Banishing the Christmas Gremlin


I have a gremlin… And he is both constant and transient.  The constant is that I have named him Martrucio and transiently, he takes different forms at different times.  He can be just like a mangy dog, tagging at my heels and tripping me over.  Sometimes he is a dark cloud floating above my head, obfuscating my positive view of the world with his heavy rainy presence.  He manifests in many ways, not least inhabiting my head when I’m vulnerably tired or laid low by life in some way.

Regardless of his form, he is most definitely dogging me, this gremlin of mine. He is having so much evil fun, chipping and smashing and dashing my planned Christmas happiness into multifarious sharp shards of sadness.

What can I tell you – at this time I feel exhausted, and in this state he finds me a particularly easy target. He trips me up; makes me drop and break things; muzzles my memory and somehow, shortens my tolerance and temper.

He gets me this gremlin – he knows that I like to plan and organise and make my Christmas as easy and as stress free as possible. But he is always determined to find a chink in my organised armour and seek to turn it into a long, vicious crack

As usual I’ve planned my Christmas through from start to finish and I know that this includes working around my gremlin.  I know of old, that Gremlins love Christmas – they feed gluttonously off the combined combustible stress of the crescendo to Christmas Day.  Yes, they like nothing better than to shorten tempers and lengthen impatience – it makes them laugh loudly and dance with undisguised glee.

So working up to Christmas I am tired and feeling under the yuletide weather.  My body has had enough of the dark winter and intermittent wassailing.  It’s rebelling – it rejects and reacts to nearly every meal I eat.  I cut back and add in natural nutrients, fruit, vege and supplements, but still this moon maiden swells and doubles up in gastric discomfort.  It’s hardly fair, but such is (my) life and I just have to keep taking care of myself until it passes. I am sure that this too shall most definitely pass.

So I may be tired and even testy, but I’m aware of it and I work with it and make sure I rest and plan – so true to form I have a gorgeous text book time mapped out this coming Christmas tide. I have places to go and friends to hug. Even my tiredness can bear all this activity, if it’s about socialising and fun.

But gremlins don’t relish this and so they gang together to coerce and spoil our best laid plans…

I had it all worked out, months ago. I arranged to meet my two best friends on the Saturday before Christmas. A restaurant table was booked and also tickets bought to go carol singing at a local stately home. The perfect Hallmark girlie Christmas outing…

Well when the day finally dawned, the gremlins I have to say, had gone all out to put the kibosh on our precious night out. I awoke to find my phone riddled with messages: One friend’s mother had had a near fatal stroke and the other’s daughter was very sick and needed to go to hospital too.

“Well we won’t be carol singing tonight then…” I thought.  I know these two gorgeous girlfriends of mine from old and they would of course be worried and needing to take care of their kin.

So I got out of my tired bed and I checked in on each of them – there was nothing I could do to support them at that moment. But then I was left alone with my gremlin.  And in hindsight, I realise that I actually sought his company out.  And sure enough, he soon started to sing to me – not carols, but dirges of woe:

“So you’re alone at Christmas then. No support. No attention. No children. No one’s priority. Parents gone.  No one to care for and no one to care for you…”

I felt sad. My expectations for the perfect Hallmark Christmas experience had disintegrated into ashes, in a matter of mere minutes. Instead of sisterly sharing, I was now solo.

So I wallowed in the murky mud that Martrucio threw at me. It was sticky and dark mud – hard to see through and even harder to wash off.

Yet the Christmas spirit was still inside of me and I changed my gremlin-ated mind and determined to push him aside… My brain ticked over… I wondered if I could share my planned Hallmark experience with someone else.  Yet all of the ‘someone else’s’ in my life were busy on a Saturday so close to Christmas.  Well fair enough – I hadn’t really pinned my hopes on that option any way.

So – what next? “How can this situation be turned on its’ head?” I wondered.

So then it came to me – I would pay my Christmas experience forward…

Quickly I went onto Facebook and with about 3 hours to go, made the following post:

“I have 3 tickets for carol singing at Warwick Castle to give away for the first taker. My free Christmas gift to whoever would enjoy them! Message me if you would like them and are able to collect…”

Very quickly there was a handful of people posting their interest. I just wanted the tickets to be on their way, so as far as I was concerned – fate and the principle of ‘first come, first served’ would decide who they went to.

