You know what it is like when you are busy, the more you have to do the more it all piles up on you and, somehow, as so often happens, when you have so much to do, you find so many little distractions and obstacles that get in your way, destined to slow you down. Then, the brain cells go into overdrive trying to cope with ever growing lists of things that just have to be done by a certain time. These churn around in your head like looking at the swirling washing in the round window of a washing machine. Different items, all falling over each other but offering little reminders of the jobs ahead.

It is in times like these that the nervous system likes to throw in the odd googly. Planting a minute seed of thought somewhere deep in the dark reaches of your mind. Telling you that something is not quite right.

Could it be that you are missing something so blatant, so vital and so obvious in your thought processes yet, whatever you do, it will not come to the fore. A creeping, growing thought developing within the cranium, that, amongst this conglomeration of essential tasks and, irrespective of just how much you have already achieved, a deep nagging feeling exists that you are missing something seriously important and, however much you cogitate, ruminate or reflect you are unable to dredge up, summon up or simply recall or remember just what it is.

Negative thoughts abound. Why did I not do a check list and tick things off as I completed them?

But then, I have never done a check list in my life so why am I worrying about not doing one now?

It is just something else to add to my overstretched, undersized, brain cells. Perhaps next year I will do one, if I remember of course! But no, I have always managed and I will again. So, despite getting myself into a pickle trying to recall what it is I have forgotten, filling my grey cells with worry and stress and non sensible thoughts, creating a situation where the more I try to think of things the less I manage to remember. It is really bugging me! Is there something wrong with me? Has my once sharp, active mind deserted me?

Right! I think to myself. Let’s get a grip! I am a reasonably intelligent person and I must pull myself together. Be methodical. Relax. Close my eyes. Take a deep breath. Clear my mind and start again.

It is simple really. Take the pressure off and let my mind do the work. It will come; I am sure-whatever it is. How about trying a systematic approach? I decide to start with the alphabet. To think in terms of ‘A’, ‘B’ & ‘C’ etc and set my mind to remember all the things that begin with each letter as I reach it. That is sure to do it! Won’t it? Start with ‘A’. Go through the procedure. Relax, close my eyes, and breathe deep, Think!

—-‘A’ does not work, my mind has gone blank. I do not panic! Obviously what I am trying to remember does not start with an ‘A’! Go to ‘B’. Same again! ‘C’. It is not working. Something must be distracting me! I hear from the other room some ‘Jingling’ jolly type, music. Not my scene at all.

I turn the radio off. Start again. ‘D’. Nothing comes to mind. ‘E’. Zilch. Nought. Zero. ‘F’. Lots of thoughts beginning with ‘F’ but nothing helpful. I give up. It is not working. Somehow I am worse than before. My head is now completely empty. I refuse to be defeated. A new plan is needed.

I see Susie’s shopping list attached to the refrigerator door with a magnet. Do something easy and useful-of course, the shopping. Maybe that will help me focus? I grab some empty shopping bags and jump into the car. I felt good; a new feeling of enthusiasm glows within me as I get to town. Then. What a shock! There are cars and people everywhere, hardly anywhere to park. Usually I manage to stop near the entrance to the supermarket. Not today. What is going on? Where have all these people come from?

I find a space quite a walk away and grab the bags again-maybe this would not be such a good idea after all, I muted. (Thinking of the walk back to the car with the shopping). I navigate the entrance to the shop through numerous people almost running in every direction. A man in a funny red hat stands in my way and rattles a tin at me, smiling. My good feeling is waning away as I dig down and find some coins in my pocket. The tin shaking person with a white beard thanks me as I walk away. He looks familiar and with my head slightly turned toward him I collide with a 3 metre high barricade of boxes of chocolates. What idiot put them there? Oh No! Someone started playing the same annoying ‘jingle’ music again I was trying to get away from! Head down I walked to the grocery section only to find most of it was hidden behind a large area of fir trees of various sizes.

What! This is supposed to be a food shop not a garden centre!

I shook my head. Either I or the whole world, has gone mad!

Anybody would think it was Christmas!

Ah!

Christmas.

Then it came to me. That little something I had forgotten.

Wishing you all the Merriest of Christmases and the Happiest, Healthiest most Fantastic New Year from all of us at Moulin du Fontcourt Chambre d’Hotes and Gite and look forward to welcoming both new and returning guests in 2017.

P.S. Our New Year resolution will be to never use two words when many more will do.