Thursday 23rd December, or Christmas Eve Eve as I refer to it, was definitely not as it was planned to be!
In the news Spain had announced that masks must be worn outside now to try to stop the Omicron variant spread and in China there was a rule put in place that only 1 person per household was able to leave the house every 2nd day for essentials in the city of Xi’an, where over 13 million people were under strict lockdown still. In England there were no changes to rules and what rules there were, were often not enforced or upheld anyway. When I was in Vietnam we would hear more news about what was happening in China but there was rarely a reference to it on the English news.
As I ate my toasted teacake for breakfast, my mom was busy getting things ready for her first Christmas party. My parents were officially opening the Christmas bar tonight and had invited my sister, her husband and their 2 kids over for a small party. Unfortunately, we decided our family trip to Chatsworth would be cancelled and we would look forward to going in warmer weather during the summer instead. I’d discussed Louisa’s situation with my parents and let them know that, to be on the safe side, I’d sadly cancelled plans to meet later, I asked if I’d be allowed to gatecrash their party instead and they said I could.
Sheree and John picked me up from my parents after taking a risky detour which got them stuck up a narrow lane in a car, we made sure we wore our masks in the car and we tried as best as we could to be careful, as is the norm these days. Sheree is always a hostess with the mostest and put on a lovely lunch of meatballs, rice, frittata, cheese, pickled onions and gerkins. It was wonderful and I washed it down with a glass of wine as we talked about most topics under the sun. Poor John’s ears must have been almost bleeding as when I said it was time for me to get going he seemed rather keen to get the car started. It was a shame we had made the decision for me not to stay over, given the Corona situation, but we would definitely do that once I was back again – I used to love those times when John would go to bed leaving me and Sheree almost crying with laughter and drinking so much wine! When I got home I had left my phone charging and had realised that was another set of photos I’d not taken – it was becoming a habit.
My mom was fussing over what food to do, if there was enough room in the oven and what my sister could or couldn’t eat (she’s coeliac) so I offered to help. Dad was in charge of the bar and putting plates in the dining room and so we all mucked in with the putting stuff out for the buffet.
When the family arrived it turned in to an episode not dissimilar to The Royle Family TV show because their dog, Sumo, had a shitty bum and my brother-in-law was wiping it with a bit of kitchen roll in the kitchen (the dog didn’t like it one bit) while me and my dad told him to go in the garden. Even more hilarity ensued when the games started with Christmas themed charades and my nieces were the best at it, we had a very difficult Christmas quiz but the girls won the boys. We played the ‘Who am I?’ game and I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so much; no-one knew Justin Bieber was Canadian, my youngest niece took a while to work out she was the Queen, I’d never heard of Kylie Jenner, Sumo the dog got upset that he wasn’t included and my Dad had the hardest time figuring out he was a passion fruit martini!
I ate so much from Ma’s delicious spread and drank loads of red wine, sherry and a couple of Bailey’s – we had another one of those nights that went on way past midnight!

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