A little while later there was a knock at my front door.  I grabbed the tickets and opened the door to a bright young woman with a radiant smile. “A very Happy Christmas to you” I said and handed the tickets over. “And to you too,” she said, handing me back a bottle of mulled wine in a festive Christmas bag, “and thank you so much!” As it turned out, she was newly married and she and her husband were now going to have a festive night out – it would be their first Christmas together.

When she left, I looked at her Facebook timeline, which was filled with wedding pictures of a young, smiling and radiant couple.

My sadness had suddenly been replaced by a smile.  I’d done it – I now felt that some good had come out of this strangest of doubly disastrous days.

Instead of warbling carols, my evening was then spent industriously getting the steal on my Christmas preparations, as I sat and wrapped a myriad of presents, accompanied by soppy Christmas films, blaring away in the background.

I checked on my friends again. All was as well as it could be for them. There I was in my own, but giving thanks for my health and happiness – all wrapped up in my wrapping and having a truly festive time.

And as for my gremlin – Martrucio… well – he was nowhere to be seen…

Merry Christmas to me then!

And, dear reader, may your gremlins be banished and your Christmas fill you with love, laughter and light this year…

With warmest wishes,
Sandra Peachey: Blogger and Banisher of Gremlins

If you want to get in touch, you can contact me by clicking here…

I’m also variously known as:
* The Director of LifeWork Consultancy & Coaching;
* The Author of Peachey Letters – Love Letters to Life and Co-Author of The F-FactorThe perfect Christmas gift – you can buy them both on Amazon (in paperback or Kindle) by clicking on the hyperlinks above or else on most bookseller websites around the globe. Your local bookshop may even sell them, or you can ask them nicely to order them in and stock them high;
* A 2015 International Book Awards Finalist, in the Women’s Issues Category;
* The Winner of a Women Inspiring Women Award in 2013;
* As being shortlisted for Women’s Coach in the APCTC Awards 2014, also nominated in 2012 & 2013; and
* Being nominated for a Networking Mummies National Recognition Award in 2015.

Letter to the Expression of Love

Me & Art 2

That’s me, sitting on my big brother’s knee…

Dear Sue and Arthur

I was up and writing early this morning, roused by circumstance and also awakened by the shimmering summer sun light and its’ promise of another dancing day.

And on this day my mind turns to love, as it so often does, and the evolution of that delicious, bounteous phenomenon in my life…

Now, there are many notions and shades of love, and so I begin on this musing reverie by remembering my earliest influences and inferences…

This begins with my family and the love I have for each one of them in turn – something which has fluctuated with teenage mood and stomping circumstance; but now – looking back, is I realise, a deep well of certainty – in them and in me.

Then always in my heart, there was the desired romantic attachment of which I always dreamt and that I knew would come my way one sudden gorgeous day; and so it did, just not the way I had consciously planned…

And on to recent time, when I wrote a whole and beautiful book on the vast and shifting facets of love and how you can find it if you seek it, everywhere…

Yet still there is more love to be learnt and so, running randomly back down the spine of my living time, today I remembered one particular day in my life when I said ‘I love you’… and this is how it was…

One of my oldest childhood friends – Susan had just had her third child. I had been to visit them in hospital and had the joy of arriving, just as his 2 oldest sisters saw him for the first time too. We looked into the cot – me looking down, and them craning up, to see him. And there he was – a tiny sleepy being with a strong thatch of dark hair, already formed as a personality in so many ways; in other ways yet to be formed, and still to be unfurled and informed to us all in times to come…

“Ahhhh..!” His oldest sister Elizabeth said and we all smiled and coo-ed and then carried on with that day, flowing through time in that place and then back on to our own lives and own tempos elsewhere.

