Follow one crying eye on

Pre-Christmas wins


It is less than two weeks until the first two of our Christmas guests arrive, and just 14 sleeps until Santa flies in.

I am not panicking. 

I could probably just cut and paste my blog from a previous year at this point and it would not be wildly inaccurate.  Same old, same old – hopefully without last-minute government intervention this year, but still possibly Covid or flu-affected just to add a layer of fret-inducing bother.

In my usual fashion, I lurch from confidence to dread and back again as the days tick past ever more quickly.  In an attempt to calm my nerves, I have set out my achievements so far. As a result, I am giving myself a virtual pat on the back – and hopefully if I continue with my Pilates efforts, perhaps in 2023 I will be able to give myself an actual pat on the back with my newfound flexibility – who knows?

So, here goes with the positives:

  • We have written and posted most of our Christmas cards (in the sure and certain knowledge that most of them won’t get there until Easter, and that many of our friends will have taken the more sensible approach and not bothered. We have received precisely zero cards through the post so far, which has spoiled my usual practice of scoffing at those which were clearly posted before actual December)
  • On the same theme – there was room in the strike-unemptied ‘priority’ postbox for my latest pile of cards (although in ramming them in, I inadvertently ejected several official-looking envelopes which it then took me several minutes to re-insert)
  • I have baked the Christmas cake (it looks burnt, but I think it always looks like this and I can shave off the worst of the charred edges before putting on the marzipan – if I remember where I’ve put the marzipan. I have wrapped the cake in greaseproof paper and foil and placed it on a shelf in full view, although this will not necessarily guarantee I can find it when it comes to marzipan day.)
  • I have successfully installed a new sofa-bed in my office so that Son J will have somewhere to sleep over the festive period. I have also feverishly ordered new bedding and new curtains for this room in an excited attempt to render it worthy of a Homes & Gardens shoot (if only I had refrained from painting tester patches on the walls 18 months ago, this room would look almost presentable, it being one of only 3 in the house which does not have some major structural fault or lingering evidence of previous disasters – as far as we know!)
  • I have finally been cast again as a Supporting Artist after fully one year of failing to be chosen, and have this week been fitted and styled for my role for a shoot in January (although all my work on The Crown Season 5 last year was clearly binned as there was no evidence of the scenes I was in at all, which is in fact more disappointing than not being able to see myself because I largely do this work out of curiosity rather than fame and like to see how the shots turn out. Also, last year I was cast as a Conservative Party faithful and this year they’ve decided I’m to be a Women’s Institute stalwart. Am I turning into my mother-in-law? Serious enquiry!!! To make matters worse, when I emerged from the changing room in my outfit (buttoned up blouse, chunky jacket and a kilt* (!!!), with sensible shoes and horrific tights, my fellow SAs waiting to be dressed all chorussed ‘Oh yes, that’s perfect!’ I’m trying, unsuccessfully, to take this as a compliment.)
  • I have amassed an enormous number of Nectar points during the year which I can now spend on Christmas calorific excess (fewer than last year though – I must be slipping)
  • We ordered parts and booked a bathroom company to instal a new shower before Christmas to replace the one which has leaked down into the kitchen (sadly, not all the parts arrived in time and the installation has had to be postponed until January. Mr J and I heaved the parts which did arrive – the heavier ones, obviously – up the stairs without breakage of either them or us, and hope that our guests appreciate the stylish way we’ve leant them up against the de-tiled bare plasterwork in what was previously a luxuriously spacious shower area which they will be unable to use. If they look closely they will be able to see an interesting detail of decades-old wallpaper, the uncovering of which gave some light relief to the otherwise somewhat testy exchanges between Mr J and myself during manoeuvres)
  • I have prepared sloe gin, which has been steeping nicely since September. So far, we have managed not to throw away the gin bottles into which the final product is to be decanted (there is still time…)
  • I have decided there is little point cleaning anything thoroughly until a couple of days before scheduled guest arrivals (this is a risk, of course, given that I could be stricken at any time by a lurgy which would render me incapable of cleaning anything in those final hours – I trust this is a risk that Mr J, in his backup role, is prepared for me to take)
  • In the ‘maintenance’ level of housework which is required in the meantime (I am not that bad!) I find that music helps and I engage Mr Spotify to make a playlist for me. And so it is I find myself cleaning the toilet whilst singing along to Abba’s The Winner Takes it All (obviously an octave lower than Agnetha) and then, as I swat away yet another new cobweb, I’m rewarded by the BeeGees with You Win Again. Truly I am winning at life! (although it does cross my mind that not only does Mr Spotify know what I’m doing and have access to my innermost thoughts, but also he has a worryingly cruel sense of irony)

So now I must drag myself away from such positive thinking and take some positive action or all this success will be wasted.

*another sign of ageing – one of the young dressers at Elstree who helped disrobe me and pack up my costume called across to her colleague to ask why there was a large safety pin on the kilt and could she remove it now? The other elderly SA in the changing room and I rolled our eyes theatrically (always hoping someone will spot our talent and give us a featured role – haha!) and explained that kilts always had those safety pins ‘back in the day’. A rare stylistic awareness on my part.




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Follow one crying eye on