I'm pretty pooped. The last few days have been frantic, and it's still not over. I set off on Friday to drive to Kent for a visit with my Aristocratic BF, which I was really looking forward to. The sun was shining in a clear blue sky when I left Hove, but as soon as I was over the Downs, freezing fog came down. It was suddenly dark and creepy, and very cold indeed. The drive took over two hours (it's normally an hour and a quarter) and I arrived, thankfully, just as the sun was setting, before it got dark. Aristocratic BF had invited several neighbours for supper, which was fine. We had champagne and smoked salmon to start with, and then a pheasant casserole with some very strong red wine. The conversation was all country stuff, which I used to be able to join in, but now I feel rather more of a townie. Also, the two couples were what I would call "comfortable" - not exactly smug, but pretty close. They talked about their houses and their investments and their pensions. I didn't feel that I had much to contribute, as I'm semi-retired and not very well off. And I certainly don't have investments or property to compare. After a while, I couldn't stop fidgeting, so I retreated to the kitchen and did the clearing up. It was one way of staying awake! Anyway, I drove back home the next day loaded down with goodies and presents, and with plenty of bedding loaned by ABF for my impending visitors.
This morning Daughter and I made another foray to Sainsbury's for yet more shopping.
I don't know quite why we seem to need so much, but even now we haven't finished. Son came down to borrow the car, stopping for five minutes, and has driven back to London to collect all his stuff and wrap presents. He will be back tomorrow, and his friends will also be arriving sometime tomorrow. The house is clean as a whistle, everything a-sparkle, lovely fresh beds and towels etc. I do hope it will be up to expectations. I've planned the food: a baked gammon for tomorrow evening (we're following Nigella's recipe), with sweet potato and parsnip mash and steamed veg, and a tarte au citron to follow. Christmas Day will be the usual turkey-lurkey with home-made stuffing, little sausage and bacon rolls, roast potatoes and parsnips, sprouts and carrots. (I have bought some of those gorgeous growing sprouts on a stick.) I have also bought a new and rather smart football (Tottenham Hotspur colours)- and there's a method in my madness. My plan is that all the lads can take Grandson down to the Lawns for a game of footie on Christmas morning, after a late breakfast (weather permitting of course), which will leave Daughter and I to get on in the kitchen. Then they can all come back refreshed, just in time to open the wine, lay the table and make themselves generally useful. We don't usually sit down to Christmas Dinner until about 3pm, so that will hopefully work out.
I have just about finished wrapping presents. This is a first; normally I don't start until Christmas Eve, and I'm usually still sitting behind the sofa (so that no-one can see what I'm doing), watching "It's a Wonderful Life" with one eye, until about 1 am on Christmas morning. This year will be different. We will have Son's friends staying, none of whom I know, but I'm quite looking forward to that. I'm listening to Christmas Carols, humming along cheerfully, and just about ready for bed. I must try and fit in "It's a Wonderful Life" tomorrow. I always shed a tear at the end, but Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without it.