Monday, January 07, 2013


I'm always quite relieved to get to Twelfth Night, having been at the humbug end of the Christmas spectrum for the past 20 years or so. Oh, but it's lovely for children, people say. Yeah, but I'm not one and haven't got any, I reply. For me it's just a lot of random expense, long journeys at the most inhospitable time of the year, inane music, even more inane television, more stuff that I don't need, and way too much Organised Fun. I'd rather stay in on my own for the duration with some posh gin and Inspector Morse, honest to god, but a) nobody believes me and b) even if they do I'm not allowed.

This year was different, of course (what do you buy the woman who's busy getting rid of things? I could tell you, but you might cry). Gin and Morse was not an option. But, while it was hard for me to tell, because it's a while since I've spent Christmas at the parental home so all the rituals were slightly unfamiliar, I think it went off pretty well. We had a splendid dinner, cooked by my sister's friend O and his boyfriend, who, it turned out, is a chef - poor guy had already done about 1200 Christmas dinners, but we were all very appreciative of his final eight. Cranberry-topped nut roast FTW. We also did quite a bit of Walking the Dog, and Drinking the Wine, and Watching the Queen. It was all as it should be, except not. What else can you do?

Boxing Day was at my aunt's -- and in many ways even more familiar and even stranger. The lasagne, the egg mayonnaise, the tuna pasta salad, the quiche, the rolled up slices of smoked salmon, the lemon meringue pie... all the food and the people and the animals who should have been there (with the exception of my cousin P, who lives in Hong Kong), the men talking about the latest gadget (G's Raspberry Pi), the women sitting round the kitchen table, various people keen to ask me if I really have started eating meat (of which more later). This is what we've always done, but it was a little bit like watching it through a video camera, or from down a long corridor. It was most peculiar. I expect there's a word for it. I wouldn't have been anywhere else, but at the same time, I can't completely say I was there.

New Year was entirely different, and if anything even odder. There was a revue then a ceilidh planned in the Common House, and I am mildly to severely allergic to both of these things. They're not compulsory, of course, just as I am not contractually obliged to eat Mung Bean Surprise, but it's surprisingly difficult to assert your right to, you know, stay in with posh gin and Inspector Morse.

In the end, I had a lovely evening. E came to drink sherry with me and let me be a bit sad for a while, then two people asked if they could come and watch Morse too, which was perfect gentle company. Several others dropped in and out around midnight, and I was finally tempted down the street once I was assured all remaining fun was distinctly disorganised. It does get a bit fuzzy after that point but I remember skidding down the floor to Praise You, and pogoing to Reward till I nearly-fell-over-but-didn't. I didn't feel very shiny the next day (in fact I didn't get dressed) but there in the background was the little glow of knowing that I'm not on my own with the strangeness (or the sadness). I have comrades, and I'm lucky.

In between the two Big Ones we had a delightful visit from Mr B, who came bearing wine, gifts from Turkey and an electric cigarette, which I had a go on after we'd drunk some of the wine (verdict: enjoyable, but probably best avoided unless the alternative is real cigarettes). He'd texted ahead to say he wanted to eat communal lentils, which was not quite possible, but we improvised and sat round our old table with our new friends and ate Greek lentil soup adapted from the recipe of my Significant Ex's best friend from school's mum. It was a good collision of worlds. I do miss Mr B.

But all in all, various things notwithstanding, I was pretty glad to get shot of 2012. We've still got most of the winter to get through, but I find there's something calming and palate cleansing about the tinsel-free bleakness of early January, at least as long as I don't have to go very far and have a decent stack of library books.

So, to resolutions. I have three this year.

1. Blog at least once a week.
2. Sober January. Well, sober most of January, as we are heading to East London to celebrate my birthday and I don't see that happening without a Negroni or two. I might make the days up in February. It's going ok so far, in the sort of extended hangover feat. scary dreams fashion I remember from previous detoxes.
3. Eat meat at least once a month. That's high quality meat of known and ethical provenance, preferably local. So far (not all this year) I have had lambs liver for dinner twice, once from Abel & Cole, once from our local butcher, and half a free range Lancastrian pork pie. I think this may be like discovering classical music after a lifetime of alt-folk. It's a whole new thing. And deserves further expounding, when I've worked out what the hell it is I think I'm doing.



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Anonymous Jonathan said...

I am inspired by your resolution number one and have made the exact same one, let's see if we can both keep it! The blogging thing as I think you wrote recently is therapeutic... if I don't post for a couple of weeks I begin to feel ill-at-ease and that has been happening too much recently...

Resolution number two however... you're on your own there, good luck with it!

10:24 pm  
Blogger Jo said...

Yay! More blogging! It will be like the old days.
On the booze front, I do keep dreaming about it... last night it was a large glass of white Rioja. All the fun, none of the hangover. (Actually, not all the fun. I want gin!)

1:25 pm  

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