Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Hag Stones

We went to our favourite beach on Christmas Eve.
It wasn't a particularly nice day. The sun shone in fits and starts, and I think we got rained on and blown at, but it didn't matter.
It was the first time we'd all been together for more years than we could count, and the weather wasn't going to put us off.

Christmas Eve

We collected hag-stones along the way, peeking through them at the charcoal grey skies and tumultuous white foam on the sea. They are magical, hag stones, the 'eyes' in them said to be doorways to other worlds, especially if you look through them in moonlight.
A perfect circular eye encompassing your heart's desire.
When I looked through them, I saw all my family together in one place.

They say that you don't find hag stones, they find you.

I have collected them for years. Perhaps one day I will hang them from the bedpost to ward off nightmares, or string them from the ceiling to protect my animals. Who knows.

On Christmas Eve, my loved ones held firmly together in their ring-eyes, I was happy to thread them onto some pretty ribbon as a memory of our first Christmas together in this house for eight years.
A very special time.

It seems unbelievable, but just a few weeks ago I wondered how I'd ever get the house together for Christmas. Much as I longed to see my boys, I dreaded them coming home and feeling that Christmas wasn't what it used to be. I've not been hugely well this year and as a result, the place has looked more and more like an ill-fated jumble sale as the months have gone by - unloved; stuff everywhere, dust settled in drifts.
The worse it gets, the less you feel able fee to deal with it.
The worse you get, the less you care.

I don't really want to think about it. Mercifully the In-Charge and #2 Son helped pull it together - I'd never have managed it without them. We blitzed everything: threw the vacuum cleaner, a load of dusters and buckets of hot water in, locked the doors and fought it out.
I wasn't the last man standing. The effort nearly wiped me out, but it was worth it. By the time #1 Son arrived the night before Christmas Eve, lights were twinkling, the Christmas tree was glowing in the corner and the house was rich with the scent of venison and spices.

The eve of Christmas Eve

Everything is ready

The stars that #1 Son and I made when he was three were hanging - traditionally - in the hallway, all the most special cards that we've received over the years were brightening the walls on their ribbons, beloved decorations had been taken from their tissue lined boxes and the candles were lit.

We didn't do much. Apart from our walk on the beach, we mostly sat around catching up with each other. We laughed a lot, drank champagne for breakfast, talked about life on the far side of the world and life on the ocean wave. We filled and refilled glasses with red wine, we ate all the delicious treats we associate with Christmas, and couldn't eat some chocolates that were just too beautiful to consume. We opened presents, laughed as Model Dog opened her present and SuperModel's, and flitted in and out of a jigsaw on the table in the corner - another tradition that has lain dormant for years. And then on Boxing Day we welcomed friends for a supper party just as we used to in days gone by.
After so many silent years, the winter song of the house has been renewed.
What a joy.

We lay around

Model Dog opened her present and SuperModel's

Chocolates just too beautiful to eat

Bollinger for breakfast

A suitably themed jigsaw for 2014. The flag was the most difficult bit - maybe we have lived out of the UK too long

Now they have gone back to their own worlds. #1 Son to Edinburgh and Iceland before heading back to the West Indies to meet his boat. #2 Son happily not to the far side of the world this time, just elsewhere in Ireland, where he's planning to stay for awhile.
Standing in Dublin Airport a few days ago, waving goodbye, I thought of the Hag stones, threaded on their scarlet ribbon.
I'm glad the Hag stones found us on Christmas Eve.
They are locked safely in the eyes of the stones, my darling boys.
Whenever I look through, I will see them, spooling out along the paths of their own lives, yet held fast within a circle of warm light that spells Christmas.
You see, they are magical, Hag stones.
As magical as Christmas itself.
As magical as love.

You can read about another Christmas here

And here

Or even here


  1. Wonderful Lorely and I hope you're feeling better! Wishing you well for 2015!

  2. Such a beautiful description. We're so happy to hear that all four of you were together for Christmas.
    Happy new year!
    Your Canadian family, Heather, Aaron and Gavin

  3. Fantastic - Happy and Healthy New Year to you both xox

  4. Thank you Eileen, and for your good wishes for 2015. The same to you!

    So lovely to hear from you all, my Canadian family! We thought of you on Christmas Day, and remembered the happy one we spent with you a few years ago! Hope 2015 brings everything that is good. Maybe it might even bring you to Ireland?!?!

    Thank you Andrew, and a very happy New Year to you too.

  5. Oh I'm blubbing a bit here.
    Bless you. I hope you are in the best of health in 2015 xx

  6. Aah, thanks Magnumlady (still think of champagne - but then I guess it doesn't take much for me to think of champagne!) and I saw your lovely comment on fb too.

    Love your smiley face, Mr/Ms Anonymous and wonder who you are?!

    Thank you Daniele. So hope this is a better Christmas for you and that 2015 will be great.

  7. Lovely story which says it all what makes Christmas so special ... thanks Lorely Forrester for sharing

  8. Dear Lorely, I sit on the Couch with tears in my eyes after reading your post. It was so touching! Wishing you all the best for 2015 and looking forward oft seeing you in April!!! Hugs Sabine

  9. That's so lovely, Bine. thank you! It's so nice to have your - and everyone else's - lovely comments - it tells me I'm not writing to a blank wall!! How nice you are coming over in April! We will look forward to seeing you. Happy New Year to you both.

  10. Lorely, this is just beautifuly written, you managed to capture the spirit of Christmas, showed that its about the little, simple things in life. Really enjoyed reading this. I hope you were well enough to be able to take it all in. It would be nice to be able to catch up a bit more frequently with you this year. Happy New Year to you and your loved ones! Katja

  11. I could read this forever, it captures the magic of Christmas, and the meaning of family, god i wish I could write, happy New year...

  12. Ah Katja - thank you! It's lovely to hear from you, thank you for leaving that lovely comment. I hope you have had a great Christmas in your new home! Yes, let's definitely meet up more often this year! Lots of love and Happy New Year to you all.

  13. It was a very special Christmas to tuck away with the decorations and cards to bring out the memories again and again in years to come. Very touching and moving and anyone who spent Christmas without their loved ones knows how precious it was. Happy new year to you all and may it bring renewed health and happiness. Much love xx

  14. Thank you, Helen. Yes, I'm sure it won't be long before these memories will have to be dusted off in lieu of the real thing - it's not often the boys can get home at Christmas these days. Lucky to have them this year. Lots of love to you too.

  15. Enough to bring festive joy to many a heart and warm the cockles resting there. Beautifully captured in word and picture, we could have been walking round with you. Did you say 'Edinburgh'? How long was #1 here for, or really just passing through? Such a shame to miss him, though. Meanwhile, Happy New Year to you all and all the best for 2015 - especially for better health for you. Lx

  16. I've never heard of hag stones before actually! This looks like such a beautiful place to wander around.


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