Have you ever felt as though the weeks pass by without you being able to catch up on yourself? I am sure at least one of our two dear readers does. This year has flown by with much event - my mother has sent me to Coventry at least five times; I have had three jobs; hexed my ex three times and got engaged once. I'm quite a busy bee, wouldn't you say?
I am 100% convinced that it will be Christmas Tree-putting-up-time soon. I always try to hold off until the very last, as I tend to put all the chocolate decorations on the tree and then worry about them melting, so I eat them within 24 hours. But this year, I am resolved to be a bit more stalwart.
The week before last, as I was driving home, listening, as is my wont, to Radio 2, Chris Evans was interviewing a chap from Fortnum and Mason, about their £20,000 hamper. The interview itself was just a load of blah, but I was rather disgusted that Mr Evans proceeded to play a Christmas song and banged on about what a 'marvellous time of the year' it was. No. It was bloody November. Just after Bonfire Night: nothing going on. IT IS NOT A MARVELLOUS TIME OF THE YEAR...
Everywhere I go, I am being bombarded with Christmas. As I am one of the most disorganised people you could ever have the misfortune to meet, I find it rather offensive that I am having reminders of Christmas stuffed down my neck.
Christmas in the Mouldsworth B.M. (Before Marriage) household, was a very sedate affair. I can't remember the tree ever going up (if at all) before 20th December, and there were never any presents or cards left under the tree. This lack of tradition engendered in me an impatience and inability to maintain a surprise which still lives with me today: for example, four weeks ago, I went out with the view to attempting to organise presents - I bought stacks...then I gave them all out the following weekend. Rubbish...
I have to be honest and say that, on the whole, my Christmas Days are a total wash-out. I have this ridiculous notion that they will be romantic, snowy, sparkly and wit-filled, and in reality, they are boring, damp, grey and twit-filled. Last year, I spent Christmas alone, excepting a bottle of Toilet Duck and the bog brush - and I was in my element! I had been to church; made a sarcastic comment to the priest about Church Service +1 (having attended Christmas Eve, too, and discovering a repeat), eaten a bit of smoked cod and brocolli, and girded my loins for the presence of an ex who was most unwanted, but had begged an audience to personally present me with a Christmas card on his own miserable Christmas Day. It was unutterably dull, and had I had the opportunity to work, I would have done.
My first Christmas with the ex was a very excitable affair as he liked real trees, whereas I was used to plastic naff ones. I smoked myself into oblivion, as the trend, in 1992, was for sparkly parcels dangling from the tree, which were exorbitantly priced. Each joyfully smoked packet of 10 or 20 B & H was wrapped in purple or gold spangly paper, tied with a bit of gold string, and suspended from the branches of the tree. I saved us a fortune in decorations, (but not in fags) which appealled greatly to the ex's frugal Yorkshire mentality.
In order to save even more money that Christmas, the ex went out shooting and bagged a couple of hares. I had frozen loads of blackberries from the autumn hedgerows and blanched plenty of organic (read, covered in caterpillars and grubs) vegetables and planned a Christmas lunch fit for a poor, young couple, living in sin.
Having marinaded the hare in left-over lager from the night before, and glazed it with honey and blackberries, the ex and I decided to cycle up to the local pub for a cup of cheer while the hare roasted. The weather was foul: sleeting, bitterly cold, icy wind, and the roaring fire in The Hare and Hounds was most welcoming...so much so, that we got stuck in to a fair number of pints of Old Scrotum before I realised, with a start, that I had a hare to care for.
We precariously cycled back, wobbling more than was quite safe on an extremely fast country lane, and fell into the house...to be met by a wall of black smoke.
The hare had shrunk to the size of a small guinea pig and was totally unsalvageable - apart from giving it to the cat. The ex and I looked at each other in dismay, and, ever one to make light of a situation, I rifled through our tiny freezer compartment and rustled up some chicken nuggets to go with the carrots and broccoli. It wasn't actually a bad meal, all things considered, and the cat thoroughly enjoyed his offerings. It took until New Year for the smell of smoke to vanish from the kitchen, even though I kept the back door open as much as was possible with the bitter cold - then again, the gap under the stable door was so enormous, allowing mice to walk through upright if they so wished, that it didn't make that much difference.
So this year, I vowed that the girls and I would be going out for Christmas Lunch and there would be little, if no, palava. However, all the best laid plans go to waste with me, I have left it way too late to book anywhere, and I now have another mouth to feed in the shape of Charles Parsnip. I am considering how to complain enough to get out of doing it - if it was just the girls and myself, no doubt there would be three different meals to cook: I would be on my fish or seafood, #1 would be on the chicken, and #2 would pick at bread and Nutella. However, Mr P appears to like his traditional meal with all the trimmings as has been evinced by mention of joints, roasts, Yorkshire pudding, sausages wrapped in bacon etc. and I am starting to get frown lines above my nose from thinking too hard.
It's a pity the chippy isn't open...