Christmas Visitations

Boxing Day is coming to a close, and with it two days of feasting and merriment. Having been asked twice by people “Are you happy?” in the last couple of days, I have to confirm that the only fly in my ointment is the discomfort of having eaten too much, and the knowledge that I’ll need to lose a few pounds soon.


We’ve been able to treat people this year, and the memory of the expressions on people’s faces as they’ve seen their gifts is going to keep a warm glow in my heart for a while. I always take pleasure in matching presents well to people. I’ll go so far as to say I take pride in it; so the memory I have of my dad’s reaction to his gift is one for the books.

For over 20 years, he’s been in search of Johnny Walker Blue Label whiskey. I remember sitting in a pub with him while his best friend rhapsodised over this mythical drink that you rarely saw in the UK, except maybe in specialist bars and the sort of hotel that, as a parish priest, he was unlikely to afford to stay in.

Over the years the thought of this drink has taken on almost talismanic properties for him. When mentioned in conversation it would be with a wistful sigh and faraway look in his eyes, and the thought of owning a bottle became a bucket list item of sorts. With his retirement, the likelihood in his eyes of ever finding it seemed vanishingly remote.

This year, we stumbled across a supply in our local Costco. Even better, there was money off it as a promotion. Lady M and I looked at each other and agreed that this year would be the year he got his hands on a bottle. We were in a position to do this, and if not now then when better?

Although slightly tongue in cheek, I’ve never seen someone cradle and cuddle a bottle of whisky before. Absolutely made my year.


Yesterday was spent round at my brother Demonic’s place, with Lady M on driving duties so I could drink. (Lady P was with her family, and I’m not sure either set of relatives are quite in a place to countenance any other arrangement right now.) We were very well fed and watered with roast beef and seasonal vegetables cooked extremely well. We chattered and wove tall tales until Lady M started to develop a migraine, and made our excuses.

Today was our turn to play host, this time to my parents, the Charleesi, and the ex-Lady M. It was the first time they’d met in a good seven years or so – really since our marriage had broken down. It’s fair to say both sides were nervous, but we kept the food and drink flowing along with their presents, and soon enough you’d never have guessed there had been any kind of break.

The two Ladies M have plotted a gin night for next week; teasing of yours truly suggested passing me round to someone else for a trial period (not the first time Lady M has tried pimping me out), and plans seem to be being made for reorganising the flat again…

All in all, an amazing couple of days, and even better to come with Lady P having a night off tomorrow so we can have our celebrations together too.

Am I happy? Damn right I am.

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