Sitting here in my flannel pants and my favourite gray tshirt, Loo in a red Christmas nightgown, and MB in her holiday nightwear, all of us watching one of my favourite films, Love Actually (uncut, because it's the UK) it's a good way to end a lovely day.
I'm not a huge Christmas fan...not as a child and not since my children are now spread so far apart. Actually, long before the kids moved about, long before I left Utah, I lost my delight in the season... if I didn't have the kids there, it was sad, and nothing I cared to do... I don't know, it really was about what you felt you had to give, did so and so buy you something and you'd not given them something? I'd started buying things and putting them in a gift closet, to make sure my butt was covered. Where was the fun in that? I hated the entire concept of cards... I felt slighted if I sent one, and didn't receive one in return, and they became more and more expensive every year.
I'm not saying everything was bad, that I disliked it all... I've been lucky with those friends who are family.. and they stepped in to always ask me over, those presents were easy to buy, they were bought with love... just as the gifts for my children are purchased. I never give anything to anyone I've not thought about first, or seen and thought, "That is something so and so would like" and picked it up. I never buy or give with motive... I always do it because I think it's the ideal thing for that particular person.
I did love the tree... it was covered with ornaments I'd collected over the years, antique ones, ones given to me in love by the Ex and the children, and the ones I'd given the children. Every year, I give the FMDKids an ornament, with their name and the year. I fill their stockings with silly things and an ornament.. it's what I do.
The rest, well.... I just can't be bothered.
With things working out as they have this year, and me being here, I found myself actually enjoying the holiday.
We went to Surrey, to Loo's parents..... and had a swell time. I was taken aback by the turkey's appearance, to be honest. It still had it's legs. Not the ones I'm used to, but, the bits with the skin on it, down to where the feet go. Yes, all roasted up was turkey leg skin. I was appalled, gasping and saying 'ew' over and over.
I'm already on the low points side because I won't eat bread sauce.... and parsnips aren't my idea of a fun vegetable... so, this didn't help my cause. What did pull me up in the ratings was my deep, honest appreciation of the brussel spouts grown by Mr. G, my willingness to drink wine with him, the fact I won 15 of the 19 points in the trivia game he and I were partners in, and the pecan pie I had made with almost no ingredients one usually needs for pecan pie, helped along by a good dose of Jack Daniels. This puts me on his left at the dinner table.
And made up for the 'ew' of the leg thing.
We consumed turkey and gravy and those potatoes.... those amazing roasted potatoes they do here in the UK... followed by a Christmas pudding we flamed with Courvoisier and another dessert, both topped with a brandy butter and/or custard. Coffee, tea, port.... chocolates... oh, it was lovely indeed.
The gifts exchanged were given because we wanted to do so, not because someone felt they had to do this thing... and Mrs G received possibly the ugliest thing I've ever seen from her housekeeper, which she suggested re-gifting to me immediately.... why wait until my birthday in July or even Boxing Day, when I could simply walk out of the lounge, and come back in, and presto! she could re-gift! Yes, I really wanted a perfume bottle topped by metal frog prince. Sadly *cough*, she decided she'd best keep it, as the housekeeper would look for it on her next visit.
On the way home, going towards the M47, or some such road, we stopped by the famous 'Dripping Tap' home. These people own a local plumbing supply shop, and go all out in their decorating... competing for a prize in any American
neighborhood, including a ferris wheel that has Santa, all the Disney characters, and some elves. My personal favourite was the inflatable, moving Santa being helped out of the chimney by a reindeer. Sadly, it looked as if Santa was giving the reindeer an oral sexual act... I'm not sure if it was sad for them, it was just really tasteless, and... okay, it was really, really funny. You can see by the video that it's .....very.
To get to the M47, we drove through Seven Oaks, which is down to three oaks, Badgers Mount (there are signs warning of badgers crossing the road) and Pratt's Bottom. You wonder about what people were doing or seeing when they named these towns.
Half way home, we stopped for a coffee and to use the restroom.
UK bathrooms are a delight to me, they have machines that carry more than the usual condoms or feminine supplies. For 20p, you can buy personal hand wipes, or, for a pound, you can buy a disposable toothbrush complete with toothpaste. Both of these come in small, round containers to fit in your purse or pocket.
A few years ago, I purchased one of the toothbrush thingys, and put it in my purse, never knowing when I might need to use this wonder. Finally, I was going out, realised I had no gum, and pulled it out, opening the small plastic container, popping the plastic bristle coved ball in my mouth and chewed.
It was akin to having a hunk of plastic fir tree in your mouth. A minty flavoured fir tree. You chewed, and you had fresh flavour, and it scrubbed your teeth.... but, it pulled your gums off. Your gums, part of your taste buds, and a portion of the inside of your lips.
I have to say, it did work.... I will never use one again, though.
UK bathrooms also come with reading material inside of the door on their fully walled stalls. Mine was a boring ad for some online company. Loo was able to read all about a product for incontinence.
The problem with reading an ad for incontinence is, you can't stop weeing. You start to wonder; am I incontinent and don't know it? Should I be using one of those things? Your kidneys work overtime, and your bladder panics. This is a great marketing tool, in my honest opinion.... I had to stop her from buying some of these things when we left.
We didn't buy the pads, but, I did make the mistake of ordering coffee. The counter clerk obviously wasn't happy to be working, nor did he understand any accent but his.
"Hi, I'd like a large cappuccino, please."
"A cappuccino. A large one. Please." I smiled.
"A coffee, right?"
"No. A cappuccino."
Loo at this point walked away to buy a water for MB.
He sighed and looked at the espresso machine.
"Not just a coffee?"
"No, a cappuccino. A large one, please."
He fiddled with the coffee maker... Loo walked back, and asked what was I doing. He asked me to walk to the far end of the counter... I walked there, then he walked me back to my original spot.
"Now, what was it you wanted?"
"A. Large. Cappuccino." I dropped the please and the smile.
"Cappuccino. Large. Now."
He gave me my drink, which he'd made from the dregs from the last four espresso's he'd made, not grinding new beans, nor using fresh water, from the flavour.
I drank it anyway.
I was desperate.
Still, we made it home... we're comfy, and the holiday is almost over. Tomorrow is Boxing Day, which is a nice name for Digestion Day....although here it's like the day after Thanksgiving when it comes to sales.
We may go to a film, we may sleep in, or, we may just Digest.
Then... there are those sales.... and the dollar did rise .02.