Madame Charlatan. Telling Misfortunes under a fog of musk and a cloud of fag-ash…….
I’ll be visiting Old Mother Charlatan later this week. As you may recall, she’s now in a care home and I go along every year to join in their festive frolics and spread some Christmas cheer. The staff at the home are very good. They decorate the main lounge and encourage everyone to get involved with a game of charades. There’s always a sing-song and someone always gets overexcited and wets themselves. Crackers are no longer allowed after an incident in 2008 when one elderly lady died from the shock of the bang. Very sad day. And the sherry is now rationed since 7 residents were found getting frisky in the disabled toilet. They may never have been discovered if one hadn’t accidentally pulled the emergency alarm cord whilst trying to adjust her footing on a support rail.
I never go empty-handed. I always like to take along some homemade mince pies. And knowing how those old fogeys love nostalgia and to be taken back to a bygone age, I make them the traditional way; with minced beef and mutton suet. It warms my heart to see people so affected by such a simple yet little-used recipe. I’ve witnessed folks being moved to tears, some so overcome with emotion they’ve had to leave the room. So a couple of days baking ahead of me to ensure I’ve plenty to go round.
My mother usually does a Misfortune-Telling. Though having to shout and keep repeating herself means she rarely gets round more than a couple of people. I try to be on hand to draw a diagram if people don’t understand their Misfortune Reading. Getting quite good at a pictorial representation of the Grim Reaper.
I will be spending Christmas Day itself on my own. Since my husband passed I prefer to have that time alone with my memories. I sometimes get a spiritual visitation, which is quite nice as long as he doesn’t interfere with the ‘Carols From Kings’. I do like a bit of Christmas telly. Some classic British comedy repeats and a paper hat is all the Christmas I want. Just need to make sure I top up the electric meter to get me through.
Putting the Shame back into Shaman