It was the right time to watch two vintage movies I've been meaning to see for aaaaages: Sixteen Candles and My Neighbour Totoro - complete 80's nostalgia feast over at my house!
The air was dry and hot with the occasional rain storm, wheat and potatoes stretched in the fields all around the small village. Water came from a bucket-and-chain well in the yard we were not allowed to use without supervision and were too scared to come up to because we were told a little girl had drowned there once.
We never brought many toys so instead we played with mud, frogs and butterflies. Rusty nails. One summer I drew and cut out a herd of wild horses to play with. They all had individual names.
I remember waking up everyday to the sound of cock-a-doodle-doos in a room full of religious paraphernalia (statues, candles, framed portraits of bleeding hearts, rosaries, tapestries, plastic flowers in waterless vases), being relieved that their inherent creepiness had somewhat dissipated in daylight.
Our aunt lived in a wooden hut made up of 2 small chambers (one her kitchen/living room/bedroom/pantry, the other the guest room/Jesus room) heated by a wood-burning stove/oven, which needed to be on even in the summer for cooking, and meant you couldn't stay at home during the day even if you wanted to. Instead you could go wandering around the woods looking for apples, plums, berries and mushrooms or explore the abandoned sheds, trees and bushes and make forts. We spent our days chasing chickens, being attacked by grumpy geese, sometimes helping the neighbour's children walk the cows to and from the fields. Every Friday we gathered in front of the one grainy black and white TV in the village to watch the Smurfs.
It was such a magical time.
I am very grateful for it.
For the freedom to roam and explore the world without being restrained by technology or fear of abduction, broken bones, infectious diseases or ghosts.
Love and Merry Christmas!