Later, close to bed time, the telephone rang and it was Susan’s husband Mike, now a busy a captain (well, CEO) of industry, and normally in our double dealings – phlegmatic, sardonic and measured… But not this time…

“It’s Sue” he said, and in fast, faltering words told me that still in hospital, she had had some kind of fit and nearly died; but then she had been revived and saved, and she wanted to see me…

So I put the telephone down and cried, and spent a sleepless night, waiting for day light to allow me to see her. Then I marshalled my whirling thoughts and spiralling emotions, and knew with absolute clarity what it was I had to do, as my response. I was going to go to that hospital bed and tell Sue a truth I had never shared before. Not shared because it was not then my habit, and also, that until that moment, it was my unconscious secret.

I breathed in deep and travelled to that place with sure steps and I ran to Sue’s bed and there she was, all fine – breathing and sanguine, having just looked life and death in the face, in such a short space of time. So she told me her story and how as a nurse herself, she recognised the danger signs and before she had shot off into her shocked bodily state, had pressed the call button and the hospital staff ran to her side and so she and they saved her, with their own urgent actions…

So now I heard it from her, I held her hand and I said: “I thought of life without you and it was the most dreadful, dark, entirely bereft feeling, even just the thought of you not being here in the life of everyone that you love. Now I want you to know that I love you and am so grateful for this moment with you and for all our moments together, past, present and future…”

And we both cried… Tears of release and joy and love, with the cherished indulgence of having what we had, there, literally in our hands at that time…

And there were more words between us, which I won’t share with you now, for they were ours alone. And I knew instinctively that such a momentous happening could not be confined to this single moment alone, and indeed that was not the end of this episode for her; for life given back has its’ reckoning. Yet with characteristic love and strength, she pulled through that and pushed through, on to pastures new…

And that bed side confession was an important stage in my evolution of love: an undamming of spirit and words and emotions. Not this time a phrase mumbled to a parent or in the throes of passion; but a deep and clear recognition of what I felt for another person; a force compounded of all the elements of myself and of hers, of our combined characteristics, history and personality. And it was done. And to this day those three words are repeated… Not with forced regularity… Just now and again… When I am struck by the simple urge to feel and speak them…

And thanks to this, I became freer with my love words and who I would share them with; in every degree and shade of my being; and on I journeyed through life and opened my heart more by protecting it less. That sweet tactic has had its’ burdens and its’ rewards, steering me through the inherent complication of connections and crossings and along journeys I have taken. But taken them I have and so now, I would not and could not have it any other way…

Love has become a better habit, and now I express it free of embarrassment, as I have grown up and grown older. Yet still this loving expression evolves…

I’m not in the habit of telling my big brother that I love him… Simply because that is characteristic of the parameters of the relationship that we have evolved over our own aeons… The last time I said it was, just as with Susan, at a time of emotional crux; being when our mother had just died. We had had the funeral and she was buried and that was that… A few days later we were talking on the telephone and I told him that I loved him, for I was suddenly frightened I would never see him again… So we agreed to stay in each other’s lives and that bargain was my reassurance.

And to a greater or lesser degree we are in each other’s lives. I feel somehow as the little sister that I am the bane of his life and someone he has to take care of, sometimes, even now… And I wonder what he gets from me, apart from memory and similarity.

Well, let me state for the record, that my big brother gets my love and my deepest, happiest gratitude.

So I state for the record: I love you big bro. There it is.

And I haven’t written about him in my blogs before because I feel, so different as he is from me (the one freely proclaiming my emotional stuff out there in the ether), that he would be embarrassed, in the same way that he seemed to be, all those long years ago, when I was a small child, and insisted on giving him a big, wet kiss before I went to bed, every single night, even though he fended me off. But I always got him in the end…

So, you know, I was a persistent little sister back then and I’m being that again now… And this declaration of love is accompanied by typing and tears, and has no statute of limitations, not just being born along with my birth certificate, but from many, many things, including his constancy to me. And he may never say it to me, for that is not what we two do and may not feel it that way; but I will continue to see his love for me in his many acts of service, and the time he spends with me, and the customs that we have created in celebrating our birthdays, and reminiscing on our history; and all the elements that go into this particular evolution of love. The revolutions of which will continue and will I know from experience, will never, ever end.

