Thursday, 27 December 2012

Best laid plans - A Christmas of Surprises

Well, that was "different." Christmas hasn't turned out quite as we'd intended, though  if you've read  A Letter From Home, you'll know that we're not the only people whose carefully orchestrated plans went slightly askew. Mr GP,  chef supremo, was stuck down by a winter bug on Christmas eve and was banned from going anywhere near anything edible. Pictured above are his deputies - Ms GP  working on graphic designs  with a carrot, and her brother (MA Modern Lit) dismembering and stuffing a turkey.

A new skill for my CV!

Ms GP and I continued our time-honoured tradition of prepping the spouts and spuds the night before whilst listening to Nine Lessons and Carols from King's College, Cambridge, courtesy of i-player. Actually I caught it first time round whilst wrestling with last minute present wrapping, but you can never have too much of Carols from Kings IMO. Just as well, as poor poorly Mr GP was in no fit state to go anywhere - hence for the first time for nearly 20 years, no Christmas services and definitely no 'Midnight.' He crawled off to bed early, the children hopped off to the pub leaving this  elf wrestling with yet more reams of paper and rolls of sellotape (I have a serrated thumb to prove it) in front of Midnight Mass on TV. I can tell you that it goes on for hours, with processions and clouds of incense that leave "Newchurch" in the shade. I'd plenty time to get Santa's tasks done and dusted well before the Eucharistic prayer. 

Strangely enough, I'd just been thinking  that this year was probably one of the latest we've ever been in terms of practical preparations; (we  only properly began a week before Christmas and rarely put up the tree before the 23rd anyway) and yet it was one of the least fraught we've had. Mr GP has discovered that he can relax and let others take the strain. Myself - yes, of course  I felt disappointed at not being with 'my' church at such a special time, but only a few days previously was lucky enough to share with an elderly member of "Oldchurch" and her son when she had home communion brought over to her. A wonderful and totally unexpected Christmas  surprise.

And whilst on the subject of Christmas surprises, one of GP daughter's friends gave birth to a little girl  - their first child, on Christmas eve, nearly a week early* but what wonderful timing! Ms GP hasn't visited yet, but thanks to the wonders of modern technology, we were able to see pics of baby only an hour or so after the birth. 

Happy Christmas everybody!

*GP daughter has been frantically sewing together blanket squares ever since. She'd been relying on the time-honoured tradition of a first baby arriving late. Best laid plans...


  1. Poor Mr GP! One of the worst kinds of ailment to have, and what unfortunate timing. My sympathy - but it sounds (and looks) as if you still managed to have a good time.

    I agree about the Carols from Kings. That's the real start of Christmas for me! HALO remembers from his Navy days the nostalgia induced by listening to it from the other side of the world. We watched the Papal Midnight Mass on EWTN - now that was long and elaborate, if you like! (Love it!!) Hope Mr GP is feeling better, and best wishes to you all for Christmastide and the New Year.

  2. I'm beginning to come to the conclusion that "the perfect Christmas" lies well outside of our plans and expectations.

    There's a hymn somewhere that has the lines "do not strive, do not strive" in the refrain.

    Very little is needful to make "A Happy Christmas": can it be true that happiness is all in the mind?

  3. Not a good time to be ill!

    A less fraught Christmas is always a good thing though,

    Best wishes for 2013 when it starts

  4. Best wishes to you, too. He's fully recovered now, thank goodness and has headed off to the pub!

  5. p.s Kirsten - "Let me do my work among you," that's the one...


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