I haven't really said how Christmas went yet. It was a good one. I must say that I disappointed myself at the degree of difficulty I had coping with other people about, even when those other people were my close family. I found it very stressful, following conversations and not saying the wrong thing or interrupting people. I also felt very anxious about the presents I had got everyone. I found this all very frustrating, because I had so longed to spend time with other people and this social-phobia is born entirely out of my recent isolation.
I was also kind of disappointed that on the first occasion that my Dad has had both daughters and their partners in the same room in four or five years he decided to start fannying about trying to set up Satellite Navigation on his mobile phone. He could have just asked where he was. And at the end of the day, no mobile phone or gadget in the world is going to tell him what he went upstairs for.
However, though at times a tad annoying, my Dad has calmed down loads since our last visit in August, when he was constantly compelled to fidget, turn the television or radio on at any and every break in conversation. My parents are basically well and relatively harmonious. They are a couple who need to argue often to get along and their one actual row in which my Mum loudly called my Dad an arse was rather embarrassing, especially for [...], whose parents argued very rarely.
[...] got to go Christmas shopping with Mum a couple of times while I sat in front of the fire, experimenting on the way different things burn, like teabags and banana skins. Hours of fun.
Mum got a pair of reflexology socks (digital socks with various areas of the body labelled on), but she seemed far more interested in the cardboard inserts which she kept leaving in various areas of the house like footprints saying “Look! Someone’s been here!” Dad got a trumpet, although all anybody could play on it was The Last Post.
[...] was the only person who completely declined the offer of champagne on Christmas Day, but as Dad was opening it the bottle went off like a fire-extinguisher that happened to be pointing straight at [...]. Most of the contents was absorbed by his shirt, although a fair amount went on his face and the wall.
It was great to see my Granny Kelly, who despite a terrible year seems to be very nearly back to her old wonderful self. On receiving a bottle of Baileys, she declared that she likes to use Baileys instead of milk in her morning coffee. My Other Gran wore her hearing aid, which clearly wasn’t working but instead acted as a blockage in her ear, causing her to shout all the time.
The Christmas dinners (we had one on Christmas day with the Grannies and one on Boxing Day with Rosie & Adrian was really fantastic. I usually don’t really go for that. Desperate for a plate of pasta and pesto after two weeks of my Mum’s cooking, but hey. The best bit of Christmas was however the secret exciting family news, which I shall tell you in a few weeks time.
Highlights of presents included the books The Uxbridge English Dictionary with new definitions for words including evanescent (a Welshman who glows in the dark), sanctity (a drooping bosom) and renegade (a device for blowing up anagram enthusiasts). We also got the book X-Treme Latin which includes useful Latin phrases such as
“Scisne schema gynmosophisticum per quod, capite inter femora flexo, iubentur basio valere clunes?”
Which (they reckon) translates as “Do you know the yoga position where you put your head between your legs and kiss your ass goodbye?”
My Mum hadn’t really believed that I wouldn’t be well enough to go out shopping with her so on the evening of the 22nd confessed that she hadn’t got me a thing for my birthday and what did I want? This was quite good because I could ask for what I really wanted, which was notebooks. If I had asked for notebooks weeks or months in advance, they would probably have been deemed too boring.
My notebooks, particularly an A4 “Project Book” were one of my best presents, which got used throughout Christmas as I have continued to obsess about my novel. I also got loads of other books, an absolute stack of DVDs and a great album called Bimbling by Martha Tilston. Oh and some tea. And some night-dresses. And stuff.
The snow came down on Boxing Day night, and was very beautiful, if contributing to our most delayed departure to date. There was a family snowball fight, although I couldn’t join in.
We also had some bouts of communal drumming, read some rather naff ghost stories out-loud in the evenings and learnt how to play Cribbage. Uh, think that’s about it really.