Merry Christmas Everyone!
Tis the day before Christmas and the shelves of the fridge are straining under the weight of their mixed bounty of lactose free, and gluten free, and pregnancy friendly produce, and fizz and wine…..
Many more dairy products are awaiting the departure of our neighbour J, who is traveling to spend the holidays with friends and has kindly offered her kitchen, fridge and cooker as an overflow facility, which is much needed.
The presents are wrapped. The turkey crown has been collected – it is always a rather tense affair relying upon the rather disorganised but excellent butcher to have fulfilled the turkey order. And, already the kitchen is a flurry of chopping and smells of Christmas spices as C prepares the red cabbage ahead of time.
I have been banished to the sofa.
Outside a gale is blowing and the rain is lashing as Storm Eva looms every closer and I am slowly drying out after braving the early morning run to Waitrose and the aforementioned purveyor of fine meats.
It was not quiet the usual chaos, but the carpark was still a relatively tense affair as people who had perhaps had one too many the night before mixed with those enjoying a sugar hit after a breakfast of mince pies topped with brandy butter while trying to manoeuvre delicately into tight spaces.
There was the occasional trolley rage incident as spatially unaware pensioners clashed with hungover husbands who were in control of a shopping trolley for the first time since last Christmas. It was particularly fraught around the salad bay, where many a housewife stared in defeat and bemusement at shelves bereft of lambs lettuce; and as people fought to push through the ranks of those queuing to collect their pre-ordered dressed crab and turkeys.
The TV news is full of flooding in Cumbria, the fall of Sangin to the Taliban, the petulance of Louis van Gaal, and domestic violence. Radio 4 is trying to redress the balance somewhat with tales of toboggan makers, people singing festive songs, and a piece on strange places that people are forced to sleep when staying with relatives at Christmas – on the kitchen floor in front of the washing machine under a princess duvet is the best so far.
Peace on Earth and goodwill to all? Maybe not.
So, as I lounge here awaiting my turn in the kitchen to conjure cranberry sauce, while looking forward to the arrival of our first guests, I do a mental check of things still to do for this Christmas present; I spare a thought to Christmases past; and, I contemplate the prospects for all those Christmases still to come.
It is still quite early so I will raise only an imaginary glass to all my family and friends and wish you all a merry, merry, merry Christmas!