The tree, if I say so myself, is a work of art. We had a pretty trying day, Mac and I. Despite winding the Christmas lights round an old bit of wood, the buggers were entangled. Senior Dog, who hates upheaval (you'd think he be used to it, living in this house) retired to the sofa throughout whilst Middle Dog ate his way through a roll of wrapping paper and spent the afternoon sitting in David's chair, belching. After calling the emergency vet, I was instructed to "keep an eye on him" - he was never far from my line of vision but has done nothing majorly dramatic (keeling over) yet. Junior Dog has been "helping" - we keep finding random decorations in strange places. Mac found a wooden reindeer in his bed, won't be parted from it as "Santa probly put it there" and has taken it off to school to show his friends.
Talking of friends, his social life for the next three weeks is rivalling that of an A-list celebrity - trips to the cinema, parties after school, Queen Bee Mummy's Fabulous Festive Sunday.....the list goes on. I, on the other hand, am having to make do with my work Christmas party next Friday and David's work do on the 19th - both of which have been downgraded in deference to the credit crunch.
Last year, work hired a spacious venue with properly sprung dancefloor, went overboard on the glitter, tinsel, food and the DJ who got himself into such a frenzy of excitement he fell off the stage. This year we're holding it in the hospital social club, everyone has been asked to donate a "decorative item" and eat before we leave home. The DJ has been downgraded to our Head of Communications who likes to "get his decks out at the weekend".
Last year, David's work whisked us all off to Gordon Ramsay's restaurant in SW3 and everything was laid onto the company credit card. This year we're to pay for our own meals at Georgetown. I'm happy, I'm re-reading Tanamera.
Frank and Marjorie Stewart are spending next weekend back in their old stomping ground of Sussex - Frank's ex Superintendent is retiring and they're having a "bash to end all bashes" to celebrate. Frank gets quite misty eyed when he talks about his time in the force and insists that "these days" it's all done wrong. Jane Opposite says Her Bill is quite pleased we don't get the "Old Bill dahn The Avenue any more" - it's because they're petrified of bumping into ex PC Stewart and being told they're not doing their jobs properly. Not that Bill Opposite is doing anything he shouldn't, he just has a natural aversion to the "gits with a tit on their head". Or so Jane Opposite informs me.
Lydia is bringing Freddie for a visit later this afternoon - she's struggling with a new baby and his first Christmas, weeping every time a "First Christmas!" card arrives on her doormat. Ivy bought her a "Baby's First Christmas" bauble for their tree and Matt said it was ten minutes before she could look at it without sobbing. "It's all so.....so.....new!" she wailed to me earlier when she reported that Freddie jumped out of his skin and bellowed the house down when Matt let rip with the Christmas CD. Noddy Holder is enough to send anyone leaping out of their skin. Using Freddie as a guide, she's moved away from the more "poppy" Christmas tunes and headed more towards the traditional Christmas songs. "O Holy Night made me cry though" she lamented.
My tears have been saved for Mac rehearsing songs for the Christmas Assembly. Silent Night swiftly followed by Once in Royal David's City - tongue twisters at the best of times but sang by not quite five year olds they reduce me to tears of pride when I hear him and Jonathan struggle to sing the high notes and tears of mirth when he asks me "how come Daddy's got a Christmas song mummy? Have you got one?"