Thursday, December 31, 2009

Seasonal highlights part two: to Christmas and beyond!

Wrapping with sherryIt was all a bit last minute. On Christmas Eve I was slightly hungover, having had an unexpected (and very enjoyable) evening out with my Significant Ex the night before. Not so's I couldn't function, but there was the whole house to clean, all the decorations to put up, the presents to wrap and the nut roast to cook. It needed to be done early because there was a giant turkey too (Peach Croft Farm's finest*), which was going to leave mere millimetres to spare in the oven.

In the end, the wrapping, apart from for M (who anyway had half a washing machine to look at if he was after shiny) was done on a 'they're coming up the path now' basis. I can recommend this approach as long as you have sellotape in one of those quick-action dispensers.

SS Mary and John churchyardChristmas Day itself had something of the military about it, in the early part anyway. The nut roast never did get done on Christmas Eve, so there were back of envelope calculations about oven timings and temperatures, and there was a mountain of potatoes, parsnips, sprouts, carrots, swede, broccoli, and two colours of cabbage to prepare. This was because M had offered to feed ex-housemate S, her Young Man, Big Boy Tungsten and Baby Particle (well, at one remove). Somewhere along the line her Young Man's parents were added into the equation, but by then it was well into sheep as a lamb territory anyway.

One of the indisputable joys of living in East Oxford is that if you decide you absolutely must have six cans of Coca Cola and a Swiss roll (for trifle) at 1.30pm on Christmas Day, there's a shop open that will sell them to you, and you can have a little solitary walk there and back through the churchyard. After dinner, which was a success of epic proportions for which I can take only minor credit (nut roast, some peeling, excavation of posh wine glasses, table decorations) I had another burst of claustrophobia, and this time managed to persuade ex-housemate S to come for a short stomp with me over South Park as the sun went down. Then we all watched the Gruffalo together and I thought, maybe I'm not such a misanthrope after all.

TrifleBoxing Day featured more wrapping and more eating, this time with M's offspring. They are all proper grown ups these days, and it doesn't half make life easier. For them as well as me, I'm sure. We had a splendid cheese fondue with an enormous winter salad and drank a bit too much (or was that just me?) without it getting messy.

And then there was peace, interspersed with spontaneous socialising, which I think is the kind I like the best these days. Right now I have a streaming cold, but one that is containable as long as there is a generous supply of Lemsip Max and those tissues that don't make your nose hurt. We went to see Avatar last night (a shit Hollywood plot that you can almost but not quite ignore because the 3D special effects are so awesome) and tonight I am going to share a little sloe Sambuca at either or possibly both of two gatherings, one of which is largely made up of people I last saw in the Hot Place.

It's been a funny old year, what with the global economic meltdown, a trip to quite possibly the worst place on earth, dealing with leaks in roofs and radiators, and nearly having skin cancer. Perhaps the funniest thing is it feels like it's not been a bad one. Maybe close escapes are good for the soul.


* Going to pick up the turkey on the 23rd with M and the ex-housemate S collective was about the most middle class thing I have ever done. There was a big marquee with heaters and mulled wine and carols playing. I was sitting with Particle and a posh lady said 'how *delightful* to have a new baby at Christmas!'. Oh, I said. He's not mine. Fortunately, I didn't get arrested or anything.

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Blogger Spine said...

Happy New Year and sorry I didn't make it to admire your washing machine. I fired onions into Swansea Bay instead.

Next time, I swear. Maybe around the Sept Reunion?

10:09 am  

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