After very happy and very lazy few days of Christmas celebrations, feel restored in body, mind and spirit, and distinctly Mellow; wonder vaguely whether I might be altogether nicer and calmer person if my life always consisted of reading, playing with Christmas presents and watching Agatha Christie and Shaun the Sheep.
Begin vaguely to contemplate inevitable return of Normal Life and start drawing up usual list of pleasantly unrealistic ambitions for forthcoming New Year; have considerable sympathy with Katherine Mansfield’s two wishes for 1915 (“to write, to make money”), and fantasise about being cool and Modern cook; but, for now, turn, as I always do at this stage of Christmas, to late mother’s 1961 Constance Spry Cookery Book to find recipe for Devilled Turkey Bones.
Christmas lunch on Tuesday with group of village friends; long walk to pub in next village gives at least partial excuse for three hearty courses and copious Sparkling Rosé (selected as brewery apparently Late With The Prosecco Delivery). Much discussion of disappointing end to widowed friend’s first new relationship; all offer to subject any future candidates to gruelling process of Group Vetting, but friend says that she will be spending 2015 not worrying about men and instead concentrating on self, sons and training to run first Marathon before her 50th birthday. (Own 50th birthday beginning to appear on horizon but urge to run Marathon still mysteriously absent.)
Christmas lunch on Wednesday with father and sister in London; converge on restaurant at St Pancras with bulging bags of Christmas presents, study the long menu carefully, and all choose exactly the same thing. Discuss holidays, House of Commons and kale.
Horticultural Association Christmas Dinner on Thursday; sit with some new recruits and discuss Pakistan, camping and law courts. Vice-President gives short speech of thanks at end, slightly vague as to everyone’s name, but sense of general goodwill almost palpable and he is greeted with warm applause.
Children’s term now finished; plan to spend tomorrow decorating tree, festooning house with holly and ivy, and studying Christmas Radio Times.
Alarm goes off apparently in middle of night; rouse children and do best to cheer them with happy thoughts of This Time Next Week before despatching them into cold dark morning. ( Must make sure that daughter’s breakfast tomorrow consists of more than chocolate from the Advent Calendar.)
After long dog walk with friend (discuss Christmas trees, plasterboard and Homeland), head off to hairdressers in local town in effort to Smarten Up for forthcoming festivities; am Taken In Hand by kindly lady, who a) apparently shares own views on teenage boys, Christmas presents and Wham and b) clearly understands that there is no point asking me How I Normally Style It. End result a considerable improvement, though long-cherished hope that new haircut will somehow transform me into someone else entirely remains, sadly, unfulfilled.
Spend evening wrapping presents and inspecting proposed contents of children’s stockings. Am definitely beginning to feel festive.