So, it is after Christmas, and I am back in my own home again, after the annual Caravan of Relations, also known as the Carnival of the Animals. Oh, God, the relief.
It started flustered. H had a cold. Just as he started to feel a little better, I went down croaking. We nevertheless arrived at my mother’s house with a full set of properly wrapped presents and managed to sort the place out and do grocery shopping before that particular selection of relatives returned from their holiday on the Continent, and I made dinner for them all, politely blowing my nose very hygenically into fresh tissues that I instantly burnt, and washing my hands every few minutes. And then I went down like a snot-filled nine-pin and spent Christmas itself coughing and gasping and being utterly unable to speak above a hoarse whisper and, frankly, no better company than the turkey itself.
Christmas Day, my uterus gave up again and let go, leading to a disgruntled changing of underthings and general hoarse imprecationing of hormones and their wicked evil ways. I can’t call it a period, I hadn’t ovulated. I tend not to, you see. It’s very annoying. And anyway, on Boxing Day it had got a grip and stopped. Which was just as well as we were now packing up and trekking down to the In-Laws for a few days. Me, I still sounded like Dracula’s best baritone door hinge.
The In-Laws met us with cheery smiles and the news that tomorrow their small, nay, bijou, house would contain not only our good selves but an aunt, uncle and cousin as well, and how did we feel about sleeping on the sofa? Delighted, obviously. There’s nothing I like more, when unwell, than having to BE unwell smack bang in the living-room surrounded by people I hardly know who wish me to talk to them. And having to wait until everyone else has gone to bed before I can go to bed, that always cheers me up when I’m getting slightly out of my box on phenylephrine and cough syrup. And said unclish person was in a terribly jolly ‘tell me all your life-history, you are the most interesting person in the Universe, bounce-on-sofa, bounce-on-sofa’ mood. As a back-ground to all this, H and I were having a long-rumbling bickerness about the fact that his parents would be coming back up to London WITH us for New Year, and the flat looked like the aftermath of a grenade in the back room of an Oxfam shop, and I was Not Happy, as MiL is a tidy house-proud woman and there is no way I could be unlocking our front door chirping things like ‘Mind the laundry! I’ll deal with that in a moment, why don’t you throw those books off the sofa and sit down – mind my knitting! Oops. Well, there’s an A&E just down the road – perhaps if you lay flat on your tummy in the back seat of the car?’
Anyway, the next day said relations do indeed fill small house to gunwales, and we have a festive dinner. During dinner, I experience what I can only describe as a brief uterine haemorrhage. I get up and scuttle to the loo (and there’s another thing. Their loo is downstairs, and separate not only from the bathroom, but from any kind of sink either, so if your hands are Not Respectable, you nevertheless have to take them out into the public hallway of the house en route to a sink). I mop up as much as I can and then, of course, cardigan wrapped awkwardly about me fore-and-aft have to go into the living-room and find my clean trousers, knickers, and tampons. I inform H that as far as everyone else is concerned, I spilt my dinner in my lap. I retire to the loo again. I scuttle between the loo and bathroom and rinse the Knickers of Doom (for yea, verily, it was them) and my trousers out, to remove as much embarrassing stain as I can. No one says anything. I can’t work out if they are being very polite, or simply haven’t noticed me scampering about in a crouch. I decide I hate everything, and drink a little too much.
It is, however, agreed that we can go home 24 hours before the In-Laws so as to clean the flat and buy food and whathaveyou. I am still hoarse and coughing and H and I are not really getting much sleep, and not in a good way. We drive back up to London in the wind and the rain. We are very tired. We collapse in front of the telly and get takeaway. Tomorrow we will sort out flat, we say. We should have just enough time before they arrive. And then we go to bed. And then we have Mammoth Melt-Down Row of Epic Proportions.
In retrospect, the length and extremity of the melt-down had less to do with the actual subject we chose for said row (I’m a little hazy on that) than the fact we were both far too tired and fed up to make any kind of sense at all.
Anyway, we fell into each-other’s arms, vowing undying love and passionate devotion to each other, at about five in the morning.
And H phoned his parents a few hours later to say, could you please not come up today, as, err, err, May had such a bad cough (oh yes) she kept us both awake until five in the morning and we are both completely out of it? Come up early tomorrow instead. We’ve bought some lovely organic pork to roast for dinner, and we have expensive chocolates and champagne. And they said, well, we won’t come up then, no point for just one night.
So H and I will be spending New Year’s Eve all on our own, eating ourselves stupid (eat drink and be merry, for tomorrow we diet) and trying to work out what, if anything, we had been arguing about, and whether we need to pay it any mind or not.
And as a yah boo sucks to the In-Laws, it is gone five in the afternoon, no tidying whatsoever has been done, and I am still in my pyjamas.
A happy 2007 to you all.