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A week In no man’s land?

29 Dec 2022 6 minute read
Photo by Jo Harding

Laura Mochan

That time of the year when time slows down; when the day is neither here nor there. The void that the departing Christmas celebrations just opened up stares back at you with an inky eye. Work is quiet (when you are actually there), the same dated films bounce aimlessly across our television screens, the usual mixed emotions that befriend us. Least, this is how it is for me and some others.

Then we have those who love this week in no man’s land. They enjoy the time they get to spend doing nothing but watching those films, mopping up the delicious leftovers, drinking merrily in to the early hours. Unless, of course, you work for the emergency services – you, sadly, don’t get chance to even consider what you would do with the time off. I hope you all know how incredibly grateful we are for your sacrifices. Thank you, all of you.

I caught up with a few residents and out of towners from Merthyr Tydfil to find out how they spend this week of mixed emotions and differing perspectives…

Photo by Hannah Beck

Hayley Sinnett took her tree down on December 27th. She had had enough. ‘It just isn’t the same with the kids all grown up’, she told me, ‘and it only went up spur of the moment due to a leak in the roof.’ While Sarah Wynne- Jenkins plans on ‘drinking all of the booze and watching a lot of darts.’

Another resident, Gloria Kinnear tells me: ‘I hate these days between Christmas and New Year. Living on my own can be very lonely and the weather doesn’t help, either, with it so dark and depressing. I try to go on holiday for the New Year celebrations, it gives me something to look forward to.’

Gavin Walker (photo by Gavin Walker)

Gavin Walker, an electrician from the town will be working for a large chunk of it: ‘I actually love this time of year, between working. The two long weekends are enough to recharge the batteries – if you allow yourself to. So many of us get stressed out, we need the time off, if possible. Going in to the new year stressed will leave you highly strung.’

Free to be lazy

Jo Harding, (of Merthyr, but now residing in Australia) thoroughly enjoys this week between the two celebrations – when she isn’t working: ‘I just love that there are no expectations to do all of the mundane daily chores and how we are free to be lazy if we so wish. We spend our time playing the new games the kids have had, eating chocolate for breakfast, not clock watching… The break from routine is good for my soul! And the kids enjoy me saying yes to things I normally say no to. I also make a list of things I would like to do in the New Year, such as visiting a city we haven’t been to or simply to read a book that has been on the shelf for months.’

Peace reigns

Matthew Pugh also has plans: ‘I will be kicking off right away with learning to drive and losing some weight,’ he tells me, ‘and I will also be taking a holiday to somewhere warm!’ While Carole Leyshon has mixed feelings about the time: ‘I love Christmas, but New Years is a sad time for me as I lost my mother 11 years ago,’ she began, ’but I try not to dwell on it, instead enjoying the memories I have of her. On the 28th, my husband leaves for Thailand to visit his son every year. After lots of hugs and tears, I’m then off cleaning through the house in preparation for the next celebration; my step son and family come to visit from London for a few days. I don’t stress over any of it, I just take things as they come. When it’s all over and everyone has returned to their homes and peace reigns, I enjoy catching up and thinking about what comes next.’


Hannah Beck says she looks forward to the albeit short break: ‘I’m incredibly lucky to have family and friends around me who understand that my job leaves me needing some quiet time to myself to recover and recharge – and I have very little of it as I work much of the week. I really look forward to New Year’s Eve, even though it’s a quieter affair since we had a dog. We will have our own little party with a small buffet, my partner will enjoy the alcoholic beverages while I drink my Ribena (wild, I know!) Then we will play some board games before heading upstairs before 12am to watch the fireworks from our bedroom window. Also, somewhere in this week, I will take a long stroll through the countryside and enjoy nature’.


Julie Katherine Watkins says she quite likes the week in between: ‘It’s a time to say no to work and yes to plans; doing some gentle walking, calling in on family, eating lots of delicious roast dinners, fry-ups and turkey curry. I also look forward to surfing online looking for holiday deals for the following year. And, of course, making New Year resolutions. These usually include de-cluttering the house, getting a higher paid job and becoming a better parent. Unfortunately, these have all failed by the end of January,’ she laughed.

Photo by Jo Harding

It’s a strange ole time of the year for lots of us, while others seem to take it in their stride and enjoy it. Either way, here’s hoping we all make it to 2023 safe, looking forward and prepared for the new challenges 2023 will bring us.

A very Happy New Year to you all, from Merthyr Tydfil!

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