Monday, 6 January 2014

Whoopee


Christmas was going to take some ingenuity. Nearly four, and she was already questioning the tricky logistics St Nick had ahead of a perilous night's present dropping. 'Mummy, how's he going to get down our chimney, he's so fat?' 'Mummy, how does he know who's house to go to?' 'Mummy, do you think he got my letter, and the elves are making my marbles?' My one, consistent response, 'don't worry, Christmas is magic, and you'd be amazed the tiny holes Father Christmas can squeeze through, quite simply astounding.' That seemed to satisfy her curiosity...

...and it turned out there was enough room in Santa's sack for a pot of The North Poles finest; glass marbles of all sizes and colours, some with a pearly sheen, others with swirls of colour, like Jupiter. Like Willy Wonker sweets. (thank you John Lewis).

Grandma slept on a blow up bed in the spare room, Younger Brother slept on the futon in the lounge. They arrived on Christmas Eve, appearing late enough in the afternoon as to spare me an extra twenty minutes for a few well chosen yoga stretches - the tiniest envelope, a moment's serenity - before the festivities began in full glass chinking swing.

'The meat's already cooked,' Younger Dad said, alarm clear in his eyes. Shaking his head, he stuck the thermometer in for a second time to be sure, 'no, it's definitely cooked.' The last of the vegetables weren't prepared, or the Yorkshire Pudding. A sheet of foil was placed over the strip loin of beef, the very one I had stood waiting impatiently for the previous day, in the rain, a bright pair of raspberry Crocs offering nothing in the way of protection against damp or cold, with no umbrella, or mobile phone, in a long motionless line outside the local butchers. For two hours. Apparently, half of Croxley Green had begun queueing at eight in the morning.

Twenty minutes later, a decision - not mine - had been made. 'I haven't time to cook the parsnips.' said Younger Dad. 'What?' I asked, 'you mean we won't be having the maple syrup parsnips?' Younger Dad pressed on, 'I need to serve the food now.' 'But you can't, I'm still ironing the table cloths.' I had spent weeks planning and procuring the detail, the colour, for the Christmas Day dinner table; there was no way it wasn't being made. And so it began, our festive altercation. Table vs The Food. Grandma as referee. Oh Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without one merry clash...

Needless to say, Table won, and the beef was still perfect. We all sat down to candle lit magic; silver glittered stars, snowflakes, and delicate beading coiled it's way down the pale blue runner, catching the light of the flames. Crackers. And napkins in holders, and specially bought place mats for the occasion. I even went as far as name cards... The Yorkshire Puds, soft on the inside, crispy on the outside, over and above the required West Riding standards, the meat mopped up with tart red cabbage, creamy potatoes dauphinoise, buttered carrots, and the richest gravy.


During dessert, Grandma had a little accident, she sat down on a strategically placed whoopee cushion, and it burst. The oh so weighty implication... Little A thought it was hilarious. And thankfully so did Grandma - her good humoured response permitting full bellied laughter around the table.

And after all the mince pies had been devoured, and the wrapping paper ripped and strewn across the living room floor, these were the things I learnt from Christmas 2013....

1. How wonderful family traditions are. On Christmas morning, we all tucked into Younger Dad's special festive breakfast; his family have made it every year for as long as he can remember; white toast layered with smoke salmon, sour cream, cress, and mock caviar (lump fish), washed down with Bucks Fizz. On Boxing Day, we made our special breakfast, the one reserved for birthdays and other important markers on the calendar; buttermilk pancakes soaked in butter and maple syrup with crisp streaky bacon.

2. Seriously, I shouldn't take myself or Christmas so seriously (see above). It's a dinner table, not the end of the world. 

3. The finest moment was snuggling in bed together on Christmas morning - me and my family of three - and opening our stocking presents one at a time, the pale winter light filtering through the gauze of the net curtains.

4. I have developed a passion for lounge wear. I blame it on the yoga, not that I'm comfortably middle-aged.

On New Years Eve, Younger Dad and I braved the drivel on TV, waving a half hearted hello to 2014, surprisingly unmoved by the fireworks exploding over the London Eye. At ten past midnight, dressed in lounge wear, I climbed the stairs to bed, the enormous serving of curry three hours before still grumbling away in my belly. In bed, I thought about 2013. Busy, industrious 2013. The house move, words, writing festivals, Little A.... when my eyes opened in the morning, I had found my word for this year; believe.

