Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Santa baby, just slip a sable under the tree for me

‘I’m not ready,’ I said, backing out of the door.
‘This house operates a don’t ask, don’t tell policy. Come back to me next year. Or the year after.’
‘Mum! I only want to…’
‘La la la I’m not listening.’ I ran upstairs, covering my ears, and locked myselk in the bathroom. It had only been a couple of months since I was forced to dispatch the tooth fairy, amid much sobbing (mine). I just wasn’t psychologically prepared to discuss The Santa Question. Partly because of the old Magic of Childhood malarkey, but mainly because I kind of believe in Santa myself. Only the other day he sent the kids a postcard saying if they visited him at the Riverside they’d get a free toy! Who but the real Santa would dish out freebies?
For me, the absolute highlight of the Christmas season is when the Rotary Club come round with Santa and his sleigh on the back of a van. I live in such fear of missing it that the last couple of years I’ve taken to noting it in my diary, though the actual date is quite hard to find and involves much lurking on the Rotary Club website and breaking into their high-security newsletters. Last year Man of the House was flicking through my diary for some reason – we have no secrets from each other, apart from the ones he doesn’t know about – and quizzed me closely as to why I had written the Rotary Club on a particular December date. Was I planning to join the Rotarians? Was this something we ought to discuss? I don’t honestly know why he was interested; he barely blinked when I became a Freemason.
Anyway, the Rotary Club truck definitely hire the real Santa, and his arrival marks the proper start of Christmas, which I embrace whole-heartedly. I was brought up with a strange hybrid winter festival. My mum allowed us to have stockings but not decorations or a tree, the turkey was kosher, and the presents were called Chanucah gifts, which somehow took the shine off a bit. So having my own home and making my own rules has been marvellous. It’s yes to the biggest tree that’ll fit in the living room, and yes to chocolate oranges on tap, and yes to bickering about the correct consistency of gravy (and no to turkey, ugh, kosher or otherwise).
And now the wretched children are threatening to spoil it by asking if Santa exists. Well I’m not going to let them ruin it for me. If they want to have another few years gazing at my innocent uplifted face as Rotary Santa waves at us over the sound of Hark the Herald Angels, they’re going to have to keep shtum about any niggling concerns. I’ve explained that Santa’s not keen on distributing largesse such as Beano and Dandy annuals to doubters; so if they want anything more than a foil-wrapped Satsuma this year they know what to do.

Beth Miller. Published in and in Viva Lewes magazine Dec 2011.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Sweets for my sweet, sugar for my honey

A peep into Hoxton Mum's diary:

 Dec 24th: Django finally falls asleep, exhausted by consumerist anticipation, and I re-decorate the tree. No-one else understands that more than one colour is vulgar, and as for tinsel! Reward self for new minimalist tree styling with choccies from Django’s L’Artisan selection box.  Sellotape it up and pop it in his in adorable organic stocking.

Dec 25th: Watching Django in plastic tat frenzy – thanks Grannie! – makes me seek solace in Heston mince pies.  Also Baileys brought by Grannie. Disgusting but soothing. Baileys, not Grannie. Argument with Lysander over goose fat vs extra-virgin for the potatoes. He is WRONG. Nigella is right. Drink Chablis by self because Mr WRONG having red on grounds of cholesterol. Ditto Harveys Christmas pud and rest of Django’s chocs (heathen child prefers Grannie’s Cadbury’s rubbish).

Dec 30th: Surface from week’s eating and drinking to discover can’t do up new Christmas jeans from Bone. Waitrose open; buy more Baileys.

Dec 31st: New Year’s resolutions. 1. Stop arguing with Lysander. 2. Detox. 3. Get Django to practice harp.

Jan 1st: Borrow detox diet from Imogen. Three days of fasting, veggie juice only. Will start tomorrow. Improving walk up Black Cap ruined by argument over Lysander’s stupid insistence on bringing healthy hobnobs.

Jan 2nd: Buy juicer from Steamer Trading, and book session at White Hart gym. Discover hobnobs can be dunked in Baileys. Happiest moment of holidays. Django throws harp across kitchen. He is STRONG. Detox starts tomorrow.

Jan 4th: Thank the lordie, Django back at school. Tidy new plastic toys away into eco wicker basket. Reward self with organic hemp protein shake. Bit horrid. Improved by teensy shot of Baileys. Detox tomorrow!

Jan 12th: Detox starts today! Make six pints organic carrot juice. Then realise have White Hart gym intro session. Don’t want to be too weak so supplement juice with Waitrose lamb shanks for two. Gym instructor  can’t stop talking about BMIs so forced to tell him that Audis are superior, IMHO. The weights really weigh a lot. Arms look amazing afterwards, like Michelle Obama’s.

Jan 14th: Imogen says detox unproven, and raw food is in. Pelham House for dinner in Diane von Furstenberg to show off arms. Lysander unforgivably rude about wearing summer dress in winter. Wish was married to Barak Obama. Eat like bird on raw food. Olives and salad. Break diet slightly with cooked pudding but chocolate starts off raw as does sugar. Forced to borrow L’s tweed jacket on way home in bitter wind.

Jan 19th: Cancel second gym session as have put back out lifting Django’s harp from kitchen floor where he keeps kicking it. Too cold for raw food. Cook Nigel Slater’s sticky chicken thighs. Scrum. Baileys good complement.

Jan 24thth: Take jeans back to Bone and get bigger size. They do come up awfully small. Make cake for Lysander and he hugs me. Says good to have something to grab onto not like scrawny model. D serenades us with harp rendition of Simpsons theme tune. Love my boys.

Beth Miller, 13th December 2011. Published in Viva Lewes handbook, January 2012