It’s official, I’ve finally reached that stage of the Christmas holidays where I’ve lost track of what day it is. I was beginning to feel left out. It was only when I messaged lady s about something this morning and she reminded me that it was only Sunday today that I realised that I have entered that weird state fuelled by excess and no work where I have come adrift from all routine.
Admittedly the amount of driving up and down and across the country hasn’t helped as those have now taken on the status of week resets even by dint of not being actually a week apart.
So yes, this is my reminder to myself that it’s the last Sunday of the year and decade. A quick look at the site stats tells me that this is the busiest the site has been in four years in terms of traffic – must be all the more regular posting I’ve got back into doing 😉
Right, I’m off out to see my daughter for our third? Christmas. Have fun everyone
“They read your site you know” I was warned – albeit a couple of days ago – of a vicar joining us for a family Christmas Eve meal at a favourite restaurant. I never know quite what to make of comments like that. The site is here to be read: it’s kind of the point of it really.
Today’s grand meal at The Italian Orchard has been a set piece of gathering together to enjoy fine food, good wine, and good company. Even with my mother deciding to stay home as a winter cold triggered her asthma there were eight of us around the table and we all enjoyed the little bubble of relative luxury and pampering that such a setting allows.
The warning – such as it was – came of the other family joining us, the vicar of the parish that my parents are part of and her husband and son. Quite what this warning was meant to highlight is something if which I’m unsure: I’m told that my writing was found enjoyable, even if the route by which my blog was directed to her attention is as yet unclear.
“I love your drawings” I was told – and so we went from there. As the afternoon drew on my fingers began twitching for paper, so Lady M provided a notebook and I doodled away to let the daemons out – but quite why a warning was required in the first place I’m still not entirely sure. Perhaps there was a concern that I would be taken aback by someone knowing something of me – and of all the many things I talk about here it was nice to have it just be about my need to draw and illustrate.
My biggest frustrations come from having to throttle my creative impulses, so talking about my process, both conscious and unconscious, was relatively relaxing and eased us then into our respective small huddles if conversation as we indulged in the food and atmosphere before us.
All in all, talking about my artwork rather than my stories, or my relationships was probably the least contentious approach for all concerned. Perhaps the warning was more one to me of keeping the conversation to safer waters than delving into polyamory, mental health, or any other aspects of life around the dinner table.
Who knows – it was an odd injunction but a lovely meal and set of conversations where grand nonsense flowed and a great time was had.
And now for a quiet chill out and companionable silence as Lady M and I nurse our cuppas and collapse a while.
There’s one disadvantage to our tactics of buying things through the year to space out the cost and stress of Christmas – and that’s all the wrapping.
That’s what I’ve mostly been doing the last couple of days, and I’ve lost track of how many rolls of paper I’ve gone through. At least the card inside the rolls will end up integrated into props down the line – and most of the paper is recyclable.
In theory I could wrap things as I go, but there is something therapeutic about wrapping presents in large numbers that I enjoy. I am reaching the point soon where I will have to reorganize what is stacked under the tree though.
In the meantime I’m having an early night so that my back can stop complaining about being hunched over the table. A day back at work should sort that all out. I did leave instructions for the Saturday staff to have fun with the Christmas decorations, so I’ll be seeing what they did soon.
If anyone reading this knows me well enough that they’re in line for a Christmas present, please don’t read too much into the choices of wrapping paper this year – I’m basically using up all the scrap ends of rolls that I had knocking around in the cupboard when I grabbed all the decorations at the weekend.
Last year I used brown paper extensively as a recyclable alternative – but I’ve found so many odds and ends that I would end up throwing away anyway that I might as well out them to use before you throw them away. When I’ve used those up, I’ll get more brown paper. So, if your present is wrapped in rainbow glossy colours, or swirls of hearts, then you can at least know that yours was one of the first I wrapped this year.
The more cynical among you may wonder if this is just an extended decluttering exercise – and you’d be right. At least it’ll look pretty.
Well, I’ve put up the Christmas tree anyway. I’ve delved into one of our seemingly dimensionally variable cupboards and retrieved the components of our tree and the boxes of decorations. Lady M is always excited for this time of year, so her face has been beaming with glee since she heard me open the doors.
It’s our first Christmas since buying the flat, which feels kind of strange to be writing. Nice, but odd after so many years of renting. You’d think it was an immediate cue to go bananas with the decorating, but the tree suffices. Well, mostly. There may be one or two little things on the shelves…
We dropped in to see Lord B, my brother, and his family today to exchange Christmas gifts and catch up for the first time in ages. Given the general perception of antipathy from various relatives of late it was therefore very touching to see gifts addressed to all three of us, but also an active expectation that Lady S would be with us for the visit.
