With 2012 looming it occurred to me that the first blog of the New Year ought, by rights, to be posted on the first day of the first month. I didn’t quite manage the first hour as the comfort of my bed was far more tempting.
Christmas 2011 has travelled away into the past to sit comfortably with all my other Christmas memories. I’m hoping this one I’ll remember! It had many highlights and laugh-out-loud moments, but I know that among the most memorable parts will be the annoying ones. Like the day I spent Christmas shopping at the Eden Centre in High Wycombe, by myself (as I was buying pressies for everyone else), full of cold. I coughed and sneezed my way in and out of shops all the way from Argos at one end of the high street, through the Christmas market, round through the Chilterns – okay, only Primark – back up into the Octagon, zig-zagging my way towards Boots and BHS, round the U-bend and back to the Eden Centre, slowly ticking items off my list while mentally berating myself for not having accomplished this by November. In M&S I came across a pair of ‘secret support trousers’ in the section for the more mature lady. I stopped and stared at them for a full minute, wary for some unknown reason of even investigating the claim, unsure what the claim could refer to – somewhere to hide the gin; an inverted panel for prolapses; for the thicker sanitary towel; to prevent sagging boobs from falling below the thigh line; to stop your bum from exploding after too many brussels; somewhere to stash the child benefit so the husband can’t drink it… A child bumped into me releasing me from the secretive pull of a secret support. I hurried out before I gave in to the temptation to buy a pair (I knew it wouldn’t have somewhere to stash my gin, the best ideas never get picked!).
My son is now ‘big’ enough to have an extra little pocket in the right pocket of his jeans. A secret pocket. His lego Ninjago figure and £1 emergency money sit there quite comfortably.
One of the stalls in the Christmas market was selling hats made up to look like cute furry animals – monkeys, huskies, pandas, you get the picture. The ears of these animals were overlong, lined with fur and could be wrapped around the neck, like a scarf but the ends ended with pockets. I enquired about these pockets – surely anything you put in there would fall out when you threw the ends over your shoulder? Not only was I not offered a suitable answer, but the price of £25 stemmed my inquisitiveness most abruptly.
In HMV I looked in vain for a Dairy Of A Wimpy Kid DVD – the new one – for my son. I couldn’t find one. I did, however, come across a wonderful MP3 player in the shape of a red ‘Angry Bird’. If you don’t know the angry birds and have never come across the game on your mobile, I suggest you ask either a ten of forty-year old male. Don’t, whatever you do, ask them why the birds are angry unless you want the ten and forty-year old to have a very long, and loud, discussion. There was also a DVD box-set of a famous sci-fi film series with ‘never-before-seen behind-the-scenes’ footage. Someone, somewhere must have seen it to be able to include it, so that claim is erroneous and I am sure that with all the ‘making-of’ episodes that were around when the last of the films came out they must have been viewed by loads of people. Okay, I’m being picky and petty. I apologise.
Santa, of course, is the biggest secret of all. My ten-year old still believes. My daughter claims he doesn’t and let me tell you now that going to a child and asking them ‘do you still believe in Santa’ is idiotic. You will upset a lot of parents (let alone the child) if you do. Especially if you are dressed as Santa, sitting on Santa’s sleigh, inside a fake-snow covered fake-gingerbread house and the parents have paid £5 for the dubious pleasure of having their offspring stand next to you and whisper their secret dreams into your cauliflower-like. And don’t put a fake red light-up nose on your dog. Fake antlers are okay but the nose is just cruel.
I had a calendar of events lined up for the family – Christmas parties; watching the lights being lit; singing round the tree; mulled wine and mince pies at the church; lessons and carols; Christmas market in Oxford; walking to the woods to get the holly, ivy, hazel and travellers’ mist to make wreaths…all fell by the wayside when my cold descended to my chest and I started my three-packs-a-day-cough which still hasn’t completely released its hold.
One the good side I have thrashed my reading pile! As well as a few books I ‘had’ to read I managed to find time to read Inheritance – the last of the Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini – and loved it. A wonderful book to end the series. And this is where I shall end this blog [cough, cough].
A wonderful New Year to each and every one of you. 2012 is going to be a year for never-ending parties and celebrations. I hope you have your share.