Ah, Christmas! How you do sneak up on a girl! One minute I am slapping the sun cream on and the next your festive twinkle has overtaken me.

This year, for a change, I am feeling rather organised. The cake managed to get made – this time without He Who Knows Everything braining himself on the garden furniture – and it smells rather lovely. When I say lovely, what I actually mean is Alcoholic. I have yet to perfect the trick of unwrapping it without needing to take a staggered step backwards at the fumes. Naked flames are banned for at least half an hour afterwards to let the vapours dispel.

What is particularly nice about Christmas is the rhythm of it. It pretty much follows the same pattern each year. Of course, nothing stays the same forever, but Christmas seems to assimilate new events into itself so they are swiftly lined up alongside the more traditional occupations of eating biscuits for breakfast and making fun of the Round Robin letters.

The newest tradition to enter into the Christmas pantheon of my household is for the hall ceiling to end up on the hall floor.

Regular readers may remember last years fiasco in which it was decided to decorate the hall, stairs and landing in the weeks preceding Christmas and in which a crowbar was taken to the hall ceiling for complicated reasons involving bureaucracy and which led to a longer than usual To Do list due to the necessity of rebuilding said ceiling before the builders holiday kicked in.
Happily, all the jobs got finished and a mostly merry Christmas was had by mostly everybody and we swore we would never undertake such a foolish enterprise so close to Christmas ever again. Then again, we had said that in previous years following a last minute decision to move house on the 23rd of December. We had found the experience to be a trifle incompatible with a peaceful holiday season.

This year, the hall ceiling has decided it wants to be included in the traditional festivities. Upon our return from Cardiff, we found it had colluded with the hot water tank and was sporting some new watermark tattoos and a pool of liquid beneath it.
Naturally, when He Who Knows Everything told me about this latest development, I sprang instantly into action.
“I shouldn’t worry about it.” I said. “It’s been doing that for the last week in our absence. It will have found equilibrium by morning. If that equilibrium is on the floor then I am good with it.”
HWKE considered my philosophy for a moment before agreeing and retiring to bed.

In more ordinary circumstances, I would doubtless have taken up anxious residence beneath the watery bulge, but these were no ordinary circumstances. Our ferry had been delayed for several hours while the heroic Captain Gerard donned his wetsuit to remove some wire from the propeller. By the time we staggered in through the front door, it was a full twelve hours after we had set out from Cardiff. The gallant captain had arranged a free carvery dinner for us, but all of that meat and gravy served only to make us full and less willing to do some midnight plumbing. If I came down in the morning to find my ceiling on the floor, I would place the blame squarely on the captain and his garlic roast potatoes.

In the end, the ceiling remained where it was. He Who Knows Everything got his spanners out and declared the fault to lie in some loose joints which had begun to leak in earnest after the lack of hot water flowing through them caused them to contract. He spent several days tightening them up and looking with puzzlement at the ceiling which still seemed to be leaking.
Eventually, he found the correct joint. He claims to have tightened it up and is busy with a roller and a spray restoring the ceiling to its original whiteness.

In other news: We have been debating about what size turkey to order for Christmas. Usually I request one as big as my head (because Christmas is the only time of year in which you get the chance to eat something the size of your head) but this year a slightly smaller one is being requested. Partly this is because Strider has declared she will return to Cardiff on the twenty seventh but mainly it is because of the absence of The Cat.
The Cat was always very keen on turkey. So keen in fact that one year, HWKE came into the kitchen to find she had managed to jump a six foot gap onto the kitchen counter top and was sitting next to a fang marked turkey with an innocent expression.
I’m really going to miss that kind of thing this year.


GJ said...


Theo said...

Yup. Turkey. It's an excellent source of Zinc and has much less fat than Goose. Mmmmmm... Turkey.