Tuesday, 23 December 2008

'Twas the Night Before Christmas....

I fear this post is going to be a spewy stream of consciousness flecked with half-digested carrots and hardened bits of chicken (what is it with vomit and the omnipresent diced carrot, by the way? They're there even when you haven't eaten them, and when L was sick the other day, albeit having eaten them nearly 3 hours earlier, there they were, all present and orange and correct and apparently completely untouched - I could have scraped them up off the carpet and chucked them in a casserole. I didn't, I hasten to add. I'm not that bad a cook. Or quite that mean. But I'm still flummoxed that it was possible).

Moving swiftly on, here I am in an internet cafe in Buxton eating a sesame seed bagel slavered in butter (which will sit rancidly around my mouth for the rest of the day, wafting up at unexpected moments, despite my best efforts to wash it all off - and I don't even have a beard. Well, not a full one, just a few bristles every now and then which I have to keep on top of, but not enough to harness quite such a fetid smell) and drinking a regular cappucino. This is a little indulgence usually reserved for after my yoga class with my mates on a Wednesday (I feel myself getting more stereotypical with every syllable). Today I am blissfully alone, combining breakfast and lunch in one, before setting out into the fray once more. I have just been to my gorgeous chiropractor (if I was going to have an affair with a younger man, it would be him: nice looking, nice touch, sensible, kind and it would save me a fortune in appointments) who's sorted out my neck knackered by yoga headstands (I'm going to release myself from their torture next term by pleading medical reasons - confirmed by lovely Rob - that it is doing me more harm than good. Long neck, short upper arms - I'm a freak - and a history of upper spinal injuries (not to mention the pelvic problems) does not make it the rejuvenating, invigorating experience that Mr Yoga over in Nepal clearly finds it. He's obviously short and stubby with monkey like limbs and doesn't ski or fall off skateboards or get driven into ditches in a Land Rover by his parter. He clearly leads a very sheltered life. The Buxton branch of the Yoga Ogre will have to be informed. God help me. She hates me enough as it is. It will go down like a cup of cold sick. But that's enough of sick.

So, what do I still have to do? Buy some final presents, collect the rib of beef (turkey already tucked up in fridge), buy all the veg and trimmings and twiddly bits, drop off the recycling, wrap all the presents, finish decking the halls, deliver the last Christmas cards, throw in a few washes, bleach the dark hair on my short arms - God I feel faint. And we're going to the panto tonight
'Oh no you're not'
'Oh yes we are!'
at 6.30pm in the Opera House. Cinderella. Haven't seen that one before, then. What's the story...? 'Oh no it isn't' 'Oh yes it is'. Oh God, shut up.

And why is it that I end up buying all the presents for everyone, including myself at Christmas? I've even had a phonecall from my brother this morning, who's clearly hungover from his drinks party last night (nice to have the problem - I've had bugger all celebrations, as usual, this year), as I stood in the queue to pay at Woollies (ah, last time, I suspect. So sad. Love Woollies. All those cheap socks and pants and school clothes for the children. Oh yes, I'm quite a fan. Stickers, picture frames, arty crafty bits, cheap toys, sandals, Ladybird clothes, towels, sheets - it's amazing what you can find if you dig around. Can't believe they've managed to fuck it up. Another slice of my childhood nostalgia comes crashing to the ground) wanting to know if I have anything in my supplies which he could give E for her birthday in early January. So I drag my absurdly heavy Santa sack from Woollies (stupid girl at the check-out had filled a bag then asked me if I wanted one big one instead of 3 smaller ones. I said yes, assuming I would end up with the one small one she'd already packed and then one big one. But no. She unpacked it all - I couldn't think what the hell was going on out of sight behind the counter - and put it all in this thing that Reindeers would refuse to haul) to WHSmith and found myself staring at the CDs. Aha, High School Musical 3, mercifully 'In Stock' rather than 'Temporarily Out Of' which makes you feel a loser for not buying it earlier. I phone my brother and tell him it's sorted. Then I buy two more bags from WHSmith for 1p each (my eco-penance) and unpack my Woollies haul in the middle of the store with people perversely trying to squeeze past, tutting, despite my trying to find the most peaceful area of the shop. Bag lady or what. Then I go outside and dump them on the nearest bench and phone my husband to remind him of something. He tells me my Christmas list is looking a bit thin. That's because everything I want (and it's not much) is not really achieveable the day before Christmas Eve. I suggest he gives me the cashmere jumper I bought myself, with petulant extravagance, in DKNY last week in a rare visit to Manchester. I tell him the price and he gasps. So I know I will be handing out all my lovingly researched and created presents to all my family and I will get the usual - a few CDs (usually duplicates) and a book or two. Sigh. I dream of being with people who tramp the streets finding beautiful things in beautiful shops that they KNOW I will love because they KNOW me so well. No. I am surrounded by fearsomely practical people. I will open the packet with my oven gloves and be thrilled. They are AGA and I did ask for them, after all. The nadir, though, has to be the Christmas my beloved gave me a Dustbuster. Still, I can talk, I'm currently wasting absurd amounts of energy worrying about the present I've given my cleaners. I was in John Lewis and saw some pretty Cath Kidston washing up brushes, scrubbing brushes and dusters(makes a change from chocolates and wine, I thought). All very 50s retro. All very designer, for any one in the know. Unfortunately I don't think they're in the know and will assume I got them down Chapel market for 50p. Could be the end of a beautiful relationship. My friends were horrified when I told them. So was my mother. I probably haven't improved the situation by softening the blow by adding some smellies. My idea was to get something special but having shelled out unexpectedly large sums on the Cath Kidston dream, I suddenly went all mean (there are FOUR cleaners, I hasten to add - they hunt in a pack, but are a mercifully short time in the house as a result, which is a bonus) and got some stuff from Superdrug. It doesn't actually SAY Superdrug on the packet, but they'll probably know. Oh God.

