Driving home this morning through the persistent rain, the spray thrown up by our fellow travellers makes it look as if all the cars, motor bikes and lorries are dancing just above the surface of the road on a layer of
misty cloud. It’s really rather beautiful.
As we drive, we are listening to “Voices”, the new Gareth Malone CD which was one of my Christmas
presents from the Youngest of the Darling Daughters. The music tends to add to the ethereal, other-worldly effect of the picture I can see through the wipers swinging in time to the music across the car’s windscreen. I don’t point this out
to Mr B as he would doubtless find it just too fanciful for words. From his position in the driving seat, he would say, there is nothing in the least bit beautiful about the traffic on the M3. Indeed, just at this moment he asks if we could stop
listening to “Voices” and have a bit of Chas and Dave instead...
This drive home signals the fact that Christmas is, finally, over. What?! I
can hear some of you exclaim, those of you for whom Christmas was over at least a week ago, whose decorations are down, whose tree has been transported to the Christmas Tree Recycling Point, whose thank you letters have been written and who is back at
work. Where have I been the last few days? you ask me.
Well, the simple answer to that is that I have been staying at the Baldwin Household, home of the
Youngest of the Darling Daughters and her family, where Christmas is strung out for just as long as is humanly possible, where every day sees another pantomime, a party, a meal out, a trip to the cinema, a games session. Even today, the day of our departure,
the rest of the family will be watching not one, but two, pantomimes as well as enjoying a party between pantos. The Baldwin Family never go into anything half-heartedly - and that includes Christmas. Mr B says we are going home for a rest. Funnily enough,
I’ve found the last few days, busy as they have been, strangely restful. I can just hear my Mum saying: “A change is as good as a rest.” So very true.
The house feels cold when we unlock the door but it’s certainly spick and span, thanks to the Really Rather Wonderful Von and Anna who have been in while we were away and cleaned for us. We switch on the kettle (it’s always the first thing
we do whenever we arrive home. Correction: it’s always the first thing I do when I arrive home) and unpack the boot of the car. Our lovely, tidy hall now looks a bit cluttered with the jumble of our weekend suitcase, a bag containing our Christmas presents,
another bag of various “stuff”, the empty flask of coffee consumed on the journey, Mr B’s pillow (all the better for him to sleep peacefully, don’t you know?), the camera and our raincoats. It is at this point that I find myself feelng
a little down-hearted that Christmas is over and the thought of unpacking the case, sorting out the clothes which need washing, finding room for the presents – even washing out the flask seems too much of a chore. I pour us both a cup of coffee.
Mr B makes us each a bacon sandwich. We are home.
Our decorations are still all up. The Christmas cards on every surface remind me how many lovely
friends and family we have. The reindeer on the top of the Christmas tree appears to be winking at me. Everything can stay just as it is until tomorrow, I decide.
In just one week’s time it will be Mr B’s birthday. It is a Big One – you know, one of those birthdays with an “0” at the end of it. One week - that’s not that many days, when you come to think of it, to move
out of Christmas Mode and into Birthday Mode.
I’m sure I can manage it. After all it’s something special to look forward to, now that Christmas is
– finally – over.
I’ll think I’ll start by unpacking the case and washing out the flask. Come tomorrow, there’ll be no stopping