….but only just;
when Tony arrived home from Heathrow after a particularly gruelling few days of simulator training with his Airline. Having travelled there by train he opted to return on the coach; partially owing to the astronomically spiralling cost of train travel over the Festive Season & also – ironically- because the coach would get him to Carmarthen, more quickly.
Being somewhat behind & knowing I’d be too busy tomorrow, I endured frantic session round the supermarkets before meeting up with him, just after midnight. With still more to do we finally finished shopping at around 2am; but as much as anything this was because bizarrely, the shops were so busy; with long queues at every checkout. So much for a recession, eh….
On arriving home all the goodies then had to be unpacked, so we didn’t tumble into bed until past 3am. A few brief hours’ sleep, & then we were up again for the morning chores after which we had a frantic house-cleaning session prior to the arrival of my Mum & Dad, who would be staying with us until the New Year.
They arrived at dusk, in a car whose suspension positively groaned with the weight of all the sumptuous treats on board. Another session of scurrying back & forth bewtween cold room, pantry & kitchen; & then at last, everyone relaxed with a glass of mulled wine whilst I popped a delicious Aberdeen Angus steak pie in the oven, followed by a rich, fruity stollen served with a scoop of our wonderful Madagascan vanilla ice cream. After clearing the plates & charging everyone’s glasses, I rolled up my sleeves to begin the week’s marathon round of washing up, enjoying the sensation of hot, soapy water as I sluiced dishes, cutlery & pans. Gazing at the laden shelves of the pantry & of our capacious walk-in cold room, I certainly suspect we won’t be going hungry, this Christmas…..!
And as the lights went out on this cold, crisp Christmas Eve, I was reminded as ever of the lovely poem by Clement Clarke Moore, penned in 1822. As a child one of my most treasured possessions was an illustrated copy of the poem, bound in hardback with a smart, red padded cover & a colourful illustration of of a cheery, ruddy-cheeked St Nicholas driving his sleigh through the moonlit skies. I used to love curling up in my fluffy pyjamas on Christmas Eve to read about how ‘Father Christmas’ would soon be here. And of course, we always left him a glass of sherry & a mince pie…..which to my delight one year, was not only consumed but replaced with a note in elegant, spidery handwriting – proof – if any were needed – that Santa Claus certainly DOES exist (although how he managed to negotiate a chimney with a barred gas fire at the bottom, heaven only knows).
Gosh – with all this excitement, how will I get to sleep, tonight….?!