Sunday, 26 December 2010


For those of you who hadn't noticed, today was Christmas. In fact, for me, last night was also Christmas, as we've had something of a two-day Yuletide extravaganza. 

At about 4pm yesterday, we packed up all the presents and lovingly wrapped stocking fillers into may parents' and The Godmother and W's car and headed for Sussex. There was method in our madness, however, as this is where W's sister lives, above her restaurant. After dropping our bags off at the traditional (for The Godmother and W, anyway) B&B up the road, we meandered down to the Old Forge (W's sister's restaurant) for supper. Her two children and a family friend were there, her husband having swanned off to Australia to participate in some sport-related male bonding ritual. 

It was all rather festive:

The waiter had a somewhat frosty demeanour, ho ho
The meal (a chicken basque pre-prepared by my mother and The Godmother while we were out shopping during the day and carefully packed for the journey) went down very well, and it all got decidedly congenial as a round of extremely bad jokes reduced The Godmother to hysterics, from which she did not entirely recover for the rest of the night. There was also a lot of cricket talk, but I managed to tune it out. 

After pudding (apple and plum crumble, and jelly made from the grapes grown in The Godmother's garden), we staggered back up the hill in the cold. It was about half 11, and the church we passed was ringing its bells enthusiastically, and had parishioners filing in for some sort of midnight mass. Much more sensibly, we all went to the B&B and to bed. 

I was sharing a room with Hodge, my (by that stage rather merry) little brother.

Look at the excitement on his little face!
 I would like to say that I got a good night's sleep like a grown-up who is only proportionately excited about Christmas, but sadly Hodge's alarm went off at 6am and I had quite a lot of trouble getting back to sleep. I did manage to pass out before the 8am bells, though (apparently Sussex is the true home of festive campanology) which everyone else apparently heard.

As soon as I was sufficiently upright, I tiptoed downstairs to my parents' room to unwrap my stocking, bringing my mother's (by now overflowing) stocking with me.

I got a pretty good haul in my spotty sock!

Pre-shower, post-frenzied unwrapping
 Stocking highlights included: some lovely warm gloves (with fingers! A new experience for me this year), stationery, gorgeous nail polishes, a year's supply of toiletries (very nice ones, too!), a shoe polishing kit, a chocolate Father Christmas (so I can show my gratitude by... eating him) and some fancy pens.

When we were ready (they complained that I took too long, but then I didn't end up leaving things hanging up in the wardrobe, did I, Hodge?) we trooped back down to the Old Forge for breakfast, and later a marathon of present opening. W was just about buried under his pile of presents and although he stared unwrapping first, he finished well after everyone else (although admittedly he was somewhat held up by trying to remove a new glass Christmas plate from a box of polystyrene balls without snowing all over the floor. He failed miserably, but did give an impromptu and accidental demonstration of the power of static electricity). We were all very spoiled, and rather than list the loot, I bring you probably the best-suited present of the day:

Whisky cheese
Yes, you read that right. Hodge was delighted.

After listlessly kicking the discarded wrapping paper into a sort-of-pile, we gathered around the restaurant's largest table for lunch.

Once again, I completely forgot to take a picture of the food before devouring it, but luckily my mother eats much slower than me:

Christmas dinner, featuring a pumpkin home-grown by The Godmother
There was about 10 minutes of absolute silence as we demolished the food, before silliness broke out again. The crackers came with one or two, well, crackers: 

Surprise guest Hercule Poirot getting into the festive spirit
It had to happen, really. There were more bad jokes, as I had found a small tin marked 'Silliest Jokes' in my stocking. We passed it around the table, taking it in turns to read them out. My two favourites were:

Q: What's the difference between roast beef and pea soup?
A: Anyone can roast beef. 

Q: Where do you find a dog with no legs?
A: Right where you left him. 

Jokes were followed by biscuits and Christmas pudding. As I have absolutely no interest in Christmas pudding or its accoutrements, here is the dazzling array of biscuits:

I'm not even going to try to name them all. Just imagine something unpronouncably German and you're halfway there.
After the pudding had been speedily demolished and several cups of tea and coffee quaffed, we all helped tidy up. I dried quite a few glasses and was very glad this isn't my day job.

Candles were lit on the Christmas tree, and everything got very Teutonically festive:

New prettiest fire hazard of the week!
When we did eventually take our leave, we were all rather sad to be heading off into the cold night. I got over it by sleeping for most of the hour-long drive. This evening, we have 'flopped around in helpless apathy', as the Godmother would say, and watched some Poirot. I made a bit of carbonara for supper, but only Hodge had space to join me, and even then only wanted a tiny plate. I was reproached for not having gorged myself properly. Is this how rebellious hyenas feel?

I'm quite full now, in any case, having had supper and rather a few Fruit Pastilles (also from my stocking) while watching Doctor Who. I'll sleep well tonight!

Speaking of, have a great day tomorrow, hope you have lots of fun with boxes!

(For any non-UK readers (including the boyf), Boxing Day coincides with St Stephen's Day and is usually a bank holiday. It is apparently so-named due to a Victorian custom of packing boxes to give to the needy to spread the Christmas cheer. Don't worry about it too much.)


  1. Merry Christmas!! Looks like you enjoyed.. great..

  2. Thanks, hope you had a great time too!