It was All About the Beef.
That was no great surprise to me. When Mr B arrived home to find that it was still Christmas in
our house, pending his return, it wasn’t the Christmas tree twinkling away in one corner, the festive garlands over every window, the Christmas characters on the windowsill which pleased him most. No, it was the certain knowledge that there was a large
beef joint sitting in the freezer, just waiting for me to announce the Coming of the Second Christmas.
I had ordered the beef from our local butchers well before
Mr B was whisked into hospital. Could I order a piece of corner cut top-side of beef, I asked our friendly butcher. “For Brian, I presume?” he asked - it’s a very, very long time since Mr B called in to order his favourite cut of meat, but
clearly he has stayed long in the shop’s memory.
Now the meat was about to be resurrected from the third drawer down in the freezer. Mr B was equally firm
about the required accompaniments; on no account was I to fail to deliver (i) parsnips; (ii) Yorkshire puddings; and (iii) hot horseradish sauce. I would forget at my peril.
When you have young children, then Christmas is all about Santa, hanging up stockings / sacks / pillowcases, then waking up in the early hours to see if he has “been.” As the family grows, then (if they are the competitive type) the solving
of jigsaw puzzles and the playing of games takes centre stage. Charades, anybody? The Youngest of the Darling Daughters especially hated the introduction of Trivial Pursuit, a popular game for those far-off Christmases when our family and that of my Little
Sister gathered alternately at her house or ours for a festive season lasting from Christmas Eve to New Year’s Day. I always remember her anguished face gazing across the room at me, pleading for me to intervene on her behalf by suggesting we swap Trivial
Pursuit for a game of Mousetrap. For a family of adults, however, it tends to be the Christmas Meal which is the most important part of the whole day. For Mr B, it has always been that way.
So, yesterday was the Christmas Day which Mr B missed and I was determined it should be a good one. Recognising, however, that he is still recovering and therefore tires easily, I decided to give a visit from Santa a miss, not to worry
over much about presents, and to concentrate on making sure that the beef, the roast potatoes, the parsnips, the sprouts, the Yorkshire puddings were all cooked to the nearest I could get to perfection. All laced with hot horseradish sauce and best beef gravy,
and washed down with a rather fine wine, courtesy of our lovely neighbours.
I did manage to lay a festive table, a combination of Christmas an Valentine’s
Day, with a vase of daffodils giving a nod to the fact that Spring is, well, springing. I even found a couple of mis-matched Christmas crackers to start off our dinner with a bang by providing us with paper hats and silly jokes, without which no Christmas
dinner is complete. Though Mr B would probably beg to differ.
I am happy to report that it all went to plan. We both ate and drank too much and ended up
snoozing, in happy contentment, in our respective armchairs. As a child, I remember thinking to myself that if and when I had children of my own I would never, ever waste the afternoon by nodding off...
Today, reluctantly, I decided that Christmas was finally over. I have taken down the decorations and piled them up on the landing waiting for someone who can put all the boxes up in the loft for me. I’ve replaced the
poinsettia on the windowsill with a vase of beautiful tulips which Someone Unknown left on our doorstep yesterday.
You are thinking, I know, that the celebrations
are over and done with - but you’d be wrong. As well as missing Christmas, Mr B also missed his birthday so, guess what? In the next few days I am planning an Action Replay.
Why have one Belated Celebration when you could have two?