Posts Tagged ‘Spirit of Christmas’

I once performed a full Story Supper in the grip of flu. I’d taken every drug going and probably shouldn’t have been driving, let alone improvising narrative to paying punters! Hilariously.. or not.. my then Midnight Storytellers partner, the lovely and very missed Karen-Eve, was in the same condition. With spinning heads and overly bright smiles, we lurched onstage. Luckily, adrenalin trumps everything. It was one of our more sparkling shows!

I aim to make winter my season of log fires and toasted crumpets, and cuddling warm furry cats on my sofa. Christmas performances in red and green glittering glamour. Not parade of the snotmonster…

To all of you involved in performance, public speaking or just wanting to keep the SAD [seasonally affected depression] at bay, may I recommend:

•    Cheap 500mg Vitamin C tablets. One a day.
•    A bottle of high quality ginger cordial. Even if you normally save money with el cheapo supermarket own brand squash, just once a year you need this spirit-warming substance. Drink hot, instead of too much tea/coffee.
•    Cook often with chillis, ginger and garlic.  Chilli con carne or con veggie; Thai green curry – extra comfort from coconut in the sauce; Chloe’s Restorative Fish Gumbo – contains chorizo, fresh coriander, coconut, extra chilli and garlic, and white wine – WARNING do not try to kiss anybody after eating this, don’t even cuddle your cat…
•    Ordinary honey/lemon throat lozenges: one every night, last thing. The little black throat lozenges: one approx 30 minutes before going on stage. Does NOT replace proper voice warm-up.
•    Stay in the same air temperature at least 20 minutes before using your voice to an audience.
•    Room temperature still water – poured ready to drink – onstage, or immediately to one side. You won’t need it until is isn’t there.
•    Glamorous soft scarf and snuggly coat: put on immediately after performance, especially traveling home tired. Keep neck (throat) protected from extreme conditions at all times. Why d’you think I have so many colourful scarves? – It’s not just to hide the double chins, y’know!
•    After-show treat at home: in a pretty glass or mug, hot toddy made with (optional) whisky, juice of half a lemon, dollop of honey. Top up with just-boiled water. Drink as hot as you can manage.
•    Alternative treat: small glass of cognac and cherry brandy.
•    An electric blanket. Spares you the whole will-(s)he-won’t-(s)he relationship nightmare. You’ll be warm and comfy anyway.
•    A microwave heatable neck cushion (scented with lavender for soothing). Alternatively, a safe hot water bottle with a plush fur cover.
•    Sleep. Afternoon naps whenever possible. 30 minutes horizontal replenishes you for the evening’s exertions. One day a month STAY IN BED with books, radio, cats, hot buttered toast…
•    Deep hot baths. Use essential oils for scent, avoid foam baths as these often irritate.. er.. private bits. Be aware what stimulates (eg geranium) and what calms (eg lavender).
•    Walks, especially at noon to get maximum sunlight (even through cloud). All exercise helps improve mood. Even housework counts! Bung on a CD and bop, if nothing else.
•    Chocolate. But only the good (dark) stuff. Look for 50% – 65% cocoa solids; anything more tastes too strong and is just snobbery. Anything less than 40% cocoa solids is not worth your money. Try dark choc with red peppercorns or chilli, if you enjoy exotic flavours. Look, there’s a whole world of hand-rolled choc truffles, dipped cherries marinaded in brandy, choc orange chunks, Venus Nipples… It’s so intensely satisfying, you won’t want to overeat. Proper chocolate contains natural stimulants, calmants and anti depressants. I daren’t tell you what the modern factory product contains, except it’s probably closer to sweet cheese than real chocolate.
•    Bagged fresh salad. Don’t mess about, it’s winter. Make it easy. Fresh or tinned fruit. Fresh or frozen veg.
•    A woodcutter’s axe, well sharpened. A sheltered sunny spot with a chopping block. See, a log fire warms you at least four times: once when you stack the logs in store; twice when you split logs and chop kindling; thrice when you heave the full log basket indoors; and finally, when the fire is merrily crackling and you’re on the sofa with the purring friends…
•    Fairy lights. Indoors and out. All winter, not just the alleged festive season.
•    Toasting fork, crumpets, real butter, marmite/jam/honey to taste. Do it the old fashioned way. Best thing to drive away the demons of Sunday afternoon. Why real butter? – use less, taste more.
•    Table lamps with bulbs equivalent to 60W. Candles/tealights in safe holders. LIGHT really does affect mood. The gentle, varied light of lamps and candles spells home, warmth and safety. Overhead, fluorescent striplights are despair and death.
•    Box of matches with one match prepped: tail sticking out of closed box. So you can find and light a match in the power cut.
•    Car prepared for winter. Eg de-icer to hand NOT locked in car. OR (fewer chemicals) newspaper/blanket over windscreen in frost. Last year [I’m in the English countryside] made me think about actual winter tyres but need bloke on tap to change all 4 at short notice ie when snow starts. Hmm.. Car should contain blanket, wellies/walking boots, water and chocolate, shovel. Fully charge your mobile phone before snowy driving.
•    Canister of table salt for ice free doorstep.
•    Broadband internet connection. Cheap phone deal. So you can laugh and be in touch with friends without battling through snow and storm.
•    Funky winter clothes. Customise charity shop buys and/or have 1 (2?!) amazing thing(s) that make(s) you feel good every day.
•    Honour the Spirit of Christmas.

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