The quiet before the onslaught

And so it is Christmas, and what have I done….


Things have been manic since my last post. In the first wave of action cakes were iced, cards written and posted, mince pies baked in industrial quantities and force fed to the neighbours and two sides of salmon cured (one beetroot one experimental citrus and coriander). Mum was collected and the final shopping trip completed. I felt I was distinctly ahead of the game – only two jumpers to finish and I had a couple of “spare” days in hand tucked into the programme for the following week. I decided to go eco and began making my own wrapping paper from old pages of the company law handbook, spare Amazon packaging, rafia and a packet of Christmas wooden buttons which were definitely a bargain. The fumes from the gold spray paint meant that wrapping had to be conducted in small bursts and the knitting moved to the lounge. At this point unexpected guests arrived to stay for a night, having been displaced from their intended stopover by suspicious sniffles on the part of the hosts, and spare day No. 1 went out of the window. Much jollity with said guests ensued. Mum somewhat aghast at ribald humour.

Wave two commenced. Wrapping efforts redoubled and I endured the fumes, developing a spectacular headache and inflamed sinuses. Let it not be said that I have not suffered in the cause of the environment. In the chaos of the garret presents began to disappear. Wrapping sessions commenced with a game of hunt the gift. Most have been counted back in but a few small items remain missing in action but hopefully will come to light before an appropriate birthday (other than Shroedinger marzipan logs which may or may not have even been purchased – but if they were and do eventually float to the surface I will most certainly eat them in solitary gluttony). I still had a day in hand so the unfinished jumpers were not a concern. That was until Keith blithely allocated a vast list of jobs for me to do that day whilst he and Lachlan did the big Christmas shop in Edinburgh. I rose at 6.30 and cleaned the fridge, somewhat stony faced.

Late night knitting followed but in triumph at 1.30pm on the 23rd I sewed in what I thought were the last ends of Lachlan’s jumper (more were discovered yesterday… ). On that day I had organised myself with a trip to Kelso to collect the flowers (to which Keith then added fish and a top up supermarket shop) and a trip in to Berwick, in precisely the opposite direction, to collect Ishbel. I tacked on some by hand deliveries and, with Mum as co-pilot, spent the day fending off seemingly blind reversers in the Sainsbury’s carpark and then travelling every back road in a 15 mile radius at least once. Ishbel staggered off the train pale and wan, having come straight from a night shift. Mum and I decanted some lunch down her, made up her bed and tucked her in. In the blissfully quiet hour that followed I knitted the belt onto Keith’s epic Christmas frock coat (quietly pleased with this but NEVER AGAIN). The “back on track” feeling began to sneak back.

Yesterday, realising that the trip to Dad’s care home on Christmas morning would take out all of the leisurely Christmas dinner prep time, I prepped all day. By four the deed was done and an entire Christmas dinner (sprouts and carrots excepted) had been assembled ready to pop in the oven – including two lentil soup variants (spicy and pub) for the offspring, two types of stuffing and the components of an experimental pudding. I moved on to speed flower arranging. Soaking in the bath at 8pm I noticed a distinct throbbing in my feet. I wonder how many calories are absorbed by Christmas dinner preparation?

I woke at 5am this morning and remembered that I had left meringue tops in the Aga warming drawer and tried to ignore this thought. The cat was purring at top volume and ripples of light from the landing Christmas tree, which no one had switched off, were playing across the bedroom ceiling. Sleep was not happening. By 6am the thought of a quiet cup of coffee in the kitchen was irresistible and here I am.

The meringues were fine by the way.

Merry Christmas everyone

2 thoughts on “The quiet before the onslaught

  1. Well there isn’t anyone can say you don’t deserve a quiet cup of coffee after all of that hard work! I will say you have done a Sterling job of prep! Have a wonderful day and try to relax!!
    Our Best Wishes


  2. That is so impressive Karen, and as always I am left gasping just reading about your exploits. The turkey alone is a work of art. But I am sure you find it all worthwhile and the family does too. Best wishes to you all, Lois


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