Attempting to make it as a writer

Posts tagged ‘presents’

Festive Frolics

“Are we there yet?”

Simple words! They strike a chord, within the memory of any parent, who has travelled with children.  This Christmas we decided to break with tradition and travel up to Sexy Sporty Dad’s family for the festive season.  Rather than impose our whole family on any one person or family during this chaotic period we have taken a gamble against bad weather and booked a cottage deep in the heart of the Peak District.

It took a near military operation to be ready and organised to leave on time.

As the end of term bounded towards us I needed to find time to fit in a final week of school celebrations; nativity plays, and carol services all requiring our attendance.  A works lunch, and evening celebration of Christmas cheer; have all found space on to the once clear calendar.  Two poorly children laid low to the various bugs doing the rounds needing to be looked after and cossetted back to full health in time for the weekend trip added to the pressures.

Like every other family we had to meet up with family and relatives to transfer presents before the big day. Yet another trip to be pencilled in and the only time left to drop other items en-route to all the people we will not be seeing for at least a week.

Late at night or first thing in the morning I am moulded into my computer chair chasing online presents, long since ordered; now lost in the post.  Do I buy alternatives or another one the same from a different supplier? What exactly will I do with a second one, if they both now turn up?  Should I send it direct to the recipient as the item cannot possible arrive here before we leave.

A small card left amidst the mountain of Christmas cards from today’s postman greets me as I climb through the front door.  We tried to deliver but you were out; we have taken it away again… please call us to re-arrange delivery between 9 and 1.

I call immediately but the office is already closed, please try later.  I call first thing in the morning only to discover my parcel is already out on the delivery van, he will be with me sometime before 1pm. I try to explain that I am at work and will not be home but it can be left with a neighbour?  Certainly not madam it is for delivery to you and needs your signature!

Whatever it is do I really need this hassle.  I don’t even know what I am expecting that is that big.

I get home to discover the parcel has been signed for and delivered to a kind neighbour.  Four bicycle racks for the roof of the car have arrived; to aid Father Christmas with transporting two Christmas bikes.  We need the two extra for Sexy Sporty Dad and No 1 Son so they too can bring their bikes.    I breathe a long deep thankful sigh that five just could not fit on top of the car. I will be spared the cold, damp, effort of keeping up with them all, along the muddy, potholed, old railway lines trails that cut across the Peaks of Derbyshire.

Have we got enough clothes, will it be snowing, raining or is there any slight possibility of seeing any sun.  I wash, dry and iron on a daily basis each load planned to be the final holiday batch only to be presented with another pile of favourites not added to the already heaving wash basket.  Have we all got walking boots and do they all still fit, these boys grow so quickly we seem to be continually replacing them.  This is not the time of year to be buying shoes when there is so much else to be bought.

Another update on the Tesco shop, sensibly I booked them to arrive with all our food shopping late in the evening of our arrival.   This is the third time that I have remembered something extra to add then changed my mind about other items.  How much will we drink?  How many meals will we be eating out with family?  What will we doing about lunches, should I buy for them?

Most evenings I manage to wrap a few more of the ever increasing pile of presents getting them ready for delivery.  Such a shame all the elves in the world are busy helping Father Christmas as I could do with a little help myself.   The meagre pile for one child against the other worries me.  Careful budgeting has equalled itself three ways, but the size of the presents does not balance.  Will one child feel hard done by; fairness and replicating presents no longer works as they develop at their individual ages.  So the pile stands, ready packed for the journey.

And we are off, up early and filled to the brim in two cars as we cannot fit luggage, presents and children in one car.  I am permitted to take my new toy; an opportunity for me to show it off and make more wives jealous and more husbands question the wisdom of my husband’s precedence.  It may only take two of us and the odd bag but it relieves the space limitations in the other car and I follow at a sedate pace sure in the knowledge I will not be speeding as I follow the four bicycles along the motorway.

“Are we there yet?”

Six hours on the road and “Yes we are there”!

Five nights and we shall do it all again in reverse.
I wish you all a very happy, safe and peaceful festive season.


Check out my cooking blog at Teatime Treats with Tiggy










Broken Resolutions

Happy New Year.

I hope the festive season brought all you desired wrapped in love, health and happiness.  My biggest complaint; that it was not long enough, and I feel propelled into the New Year having not stopped for breath.

Before Christmas my boys had a wonderful week of pyjama days, not emerging till late morning and thanks to CBBC entertained almost all day long.  By evening, emotions, ennui and exhaustion were taking its toll on their weary bodies as bickering, banal banter and boorish behaviour broke out.

