…I flooded the bathroom, but had lots of fun…
But more of that later. The run-up to Christmas was the best part, as ever, and Mr. Applepip and I made sure it was strung out for as long as possible by buying our tree as soon as December started. It wasn’t hard to get into the Christmas spirit; no sooner have the Thanksgiving turkeys been gobbled up than our neighbours unearth their fairy lights and bring out their wreaths. ‘Celebrate, celebrate, celebrate’ is the mantra round here.
The downside of putting up a tree in the first weekend of December is that your children think Christmas is just around the corner. And for a three year old, three weeks is an eternity. Luckily Bigger Boy and Littler Boy loved their advent calendars so much that the excitement of opening a door each morning helped them forget that it still wasn’t Christmas Day. Nevertheless, the tension was palpable by Christmas Eve, and when Bigger saw that there were three presents placed prematurely under the tree on the 24th, he came down from bed in the morning and said, ‘Bust my Buffers, there are presents under the tree, it must be Christmas Day!’ (‘Bust my Buffers’ is a Thomas The Tank Engine term, oh blessed readers whose lives aren’t so rudely invaded on a daily basis by the irritating googly-eyed blue train). If we had known that for Bigger, three presents were such an overwhelming Christmas bounty, we would have told Father Christmas earlier that he needn’t bother stopping at our house. But the sleigh was in motion and there was no stopping him.
Talking of FC, we went to visit him at Macy’s this month. Before entering the grotto, Bigger asked the inevitable question: ‘Is this the real Father Christmas who brings presents to us on Christmas Eve?’ Well, I don’t know if we saw the real Father Christmas, because there were no fewer than EIGHT of them installed in their individual wood-panelled booths taking requests from wide-eyed children. They were all well hidden from each other and none of the children seemed to notice the other children emerging from their visit to a different Father Christmas than the one they had visited. When, on the way out, I asked one of the elves how many Santas were in there, he said in a sage tone, ‘just the one’.
Now back to the Christmas Day flood. All was going so smoothly until I decided to unblock the upstairs loo, which had had too much toilet paper put down it when I had hastily mopped up a spillage from around the basin. The plunger did not have its desired effect. Instead, it spewed water right over the edge of the toilet and into every corner of the bathroom floor. I was so stunned that my reaction was extremely delayed, and did not put down a towel quickly enough to soak it all up. I was shouting so loudly to Mr Applepip to come and help me that I didn’t hear his reply: ‘it’s coming through the kitchen ceiling!’ I went down to find shelves of crockery being rained upon and water bouncing off pan lids. We spent the next hour washing everything in our cupboards while trying to fend off Bigger, who wanted us to rebuild his prized marble run (thank you, Granny).
The next few hours were as Christmas should be. Plenty of food and wine for the grown-ups while six children rampaged the house and stripped the tree of every chocolate hanging from its branches. Shame about the port and Stilton gravy (bad idea, Nigella), but the beef was great and my lovely friends provided some fabulous canapes and Christmas pud. Several bottles of champagne and wine later, and we had had a very merry Christmas.
Happy Christmas and Happy New Year!