Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas eve

We have guests at the moment. I went to pick them up at 1 am this (Christmas) morning down in the village so I didn’t get to bed much before 01.30. Then of course I had to get up again at 05.45 to get the fires lit so that they could wake to a warm environment. Though after an abundant Christmas dinner I would of course have preferred to say in bed there is something magical about waking up to a crisp clear morning and knowing that you are the only person up and about and doing for miles around. This happens on new years day morning too. There is usually a car or two racing up the valley even on the stillest coldest mornings but on these two mornings there is never anyone. It’s like the world had stopped and everyone has got off, just how I like it. A perfect starlit morning with just enough light to make out the banks of fog down on the flatlands and a fleeting glimpse of a deer in the woods below the house.. and the washing on the line stiff as a board.

Dinner was fun. We had a bunch of the usual friends over. People we have know for years and usually celebrate with. It just makes everything so relaxed and friendly, no hassle, no competition, no pretence, and above all no rowdiness. Lovely. I have never been much of a one for parties. I never needed loud music or drink to convince myself I was having fun and for me dancing borders on the unimaginable. never got what that was all about. So every year that passes (starting when I was about 22 though in case anyone thinks it’s an age thing) I appreciate more and more this type of social event.

The unusual thing this year of course was Tabatha. Last year as she was only one and didn’t figure much in the Christmas thing. This year however she was very present (as only a two year old can be) and most of the time was totally naked which goes to show you what sort of atmosphere there was. The Italians are generally the most relaxed population you could wish to meet and these friends are relaxed by Italian standards. Naturally sociable. I mean eight of us and we only got through one bottle of wine – that’s relaxed. Even the food followed it’s own evolution. A pot roast which had spent about 5 hours cooking and needed a stapler to hold it all in place it was so tender, roast pots and I had thrown every vegetable I could find into a wok and we just splatted it onto the plates and tucked in. There were of course a few cakes and other munchies but nothing elaborate.

So this morning it’s ring the folks up for the Christmas greetings and to convince one of my parents to record the queen’s speech for me and then it’s off to the in-laws for some excessive quantities of food. Now that will be chaotic.

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