This jaunt gave me the ideal opportunity to wrap up the last of the presents and to assemble Mac’s stocking which took longer than anticipated thanks to my habit of buying things and “putting them somewhere safe”. As I started shopping for Mac’s stocking in August of this year, there’s a lot of places to look. I’ve inherited this from my mother: many is the time around mid May she would suddenly bring out a Terry’s Chocolate Orange that she’d “put somewhere safe”. I also spent half an hour on the phone with Amelia as we discussed the final plans for her arrival tomorrow. David will be collecting her, two turkeys, half a pig (that she ordered from the farm for me and forgot to tell me!), assorted sausage meat and freshly sliced streaky bacon. “They’ll be done and plucked tomorrow” she informed me, referring to the turkeys bearing my name. I bet they will, well and truly.
At ten to two I heard from the intrepid shoppers “We got on a train mummy and then another underland train and then we climbed lots of stairs and now we’re shopping!” Mac was beside himself with excitement and both of them were driving David up the wall. “He’s never still!” he said to me in a surprised tone of voice when he finally wrestled the phone from Mac. “And he’s always talking!” he added, pausing to bellow “Come here, stand still and hold my hand!!!!” into the distance. With visions of Mackenzie being trampled by over-eager shoppers (or worse) I expressed some concern that David had not yet noticed the all singing, all dancing person that is his son. “Of course I know he’s always talking and running around. But you’re always there to distract him” he added rather forlornly. Assuring David that Mac will calm down eventually, I bade him farewell. And then laughed like a drain for five minutes.
Presents wrapped, stocking done, husband and child roaming the metropolis I rang all of my guests who were coming to us on Christmas Day – it’s the mark of a thoughtful hostess according to Bea. I rang Janey first who complained that she’s suffering from wind. “Aw, this time next year you’ll have your bundle of joy!” I cooed. “Sod that” she belched “This time next month I’ll be up to my eyes in smelly nappies and nipple pads”. Hm. Not overly festive in their household yet then. I rang Auntie Ivy who promised to bring me “two dozen mince pies, don’t buy any”. I eyed the boxes of Tesco’s Finest mince puffs on the dresser and mentally diverted them to Marjorie’s shindig tomorrow night. Aunt Daisy sounded plastered already as she was “test sipping which sherry to bring on the day”. Ginny next but she was out so I left her a message on her arthritic sounding answering machine. Dad told me that he’d bring the new hutch round on Christmas Eve - Becks is showing signs of boredom and is putting on weight so Dad has built him a multipurpose hutch, with stairs and integrated toys and everything. Okay, so it’s bigger than the garden but as long as the bunny is happy. And there’s clearly a gap in the market for bunny gyms so he might be onto a winner with this one.
Charlie and Saskia said they’d be here at about half past eleven. One is picking the other up and they’ve both promised to bring champagne and truffles. Lydia put me on hold for three minutes while she castigated a marquee man who “hadn’t put it up where the client wanted it and now the client is suing for crushed bushes” before letting me know that she and Matt will be with us at about “12-ish and we’re bringing champagne and smoked salmon nibbly things". Jack Next Door will be providing “all the nuts we could want” and will be with us after 1pm.
Talking of nuts, David rang me from John Lewis sounding extremely frazzled. “I’m ringing to admit what I’ve done before I get home and am grassed up by my own flesh and blood” he said in a defeated tone. In order to ensure Mac’s attention, good behaviour and his presence at David’s side at all times in “the sheer bloody crush of people in the immediate mile and a half vicinity”, David had resorted to buying a Snap Trax Bob The Builder Carwash and Garage as a bribe. “But mummy,” David was still talking “I’ve told him he can only have it when we get home AND if he’s been a good boy for the rest of the time we’re out.” I could hear Mac singing “Bob the Builder” very loudly in the background. I promised David fish and chips for dinner and reassured him that he was doing a great job.
He was glad to get back to work today!