That week, I worked hard. I ran round cooking, shopping, wrapping and delivering presents.  The mountain of washing generated by three boys in their pyjamas was phenomenal.   I met my mother on route to stay with my brother, to swap presents.  Actually she had been organised enough to give me hers the last time we had met.  I on the other hand had not actually bought mine then.

Christmas Day we had a quiet intimate day.  Following midnight mass, the hope the boys would continue to sleep late was a mammoth misconception.  Having got them all to bed and waited till I could do my Christmas Eve creeping around I finally rolled into bed in the early hours of Christmas morning.   Amazingly it was barely a few hours later when little feet crept into the lounge and sorted out how many presents had their name on.

I was prepared; thanks to Nigella the turkey was bathed and cooked slowly overnight so was out of the way.  The veg had been lovingly peeled and chopped in readiness the day before and a very rigid list had been prepared; starting with breakfast.   Why then did I still spend the day in the kitchen slaving over the hot stove;   and what is wrong with beans on toast?  Next year I vow to go to the pub for Christmas Dinner.

What is wrong with Baked Beans on Toast?

We spent the next couple of days visiting family, which was where I was given Herman the friendship cake. I would put it in the league of how to lose friends and upset people.  Apparently on the continent you give them instead of Christmas cards; imagine if you have a lot of friends.  Herman is a cake mixture which you are supposed to stir each day, talking to it.  On day four you feed it then continue stirring till day eight.  You feed it again, divide into 5 portions, the first of which you cook and eat.  The other four portions you give to your friends who covertly curse your generosity.

I have to confess; I accepted it grudgingly but resolved to do my best by it.  The first days I could be found stirring and talking to a bowl!   Day four I did stir but forgot all about feeding.  Day six and seven I forgot to stir or talk and Herman stuck together.  The thought crossed my mind that I should feed him but Herman was not salvageable.  He was sent with other excess food past its edible date to the great compost heap in the brown bin.

This led to one of my more inspirational resolutions for this year:  the word is no!  I am resolved to try to learn the word no, to use it and to allow others the opportunity to say yes.  Saying no will probably be far harder than the usual getting fit, losing weight and writing; some of the other resolutions I have again signed up to.

Returning to work my resolution ringing in my ears; the word is no! The word is no.   I discovered my colleague is yet again signed off sick possibly only for one week but most likely for three.   Would I cover her workload; pay outstanding invoices, advertise for staff, all as quickly as possible.  The word is n-n-n n-n-n – well what was I supposed to say?    She has been off sick having had multiple operations over the last two and a half years and I get pulled in to cover each time.  She never even made it back full time between these last two operations.

So who has kept their resolution?

On my list I was going to walk 1 km a day, it wasn’t far I know but in preparation of my friend and neighbour Natty who is planning to get me jogging again.  Last time I jogged safely was pre-complications that originated from caesareans.   I had managed my walk until yesterday when I ended up staying late at work, meaning I was running late to do the shopping.

Oh well there was the 100 words; I wanted to write 100 words every day, to help get back into the discipline of writing.  I did very well earlier in the week, then yesterday knowing I only had to work the morning I left it till the afternoon.  Being the first day back the morning was stressful enough.  Guess what; I was late back from work, didn’t have enough time to do a proper shop and hence never got to do my 100 words.

There is always the healthy eating resolve.  Unfortunately yesterday I ended up working till late with no lunch and being the first day back no nibbles in the staff room.   I came back starving and late, so I grabbed a few chocolates from the tin, you know the ones that get left as nobody really likes them.   I finished the three half biscuits in the biscuit jar and grabbed a glass of weak squash all that was left in the bottle,  to keep me going.  Having done the shopping and spent far too much because I was hungry and everything looks so much better, I got home and collapsed on the sofa with a cup of tea and Christmas cake.   So much for saying no!

I have however, resolved to overcome my big fear about sending out my story; Memories.   I picked three very dear people who like the friendship cake may not appreciate my generosity.  They have supported the story from the beginning and all three had read and commented favourable on the first three chapters, so I sent them the story.   It took me two hours to send it. The body of the email got longer and longer till it was nearly a book in itself, I scrapped it and began again.  I procrastinated, prevaricated and paused several more times before plucking up the courage to finally press that send button.   I hope they will come back with some glimmer they think it is worth pursuing with.

So having broken only my first resolution it resulted in the domino effect on all the other resolutions. What about yours?  Have you made any and have you managed to keep them going longer than a few days. I have managed to write at least 1 word this morning – just popping off to do my 100 km walk or maybe it is the other way round!


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