But so it is that this letter has to end… With love… Of course… Always…

Yours, with… etc…

S xxx

PS: Did you know that a collection of my ‘Peachey Letters’ have been gathered together in to a beautiful book, exploring all the facets of love in its’ gore and glory? This is love seen in every aspect of the life that I live.  In it you will find the dark and the light of love, in a way that will make you think, entertain you and let you know that you are not alone in life, what ever it holds for you… You can buy ‘Peachey Letters – Love Letters to Life’ by Sandra Peachey, from book websites any where in the world, including on Amazon (in both Paperback and Kindle)

The Response to Peachey Letters …

Dear Readers

I have been overwhelmed with the amount of positive feedback received on my Peachey Letters blog, since my first letter went live in February.   Here I would love to share just some the amazing responses I have received …

With love and gratitude, Sandie xxx

Susan Brookes:

Wow, that letter to your father is so touching. May you always have lots of love in your life.

Kay Kirkby:

Sandie this letter to your Dad is so beautiful I cried … I thank you for your wonderful open hearted letter which enabled me to be open about my current journey.

Nadine Honeybone:

Beautiful Sandra, just awesome.

Jacqui Malpass:

I shouldn’t have read that, I now have a wet face… 🙂 My dad … I love him dearly and this beautiful letter is a reminder of all of the good stuff to be treasured. Thank you – blubbering of South Wales.

Karen Edgar:

Lovely photo of you and your dad. Very moving letters. …

Diana Barden:

Wow, what a wonderful letter to your Dad, Sandie. I last wrote to my Dad a couple of years before he died … I’ve had a bit of a blubbery morning of it so far (good stuff!) so thank you! Blubbering of Cambridge (wonder if that means I’m related to Blubbering of South Wales!)

Sue Balcon:

That is such a beautiful letter to your Dad, Sandie – made me shed a few tears …

Sandra Peachey:

Gosh, ladies, I went to bed last night, feeling a little embarrassed with myself, my script telling me that I was being rather self indulgent and attention seeking and no one would notice! Glad I ignored it. Thank you so much for your lovely comments. My Friday is definitely made 🙂 And if you would like to see a little more of my dad’s life, take a look at the photo album I created on his last birthday.

And then there were more gorgeous comments …

Sue Maggott:

Wow, Sandie, that is fabulous, and I love that picture of the two of you together, such a picture of a strong man, giving you the support to be you!

Deborah Meredith:

Sandie, you brought me to tears. Such beautiful letters from a beautiful woman.

Michelle Clarke:

Gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous – thank you for sharing Sandie, such a beautiful idea, these letters will make an amazing book 🙂

Lisa Hayward:

What a wonderful thing to do, very touching and very real.

Joanna McCormick:

A fabulous idea and wonderful share Sandie – bless you.

Lyn Bromley:

What a fab idea. It brought tears to my eyes too. It also made me realise that I should write letters to my parents too while they are here to read them. Thanks for sharing, you are a wonderful writer, I look forward to reading the next one!

Lucie Bradbury:

Loving this – we are all blessed with your writing, your love & your courage.

Liz Ivory:

Thank you sooooo much for your beautiful letter and for your love, it’s fabulous the way you are able to express your feelings with sensitivity and humour, a real talent.

Greg Lowe:

Wow, what an amazing idea!

Tracy Cleary:

Lovely Sandra. Thanks for sharing.

Richard Wilkins

I really love this message Sandra.

Sue Maggott

An amazing process to go through Sandie, and very powerful letters.

Susan Brookes:

Brave writing Sandie.

Lucie Bradbury:

I am loving your letters Sandie – you write beautifully with wisdom & grace. Thank you for the acknowledgement – which says so much about the gorgeous goddess that you are.

Susan Tarney:

Thanks for the letter and all the effort you put into your relationships. You are a true friend.

Hayley Wilkins:

Your letters are brilliant. What an amazing talent you have.

Alex Santaro-Emmerson:

Wow. I love this letter [to Every Woman]. Thank You for taking the time to put this in writing so beautifully. Every woman on the planet should read it.

Lyria Normington:

How many emotions you pass on to me through this letter; smiles at you being hauled up in front of the – Head AKA Care Manager of the Home; tears when you mention your Mum’s broken childhood and then “all those dark words were not really you”; relief and joy for you when you describe the love creating a force field around you.

