It’s been a busy few weeks. With Christmas prep and the end of term, several nights out, an early Christmas with The Bloke, a bloggy event that I organised at Organique – my favourite beauty store – Christmas with the family, a 200 mile round-trip and, of course, the new Star Wars film (which was awesome, by the way), I now find myself sitting in my front room surrounded by stuff. The house is an utter mess, I can’t button my jeans up, there’s a random assortment of leftovers in the fridge and freezer, and I have no idea where I’m going to put everything.
Christmas and Boxing Day were great, despite the fact that I had been feeling ill for about a week and was full of snot. My youngest sister and brother-in-law were spending Christmas Day with his family this year (they alternate), so my middle sister and I had dinner at my mum’s house. Despite the fact that there was only three of us, it still turned out to be quite eventful – I got rather drunk on Disaronno and started stealing roast potatoes from my sister’s plate, my mum almost fell off her chair when the legs buckled, and we spent most of it just laughing, which was great. Mum cooked, which she hadn’t done in a number of years, and even though she’ll deny this when asked, I think she secretly really enjoyed it. I was drunk and ridiculously full when we finished, so I fell asleep on the couch for the rest of the afternoon.
Boxing Day was spent at my sister’s house, and for the first time we would all be together with our partners. I had it all planned out – The Bloke, who had spent Christmas with his mum and sister, was going to drive to a retail park not far from my mum’s (which is about a two hour journey), pick me and mum up and then we would direct him to my sister’s house. This may sound complicated, but The Bloke, despite being a good driver, has very little sense of direction, even with a sat nav, so it was more likely that he would find his way there rather than going straight to my mum’s as he’s been there before. I told a little lie to my mum about what time she needed to be ready as it’s guaranteed that she is at least 20 minutes late for everything, so despite the fact that she was ready half-an-hour after the time I gave her, we still had half-an-hour before we needed to leave. All we needed to do was wait for The Bloke to get somewhere close to the retail park. So we waited. And waited. And waited some more. He was stuck in traffic. Eventually, we realised that he wasn’t going to go anywhere for quite a while, so we got a taxi over to my sister’s, and gave him the directions to her house.
Three hours later, he made it. The heavy rain had caused a sinkhole on the motorway, bringing all the traffic to a standstill, and even when he managed to turn off he got lost. I felt really awful for him – a two hour journey had taken over five – and then he had to meet my whole family, some of them for the first time.
My family are not shrinking violets. While other families sit and have intelligent conversation, we shout loudly over each other, drink lots, laugh hysterically and are generally raucous. I wouldn’t have it any other way, being proud of the relationships that we’ve developed in recent years, and by the time The Bloke arrived most of us had already got stuck into the alcohol. My sister had gone to a massive amount of trouble and had cooked an absolutely beautiful meal, and to keep us entertained she had provided us with children’s colouring mats and pencil crayons (it’s a long story, but was the perfect choice). After we had eaten, we played Christmas Bingo and had a music quiz, during which my brother-in-law (who is also a music teacher and plays in a band) and my mum won.
And there, in the corner, was Ian, the Scary Gnome. Ian made an appearance during last year’s Christmas shenanigans, and a decision was made to include him in the family pic at the end of the night. Luckily, he hadn’t gained any friends since last year – there’s a whole collection of scary gnomes at various supermarkets that my sister wanted to get, but I think my brother-in-law jokingly threatened to divorce her if she got any more – but I wouldn’t be surprised if Ian gets a girlfriend next year.
We left reasonably early in the evening – my sister and brother-in-law were flying to Rome the next day and we had to get back as the cat, who is diabetic, needed her insulin injection. I wished we could have stayed longer, but it was great to have everybody together all in the same room. It was also quite amusing to see how much in common all of our partners have – we’ve essentially all ended up in relationships with the same man, just in different packaging. And the three of them get on brilliantly.
It’s taken me a few days to recover, and now I need to start preparing for New Year. The Bloke and I stay in every year, preferring to get a buffet of snacky-treats together and watch a film rather than battle with thousands of others in a club somewhere, so that means we need to do more food shopping.
What about you guys? What’s your plan for New Year?
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