Sunday, December 24, 2006

'Twas The Night Before Christmas...

...and why does Christmas always have to be so busy? I thought that once the writing deadlines were out of the way, it would be time to relax and knit. Then I thought that once the shopping was really finally finished, it would be time to relax and knit. THEN I thought that once the presents were wrapped, the house tidied up, the dogs combed, the holly placed, the tree brought in and decorated, the ironing put away, it would definitely be time to relax and knit....

It's almost midnight. Santa, although not scheduled to leave the North Pole for another seventeen minutes or so, has probably left already, so as not to get caught up in the traffic jams at Caribou Crossing (yes, I watched Polar Express last night while ironing, doesn't everybody?) I have finished all the gifts, except for a quilt for my brother (he's not calling until tomorrow evening so that gives me a little extra time to do the hand-finishing on the border). Even the knitted gaiter or neck ring or polo neck minus the pullover for DH is done. It nearly wasn't, as I was working frantically away on the quilt for DB (my brother whom I love dearly never asks me for anything so when he diffidently suggested a couple of years back that I might make him a quilt I was deeply touched. He has a little camper van and wanted a quilt to put in there to make it homely.

Let me tell you right here and now that deep sisterly love plus being deeply touched at the request, despite the major total these make, do not add up to getting the job done immediately. Oh the intention was there, it was there in spades - but life got in the way. Last night, in the throes of utter pre-Christmas exhaustion, I reluctantly accepted that once more the deadline was gone and I hadn't made it. He'd have to wait another year.

But this morning, life didn't seem so bad. In between jobs, surely I could haul out the fabric, sew it together, make up the quilt top by lunchtime? If I could do that, then I could hack the rest of it during the evening.

I could, I did. It's almost done. I had to tear myself away from it this evening to ensure that DH's knitted gift got done and wrapped at ALL. Tomorrow, in between yet more jobs, will see DB's quilt completed and wrapped up, along with a basket of goodies, awaiting his arrival.

Yes, more jobs. Not my own, in actual fact, but DH's. He, given that several of his colleagues have produced tiny offspring this festive season (must be the climate, and yes, more quilts, more quilts, happily tiny ones!) has nobly offered to work Christmas Day (some poor photographers have to, else there would be no images in the next day's papers). And I can do no less than to accompany him, flask of reviving coffee and crisp rolls to the ready. So far we just have to cover two festive swims (brave folk indeed, and sooner them than me, and yes, you can be certain the whiskey bottles will be very much in evidence on the draughty Irish beaches tomorrow morning, and OK I will get pictures for you) and probably a few Christmas morning babies too, before retiring gratefully to our own fireside to open presents and give the dogs a bit of attention. They, I can reveal to you now (they're tucked up and dreaming of sausages, and won't be reading this until tomorrow) have a toy each from the local thrift store, plus one retreat bed (one of those tiny dog beds that is really a little house into which a reclusive sort of midget can retire if in a bad temper, and repel all invaders) to share. I've hung bells on the roof and from the entrance, and wait with interest to see which one has the courage to investigate first (my money is on Tasha, aka La Princesse Natasha de St. Petersburg) who knows no fear.

Being traditional in this household, we lit the Christmas candle a while ago, and set it in the window for a reasonable time, to light the Christ Child home. (The youngest in the house should have lit it, but Sophie cannot be trusted with matches). Then I switched on a programme on the Ballet Russes and opened a bottle of Kinsale Brewing Company's Christmas Ale. This is delightful season-only stuff, spiced with all kinds of aromatic goodies and it goes down very well with a chocolate or two and pleasant archive footage of Balanchine and Massine and Anton Dolin and Alicia Markova (interviewed that lady once and it was the first and only time I saw the photographers, hardened paparazzi to a man, drop their gear and stand to attention when she made her entrance, swathed in sables and looking superb despite her seventy-odd years).



Here, for you, our Christmas candle and a bottle of Kinsale Christmas Ale. I cannot do better than repeat the maxim on the label.

Nollaig shona dhuit. A happy Christmas to you and yours. May the night go well with you, and the day tomorrow, and may all those who pass your threshold feel the peace of Christmas.

8 comments:

rho said...

We had our local Polar Bear Plunge for charity last weekend - luckily I had the flu and had an excuse not to go :D

Have fun and Merry Christmas to you and yours....

Marianne said...

Wishing you and all your family a very Merry Christmas, Jo.

Angeluna said...

Jo, what a charming description of your Christmas doings. I watched the Ballet Russe program recently and it is perfect, perfect, perfect for Christmas Eve with a fire, a candle and good ale. I hope you will show us the work of love quilt for your brother. And Richard's neck "thing". And photos of the dogletts' Christmas surprises. There Richard, I have my photo requests in to you.

I took your medicinal recommendation for this nasty cold/chest thing I've had and...by golly...it worked. Am pleasantly buzzed, and feeling much better. Went to the BF's family Christmas Eve dinner tonight, a tradition of many years. Managed to look as gorgeous as possible after being houseridden for two weeks. Santa comes to us there every year with a package for each of the 70 or so nearest and dearest. You have to sit on his lap, while the children are all incorporated as elves to assist. Great fun. Two Christmas dinners tomorrow, plus a visit to my father (stepmother requires his presence with her family, we don't count). And a visit to my old uncle who will leave this earth in the next few days. All is peaceful and dignified there, but assume I will have to make the final arrangements before the new year. It is all OK.

Then Tuesday shall be returning all the things I seem to have purchased in the wrong sizes. Bought one son 34X32s when they should have been 32X34s. Hope to have enough calm to paint the entry hall a new color before the new year. The first color I picked was a mousy gray and dead wrong. It is paper bag brown right now with red Indian decoupage panels. Is green acceptable for the entry? There is so much ochre in the house that I can't do that again.

Wishing you and Richard a wonderful Christmas, photographing frozen Neanderthals on frigid Irish beaches with lots of whiskey. Brrrrrr. Take your knitting!

Dympna said...

Nollaig Shona Dhuit.
We are finishing up the tree. Lights are on, we will get the decorations on soon. Some dinner then hopefully off to bed to await Santa.

LornaJay said...

And a Merry Christmas to you too! The pub closes in 30 mins, and then we can celebrate too.

Dez Crawford said...

What a lovely post -- Happy Christmas, Jo!

anne said...

happy holidays jo! and many more to you and yours.

marti said...

Thank you for the gift of your blog musings. I have greatly appreciated them since I discovered your blog a while back. I hope you had a nice quiet time at home when all the chores were done.