Thursday, 29 December 2011

Our Christmas

My son and daughter and their children were with me for Christmas, which was lovely, but exhausting. From my lengthy solitude, and ability to do whatever I choose when I choose, I was in the company of six additional people, and that is a whole different experience.

They all arrived in the late afternoon of Christmas Day, so until they arrived I occupied myself by setting the table, arranging my relatively few Christmas decorations, and organising the food.

Given that the oven does not work, I bought turkey legs rather than a whole turkey, and eventually we cooked them in the electric frypan, which, to my relief, worked quite well. We had a very late dinner, after we had put the little ones to bed.

On Boxing Day we went to the beach. There is a Metro bus which goes from just up the road right to the beach, so we caught that, and arrived at the beach in good time.

It has been rather stormy weather, and when we arrived, the sea was very rough, and the water was cold. Our bathing was restricted to standing at the shore and trying not to be swept off our feet by the very strong seas. The little children did a lot of squealing, and clung onto the hands of their minders. I wore my new bathing suit, a rather fetching piece, several sizes smaller than the last model, but it did not actually get wet. We saw the yachts setting off for the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race, an event which invariably seems to encounter storms and rough seas. Then we retired to a beer garden for fish and chips, and following that took the bus back home. We then flopped about in a desultory and exhausted fashion,  after attending to the needs, feeding and bedding of the children.

While I was preparing dinner that evening, the eldest of the grandchildren just came and informed me that there had been a disaster upstairs. He had accidentally knocked over a stool, an elderly relic of Dr P's belongings, and, much to  his alarm, it splashed forth evil black liquid, all over the rather unlovely carpet. God only knows what chemical process has been evolving all these years inside the plastic. It was not worth bottling, however. It was not his fault, just a disaster waiting to happen. So as well as feeding all the children, we attempted to clean up all the evil black splodges on the carpet - mostly over the rug in front of the door to the balcony, but also on the plastic carpet beneath. My son recommended white vinegar. He had to go out and find a shop which was open which sold white vinegar. I did not expect to spend Boxing Day energetically but unenthusiastically scrubbing the carpet with white vinegar.

The following day was good, but exhausting. We went to the Powerhouse Museum to see the Harry Potter Exhibition. When we arrived we found that all the sessions were sold out. We explained that the website had not made it clear that pre-booking was most advisable. You had to get to the Ticketek site to do that. Fortunately one of the staff enabled us, and sundry others, to be included in the last session of the afternoon. This meant we had at least three hours to kill, which we spent at the playground and at various other parts of the Museum. There was a Wiggles exhibition, which we all herded our littlies around. I never took the trouble to work out which Wiggle is which, and I remain profoundly ignorant. My mind has only so much room. Each part of the exhibition had its own noise and music, and flashing lights and interactive thingies. I found it all most migraine-inducing.

We managed not to lose anyone, and eventually it was time to queue for entry to the Harry Potter show. It took quite a while before we were let in, but it was well worth the wait. All the exhibits served to demonstrate the brilliance, variety, humour, imagination, and light and darkness of Rowling's world. The numbers admitted each time were not too many, and thus we were all able to take our time and to look at all the delights. The staff of the Museum were all wonderful - unfailingly helpful, courteous and friendly.

We had thought about taking a ferry ride next morning, but settled for coffee and gelato at the local cafe. My son and his boys set off late morning, and my daughter and her children a couple of hours later.

Since then I have been washing all the sheets and towels, and putting everything away. And discovering what happens when you take your eyes off the children for a second. Someone had undone and cut the yarn on a piece of crochet....and snipped the yarn into a number of useless pieces....they had better not let me catch them...and what's more, that very same someone - you know who you are - found all the sewing elastic and cut much of it into small pieces, and discovered all the cottons, which obviously need to be unwound, small threads cut off and then ceremoniously laid here and there around the house. And, in a late addition to this bulletin, I found the same culprit had found (No, it was not lost, just in a place where I could find it when I needed it) the green gardening wire, detached it from its little wheel, cut off several lengths, and left all in a tangled mess. I resisted the temptation to ring him up and cross examine him about these sundry misdeeds and to discover why he thinks it is perfectly all right and justifiable to investigate my sewing stuff and my yarns, and instead had a glass or two of wine. I do not really want to upset him, or his mother, who is doing a very fine job with her children and her nephews. Her eldest child is like the Elephant's Child, full of 'satiable curiosity. It is obviously genetic, polished and perfected by experience. I sometimes wonder when my own genetic inheritance will burst forth - will it be in my lifetime? I think not.

It can come as a shock to discover how accustomed one can become to solitude.  Not that this is to be recommended.

Late yesterday I investigated my mobile phone and realised that I had totally forgotten that my car was booked in for its pre-registration service that morning. Oh dear. Never mind, it has been re-booked for next week.

It is a lovely night. The sun has set and the light suffusing the scattered clouds is still pinkly golden.


Elisabeth said...

What a saga, Persiflage. I read through the events of your christmas and sigh with exhaustion in identification. So I'm not the only one who's weary.

But it also sounds like you've had a good time, however many of your threads and yarns someone managed to snip.

And that sunset, I noticed a similar event myself tonight. Nightfall and peace.

Greetings of the season.

Vagabonde said...

I liked the name of your blog and was intrigued so I came for a visit. I enjoyed your Christmas – I was a wee sick so had to stay in bed 10 days and missed the festivities. I like your last sentence about the light in the sky – I wish you would post a picture of it.

Meggie said...

Ah yes, the patience with the grandchildren is thinner than I remember when I was a younger 'granny'. I find myself having little 'Nanna Snaps' now & then.
It seems you had a lovely Christmas in spite of our strange weather. Now, of course we are having a belated arrival of too-hot weather! No pleasing me!