It’s beginning to look a lot like… oh shush

Item – Christmas shopping mostly done. I have one specialist art supplies shop to raid for my sister’s present, and then I will fall face-down into the gluten-free boxes at Hotel Chocolat (again) and all will be well. Anything else that goes wrong will be entirely the fault of the British Postal Service. My conscience is clear.

Item – I actually got completely Queenie at the work Christmas party, and for just about the first time ever, swore, cheerfully, inventively, and at length, in front of my colleagues (but not my boss! I have some self-preservations instincts left! Go me! See the little goblin, see his little feet…). My colleagues have taken to patting me on the arm whenever they see me, and giggling.

Item – I did get to see a proper old-fashioned in-a-freezing-Victorian-barn-of-a-church carol concert, and now I am happy. I may be a godless heathen, but I do so love carols. Especially with a proper well-sung descant or two, an organ extravaganza, and an outbreak of Handel’s Messiah. And all the proper traditions properly followed – the truly disgusting wine served during the interval, the tiresome children sat directly behind you kicking the back of your pew and whining incessantly in the quiet bits without being dragged out bound and gagged by their parents, the person next to you singing very loud and very flat, the person the other side of you attempting the descant part for Hark The Herald Angels Sing with ear-watering results.

Item – We shall not cast our eyes down and to the right. We’ll only see the weight-loss ticker and it will depress us all. It’s as if, being denied wheat also mincepiescakespuddingsbiscuits AT CHRISTMAS, I’ve had to somehow compensate with Excessive Consumption Of Brown Rice And Potatoes. Which have no wheat in. So I can eat them. It’s fine, damn it. Yes it is. No it isn’t.

Item – I think, I only think, mind you, that I am feeling more energetic since I gave up wheat. This is very unscientific, because I also was recovering from surgery a few weeks ago, which tires one out quite noticeably you know, and I tend to feel perkier after ovulation because my reproductive organs have called a truce on their persistant turf war for control of entire pelvis brought on by Oestrogen, Hormone of Satan. My mother thinks I sound well on the telephone, how’s that for evidence.

Item – There are a few more days of work to wrestle through. And then, we descend into the bunker of the family. Armed with nuclear-armageddon-hoarding quantities of pregnancy tests and sanitary towels. Oh, my God. This is going to be so awkward. Hold me.


27 responses to “It’s beginning to look a lot like… oh shush

  • a

    Just so’s you know – I will never look at the ticker unless you mention it…

    I’ll go with your evidence that you’re feeling better – I hope it’s due to the gluten-free existence and will influence how you feel at Christmas…

    • May

      Fingers crossed, eh?

      And, you know, if I feel embarrassed by my backward-running ticker, I do have the options of a) not updating it or b) deleting it with extreme prejudice, so it’s all good.

  • Kylie

    Oh the Christmas Carols! I have fond memories of christmas carol thingy (and later an entire Messiah session) at the Royal Albert Hall for the one Christmas I spent in London.

    We don’t get those sorts of things here. Instead there will be an outdoor concert in a public park somewhere, with plenty of the mozzies around, coupled with bad sound systems and lots of commercial songs for the kiddies. And for added entertainment the drunken Christmas party at the other end interupts with a shouted argument.

    The only thing that can be done with the family christmass involves a couple of panadols (ingested early) and a bottle of wine to be taken through the day. Tends to make everything much less painful. But only effective if one is not pregnant. Wishing you a happy Christmas where you are unable to utilise this solution.

    • May

      It’s either wine or chocolate. It’ll have to be chocolate. And long solitary walks. With the chocolate.

      I spent a Christmas in Australia once. We spent the afternoon sweating irritably while reading books in our underpants and vests on the veranda. And then we got drunk! Yay! That bit’s the same everywhere!

  • Jenny F. Scientist, PhD

    I also adore carols and I’m Jewish (practicing, even). And funeral masses (particularly the gorgeous Josquin des Prez one for Charles Quint). Sounds lovely, though perhaps the whiny children could have been forcibly removed, and wouldn’t it be nice to have separate seating for the tone-deaf? Bless all their hearts.

    • May

      Half my family’s Jewish and the other half is Catholic, also we have Buddhists and Muslims and Wiccans and Rastafarians and a spare Baha’i, so naturally I was sent to an Anglican school as a compromise. I was even in the choir for years. I love carols so much it’s insane. I don’t believe any of it, but the FEELING, of peace and hope in the dark place, is just so special to me.

      And yes, bless the tone-deaf for trying, much much MUCH less annoying than the bratty kids. Or, to be honest, than the parents of the bratty kids who were dealing with the matter by smiling and shaking their heads and saying ‘kids, eh? What can you do?’ You can REMOVE them, is what you can do. Harrumph.

  • katie

    I have an excellent glare and loudly moving away combo for the children who kick pews. I haven’t worked out what to do about warbly out of tune singers.

    • May

      My glare singularly failed to make any impression on either the kids OR their parents. I felt quite crushed. My frowning glory is my glare.

  • Betty M

    Yey to copious swearing at the office bash. Cant believe you manage work without expletives.

    Can’t see ticker in my reader so am ignoring it. Happy to give you my bout of gastroenteritis and accompanying dehydration for quick but ultimately miserable losing of wate based weight. no? ah well.

    I think it should be compulsory for any choir fielding a descant section to make sure there are PLENTY of people booming out the rest to avoid the hideousness of congregational descants. And weren’t Christingle services (bizarre things with oranges, candles and sweets on toothpicks in the oranges) invented to get all the kids kicking each others pews and leaving adults in peace?

    Hope the holidays are good ones!

