Every year - for 20 years at least, since I came to live in the big bad city - I've sworn that this year, I'd be ready for Christmas in good time, so I could enjoy it. It's not as if I haven't got a built-in reminder, with my birthday being on December 2nd. By the time I'd recovered from the excesses of the weekend in Paris, I'd missed the last posting dates for the USA, the last posting dates for the UK were hoving into view and I hadn't bought a single gift for my family.
Oh well. Mr Marshy's Christmas present was ready just in time - a vintage gentleman's dressing case in beautiful tan leather, with all its original contents. I just needed to renew things like the toothbrush and soap and razor blades and replace the nail scissors, easy enough (except that everything is bigger than it was fifty odd years ago). But the zip had broken beyond repair and the leather shop took forever to find a replacement. They didn't do the neatest job in the world, but it still ended up looking pretty spiffy and Mr M was delighted.
Christmas itself was nice and quiet. My wandering brother-in-law decided to come back home in November so the traditional lunch at Mr Marshy's sister's in Gloucestershire was splendid - he's a fantastic cook. And on Boxing Day we had a lovely walk along the Thames and lunch in a pub, all seven of us.
Back at work today, blissfully quiet in there - there were only 2 curators in, out of 14 - so got a lot of tidying-up done. Must be a reward for surviving the ritual Christmas visit from Mr Marshy's father and stepmother yesterday. Even Mr M, who's a lifelong teetotaller, felt like a stiff drink afterwards. My father-in-law's health is precarious - he's 81, his eyesight is very poor, and he can't walk very steadily. Stepmama-in-law is amazingly chipper for 83, except that she's very deaf and doesn't like admitting it. She still drives, and drives too fast - has just collected her second speeding ticket in a fairly short time. One more ticket and she is dicing with losing her licence for a year. And as they live some distance from us, and miles from usable public transport, this would be a huge problem. Mr M is worried and so's his sister, but at present there's not a great deal either of them can do.
New Year coming up very rapidly, but I'm not going to make over-optimistic resolutions that I don't keep and then get depressed when I find the abandoned list at Easter. If I do make a resolution, it's going to be that I'm going to be more careful about keeping promises. So I will spill the beans about what happened at the quiz tournament in Paris, and I've found the notes I made for the favourite things beginning with "P" (I hadn't forgotten, my dear fawsley) - they got filed with the question papers from the quizzes in Paris). And I will cultivate my bunnies and finish the four stories which have been plaguing my dreams for months and months now ...