I'm back from my travels, and also much recovered from the fluey virus which reduced me to a shivering wreck under a pile of blankets for a goodly number of the Days of Christmas. It was too much to hope that I would escape unscathed by the bug that had felled the rest of the family and numerous friends in recent weeks, I. And I didn't.
I've already brought you Boxing Day and the famous Mersea Swim. This post backtracks to Christmas Day itself, which started for me with Midnight Mass at the West Mersea parish church (which I'd also visited earlier on Christmas Eve with SDs 2 and 3 for the family carol service). Walked back along the silent, frosty streets (well, they grew quieter the further I walked from the pub, which was still rocking at 12.30) to find stockings hanging at the foot of the stairs, expectantly awaiting Father Christmas's visit.
I don't know how he does it.
I was very pleased to have planned a relatively quiet Christmas Day, because (a) this afforded some useful sitting-down-and-reading-new-books time in the afternoon and (b) the fan oven gave out halfway through cooking the lunch!
Re (a) above, however, one of the problems with sitting down and reading a book after a certain age and following a certain amount of unaccustomed morning and lunchtime alcohol consumption is an irresistible tendency to fall asleep.
Re (b) above, mercifully, with a bit of juggling, the smaller, top oven coped admirably with the actual cooking, while the fading heat in the bottom oven kept things warm. The addition of a slug of brandy to each cup of coffee through the morning promoted an uncharacteristic degree of mellow calm in dealing with this slight technical hitch. Had there been a turkey to contend with, it might all have been rather more fraught. But as it was just the five of us, we had an unusual six-legged bird: a giant organic chicken with two of its own legs and four fat duck legs for good measure.
My lovely elder daughter hates having her photograph taken sooooo much that this is the closest she would allow me to get to a Christmas Day mug-shot. Proximity of MacBook, iPod, pen, notebook and medical textbook are a bit of a giveaway as to her identity, even if the posh togs are not!