My work stint finished a week ago and it has taken me all of a week to catch up with things. I have covered for this colleague's pre-Christmas holiday for three or four years a now and I swear that he is taking the holiday later each year which means that I am working nearer to Christmas each year. Uncannily, or maybe it is cannily, he asks me if I can cover for him around June which is long enough away from last Christmas for me to have forgotten how pushed I was the previous year and well before I have started to think about the next Christmas. By the time that I finished work I was exhausted, way behind with my Christmas preparations and not really in the spirit of Christmas.
By Thursday, after a few decent nights' sleep I had managed to finished my present shopping and write my Christmas cards in time to catch the last post. Then with some reluctance on Thursday evening I went out to the Horticultural Society Christmas meeting, which was a buffet plus entertainment from the Chester Operatic Society, who sang a mixture of Christmas carols and Christmas songs, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I have to admit that I was expecting that an operatic society would sing something more high brow. The two previous Christmas socials I had missed as an indirect result of working, leading me to the conclusion that too much work makes Cheshire Wife a dull girl. So, at last, on Thursday night I came home in the festive spirit.
Since then I have assembled and decorated our tree, which is artificial but drops needles as if it is real. The tree is really for the benefit of the neighbours so that they do not think that we are a couple of sad gits. It is unlikely that anyone will visit us over Christmas. On Christmas Day we will meet the neighbours for a drink at lunch time, in the local pub then after Christmas we shall be making a day trip to Northampton to visit my husband's family. Yet again, the distance between Chester and Northampton is less than the distance between Northampton and Chester. My family are too far away to try to attempt a Christmas get together. The two of us, my husband and I, will enjoy being together as we spend a lot of time apart. We will light a log fire and watch TV or one of the many programmes that we have videoed during the year and not managed to watch. If the weather is suitable we might go out for a walk.
The Christmas tree in the photograph is at the Cheshire Oaks Retail Outlet and is reputedly the biggest tree in the UK. In daylight, apart from the sheer size of it, it is nothing special but when darkness falls it is spectacular.
Happy Christmas everyone.