Yes It's Another
that kind of sun kissed sensation that flows through all your limbs
and leaves you without the least desire to do
well anything really.
Waves lapping, palm trees glimpsed with sun shielded eyes. The evocative
um is it coconut? My factor 100+ sun cream? (With my pale
complexion I couldnt cook any faster if you poured a vat full of
cooking oil over my head). And those soothing sounds, distant voices,
getting closer and
ARE YOU LISTENING? WOT DO YOU WANT FOR BREAKFAST?
I jump, not so much awakened from my reverie but torn limb by limb from
it screaming. The TV guide with all those tedious advertisements for unaffordable
and, without the use of cliché, unimaginable holidays falls to
the floor. Well as Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker said why live in
the real world when you can live in your head. Unfortunately society
as a whole does not appear to be particularly cool with this idea.
WELL WOT DO YER WANT? YOU CANT HAVE NOTHING HOT.
Well I should explain I have an eleven-year-old sister. Explanation
over you must know the drill. Drill being the operative word. She
endeavours to organise Christmas day with all the military zeal of a Middle
East dictator. Obviously we must not ask for any sort of cooked breakfast
as it will interfere with her precise schedule and the attainment of her
Christmas related goals. Or goal actually the opening of her presents.
However, I think I ought to explain that my sisters attempts to
get Christmas allowed into the Olympics as a speed sport are never entirely
successful. Actually our Christmas day proceeds thus:
7.00am Sister tries to wake everyone up. Much shouting and threats
8.00am Sister continues shouting now followed with banging loudly
on doors. We all ignore her.
9.00am Sister now shouting about breakfast on table and hungry
dogs waiting. Banging on doors with what sounds like ten-foot iron pole.
Parents arise possibly worried that sister will explode. Boyfriend
and I continue to ignore her.
9.45am Eat breakfast as fast as possible. First headache of day
cause: shrieking sister. Arguments begin.
9.47am open presents. Act amazed and grateful.
10.00am Clear up all the paper that covers the floor: discover
a dog and another family member in the process.
10.10 am People do cooking related things here I think.
11.00am onwards watch TV, complain about the lack of decent things
to watch but watch anyway, walk dogs, get hungry, enquire about dinner
told ready at 4.00pm.
4.00pm no dinner, told to wait another hour.
6.00pm Dinner. Eat too much too quickly. Sister in a hurry to reach
the cracker pulling bit. Avoid Christmas pudding who likes it anyway?
Its definitely one of the big Christmas conspiracies.
7.00pm onwards play games. Watch Eastenders and have the old debate
about why the men in this family consider it rubbish but love The Archers
just because its on the radio rather than the TV. Plus they all watch
it sneakily anyway and are hypocrites.
12ish go to bed with aching heads, stomachs, hair etc.
Sound familiar? Pretty ordinary and against a backdrop of deepest darkest
Cornwall so you should be thinking cold, wet and windy. And our house
do you recall the spooky hotel in The Shinning? Ok its a
hundred times smaller and looks more like a large granite barn but the
sense of isolation and a maddening entrapment with the people you are
living with is similar. Also we have horses to contend with. Perhaps you
can envisage cosy little pictures of riding into the local village, through
the snow, all snug and warm from the heat of the horse. Maybe stopping
to get some milk from the local farmer on the way. Actually these animals
are nutters. Mine in particular is terrified of the wind despite having
lived out in it all her life. So basically they have zero usefulness but
demand that I freeze and sneeze (hay fever. Yeah very ironic) carting
huge bales of hay around. However, they are beautiful, very graceful and
also for sale if you are thinking about buying a huge muddy useless creature.
Anyway I seem to
have digressed somewhat. This Christmas was different. I had no money
well ok then no change there. However the reason for this was
that most of my cash, with that of obliging friends and relatives, had
gone towards bringing a dog over from Greece. I met Gustav (the aforementioned
dog) whilst doing volunteer work in an animal sanctuary near Athens.
He had been abandoned as a puppy and the scarring on both his eyes suggests
that he had been beaten around the head. Nevertheless he was so trusting
and loving that I decided to raise the funds to fly him home.
He was the new addition to Christmas well my boyfriend was also
experiencing the Yuletide madness with my family for the first time.
He spent most of the time staring at everything in wonder, sniffing
everywhere and causing terrifying fights with our other dogs. The dog
not the boyfriend that is. Now he is well and truly settled realises
that the best place to sit is as close to the fire as possible or on
the sofa if he can get away with it. So I dont mind that I was
poverty stricken this Christmas or the fact that when you really need
mundane gifts like socks you dont get them and receive life-size
pottery phrenology heads and disembodied pottery hands instead. For
me the best moment this Christmas was when I let Gustav run in our fields.
He had been cooped up in a small kennel for three years with only ten
minutes a day to run in a small yard. When his feet touched grass he
ran the length of the field and back like a dog possessed. It made me
smile to see him and he seems to have been grinning ever since. A soppy,
feel-good ending? Well what did you expect at Christmas.
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