I know it is Christmas but, honestly, I think I'm going crackers.
Let me explain: I have now purchased not one, not two, not three, but five boxes of Christmas crackers,
each for a different occasion, each singularly different from the others. This is, I am sure you will agree, going Right Over The Top.
On the Monday after Christmas, the Eldest of the Darling Daughters and
her family are arriving for a "Second Christmas." We will have mulled wine, roast beef and - at grand-daughter Eleanor's express request - apple pie for pudding. I have thought long and hard about my "Second Christmas Table", in the search for grown-up, stylish
table settings. I am not deluded enough to imagine that I can conjure up the wow factor, as depicted in every magazine I pick up in waiting rooms (e.g. the dentist's, the hospital's and the local Fish 'n' Chip shop). I can, however, invest in beautiful Christmas
For this Second Christmas, therefore, I have bought festive red crackers from the RSPB, each including a recording of a bird song which we will all try to guess. It's a step up, don't you think,
from the usual jokey quizzes? Incidentally, the Middle of the Darling Daughters who, like her mother, hates to miss out on anything, has asked if she can join in the Second Christmas too. Along with Young Faris and The Twinkles. The more the merrier, that's
what I say.
We are spending Christmas and Boxing Days with the Youngest of the Darling Daughters so, in a bid to be a good guest, I asked what contribution we could make to The Feast. We settled on a few important
items - then my daughter suggested I might supply the Christmas crackers. What about those musical crackers I sourced several Christmasses ago, she says, which included a whistle in each cracker and the music for a number of well-known seasonal favourites?
Great idea, I agreed. Another box of crackers purchased.
My (Not So Little) Welsh Boys and their parents will also be arriving on Monday. It will be their Second Christmas, our Third. They say that Christmas
comes but once a year - but, hey, not in our family! I have, of course, bought crackers for our meal on Tuesday before we head off to Panto-Land (oh, yes, I have!) Once we have pulled them, placed paper hats on our heads, lost the gifts secreted within and
challenged each other will nonsensical riddles, we will be able to play a game of Matching Pairs. The excitement will be boundless.
My best value crackers were undoubtedly the ones I bought for the Nomination
Whist group's Christmas meet-up. Two boxes of six crackers for the princely sum of £1 a box. Every one, when pulled, snapped in a most satisfactory fashion, the jokey riddles were ones we hadn't heard before and the paper hats had a welcome and unusual
ability to stay put on people's heads. What a bargain!
Today is the anniversary of the day I met Mr B, outside Woolworth's in Sittingbourne High Street. Reading through my diary (Daily Blog) entries for the
last three years I can't help but be struck by the change in our fortunes. Three years ago we went on a Pre-Christmas Jolly Jaunt to London; two years ago we were eating out at our favourite restaurant; a year ago Mr B had raided Tesco's for the wherewithal
to make a celebratory meal. This year we were at the hospital for yet another appointment, with yet another consultant...
"What is the date today?" the consultant asked Mr B. He didn't have to think twice:
"December 21st!" he responded, triumphantly, "Fifty-two years ago to the day that we met!" So far, so impressive - till my man added, darkly: "There's no way she'll let me forget that..."
We took a slight
detour to Waitrose on the way home and bought ourselves two steaks, jacket potatoes, salad and a rather expensive bottle of Chateauneuf-du-Pape. Yes, it was simply delicious, thank you very much.
As with Christmas
crackers, there's more than one way to celebrate a Special Occasion.
Happy Anniversary of the day we met, dear Mr B. Still standing after all these years and all that fate is throwing in our path. Yesterday,
today, every day...