My partner had a more entertaining Christmas than I. We journeyed North, to spend the actual Christmas Day with my partner's brother, sister-in-law and their delightful children - five-year-old nephew Ewan (similar in name only to dimwit canine chum. Somewhat ironically, human Ewan is remarkably gifted.) and two-year-old Carys. We spent the day with them, and stayed overnight with the parents of my partner's sister-in-law - the owners of my late wife Isolde, still much mourned.
My partner's brother prepared a delicious traditional Christmas meal, in which I heartily indulged (Ewan having recently recovered from a nasty bug, his appetite had still not returned to normal. With no thought for my own wellbeing, I happily assisted him with his dinner). After lunch, my partner and I took some exercise in the field opposite the house. Hereford had received far more snow than we did down South, and some eight or nine inches still lay on the ground (as opposed to none at home). Witness my festive frolics:
|This picture and the one below were taken at the home (below) of my late wife Isolde|
Lovely. And, after my stroll, there were all my presents to open (a most respectable haul this year). Alas for his doting aunt, Ewan was given a couple of pop-guns, which fired rubber and foam projectiles, as his main gift from his parents. In testing it out, he chose to shoot my partner in the eye. It hurt her. She was very good-natured about it, and pretended that it was painless. However, when Ewan looked around for his next target and said (in a MOST sinister way) "Jasper....?", I withdrew to the other room. Unfortunately, in that room I experienced a most unsettling urinary accident. It was cleaned up with the minimum of fuss and the pop-guns were quietly put away.
|All Christmassed-out, atop my haul o' gifts|
|Bless her - the sweet little cherub|
The exhaustion of the day, coupled with the grief of visiting the house for the first time since Isolde's passing, resulted in a further two bladder-based incidents in the servants' passage, which my partner cleaned up. It was most embarrassing. To add to my discomfort, it was decided that - in view of my unpredictable waters - I should sleep in the kitchen.
Thus it was that I spent Christmas night crying piteously - separated from my partner, in a kitchen that was unusually cool because the Aga had inexplicably gone out the previous day, lying in the basket that formerly belonged to my dead wife. I tend to remain upbeat at most times - but I struggled to find anything particularly 'merry' in the circumstances. Conversely, my partner usually finds Christmas something of a trial - and she enjoyed hers more than in general this year (apart from the traumas surrounding me).
I confess that, for all the gratitude I feel towards our family in Hereford for their splendid hospitality and generosity - and the enjoyment afforded to my partner - I was rather glad to return home to my own bed. Plus, on unloading the car, I spotted Archie the Jack Russell from three doors down - who tipped me off that Angus the Rottweiler had blundered yet again in his Christmas gift to fellow-Rottweiler and 'gentleman-friend' Eddie (who lives just across the way). I was thus able to sidestep out of Eddie's way when I saw him exiting his house on Boxing Day and thereby avoid a diatribe on everything that is wrong and inadequate about the unfortunate Angus.