Sadly that wasn’t the case as she had family business of her own to attend to, but we did take photos to send to her.
Such an acceptance means a huge amount, and was genuinely moving. Thanks guys.
Compared to the high octane shenanigans of last year – where the Maidments descended on Disney in Florida for Christmas and New Year, and realised they weren’t ready for the experience – we’ve been having a quiet Festive week.
My parents stopped in on the Sunday before, so we had a meal and catch-up. Christmas Eve saw Lady M working so I did battle with the crowds to get some last-minute food and drink in. Christmas Day was quiet, and then The Charleesi and her mother came round on Boxing Day.
Lady M retired with sub-migraine-related sickness that evening, so I drove down for a surprise visit to Lady S with a hefty proportion of the various Christmas presents for her household and stayed over before returning to see how the invalid was doing.
Trust me, Lady M does not ‘do’ being ill with grace. She’s the only woman I know who gets ‘man-flu’. She was fine for having some uninterrupted sleep and a work from home day.
Friday we were both back to work – so nothing exciting to report there – and then this weekend brings a catch up with one of my brothers and his family; followed by a gathering of the whole polycule on Sunday for a roast dinner and gift-exchange.
So, both busy and sedate at one and the same time – which is just as well given the various colds and illnesses doing the rounds. There are worse weeks to have had – and I am… content.
I’ve been blogging in another place about my relationship with Lady S recently, and suddenly realised I’ve not put anything down here for a week or so – so it’s time for another quick round-up.
It is of course that time of year when families get together – and that has of course meant that Lady M and I are in one place, while Lady S is in another while our respective families swirl and bumble around. My parents have begun their grand tour among my siblings, so we took advantage of their staying nearby to drop in at their hotel and have a meal together – as well as pass on presents to be delivered to other people and of course the gifts meant for them. During that meal we broached the subject of introducing them to Lady S when we go to visit them up north in a couple of months time – and were met by surprised “Ooooh!”s and nods, which was far better than expected.
Lady S is, in turn, herding cats in her own family home – but at least her father already knows us so when we go over on Sunday for a Christmas meal there’s no similar bemusements on that front.
Would we all rather be together tomorrow? Yes – but there’s plenty of time for that to happen. We’re a year together – give or take a few days – so we’re getting adept at working rapidly round new twists and turns. For now, given the distance between us, we’re keeping as patient as we can be and appreciating the time together as keenly as possible.
All of which means that while we’re separated, we’re still dropping messages and keeping each other in mind. My own relationship with Lady S feels as if it is deepening, especially in the aftermath of a recent falling out and reconciliation that just underlined how much we meant to each other.
Every day with my partners brings new joys and insights, little moments of glee and bewilderment in equal measure – and if I’ve learned one thing this year it has been to trust in my partners’ compersion – their joy in seeing their partners happy in circumstances that people in other relationship models and circumstance may find extremely challenging. I’ve learned to trust that they accept me in all my weirdness, just as I accept them in all their complexities. What better time than Christmas to celebrate that love as we reach out to our families and share that joy with everyone?
Rather than struggle against the head cold that I’ve picked up from Lady S this weekend, I’ve been kind to myself and taken a couple of days off to rest up. Plenty of fluids, rest in bed and on the sofa, and hot toddies with whisky to sterilise the soreness at the back of my throat – and so far so good, I think I’m ready to go back to work in the morning.
Its now the final run up to Christmas – we’ve done all the shopping we can bear, and half buried our tree under presents for people. Now begins the dance of trying to get them all to the right people. I’ve mailed off a box of things to one couple; and we’ve arranged for the ex-Lady M and the Charleesi to come round on Boxing Day. We’ll be seeing some friends this weekend, and have arranged to visit Lady S and her family shortly before Christmas for a meal and day of silliness. My parents are visiting shortly before Christmas, so we’ll prevail on them to pass things on to siblings on their travels – and anyone else we’ll target after New Year I suspect.
To absolutely cap the day, we had a couple of Christmas cards arrive in the post. One of them was from Lord and Lady P and has the distinction of being the first card addressed to the whole triad. Lady S nearly fell out of her seat apparently when I sent her a photo of it and the message inside. It really is the little things that make all the difference.
It’s our first Christmas as a polycule, and very nearly our first anniversary together – and that’s a wonderful realisation to have – despite ups and downs, and the occasional frazzled nerve over distances, we’ve made a good start; and that’s really helping to keep the black dog at bay.