"The best laid schemes of mice and men gang aft agley".. that's for sure. Our Christmas was great, but not quite what had been planned. Son didn't come to stay on Sunday after all; he came by train, with his girlfriend - to borrow the car - and drove back to London with her, so that he could wrap presents and bring his stuff back the next day. I hadn't met this girlfriend before, though had heard about her, and I must say she was as lovely as I had been led to believe. We only saw each other for about 15 minutes, so quite hard to judge, but she was both beautiful and gentle. A great combination.
Anyway, that left me with more time to myself for present wrapping and general preparation. Son arrived back on Christmas Eve morning, alone, and then collected his work friend from the station later. She is called Dhia (not sure about the spelling), a born and bred Australian but from an Asian family. Quite a mixture, but very nice and very easy to get on with. The other couple (two Americans from Texas - not Canadians as I had thought!) didn't get here at all on Christmas Eve. They were apparently too late arriving back from Stockholm, and managed to get a last-minute room at the Inn (the De Vere Grand, actually), because they didn't want to disturb us. In fact after we had eaten, we went to see my Brighton BF and husband for a drink (more drink!!) and to exchange Christmas presents. By the time we got back, downed more Champagne and finished wrapping presies, they could have turned up at 1am and it wouldn't have mattered.
Christmas morning is already a bit of a blur - I was giddy with food preparation: peeling and counting and par-boiling potatoes and parsnips, making stuffing with sausagemeat and creamed marrons (which was just wonderful), stuffing the big bird and getting the whole lot into my two ovens. Daughter was a great help, and got out the Christmas china and silver, laid the table and did the candles, glasses and crackers. The table did look utterly lovely, and we managed to do everything on time. The expected couple didn't turn up until 3pm precisely - just as the food was ready! They came bearing very good champagne and other treats, and we sat down and got on with it in true festive style. Thankfully, everything was hot, cooked, ready and tasted fine. Of course, we didn't get to eat the pudding - by then no-one could stuff another morsel down.
After lunch we opened presents and relaxed - though with eight people it was a bit musical chairs. Son and his friends made cocktails and also drank bourbon and yet more champagne. All too much for me, though Daughter and the Boyfriend joined in too. Grandson didn't, of course, but he was having a fine time playing with his presents and with all the new people. He is very gregarious, and is never phased by new faces. At one point he stood and sang "Twinkle, twinkle little Star" all through, word and note perfect, and got a rousing round of applause. Well deserved!
By this time I was so tired that I sat down and practically fell asleep watching Doctor Who. So I went upstairs for a nap, and felt much better for it. All in all it was a fairly normal Christmas Day, I suppose. How lucky we are to have all our family and friends around us. We carried on with the festivities until about midnight - the young ones playing poker and finishing off the champagne (and anything else that was left). I had some lovely presents: a digital radio from Son (so now I can listen to Jazz, and get instant tuning for my favourite stations), plus a gorgeous book and some John Rutter Carols; a handbag from Daughter, and a book about Audrey Hepburn. Lots of other things too - what a lucky lady.
In the end, we didn't need all the extra bedding from ABF, typical! Son had the double room to himself, and Dhia had the single, which worked out fine. More visitors are expected, unexpectedly, because Son has borrowed the car to go and get his girlfriend, and Son's Best Friend is also possibly coming tomorrow. My Sister may also be coming at the week-end, with her Son, so it could be musical beds next..