Wishing you a wonderful 2014!

52 comments:

  1. Believe is a fabulous word... :)
    And of course the table had to win, it is part of the Christmas magic, seriously or not! ;)
    Happy New Year! xx

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    1. Thank you very much! It's a very fine word indeed! A beautifully decorated table really makes Christmas, Christmas for me. Happy New Year to you too! X

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  2. And a very Happy New Year to you my dear friend. Your Christmas sounds absolutely perfect - everything it can be. Am so pleased for you. Your writing is beautiful and I feel I want to discuss each paragraph with you. Glorious and yes, time to believe! XXX

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    1. It was a really lovely Christmas, peppered with a bit of festive bickering. We all had a great time though. Good things come to those who wait - have we waited long enough?.... believe, indeed. X

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  3. Marvellously evocative :). Your Christmas sounds like good fun

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    1. Thank you very much. It was a lot of fun thank you. :o).

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  4. Sounds like an amazing Christmas and the table setting sounds absolutely beautiful. It's so lovely to just have family time isn't it? I love the family cuddles in bed whenever we have them. Happy new year!!

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    1. It was really wonderful thank you, and I loved the table I created. It was was the first Christmas in our new home and it was fab. Family cuddled in bed are the best. Happy New Year to you too!

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  5. How full of joy! So glad it all went well. Hope it is the start of the best and most fulfilling year! Xx

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    1. It was a very happy Christmas, with tonnes of food! And I hope this year is a great one for you too. X

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  6. Happy New Year to you and Younger Dad and Little A! Lovely post, it's always so nice reading about other people's Christmas traditions. And so stressful to be the hosts! It sounds like you did a wonderful job. I laughed out loud at the whoopee cushion, and am v envious of Little A's marbles because I tried and failed to find some for DorkySon.
    Hope that 2014 is a magical one for you all xxx

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    1. And a Happy New Year to you all too! We had a lovely time but it was quite stressful as you so rightly say. I didn't quite know what to do or say when my mum burst that cushion..... and I think I got lucky with Little A's marbles - thank you John Lewis! X

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  7. Yay, I've missed your words! What a wonderful, heart-warming Christmas you enjoyed. Thank you for sharing the story and your anticipation for 2014. I officially have goose bumps! x

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    1. We all had a lovely Christmas, certainly one to remember - I now need to buy Little A a replacement whoopee cushion for her birthday. I hope this is a great year for all of us! X

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  8. Happy New Year! It sounds like you had a wonderful yuletide! I found it hard not being around my family this year. The story about Grandma and the whoopie cushion made me laugh though! :)

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    1. Happy New Year to you too! We had a great time, the first time we hosted, and it all went very well all things considered. Yes, the poor whoopee cushion, a short life indeed! :o)

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  9. Fabulous. Yes - believe in good things this year - for I am certain there are plenty in store :) xx

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    1. Thank you lovely! I believe you and your poetry and prose are going to have a huge one this year, I see awards beckoning. X

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  10. Happy New Year - sounds like a marvellous Christmas ;) xx Next year ours will be so different - WallyBubba will be 3 juts before Xmas Day so no more sitting around opening gifts and not really worrying about the whole Father Xmas thing! We'll be in full swing! lol x Thta breakfast sounded awesome - might have to make that a new tradition in our house! ;) xx

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    1. And a Happy New Year to you too. It was a lovely Christmas thank you... it must be quite a challenge having a birthday so close to Christmas, especially on the wallet. Both the breakfasts are fab and very, very yummy! :o). X

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  11. Happy new year! Sounds like a lovely gathering and a very happy time. I'm really interested in other people's word for the year, so thanks for sharing yours. Mine is "upgrade" as I need to do just that in so many areas of my life.

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    1. And you too lovely! Yes, it was lovely thank you, and I hope yours was too. Upgrade is an excellent word, I think that's my other word for 1014.

