It went as well as could be expected, the Big Day I mean. Mackenzie had gone from being a whirling dervish of excitement on Christmas Eve to a cool, calm, controlled child who opened each present carefully (after noting who had "been helping Santa out"), studying it intently and saying thank you before moving on to the next. It took a while, especially when people kept arriving with presents. I sound so ungrateful but I'm not - the boy did extremely well and was happy to parcel up some of his old toys to take to the St Christopher's Shop in East Dulwich on Friday. The dogs, on the other hand, had to be barricaded into our bedroom because they insisted on ripping off the wrapping of each present, often without warning. Darren, carrying a neatly wrapped DVD across the room to David, had it ripped from his hands by Junior Dog and opened in three seconds flat.
Lunch was a triumph. We toasted absent friends which choked me up, especially when I caught Dad's eye. However, the crashing from the kitchen as four baking trays and the bowls for the Christmas pud slid off the draining board reminded me that Mum was in fact with us. I could almost hear her say "How many times have I told you not to balance your draining dishes?"
Christmas Dinner conversations included just what exactly Braxton Hicks contractions meant - impending birth or what? For it was Janey who spent the entire day alternately stuffing her face and clutching her stomach (festively draped in a holly berry red Cashmere jumper) and worrying. Auntie Ivy hovered three inches above whatever seat she were "sitting" on in preparation for the dash to hospital. We also tried to work out exactly where Janey's baby would sit in our family tree. By dessert we had worked out that she would be a second cousin of either me or Mac and would have debated further but for Saskia asking plaintively if we could stop using the term "second cousin" - "It sounds like something out of Little Inter Breeding On The Wold" she said as she emptied the last of the Shloer into her glass.
We watched The Queen at Ginny's insistence - all very heartwarming and so on but really wish I believed that HRH had just an inkling of what's really going on in homes across the country. Does she really believe that we've all got family photos in silver frames on the baby Grand? Mine are on top of the computer table. I ventured this opinion which set off a glorious row between Uncle Jim, Amelia, Ginny and Jack - it lasted almost until chucking out time. Charlie spent five minutes trying to open the passenger door to what she thought was Saskia's car until Saskia pointed out - from across the road - that she was attempting to break into a strangers BMW.
Boxing Day - after watching a glorious win at the Den - was spent at Bea's. Bea's Boxing Day Bashes are things of legend. I arrived with a hundred-weight of prawn parcels which Enormous Au Pair (EAP) bore off never to be seen again. Caitlin and Ian were covered in paint and unveiled the first of their masterpieces to the gathered crowds. Bea tried to start off a bidding war but had to concede defeat when she realised that the running buffet was still in the kitchen and not running into the dining room. EAP was "sampling" everything before she bought it out. "There were fifty iced biscuits on that tree yesterday morning - today I counted just five!" Bea fumed as she whisked past with a vat of mulled wine.
Thursday and Friday were spent having a half hearted detox and finding places for new presents - and weaning the dogs off of opening the unopened (and undelivered) presents still under the tree. This weekend has been spent in a blur as I contemplate 2007 and wonder what the hell 2008 has in store for me and mine. Oh, and ignoring Amelia who keeps holding things up and saying "do you want this" and "should this be here?". I'm doing an admirable job - she's now started asking David the same questions and his answers of "how the hell am I supposed to know" and "don't ask me" are infuriating her even more than my silence.
Now, there's an unopened bottle of Hardy's here somewhere......unless Amelia has moved it.