Ooh, so it did
snow in the end, even in Birmingham! I thought for a while there that the whole of the rest of the country was going to get it, but not us.
I have just been watching Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
, taped from earlier in the evening, sitting as I did so in the middle of the lounge floor wrapped up in a huge double quilt, with glowing embers in the hearth and various chocs and other goodies spread out around me. I often seem to end up watching films late at night in this fashion over Christmas, and there is, in my opinion, no better way to do so.
Presents were multiple and all delightful. I'm glad to read that stompyboots
got a stocking, because that means it's OK to admit that my sister and I still get them too. Much of the stuff contained therein tends to be useful / practical these days: e.g. washing-up gloves, a micro-umbrella or spare electric toothbrush heads. But Santa also brought me various types of chocolate, two sets of postcards of Roman things in the British Museum, an 'Earth from the Air' calendar and some body-spray.
Tree presents (i.e. presents from family members, placed under the tree on Christmas Eve) included some very posh make-up from my sister: a deep purple Sephora lipstick, and a mauve, shimmery Chanel eyeshadow. I don't think I've ever owned anything Chanelesque before, so that was very exciting, and both were worn for Xmas dinner in the evening. From my auntie Pat I got some dangly earrings, and from my uncle Duncan a £10 book token. And Mum and Dad got me a guinea-pig calendar (I was a very enthusiastic guinea-pig owner as a child, and would love to live somewhere where I could have them again now), and DVDs of A Tale of Two Cities (1958)
and Moulin Rouge (1952)
, both featuring... what, you guessed? Also a special mug to make proper filter coffee in at work, a Boots gift card (the modern equivalent of a gift-token, it seems), a CD of my equal-favourite (with David Cordier) countertenor, Robin Blaze
singing music by William Byrd, including one track called 'Constant Penelope' (in fact, it turns out to be a translation of a poem by Ovid), and four books: 'Brighton Rock' and 'The End of the Affair' by Graham Greene, 'The White Goddess' by Robert Graves' and 'Howl's Moving Castle' by Diana Wynne Jones.
And finally... could this be the best of all? I now own this pony (Star Catcher)
As for the day itself, the morning was spent first opening our stockings, and then baking and eating croissants from ready-made dough which you can buy in funny carboard tubes. They tasted very nice, actually: easily as good as buying them fresh from a boulangerie, and possibly even better
Then I boiled down stock from the giblets which came with the duck we'd be having in the evening, while simultaneously doing general pottering, showering and fire-lighting. Lunch was a selection of cold bits and pieces: much of it still left over from our party on the 23rd! Then, after lunch, we were finally allowed to open our tree presents: something of which much ceremony is made in our family, with each person getting given a pile of their own presents, and then sitting in a circle and opening them turn by turn. People who want to really spin it out and make the others fume may open only a card on their turn... or, if they're my Dad, they leap straight in to the biggest present on their first go.
Finally, we cooked our duck, and had our proper Christmas meal in the evening. Everyone agreed it came out really well, with an excellent bitter orange sauce (which is what the stock was needed for), as directed by Delia. We finished with Christmas pudding, properly set alight with brandy and all (this bit is always my job - yay!), and then sat round with brandy and port as the last tinkles rang out on our angel chimes
Now it is nearly 2 in the morning, so I rather think I ought to put my head down. Even though it's not Christmas here any more, I never quite like to go to bed on Christmas evening... After all, when I wake up, it will only be boring old Boxing Day, and another 364 days to go until the magic comes round again.
Oh: or a mere 356 until the next Saturnalia, of course!