Christmas letters from Ruth & Adrian Sharville

Sharville Christmas NewsPoem 2020

You know, I wondered if I ought to write
A poem this year, as it’s been so weird.
But then I realised that it just might
Show me that it was better than I’d feared.

Better? (I hear you say.) How can that be
When stuck at home from March through to July,
When springtime sunshine was the best to see
Some cricket, but there was none? I could cry.

Let’s go back to our Christmas-New Year cruise.
“Columbus” was our home two blissful weeks.
A joyous way to quell the dark-day blues,
And get some winter sun Ruth always seeks!

In Casablanca and then Arrecife,
We loved the sights and lapped up all the sun.
Ruth had her sea-swim while in Tenerife;
Then to Funchal for all the New Year fun.

We anchored in the harbour.  It was rough
Too rough to get ashore.  We didn’t care,
As taking in the vista was enough.
And then, at midnight, fireworks filled the air.

We brought the New Year in with style, on board,
And wished for world-wide 20:20 vision,
Not knowing what the future would afford,
How dreams and fears would set up for collision.

Before lockdown, we had a double dose
Of Beethoven, in this his special year.
Then fabulous Ravel, up very close -
Watching Huw Watkins’ playing, crisp and clear.

So privileged we were that we could see 
In London the fantastic “Upstart Crow”.
It was as brilliant as when on TV,
And we were so relieved we got to go.

We took a ride upon the London Eye
In sunshine on a lovely day in spring,
With no idea our travels would run dry
As, carefree, we relaxed and did our thing.

Just days before the lockdown clipped our wings,
We had some fun in Bristol and Penarth.
Then as Ruth’s Springtime birthday drew near, things
Had started taking quite a different path.

Our calendar was cancelled there and then.
No concerts, no days out, no trips abroad;
No trips at all, in fact, not even when
We needed stuff.  All mixing we abjured. 

But if you think we suffered, you’d be wrong.
The garden was a haven of tranquillity,
With gorgeous sunshine and the blackbird-song
And time to hone Ruth’s landscaping ability.

She got the garden looking pretty good
Creating flower beds, and making sure
Of safer greenhouse access, so she could
Tend her tomatoes, cacti and much more.

For Adrian, whose knee is much improved,
Our shielding meant no work (nor pay), but he
Enjoyed the peace and sunshine, and he loved
The chance to read and watch films on TV.

Back to the blackbird.  One caught our attention
With his distinctive little tune last year.
But this year he would add a new dimension
And give us memories we’ll both hold dear.

He entertained with every kind of riff,
Including one from which he got his name,
For he sang “I’m Bo Diddley”, as if
Instructing us, as every day he came.

He stayed all day, each day, up till July,
Then suddenly he stopped his joyful singing.
We missed his music, but he still popped by
Not realising the joy he had been bringing.

Escaping lockdown, Ogmore beach was where
We had a great day out – a swim, a meal.
The muddy sea at Weston-super-Mare
Was warmer than Ruth’s ever known to feel.

We managed a short break to Cambridge, where
We had a punt-ride, walked across the green,
And marvelled at the architecture there.
It just felt good to have a change of scene.

October came, a time we thought was good
For holidays. The north-east was the place.
We loved the coastline, castles, beaches, food,
We’d never been before, and it was ace!

We also stayed in Morecambe; the Art Deco
Hotel, the Midland, on our “bucket” list,
Was gorgeous as expected, with the echo
Of times long gone. One that should not be missed.

At Harlow Carr the garden was just heaven,
As was a day in Scarborough –  by the sea
For one last time, until we visit Devon,
When we’re allowed.  We’ll just see what will be…

So Christmas for us all, dear friends, will not
Be what we’d want, but let’s all just have fun
As best we can, and then hope for a shot
At normal-ness for Twenty Twenty-one.