Don't forget the parsnips!

Tuesday, 25th December

Mum volunteered to cook xmas dinner this year, as she often does, however this was the first one in her and Graham's new house. Previous to this year, xmasses were held at Church Street North in Chesterfield and involved a traditional couple of drinks down at “the cock” (the cock and magpie) before staggering back to devour the best dinner of the year.

Me and Lisa opened our presents. She got me a Billy Connolly DVD, a Terry's dark chocolate orange and a dressing gown. I got her some gloves, a hat, some smellies and the new Katie Melua and Michael Buble CD's. We had agreed to be frugal this year, what with the baby just around the corner. We drove over to Mum's. Tom was there. He's staying in Matlock for a few days over xmas then going to see his girlfriend, Charlotte up at her parents in Northumbria before New Year. Tom was also being frugal with presents due to not having a job or any money.

We opened more presents (far too slowly for my liking!) and then when we'd finally finished, Ben and Marie arrived so a new round of present swapping and opening began. At 2pm, or thereabouts, lunch was served. My job was to plate up all the vegetables (and there were so many different types, too many types) but I forgot the parsnips. So, when we'd all sat down at the table I remembered the lonely parsnips still sitting in the oven. Mum rushed through to get them and then rushed back in and threw them all over the carpet. It turns out she'd not anticipated the heat of the parsnip tray. Before I could say “don't put the ones which have landed on the carpet back in the tray with the uninfected ones” her and Graham had thrown all the fugitives back in.

After dinner, we started playing a new game of Ben's which was quite coincidentally called something about Werewolves and Millers. It was a cool game of bluffing and arguing and you got to close your eyes and pretend to be asleep for half the game too. The game required a moderator so Ben stepped up to the challenge. It was just like the old days with him being a games master and us rolling dice obediently. This game as it happened, ended up taking over the day and we spent several hours playing it, stopping only when Uncle John, Uncle Bill, Auntie Margaret and Grandma Padley came over. We all got a drink and sat down. Incidentally, not sure how Mum's smallish new lounge accommodated all 11 of us, but it did, with Lisa bobbing about on her inflatable gym ball too! With everyone sitting comfortably, it wasn't long before I re-instigated the werewolves game. The late comers agreed to play albeit with some half-hearted reluctance but before long we were all loving it. I discovered I could read Mum like a book but I didn't have a chance of sussing out Auntie Margaret. Marie however, proved the most impressive of us all with a highly believable and successful wolf bluff display which went right to the wire before filling each of us townsfolk with doubt and devouring us one by one. “You want to watch her, Ben” Uncle John said.

We came home late, having left the cats alone all day (on xmas day too – what bad, bad owners we must be!) and went to bed. Lisa was sober for obvious reasons, and I'd managed to behave myself despite the temptations of every type of exciting booze under the sun having been on offer all day.

All in all, this was a quiet xmas. Next year it will be quite different. We'll probably be in our own house and we'll have a little person around and also the mystery and excitement that comes with the presence of that fat, hairy present-bringer (that's Santa by the way, not me). Bring it on!

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