I love Christmas! I do, I love it! And when I am in the early stages of anticipation, I think it's going to be perfect and then somehow it always seems to get derailed. Perhaps that's the joy of it - the fact that it isn't 'just so'.
This year derailment came early. Last Monday, after a brilliant weekend of carousing with our friends and a canter round a tennis court with Wimbledon Men's Doubles Champion, Jonny Marray, my beloved announced he was ill. He is never ill. He didn't want fuss, he just wanted to be left alone with his poorly tum.
On Tuesday evening, after a school run that involved home to school, school to tennis centre, tennis centre to school, school to home, home to tennis centre, tennis centre to home, home to school and back twice (phew!), child number 4 (the small and beautiful one) announced she was also ill. Both father and daughter had a bad case of Vomiting Veronica (neat reference to Four Weddings in case you plan to watch it over Christmas).
I am bound to get it, I think to myself. But on Wednesday I am fine and having tea with a lovely girlfriend who is very Bah Humbug about Christmas which obviously I am not and then another cup of tea with daughter 2 who is as Christmas-enthused as I am. On Thursday I am feeling fine and anticipating (now that my beloved and number 4 are on the mend) going to see The Hobbit on Thursday night en famille. I love those little guys with hairy feet so a first night cinema trip was a must. On the way to the cinema, minus number 4 who wasn't quite up to it, I started to feel a bit sick...
I never made it to the film, nor indeed all the way home without having to stop. And none of us made it to the supper party at the singing, dancing doctors on Friday which we had so been looking forward to. Of course, number 3 was fine throughout and he claims that we were ruining his social life by being the house of sickness all weekend and if we ate two dinners every night like he did, we'd have been fine all along.
Anyway we are all better now that it's Monday and I am off to career round a tennis court with my chums except that whilst I have been ill, my beloved has been busy - draft-proofing the front door. Brilliant, warmer house, except that now as I am dashing off to cheer myself up after a weekend to forget, the front door won't lock. Cue me ripping draft excluder off the front door frame like a thing possessed but still it won't lock.
Eventually I decide the only thing to do is to lock the inside front door and go out of the conservatory door except ... that won't unlock! Feeling more than a little stressed I decide that really the only thing to do is climb out of the window. Which is what I did and on the way to tennis, I left an expletive-filled message for my beloved who is away on business this week.
On my return, I climb back through the window as the phone rings. It is he. He calmly explains which bit of draft excluder I need to remove and that actually I could have gone out of my office door. I had forgotten that my office has an outside door which opens and closes, locks and unlocks and does all those things which doors generally do. I can only admit that sometimes I miss the obvious.
So Christmas is already not quite going to plan with preparations running somewhat behind schedule but it will be all the lovelier for it and now I am busy sticking draft excluder back on the front door frame - well, most of it anyway.