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  12. Happy new year lady! I too have a new found passion for loungewear as a result of a new found love (ahem) of exercise. We'll have to swap loungewear notes!! Hope to see you over at the #AllAboutYou Link & Pin Party at some point xx

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    1. And to you too! Lounge wear rocks, especially on a Sunday, doing absolutely nothing at all :o). I've had a look at your new linky, it looks great, and I will certainly do my best to link up! :o). X.

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  13. you always find the right words - Believe is perfect, so much to believe in, and I feel sure 2014 is going to be a top year for you. Your Christmas sounds joyful, wouldn't be the same without a little festive friction :) x

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    1. Thank you lovely! I really hope 2014 is a good one, not just for me, but for all of us. I'm certainly looking forward to a full year in our new home, and Christmas was fab. X

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  14. What a lovely post. Your christmas and new year sound magic.

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    1. Thank you. It really was very lovely.

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  15. It sounds like you had a wonderful Christmas, magical x

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  16. What a fabulous post. I've only just found you, but I'm so glad I did. I love your writing style. I was exactly the same about the Table! Table cloth ironed as gravy made. I have also fallen foul of Crocs - they are comfortable and slip on with no hands, but they are no protection against projectile vomit. No, none at all. Have a fab, (yoga) stretch-y 2014!

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    1. Thank you very much! ... and for liking my writing style, lovely to feel appreciated :o). You have to have an ironed table cloth at Christmas.... and I'll bear in mind your Crocs tip (yuck).

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  17. Sounds like a wonderful Christmas to me, and lounge wear for the win....I live in pyjamas for as much as the time as decently possible! Xx

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    1. It was great thank you... and lounge wear and pj's all the way. It's the comfort factor or bust! X

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  18. I can almost smell and taste your Christmas - your words are so wonderfully evocative. happy new year lovely lady xx

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    1. Thank you very much.... it was a very delicious Christmas. And Happy New Year to you too lovely! X

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  19. You are such a talented writer. I loved this post. I would've been rushing to get the table decs done too - there's never enough time at Xmas! Good on you for sticking to your guns! Lounge wear rocks...especially when you can eat pancakes wearing it...room for expansion too :0) x

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    1. *Blushes*. Thank you. I thought I would have loads of time and then I didn't all of a sudden, and that added stress to the situation. I was pleased with the result in the end though. Oh yes! Lounger wear comes in very useful for pancakes. Yum! X.

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  20. Next year I'm coming to yours for Christmas! Here's to a happy and healthy 2014 for you and yours. And I hope to see you again this year - are you doing BritMums again? x

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    1. I'm not sure I want to host Christmas again for a while. Thank you. And yes, I am back at BritMums again this year :o).

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  21. Believe is very apt - I believe this will be the year great things happen for you *tries to look all knowing and clairvoyant* (I meant that by the way). Reading this makes me wish it was Christmas again now, not sure my liver agrees with me though...

    Happy New Year!

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    1. I really so hope so.... that would be lovely. It would be even better is you were clairvoyant :o).... I think I need to go on a diet now... Happy New Year to you too. :o).

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  22. I love the idea of both of your festive breakfasts! Yum yum. Happy New Year ;-)

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    1. They were fabulous, and very filling *hiccups* :o).

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  23. Happy new year and hope you had a wonderful Christmas xx

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  24. A bit late I know. Am just emerging from Christmas cocoon. Happy New Year! xxx

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    1. And you lovely! X

      Hope it's nice and mild your way...

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  25. Happy new year lovely, sounds like a very good Christmas indeed. I love all the family traditions too it really makes it. Mich x

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    1. Thank you! And you too! And Christmas was lovely... we love creating all our own traditions, it's what makes it so special. X

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  26. Oh fabulous! I really feel I got such a lovely taste of your wonderful Christmas! Not the end of the world but I am glad you got to set your table, it sounded gorgeous and the photo gave a lovely glimpse of it. I love the traditions too, we're trying to develop our own. A work in progress and changes as the boy grows older.

    Happy New Year my friend. 'I believe' it will be a good one :-)

    xx Jazzy

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    1. And you too lovely lady! Here's hoping 2014 is a good one for all of us. Christmas was lovely but hard work - it was our first time hosting it; great food and company. X

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