to hear the faint jingle of sleigh bells. A magical sound that immediately woke my inner child. My actual children couldn’t wait to see what was hiding in the box either. We peeped.  Inside was a hessian sack tied with red ribbon and a gold bell, with a label addressed to ‘The Alexanders’. We took one look, our eyes popped, our jaws dropped.

 ’Is it from Father Christmas?’ my 5 year old whispered reverently.

I felt it was only right to tell the truth, although those few minutes of dalliance with the sack being from Father Christmas were rather lovely. I explained where it came from, and we started looking through the films and goodies inside.

It didn’t take long for my 3yo to claim the model campervan from Scooby Doo, so my husband quickly removed the entire Scooby Doo back catalogue on DVD it was housing. It’s a very special collector’s edition which would make a fantastic gift for the Scooby Doo lovers out there (And quite frankly what self respecting child of the sixties, seventies, eighties, nineties, noughties or twenty tens isn’t?)

Warner Brothers have classic Christmas titles for children: Dr Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas and Polar Express, which we’ve added to our box of Christmas DVDs.

There was Yogi Bear (with, I might add, Mr Justin Timblerlake voicing Boo Boo) and the rather fab looking Scooby Doo Curse of the Lake Monster the live action movie. And although I don’t let my 3yo anywhere near it yet, Ben 10 came in very handy when the older cousins were staying over. We’ve also fallen in love with Happy Feet again, and now can’t wait for Happy Feet Two to come out on DVD.

My children are finally both old enough to both appreciate the magic of film, and these titles reminded me what an exciting part of family life that is.  I’m really looking forward to reviewing some Warner Brother’s titles in 2012…watch this space.

Picture credit © Photographer Michelle Milliman  Agency:

And she got off at Macclesfield Little Legacy 25

She was sophistication personified
an angel with hazel eyes
unmoved by my yearning
to my passion burning
her indifference would not yield
as the train stopped
my hopes dropped
and she got off at Macclesfield
This week I went home.  I call it home, it’s not where I live, but it’s where I grew up. For the first time in years I went by train, which reminded me of this poem which always makes me smile.  This week’s little legacy is about the place where my mum and dad decided to disembark in 1984, and call home.
I arrived on Monday at the train station.  Sadly the last time I was there, we were collecting my brother, who’d arrived from London, shortly after mum died. I’ve written poems about that moment, too personal to share here, but wonderfully therapeutic.  But this time I surprised myself, I smiled, thinking of all the times mum was there to greet me there and of her elaborate waving off rituals.
I went home to look after my dad.  He was having a routine operation so he was in and out in a day, but needed a bit of TLC.  So I also walked the corridors of the hospital my mum worked in, and where she spent some of her last weeks, this time last year.  That felt okay, I had been nervous I would go to pieces, but I didn’t feel that way. This time I could also remember happier times, meeting mum for lunch in the hospital canteen and walking home through the hospital from secondary school.
While I was home, I met up with an old school friend who has just bought a house near my Dad, I walked along the street where I went to Brownies, and the place where mum collected our child benefit.  So many little snippets of memory hidden amongst the backstreets I grew up in.  Even though we’ve not seen each other for a couple of years, and not since mum died, my friend and I slipped into easy conversation, reminiscing, over sloe gins, until the early hours of the morning. 
Until recently I’ve avoided wandering too much when I’ve been home, thinking it would be painful.  My friend suggested maybe it could be the opposite, it would bring me closer to my mum.

She was right, it did.


Little legacy is a remembrance project , a positive and creative space, to celebrate small things handed down by predecessors. Feel free to link up a little legacy you’ve been thinking about this week, or to leave one in the comments. Here’s the code and here’s more on Little Legacy