And what is it with the nation's current obsession with flashing lights? As if this time of year isn't stressful enough, we now have to endure interrupted electric currents every where we go. It's like living in a fruit machine. How epileptics cope, I really don't know. It's certainly enough to turn you into one. And what's with the blinding blue lights? Isn't it damp and miserable enough without the chill of arctic blue? What's wrong with good old classic warm white? Non flashing. Blimey, the woman behind me's just announced she's been to a funeral. I suppose death is one way to escape it all, but a tad extreme. Still, it will be my funeral if I don't get on with what I'm supposed to be doing instead of sitting here burbling on, so I'd better go.

So, dear reader, I wish you a very merry flashing Christmas and hope that you get all that your little heart desires and somehow, somewhere, find some peace. Some hope. Just think of my brother in law, currently languishing, at his friend's expense, in a flashy (rather than flashing) house in Sri Lanka with two cooks, a daily massage and yoga lessons (poor sod) and the Indian Ocean lapping at his door. That would be the best Christmas present ever.

Dream on, girl, and go stuff the turkey. Flowered pinny on, smile on face. All very 50s retro. So Cath Kidston. So John Lewis. Not very Woollies. May my sherry glass never run dry...

Cin Cin!


Grumpy Old Ken said...

My God, you didn't write that in five minutes! I get quite dismayed when people know more words than me and I used to teach English. Very good. You sound more informed than me. When I get awful heartburn after pigging pork pies or raw onions or too much beer, seriously how long does it take for my stomach to give me heartburn.The silly thing is I never learn. Must have a night up on Mam Tor soon. Good luck on the New Year.


Hello GOK, you are quite right, it took about an hour and a half! My cappucino was cold and the butter congealed by the time I had finished....
Bizarrely, we were on Mam Tor today!! And very beautiful it was.
Happy Christmas and best wishes for the New Year to you too.

elizabethm said...

Hope you had a great Christmas and loved this blog (although I do have to tell you that your music suddenly flaring out makes surreptitious sneaky blog reading a bit of a problem). You may be married to my husband's twin. I have had to give up showering him with numerous well thought out presents because it accentuates the sense of being a bit short changed by the small pile of neatly wrapped, sensible stuff I get in return. I console myself with the thought that he is lovely all year round, just not really a present sort of person, and I do a good line in buying myself somthing unexpectedly glamorous to compensate.
Happy new year up there on your hill.

CAMILLA said...


No flashing lights here, just a tiny twinkling tree, and have eaten and drank too much vino this Christmas I fear.

Hope you had a lovely Christmas,in that GORGEOUS part of the country you live in. Best wishes for the New Year to you and yours.

Thank you so much for visiting my blog, so kind.

Love Camilla.xx

GoneBackSouth said...

Goodness what a very festive pre-Xmas rant that was! I hope you had a good one despite all the millions of things going on. It's never really that relaxing until it's over eh? Happy New Year x

p.s. Re. Woolworths, I went into our local one on its last day and got 14 kids' t-shirts for a pound. Even the ladders and shelves had been sold (sniff).

Millennium Housewife said...

I'm so with you on the flashing lights! It feels like living in a night club (which I wouldn't have minded ten years ago) MH

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