Friday, 21 December 2012

Advent Day 21

'Get out of the Advent Box immediately!' says Primrose, impatiently tapping her foot, an especially loud noise as she is wearing her tap dancing shoes. And as Primrose is fast becoming a chicken not to be argued with, I open the box a smidge from where I am hiding, and try to have a reasoned conversation with her without her getting narky.

'I have to stay in here today,' I say, 'because according to the Mayan Calendar, today is the end of the world.'
'Don't be ridiculous,' snorts Primrose. 'If you really thought the world was going to end on 21st December, you wouldn't have wasted the rest of your life going to school, would you? Besides, the Mayan calendar is cyclical and we live by a linear calendar. So get out of the box.'

I think, she has a point there, and so I lift the box lid completely and peer into the outside world. All seems normal. No devastation, no rubble, no post-apocalypse housework required.

'Now,' says Primrose, 'you have to go to Sainsbugs and do the big Christmas shop. Including the stuff you are going to need for the At Home At Much Malarkey Manor Party which is tomorrow.'

'Yes,' I say. 'And whose stupid idea was that?'
'Yours, I believe,' says Primrose.
'Mmmmm,' I say. She's right again. It seemed a very good idea back in November. Actually, it seems like a good idea now. I just have to brace myself for Sainsbugs.

So I climb from the box, don my Armageddon shopping gear and head for the supermarket. I arrive just after 8. It is already busy, especially for the end of the world, but not aggravatingly so. An hour later I emerge, full trolleyed, and the car park is heaving. People are queuing to park. I allow myself a moment of Christmas smugness that I have been in and out quick as a flash, and can now go home. Except...

...I need to get a joint of bacon for the party tomorrow. Even though I am vegetarian I am not going to impose my beliefs on our guests, but all Sainsbugs can offer is Danish pig, and if dead pig is on the menu, then it will be dead British pig and that means a trip to the butchers in the town centre.

I go home. The home is still standing. Tybalt and Pandora are asleep, snuggled up in a ball together on the sofa. If cats are sensitive to oncoming earthquakes then these two are either lacking that sensitivity, or there are no earthquakes scheduled for today.

I unload the shopping. I look at the full fridge, freezer and cupboards with satisfaction. If the end of the world comes, we shall be okay for food for a couple of weeks at least. I decide to walk back into town, because there will be no parking spaces.

In town I locate and pay for the best part of a pig's back leg. I then make the mistake of thinking, 'Ooh, think I'll have a mooch around town for a while. Get some exercise.'

I find a jigsaw puzzle of the Muppets. 'That will provide some entertainment for guests tomorrow,' I think, because there are at least 5 of them who enjoy a good jigsaw puzzle. After a while, the handle on the carrier bag in which I am toting the dead pig starts to stretch so I have to lean to one side as I walk to prevent the load dragging on the ground.

The town is filling up. I walk past some teenagers who are discussing the end of the world. I think, brilliant - if the world ends today then future archaeologists will discover my skeleton in the company of the goodly part of a dead pig and a jigsaw puzzle of the Muppets. What kind of message is THAT going to send the inheritors of the earth?

I try to find myself a festive top or dress to wear on Christmas Day. I find a purple velvety number in M & S. I try it on. It is described a 'fit and flare'. It does fit, and it does flare. Unfortunately, the bit of me between my neck and my ankles has also flared this year, fatly, (I blame comfort eating in response to the stresses of being a teacher) and thus the dress flares more than is truly necessary. I decide against buying any new clothes until I've lost a bit of weight.

The pig bag has stretched beyond belief. I am forced to catch the bus home because I cannot wrestle with the combination of a dead animal, a large jigsaw puzzle AND walk two miles at the same time.

'So,' says Primrose, as I stagger through the door at lunchtime. 'We survived the end of the world then? Ahahahahahahahaha!'
'Only just,' I say.

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