Well that’s it! No, really THAT IS IT! I’m home now and here I plan to remain for the rest of the day. This is how it has gone so far…….
? hrs – got up to check the time and investigate why my alarm hadn’t gone off. To my dismay discovered that it was 0800 hrs and I had slept through reveille at 0700 hrs ( as had the Good Fairy next door!). Quick shower (no time to shampoo the legs!) before pulling on yesterday’s wardrobe – no time to consider a more fitting Christmas Eve ensemble – ( ‘Dress more like Santa’s Little Helper’, I hear ‘her’ say!) – I pictured Mr Marks/Mr Spencer waiting, bird in hand, for the pass over ( oops, wrong feast!) which had been scheduled to take place between 0800hrs and 083o hrs ) – AND WE WERE LATE!!
0840 hrs – Spontaneous bursts of ‘chanting’ in the car park i.e., an unintelligible duet of ‘tongues behind the teeth’ as we sought ‘a space.’ There was a frantic scramble to find ‘change’ for the parking meter. Minimum amount required was 80p. We had 75p and a five pound note. I could read the faces of the four ‘just’ men behind me in the queue – : ‘We’re really genuinely sorry for your predicament,’ they seemed to say, ‘ but please don’t ask us for help – we’ve been warned not to talk to strange women like you. Now, if you would be so kind as to MOVE OUT OF THE WAY AND LET THOSE OF US WHO CHECKED THAT WE HAD CHANGE BEFORE WE LEFT THE HOUSE GET OUR CRIVVENS! JINGS! AND HELPMABOAB! PARKING TICKETS!!!’
I ran (in MY mind) into the shopping mall, to the nearest shop.
‘ Could you give me change of a five pound note, please? It’s for parking.’
‘Oh I’m terribly sorry, I can’t open the till just for change,’ she replied aghast. I scanned the display. I saw the very item I could buy – a hatbox. I took it to the nice lady at the counter and proffered my fiver.
‘That’ll be seven pounds fifty, please….’ I returned the hatbox to its pedestal. My ‘eye for a bargain’ fell upon ‘Six Yummy Chocolates for a Very Special Person’– a small box which I had mentally calculated must be at least one pound. Armed with the sweets and my two pounds fifty(!) in change, I raced (in MY mind) back with the long awaited ticket to the car where the Good Fairy had been keeping an over eager parking attendant at bay. I was ready to go home. However ….. remembering that the Three Wee Kings, who came from ‘Orientar’ allegedly, did not easily abandon their journey and boy, how tired (and sore – camels – ouch!) must they have been! So, onwards and upwards …… and thank you, God for the gift of…… an escalator……..
After a moderate wait, we were presented with our ‘order,’ some smiles, lots of good wishes and our receipt…. (it gave me a warm glow knowing that Messrs Marks & Sparks would be rocking around their Christmas tree to the sound of ‘Jingle Tills’ – no small thanks to yours truly !( Oooo, a wee touch of the bah humbugs creeping in there.!….) A muffin and a rather enjoyable cappuccino soon restored my good humour.
‘There’s a couple of items I need to get Mum, but if you just wait here with the bags I’ll be as quick as I can…….What she didn’t say aloud was ‘You, dear Mater, will just keep me back,’……. she knows me so well. I stood at the entrance to the Food Hall and watched the comings and goings ….. men with their shopping lists and mobiles at the ready, long suffering mums with hyperactive offspring, ladies beautifully dressed for the outdoors but with those giveaway rosy cheeks and dampening tresses: ‘Christopher Columbus… I told you not to wear the thermals!’….frazzled customers pushing overfilled trolleys and announcing to no one in particular,’I only came in for a loaf’…….
I was given tidings of great comfort and joy when we returned home. Upon asking for a time check I was told that it was only 1030hrs!! What??? Thank you God for the gift of more time! I have since prepared vegetables, steamed my pudding, wrapped some pressies, made lunch for the Good Fairy (banana sandwiches – from the same recipe book as Christmas Day Breakfast!)and tested her Christmas Cake and homemade cinnamon ice cream! ….’It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas’ rum -te -tum -te – tum.’……
‘….and bowing down they offered their gifts of gold, frankenstein and mirth….’
PS. After careful thought, I have decided to give the box of ‘Six Yummy Chocolates for a Very Special Person’ to …….. me. Oh YOJ !!! ( …you know I won’t..!.) JOY! JOY! and yet more JOY to the World and a very Happy Christmas to All! x