Friday, 28 November 2008

Jingle bells

Christmas is a coming. The season starts for me 1st December it's on that day that I stop changing channels whenever a Christmas advert, that's been showing since August, comes on the TV. Actually, all those impossibly glamorous ads for the latest perfumes and aftershaves means that the turkeys should start feeling nervous. Equally the countdown to the holiday ads which start on Boxing Day also begins. So the excitement begins to build...especilly as it seems this year we'll be having flurries of snow throughout December.

We'll get our office Xmas tree from the very fabulous Borough Market at a price which is about double what anyone with any sense of reason or fairness (or credit crunch) would charge for it, but it'll look lovely once we've put the lights and (corporate orange) baubles on it.

At home the Xmas Decs will go up around the fifteenth of the month...Brighton has a very unsophisticated 6' fibre optic tree which kinda catches the spirit of the season, but in Buckhurst Hill there just isn't room for a tree, so we throw some sparkly lights on the bushes which I've done my utmost to kill this year...inability rather than anything deliberate you understand of course, I hope.

Today, whilst trying to find my way to Cavendish Square, being guided by a satnav which has little sense of direction, and certainly doesn't know its left from its right, I ended up somewhere between Piccadilly and Soho, ducking under some gargantuan snow men hung across the streets. Which was nice. And then turned into Regent Street, where the Christmas lights are a beautiful series of twinkling spiderswebs. Fabulous.

I love Christmas...secretly I still believe in Santa Claus, love the Christmas lights and remain convinced that there will be six inches of snow when I wake up on the 25th, and relive happy childhood memories of large family gatherings which just seemed to go on and on and on.

But this year, Christmas has become a bit of a challenge...for the last four years, the boy and I have dutifully trecked down to Llantrisant to spend time with The Wicked Witch of the West. It seems only fair that if TWWOTW has lost her daughter, then grandson should be there. And the boy has always enjoyed going. The first couple of year's the boy's sister deigned to honour us with her company, so it was a good family gathering for the two of them. But the sister has singularly failed to keep in touch with "itttle bruvva", almost since they were separated and she went off to live with her father whilst the boy came to me. And she is less and less inclined to come across to the Christmas celebrations.

Equally as time has gone on, I've felt more and more like a rasher of bacon at a Jewish wedding (sorry, not PC - please suggest acceptable alternative)...not that I'm not welcomed with open arms, its just that they didn't speak to me for five years from the onset of divorce procedings until the day that the brain haemorrhage struck down the boy's mum. So it's always a little uncomfortable (my problem, not their's)

And then last year, after a day of doing nothing but watching TV (apart from a couple of hours when I escaped for a very long walk by myself), I vowed not to spend the day in Wales again.

Which went down like a lead balloon when I told them ("Well you're always welcome you know"), but the boy merely shrugged his shoulders when I started dropping hints about nine months ago. And he's right, it's my decision not his...but some guidance would help.

So all well and good providing we have a good alternative. But we don't. I haven;'t got a Plan B, let alone a Plan A.

At one stage I thought we might get to ski for Christmas...but tightening of belts and declining business haven't allowed for that

And there's a high risk of the boy and I in Brighton entertaining ourselves for Christmas Day. And even I know that's not good.

So either I swallow my pride, make the arrangements to go west, or spend a day full of guilt-ridden which should it be?

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