Sunday, 11 December 2011

Bah Humbug!

'I refuse,' I said on Thursday, 'to decorate the house for Christmas until I've broken up from school. Absolutely refuse.'

'It doesn't feel like Christmas,' I said to Andy, on Friday.

Well, it didn't. It was freezing cold, so that ticked the December box, and I was thinking, I'm going to have to tackle the North face of the Eiger on Sunday, aka defrost the freezer, but other than that the only Christmas excitement had been a) opening the Advent calendar doors in the morning b) lighting the Advent candle in the evening and c) forcing my tutor group to watch 'A Muppet Christmas Carol' during tutor time at school because I didn't fancy delivering the rather grim presentation provided by my Chapter head. I shan't tell you what it was about, but it would have involved a lot of awkward questions from the children, the kind of questions a Grandma shouldn't have to answer first thing in the morning when she's only recently had breakfast.

So yesterday, Saturday, we decided to go to Rochester Christmas Market. We went last year. It was good. This year, we took Chris, Leane and Kayleigh with us. The market was full of unusual foods, and artisan presents and fairground rides and people in costume pretending it was 1870 something.
Lesson Number One - there is nothing like a small grandchild gazing in wonder at people dressed up in Dickensian costume whilst trying to eat a pretty hefty chunk of ginger biscuit to put you in the Christmas mood.

In the afternoon, we went to buy our Christmas tree. Given we've had a living room rejiggle this year, space has become available for a slightly larger than usual Christmas tree. And Andy had already hinted at upsizing.
'I want a huge Christmas tree this year,' he said.
We came home with one that was nearly 7 feet tall and handsomely buxom. And as we had just paid almost £30 for aforesaid tree, we brought it indoors straight away in order to get our money's worth. And decorated it. Cor, it did smell good!
Lesson Number Two - one cannot have a bare tree dominating a corner of one's living room without decorating it and one cannot have a decorated tree in a house without the rest of the house matching.

So, with the decorations and lights up inside, it seemed crazy not to deal with the outside of the house, too. Heather and I went out into the bitter cold where I skidded about on top of the stepladder and hung lights on the weatherboard, and Heather shivered about on the path guiding the lights up to me and providing a safety cushion should I happen to topple from stepladder in a no doubt high-comedy moment.
Inside, Andy was constructing a wreath for the front door from MMM willow, holly gleaned from the woods out the back of his workplace and ivy gleaned from under the MMM front hedge. The wreath was hung upon the front door. It looks fab!
Lesson Number 3 - if you're going to decorate a house, then inside and out is the order of the day. If you leave out the outside it will only sulk. And it's nice to share some twinkling lighty wreathy cheer with the neighbours.

Thoughts ran, then, to how atrocious the postal system is at this time of year. So on went the Salvation Army band Christmas carol CD, out came the cards, stamps and cups of tea, and Andy and I spent a companionable hour writing our Christmas cards together. They were then posted, against my better judgement, in the strange little post box at the end of the road, in which (and this is a well known fact) lives a family of arsonistic gnomes who set fire to all the post before it can be collected for delivery. This means no one will get a card from us this year, but I did warn Andy about the gnomes, and he chose to ignore my warning, so it's his fault, okay?
Lesson Number 4 - Christmas cards - it's the thought that counts. Well, it'll have to this year, now the gnomes have burned our offerings.

And with the darkness descending, we switched on the Christmas lights. I went a bit fuzzy-eyed at the sight of the Christmas tree, and a bit fuzzy-eared because I seem to have developed a spot of tinnitus. And the semi-final of Strictly Come Dancing was on the telly, and it was fab 'n' Christmassy.

And this morning, I am taking a break from freezer defrosting to write this blog a) because my aged aunt has complained I've slipped behind this week and left her with nothing to read, and b) my fingers are frozen with all the scraping-ice-off-with-a-spatula malarkey and I need to bring them back to life with a bit of nifty keyboard dancing.

The freezer will soon be ready to receive Christmas goodies.

Does it feel like Christmas now?

Yes, it does!

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