26 Dec 2009

Post 174: The nightmare before,during and after (probably almost certainly) Christmas

Most of this next post needs to be understood in some context, i.e that my family are very important to me, and although I am less keen on Christmas than most, largely because it is the most exhausting event in my calendar but I largely agree with the sentiments of musical and comic Genius Tim Minchin, particularly the bit about ‘these are the people who make you feel safe’ but less to do with ‘drinking white wine in the sun’, well, he is Australian.
I, more than most should understand what it is like to lose something you take for granted but sadly nothing prepares you for it, my luck must be having a laugh! All day Tuesday (my day off physiotherapy, so usually one of the high points of the week) was a total write-off because we only had a bloody power cut! Believe me, nothing in the modern world works without electricity, even gas powered central heating! Staying in bed all day is only any fun if it’s your conscious decision, shivering under a duvet when you’ve nowhere else to go is unbelievable sh*te. Luckily, my neighbour had a gas stove so I could have the occasional cup of tea, and thanks to the patience of my friend Susan who had agreed to take on the housekeeper/carer/cat-feeding duties up until I buggered off to the madness of my family Christmas on Christmas Eve. So, Tuesday was the most boring day in years and I have a lot of boring days.
The stuff I’ve been to this week couldn’t have been more different, last week I went to a couple of concerts (see last post), this week, I had got as a present for Adrienne (my former carer) and Tracey (my neighbour) tickets for the Horse of the Year show, not my scene at all but I’m happy to grit my teeth through if it’s going to be appreciated by people who help me through gritted teeth. Adrienne is now elsewhere so couldn’t come so Ian (my physio and Traceys other half) bravely opted to Grit his teeth with me! The Horse of the Year show is a bizarre experience. Probably as posh and middle class and as unwilling to laugh at itself as Henley. Where having a name like Lucinda guarantees free entry and all the British riders have been called Whitaker or Skelton for years (well in my head that is fact).
From one unshakeably middle class event to another because yesterday evening I got taken to the Dome (they must be starting to recognise me by now), to the Classic FM Christmas Spectacular. It was a sellout which somewhat surprised me. Seeing as I’m not a massive fan of Christmas I was a little surprised I’d bought tickets but my original plans for this had somewhat changed. I’d originally bought the tickets for my parents because this was right up their street. But I hadn’t reckoned with the grandchildren arriving from the states that day. Everything now comes 2nd to these Monsters, I have mentioned elsewhere in this blog how the grandchildren have given my mum a new lease of life. They have their moments and can be very sweet but if you ask me the moments when they are sweet are short. Let’s be honest, they are very American children (you know so they always sound like they're whining e.g. 'mommmmmmmy'or when they ask for something it's because they want it rather than need it so the novelty of their accents has long worn off apart from Maddie at 8 years old the middle monster , somehow she is able to switch her
American accent off and suddenly sound like Hermione from Harry Potter, she also says thankyou which makes so much difference, in fact the only problem I have with her is her inability to control the volume and the times her American accent comes through, I think metal grating down a blackboard is music by comparison and to compound matters we had to go to the f*cking panto in Tunbridge Wells today, let me tell you Peter Pan is to musical theatre as Andrew Lloyd Webber is to the Human Race. I believe my exact words before the performance were ‘I’d rather gouge my eyes out than sit through this!’ By the end I actually wished I was deaf as well, it was a performance of such magnitude they’d managed to secure the services of Alf ‘flamin’ Gallah’ Stewart from ‘Home&Away’ as Captain Hook. Massive.
This reminded me so much of an email I got from a friend of mine that described going to his sons nativity play as ‘worse than water torture’. Well, apparently the kids loved it. Thank god for that. I hate to sound so curmudgeonly but tiredness does that. So, the heroes who stood in for my folks on Wednesday were my college mate Will and his lovely fiancĂ© Liga. The gorgeous Myleene Klass was presenting the evening and a selection of Christmas songs were suitably rousing whilst the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Royal Choral Society and the soloists were excellent although my theory that one of the most beautiful women on the planet Katherine Jenkins would perform was dashed by the arrival of another soprano (who sang powerfully but not as prettily), not the end of the world I suppose, even going to the Panto was not a dead loss as the girl playing Tinkerbell was the spitting image of Clare Danes
but of all the things that lifted my heart was the Asian Mr Magoo-alike who offered me his spare change at the Dome onWednesday.
Anyway, today is Christmas day, about one O’clock and I feel like I have gone twelve rounds with Mike Tyson! My parents house may be wonderful but sadly my room is right next to the Kitchen, the focal point of the house. I would love to be a fun Uncle to my sisters kids but sadly that just isn’t going to happen, I crave quiet and rest these days and my sister has already told me, ‘they’re children, you can’t just switch them off!’. I am however convinced that they must understand a different variant of the English language where phrases like ‘don’t do that, ‘be quiet’ and ‘shut up’ are meaningless to them, my solution is rather too corporal to be palatable but makes me think of this hilarious clip by Canadian comedian Russell Peters, enjoy! . They (the children) are also incapable of communicating in anything less than a shout, and they were up early this morning, little angels. I am in serious Victor Meldrew territory here which just isn’t me although despite Christmas day 2009 being the 4th anniversary of my stroke I have explained pretty clearly why Christmas i’nt my favourite time of year.
It’s boxing day now and the madness has increased in volume another few notches as both my mothers brothers have arrived with their extended families
including my cousin Nicky with little daughter Ava, she's such a smiler (unlike me)
and lunch is about to start. They are all wonderful people but given how I feel I now know what the hypothetical Hell feels like! My parents also keep telling me how much I’m letting them down if I mention to people how tired I feel, seeing as it’s the only thing I can think of I guess I’m a let-down.

And finally, enough of my moaning and misery - this event couldn't happen without the unreal effort and energy that my mum puts into it, she is amazing, I may take the piss but lets face facts, No-one else could do this.
Despite deriding her kids it's also a bit special to see my sister. I don't see her much these days and I forget how pragmatic and level headed she is. I'll sign off now, but I shall continue my quest to be a normal person again in 2010. I must confess I'm scared.

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