Christmas has been great. Families have got on well; Father Christmas has been beyond generous, and I haven’t eaten my body weight in those Peppadew peppers stuffed with cream cheese. I am currently posting from my shiny new iPad (thank you, lovely Dad) and have a collection of gorgeous, maternity-ready clothes from my Mum and sister; and a hamper stuffed with goodies from Fenwick’s food hall.
If I were in an indigestion remedy advert, my punchbowl would contain smoked salmon, capers, roast beef and yorkshires, Coke-boiled ham, jelly beans, Christmas cake and Black Forest gateau. Ok, that sounds like a lot, but I’ve walked four miles over the last two days, so I feel quite justified.
I had got myself into a big stress over the gift situation – we decided to cut our budget by 40%, and I was definitely feeling the pressure. I scoured the blogosphere for things I might be able to make, and discovered two significant problems. One – unless fairly complex and done well, I think home-crafted items look like primary school art projects, suitable only for Granny’s fridge. Martha may push the crepe paper, but should we really be following what she learnt during her stay in Alderson, WV? Then of course, two – craft supplies are frickin’ expensive. So, there’s every risk that you could spend a small fortune creating something that isn’t even good enough to be regifted.
In the end, I had to abandon what was holding me back – the desire to produce the “best present ever”. What is that, exactly? Something that is exactly what you wanted, without you ever having thought of it. It’s something that fulfils childhood sentimentality, yet is the latest thing, ahead of its time. Where to find it? Less easy to answer. I have the rest of my debt-free life to buy amazing stuff, but for now, I have to just go with modestly thoughtful. I think I succeeded. People won’t be talking about my gifts for years to come – like I still talk about the year I got a clarinet and a Sega Mega Drive – but they will use them and see them and hopefully think of me.
I love it when I can feel winter approaching! First sign – Mop in town. The High Street closes down completely from Friday night to Sunday morning, and the funfair takes over. I was terribly deprived as a child – my Dad has always been a bit sceptical over the safety of fairground rides; hates goldfish and would never let me have one of those giant sugar dummies. Because of this, I absolutely adore the fair. Throughout my teens, it was the social event of the year – a number of pubs in town would turn a complete blind eye to underage drinking, and you would spin in the Cage until either it, or the Smirnoff Ice, made you sick. What can I say? Rural life is exciting!
Nowadays, things are slightly different. Bizarrely enough, I still go to the same pub, but I don’t have to lurk in the shadows while my more developed friend goes to buy the drinks. I have also got over my “ugh, only laddy girls drink pints” phase. Unfortunately, grown-ups who like to be turned upside-down and shaken, both literally and metaphorically, are getting fewer and further between. Thank heavens, therefore, for my brilliant husband, who is just as much of a child as I am – and that includes enjoying a cheeky trip to One Stop for a pocket-sized bottle of nasty brandy to keep the cold at bay.
Meg seems to love the weather as well. She’s constantly sniffing at the air, trying to figure out why it seems different. Or, with the amount of time I’m spending with her, I’m assigning far too much of a personality. At the moment, she seems pissed off with me. After weeks of her biting my hair, I decided to borrow Mum’s air-in-a-can. Two squirts into the air, and she’s eyeing me with suspicion, but the fact that I can cuddle her without her trying to gnaw off my nose is a great blessing… Unless she’s saving it up for when I least expect it. Those big brown puppy dog eyes can be deceiving.
Picture using Hipstamatic iPhone app. Because I’m such a hipsta.
We’re winding down for the wedding, now, but are still finding time to mess around in our friends’ woods. I know it’s terribly lazy, and I usually can’t stand video-only posts. Note the fff—; yeah, that’s me trying not to swear!
And just how cute are these? Random South American animals in the English countryside. Taken with Hipstamatic on the iPhone.