This week, dear Reader, inspiration seems sadly lacking, absolutely nothing is happening. Even if we were allowed to go anywhere, everywhere is closed, and I think, like most of us I am totally and utterly, completely bloody sick of 2020.
This isn't exactly where I saw myself at 52; single, crazy, shut in my house, naming inanimate objects.
No, we thought we’d have just come back from an adventure of a lifetime in Nepal, during which we discovered inner depths of character that we did not know existed and learnt the true meaning of life.....or maybe we just got very sore legs and were a bit knackered and smelly.
As it turns out, I am not alone in my strange habit of naming random household appliances and possessions.
Special Precious Boy and Lady Wycombe took delivery of their Christmas tree a couple of weeks ago. Liberated from its natural habitat under cover of night by SPB's Father and delivered the following day.
World (or the small portion of the world that reads this blog ) meet Colin.
Insert Pic of Colin - instructions followed and pic of Colin duly inserted.
Colin is an extremely handsome Christmas Tree.
I have only ever once had a real Christmas tree. I lived in a second floor flat in West Ealing, said Christmas tree was purchased from a market stall, it was only about 3 foot high and proceeded to make my life hell buy chucking its needles across the room with gay abandon, for what felt like weeks, I was still pulling them out of the bottoms of my feet the following July. And what's more, the binmen, who are militant in London, utterly refused to take it away.
Is there anywhere in the UK you haven’t lived? When was the London phase and why have we only learned about it? What exactly were you doing in London? All these questions that perhaps could have been asked during the long, cold evenings sat around the campfires in Nepal, but alas.
''If you want it moved luv, it needs to be in a black bag.''
I mean for fuck sake - how do you get a Christmas tree, even a diminutive one into a bin bag?
I tried sticking a black bag on the top and the bottom, the bin man just looked at me. Clearly I not only had to get the tree into a bag I also had to disguise the (by now annoying) thing.
Inspiration struck in about the second week of February, and I thought why not cut the bloody thing up?
To set the scene: this was a crappy second floor flat in a massive Victorian house, owned by a geriatric Polish war poet who lived on the ground floor, its about 1986, there are a mere 4 channels on the telly, the internet hasn't been invented oh and phones looked like this
I knew there’d be a story. Polish war poet? How? How, I ask you do you find yourself in such situations. Just when I’ve got my head round your acquaintance with the infamous stripper known as Sticky Vicky and her daughter in Benidorm.
Insert pic of old phone - pic of old phone duly inserted.
I am around 18 and I haven't got a clue whether I'm on my arse or my elbow.
Does anyone know where their arse or elbow is when they’re eighteen?
So back to Christmas tree, which is by this time, very much surplus to my life's requirements. I'm standing there staring at this sodding tree, now completely dead, devoid of needles (they were all in the carpet and/or my feet) clutching a large bin bag and a bread knife which was all I could find to effect said dissection.
It took hours and hours.
I was the Denis Neilson of Christmas Trees. Christmas trees still whisper my name with dread and fear.
All that was missing was the drain fluid.
Never again. I have pretend ones now, much easier!
Being an Edinburgh resident, our tree is real. I believe that in the Morningside are there is a bylaw which states that you must move to Glasgow if you want a pretend tree.
My Christmas trees do not have names. However that doesn't mean that I can put even a toe on the moral high ground as my fire pit is called Ignacio.
For fucks sake. Forehead and my palm meet in despair with an audible sigh.
In 'Normal Times' I am a bit of a Grinch about Christmas. I'm not hot if I'm honest, this year however, we all need all the joy we can muster, so I have firmly embraced my well concealed Christmas spirit, and decked the house will flashing lights and glittery stuff.
Huzzah! Thigh slapping in large puss in boots style footwear abounds.
I also usually spend the majority of the Christmas period on my tod, which was odd the first year but I actually quite enjoy now.
All the more turkey for you.
This year, Dear Reader, I am utilising my full 'Christmas Bubble' allowance of three families and have SPB & Lady Wycombee, SPB's Cousin, who has lately been staying with Beautiful Daughter and probably Lovely Friend (who is no further forward in his quest to win back his ex, although can now rustle up a mean chilli).
As we all know, the chilli is one of life’s more basic dishes and so Lovely Friend is going to have to up his game to at least an expertly cooked tuna steak with salsa verde if he is going to stand a chance of winning his true love back.
As a 'grown up' Christmas is all about food and booze! I decided that we would have goose - although SPB is having a small tantrum and requires a turkey as well. I shall gild them both, a slightly labour intensive process involving milk, boiling water and saffron, but makes them look like they are covered in gold leaf!
I shall be rocking my inner Nigella whilst poncing about in the kitchen and reducing Amphictyonies' stock of wine.
Oh God! Please don’t turn all Nigella on me. I couldn’t stomach the constant innuendo, midnight jaunts to the fridge wearing nothing but a silk neglige slipping sluttishly off your shoulders, waving a large spoon around like some ancient phallic symbol and attacking something ‘sumptuous‘ in the kitchen with a large, lipstick encrusted mouth. Who? Who, I ask you wears fucking lipstick at midnight whilst stuffing their face with a vat of creamy mash potato?
I can't wait.
Whilst Pip is entertaining a grown up crowd, I shall be cooking a meal for five hungry people, including two grown men, so that actually means a meal for twelve. In previous years, I have received very little help in the kitchen, but since we had the house done up two years ago, there’s plenty of room for us all.
Oh joy! Five people ‘helping’ me in the kitchen asking me questions about timings, whether things are ‘done yet’ and helpfully questioning my turkey cooking abilities. It starts at about 9am when we all get up, have a cup of tea and then enter the living room together (its a rule in our house that we have to enter the living room together on Christmas morning so we all see the presents at the same time and gasp in surprise) and some bright spark, normally Ever Patient Husband pipes up,
“Should we put the turkey in yet?”
“No.” I usually reply, as patiently as I can muster.
Then comes a series of supplementary questions along the lines of, ”what time are we eating?” To which, I always reply,
For some reason, 3pm seems to be an unpopular time with EPH for Christmas dinner and each year we negotiate it to 4pm. One of these years I’m going to test my hypothesis of ‘me being wrong until its EPH’s idea.’ This year, I shall say 4pm and see what happens. Can we take bets now that he will think that an appalling time to have Christmas dinner and will suggest either 3 or 5?
NOTE: next week will be the last blog of 2020 so watch this space.