The honesty, not ducking the hard parts, make it so much more real as a love letter … everyone has their darker moments or the things that are difficult to say to someone so close as a mother. I really smiled when you mentioned your “Karma” to Arthur – it’s a lovely way to see it. If fact the whole letter is so beautifully written, I can see how you’re able to help so many others on a very deep level. You do have a precious gift.

What a gift that is – coming through all your life and coming to this point of deep peace and love. And you’ve had the honesty to share it. I just feel so touched and humbled.

Thank you with all my heart.

Monique Blackmore:

Thank you for sharing your letters with us all. You have such a wonderful gift with words … your recent letter, the truth and feeling within … Wishing you joy.

Lucie Bradbury:

[Letter to Lucie Bradbury] I love it – it’s beautiful, it’s so you.  I had to stop half way through to recover from the tears (tears are good!)

A few points felt brutal to read – but then I know love & truth go hand in hand.

I am so honoured & grateful that you would write to me (and appreciate too that you have graciously asked for my approval before going public).

Keep it up – I have a feeling there is nothing stopping you now  & yes I can’t wait to see where our wings will take us.

And you are quite the writer too my lovely!

Well done, with love …

Liz Ivory:

Just re-read your lovely letter to me and Richard, and I just wanted to tell you once again how much it means to us both … your writing is so wonderfully poetic whilst at the same time being merrily mischievous, just like you … really feel you could create a beautiful book with all of these when February is finished … I’d buy your first copy.

Lyn Bromley:

I have commented on a few of your letters already, but wanted to tell you, I have found them really moving and I feel like I have got to know you better through them too. I really think you have a career as a writer – or at least as part of your strategy – you write beautifully. Well done for committing and sticking to your promise! You have also inspired me to write some letters … So thank you for inspiring me Sandie. I am sure you have inspired many more.

Sarupa Shah:

[Letter to Money] My heart’s opened. What a beautiful thing you are doing!!!! And so it is!!!!

Lis Protherough:

Sandra, thank you. Your letters are touching and inspirational – and so amazingly well written, they made my spine tingle …

Thank you so much everyone for sharing your words, thoughts and emotions with me.  My heart is full. 

And apart from all these gorgeous comments, I’ve been told over and over to turn this blog into a book… and so here it is!  Follow this link to find out more…

 S xxx

Letter 1: To the World

1 February 2012

Dear World

It’s February 2012 and already it’s been a funny old year.  I’ve been a single girl for 12 months, during which time I also started my own business, moved house, wrote a book, forgot who I was, remembered who I was and that was just the tip of the iceberg!

As a woman I’m a creature of many facets: I have a family, a past, a company, friends, hobbies, thoughts, feelings, talents and am made up of umpteen influences, inheritances, joys, sorrows and impulses.

With the approach of February, the Valentine month of ‘love’, I have decided to write a love letter, every day of the month, to the special people in my life.  Well, actually ‘people’ doesn’t really cover it … I know that God is going to get at least one letter, as are friends, family and other crucial players in my life – be they alive, departed or indeed, imagined …

My love letters are intended to entertain me, to give me the forum to be creative and be a writer; I want them to exorcise demons, to celebrate and give me the space to analyse, enjoy, and give thanks for my life. They are a loving challenge set to myself and to share with the world, so I commit to completing them and facing my destiny … Well, it’s going to be an interesting 29 days … who knows where it will start, end or go from here …

In this age of reality TV and soap opera, so much is shared, so often.  I’m not usually a fan of being a fictional or real fly on the wall when I know there is a director and cameraman on hand.  Often I find real life so much more fascinating and of course, my OWN life to be the most fascinating of all!  So in the spirit of secrecy of you may not see ALL my letters here, as some may be TOO personal or share information that is the rightful possession of others, yet (at least) 29 there will be, out there in the ether and my gifts to their receivers.

Well dear world, on that note, I’m tired and light headed and it’s time to wind down to sleep now, so here endeth the first letter.

Lovingly yours

Sandra x

PS: It’s 12 months later and who knew that this Blog would become a book… Thank you Dear World for the amazing feedback and the opportunity to publish. S xx

PPS: Buy your own hard copy of the book Peachey ‘Peachey Letters’ by clicking this link…

Sandra Peachey