It’s been a while since my last update.
Truth is I’ve been kept busy.
First there was Christmas, when my time was clearly too important to be wasted in a dark room writing a blog. It’s a time to be spent with friends and family, sharing gifts and making merry. So, in that spirit, I left my keyboard at home and put everything I could into sharing all the food and alcohol my kin could muster! I am nothing, if not a giver.
I barely had time to recover from those festivities before New Years was upon us. Normally I’d be able to relax, to spend the last of December’s and January’s wages in relative calm, and ease myself into the dark, depressing month that is January. Not this year though. This year we went epic, flying to Paris on New Year’s Eve and flying back New Year’s Day. I kept my giving hat on, sharing my English wit and charm with our French cousins, and in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower we helped them see in 2014 in proper style.
Since then… well, ok… it’s been relatively quiet since then. I probably could have written this sooner, but I think I really did need some downtime; some time to digest everything I had learned over the year’s end. Some of it I’ll keep to myself, but some of it needs to be shared.
The first thing I learned was all about the Christmas jumper epidemic. It’s been growing for a couple of years now, sweeping the country like a plague. One by one, I’ve watched my loved ones succumb to the lure of the festive jumper.
For twelve hours they feel like Christmas Kings, like good old Santa himself must feel once he’s back in the North pole on Christmas morning, celebrating another successful year with a pint of milk and a handful of mince pies. But eventually the magic fades, and all they’re left with is the photographic evidence of their silliness, haunting their Facebook until the next episode.
At least, that was how I used to see it. Now I know different.
This year it was my turn to submit to the woollen temptation. Not that it was all my own doing; I was encouraged to get into the Christmas spirit by gifts from not one but two of my favourite people. Two crimbo jumpers… how could I refuse?
My resistance broke the day we went to the pub in the Wirralian Outback, actually a couple of days after Christmas. It’s something of a tradition with Jen’s family and friends, but it was only the second time I’d been there. The first happened the year before, just a few days after Jen and I had actually met, and I had such a good time I can safely say the chance to do it again is one of the main reasons I’m willing to put up with her! Anyways, I went wearing one of my Christmas jumpers and I couldn’t have been happier. I’ve never felt as festive as I did then, sitting there… looking like a Christmas pudding.
Unfortunately, there was a downside to this Christmas as well. This year, more than any other, it was pointed out to me just how old I’m getting. It was bad enough when the socks and boxers started to replace the cool stuff, like chocolates and toys. This year even the DVDs had dried up. Apparently, moving in with the lady friend means an end to entertainment and the start of this…
Fortunately, Jen knows how much I love a sausage butty and a cup of tea in the morning, so I’m sure she’ll put this to good use!
Last but not least was the main lesson I took from our trip to Paris. Not only was it the best New Years I’ve ever had, enjoying the sights and soaking up the atmosphere with some fantastic people… and Jen, I also learnt that it’s not the greatest idea to tell a French man “Sorry, I don’t speak French”. In English. With a French accent.