Pre-festive ramble.

(Think I’ll just switch this thing on and see what comes out…)

K has been sick this week. Horribly, incapacitatingly sick. So sick that he had to go to bed for two days… and K never spends the day in bed; he’s one of life’s Brave Strugglers On.

(How very different from my own attitude to viral infections, which I view as a God-given chance to do f*** all and not get stressed about it. This makes me a thoroughly good-natured invalid – indeed, I’ve been complimented in the past about my Positive Mental Attitude – when all I’m really doing is gratefully yielding to my default factory settings of extreme indolence. K, on the other hand, tends towards vocally expressive martyrdom, with regular five-minute bulletins on the precise state of his health, linked together with a non-stop mantra of groans, wheezes and theatrical exhalations. But that’s because he’s fighting against his condition, instead of graciously accepting it and working with it.)

Returning home from work yesterday, and fully expecting to find him draped over the sofa in his jim-jams, hand poised over brow, in an artfully assembled tableau of suffering, I discover him cheerfully bounding round the kitchen, voice restored, eyes aglow, busily preparing anchovy and pancetta palmiers for Boxing Day. In other words, he has been miraculously reborn as Martha Stewart. Hosanna in the highest!

Ah bless, the things they say, etc.

Me: So, have you seen Shrek 2?

L, aged 8, curled up contentedly in her father’s lap: Yes, Daddy got it on DVD.

L’s father: You enjoyed it, didn’t you?

L, beaming: Yes… but now I’d like to have the non-illegal version.

L’s father: Shhhh. You’re not supposed to say things like that…

God, we’re good at buying presents. That’s going to be one happy little girl tomorrow morning. Gloria in excelsis deo!

Boxing Day aside, we’re having a quiet one. No tree, no turkey, no house guests tomorrow at all; instead, we’re going out for a walk with friends in the village, followed by a beef supper round at their place. We’ve took our holiday three weeks ago, so the pressure is off Christmas to deliver what it singularly fails to do each year. (You know: peace, quiet, tranquility, healthy pursuits, a chance to catch up on some reading, that sort of thing. Whereas the reality is days on end of waking up late, blobbing around in a bloated haze, and never actually getting anything done with the day.) In fact, we’ve de-prioritised the festive season to such an extent that, for the first time ever in my (hem hem) “professional career”, I’ll be going back to work for a couple of days between Christmas and New Year. Because I’ll be saving two perfectly good days which could be spent going somewhere nice, later in the year. Yes, the penny has dropped at last. Four days off; two days on; four days off again. Good enough for me. Right, I’m off down the pub with my co-workers. Christmas Eve’s a doss day at work, innit? Deo gracias!

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