    • May

      Given how much I swear at home and play, the fact I manage even so much as an afternoon at work without cussing is, I think, a testament to The Miracle That Is Me.

      BUMMER about the gastroenteritis. Much sympathy. Everyone in Britain has had it, I think. I had a mild go at it myself last week, very boring, very uncomfortable, and given how MISERABLE everyone else has been with it, very very very lucky indeed.

      The choir was, I am honour-bound to say, excellent, and not only because H was singing in it (singing being H’s thing. He’s proper-musical (yes, I was there in role of Proud Supportive Wife, a deeply alien position to me, but hey! Carols! Watching H sing! Or at least, watching occasional glimpses of the top of H’s head, as they tend to stack the tenors in the back row)). What on earth are Christingle services? I must run and google at once.

      Merry jolly happy holidays to you too.

  • Phil

    Call me a heathen, but I think the best of places for a carol singing is the pub. None of this draughty dusty church space with children getting bored and atheistic parents getting more bored.

    Hope you and H can get to enjoy some time for yourselves.

    • May

      Phil, that was brilliant, and very cheering-up.

      (Is that you yissen I see, or just a chap who looks rather like you?)

      • Phil

        Sadly it is just someone who you think looks like me. We’ve not been to any of the various pubs which host the Sheffield carols (unsurprisingly they’re in various villages on the moorland edge of Sheffield) but I would like to – they’re only just the other side of the hill from where we live after all.

  • Korechronicles

    As previous long term member of religious choir (my parents MADE me join) Christmas just does not begin for me until I have sat though at least one services of readings and carols and one event that includes the Hallelujah chorus.

    I manage to keep the peace and goodwill fairy sitting on my shoulder while I negotiate the insane clown posse that is Melbourne traffic during the Festive Season by playing, in rotation, every Christmas CD that I own. And hitting the repeat key with monotonous regularity for a reprise of my favourites. What my fellow drivers think of my lusty renditions, with descant,* and mouth wide open I have no idea. But I doubt they’re kind.

    * Because I know them so well and I am capable of pretending I can still hit the high notes when I am in the car and on my own.

    • May

      I feel positively Out Of Sorts if I don’t get readings-and-carols and Come To Tea My People, as we japeishly insist on calling it.

      I shocked myself at the concert by being able to do the descant for Hark the Herald Angels. I sounded like a cat being dragged to the vet in a choke-collar, but I was IN TUNE, damn it. Little happy moment all to myself in the back of the church. Warbling flat lady bottled it. Heh heh.

      My iPod is full of nothing but Christmas albums at the moment. I stuff my ear-pieces in and Grimly Blot Out Entire Office for hours on end, while cataloguing books on genocide and economics and such.

  • Anonymous

    Well, the BPS has delivered your lovely card with kind, warming messsage on perfect time, so points duly awarded to HM’s finest! And I would have LOVED to hear the outbreak of Queenie.

    I have the thinnest, flattest singing voice (distinct contradiction body-voice thing going on there) but I am an enthusiastic descant-squeaker. In my defence, if I don’t have a strong voice to follow, and after I’ve fucked it up a time or two, I usually revert to the conventional tune by the end and have a decent bellow. I love carols. Love. I have been playing them at myself non-stop, and I still feel as festive as a lump of reindeer poo. All grey in a grey world, etc. Don’t know what’s the matter with me. Tsunami not helping, natch, but it’s something more; I don’t know when I’ve ever felt less Christmassy. Ah, well.

    • May

      First I shall have a little drinkie… And then I shall execute the whole bally lot of you!

      BPS spared for behaving. For once.

      Ah, sweetie. I’d send you all the Christmas spirit I could lay hands on if I could work out how to stuff it into an envelope. Many many hugs.

  • Anonymous

    I think I am un-logged in again. WordPress hates my living GUTS, obvs. BAH! Buggy, useless piece of software. Tis Ann, if it isn’t obvious!

  • twangy

    Carols are heart-warming magic, I agree, and you are absolutely One of the Great Swearers of All Time, with a huge range from comedy to pathos, and if there was any justice you’d have such a lovely Christmas, and feel no pain, and I mean that quite literally, and also a bit figuratively.

    • May

      Aww, nice kind heart-warming comments, thank you. I shall wear my Great Swearer of All Time sash with pride and delight (it has to be a sash, don’t you think?)

      And lovely lovely Christmassery to you too.

  • Shannon

    Nothing says “Family Time” more than rushing out of the bathroom with a pregnancy test while pulling up your knickers and doing that hipster dance to try to wiggle them on with one hand, all the while shouting “OK, I went in locked and loaded and we have another one to analyse, people! Put the Radio Times down and get over here!” I mean, think of the FAMILY, May. It’s about bonding, bringing them in, including them….

    (Please don’t kill and/or ban me. This was totally an attempt to get a snarfly laugh out of you. And I suspect “snarfly” isn’t a word, but should be, and it should mean “a sound which signifies someone’s dubious agreement in a light-hearted way/a sound which means ‘Yeah, that will NEVER happen, dear.'”)

    • May

      Shannon, my dear, I laughed my arse off. And then I made H read the comment and he laughed his arse off. And now we’re daring each other to bring a magnifying glass and a dentist’s head-lamp with us as well so we can turn it into a for-all-the-family parlour game of Evaporation Line or Actually Pink?

  • Womb For Improvement

    I hope the interval wine was hot and heavily laced with cinnamon and cloves.

    Bring on the Christmas wait, I hope your pregnancy tests get more use than sanitary towels.

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    […] and B) although I do love carols, feeling, as I usually do, such (as May so beautifully put it) peace and hope in the dark places, Christmas delivers hard and bitter agony for those who have suffered a loss. It […]

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