Wherever you are in the world, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. This message goes out to all readers of NoVisibleLycra everywhere.
So, it's Christmas Day. Mine started off around 0700hrs listening to Desert Island Discs with Kirsty Young and some astronaut bloke – great choice of music and some interesting insights into life on the International Space Station. Then I drifted off and suddenly it was around 0800hrs or possibly even later. Actually, when I first woke up there was some kind of programme about birds and how intelligent they might be. Can a parrot understand what it's saying? No, it can't. Mind you, pretty scary if it could. A bit like if your cat could open the fridge door.
And then I woke up. Now there's a great final line for a novel (not!). "And then I woke up". What a great excuse to write about whacky things – like owning a cat that can open the fridge door OR having a parrot that can understand what you're saying. "And then I woke up!" Thank the Lord for that.
And talking of the Lord, I went to church this morning. A Catholic church. I'm not a 'Roman' (as they say in Graham Greene's Brighton Rock) but there's nothing better than being in a church on Christmas Day. Somehow it's just the right thing to do. I was in the church where I got married and it was pleasant, bar the half-hearted attempts by the congregation to sing carols. Mind you, I shouldn't really complain as I can't sing at all. It's not because I can't sing, though, it's because I'm so bloody self-conscious. Sometimes I simply open and close my mouth to pretend to others that I'm singing, but on this occasion I couldn't really do that as people close to me would have thought I was going crazy and doing fish impersonations for no good reason.
What that church needed was somebody like Simon Callow or Brian Blessed putting everybody to shame by belting out the hymns at maximum volume. Normally there is somebody that does this, embarrassing the rest of the congregation in the process, but today, for some reason, there was just the embarrassed murmur of those who couldn't sing or simply didn't remember the words to the hymns that they last sang in school assembly (and I count myself in their number).
The priest was an interesting guy. An Indian with a swarthy complexion and shoulder-length black hair – he reminded me of an Indian Ginger Baker. He was good, he said some wise things that I tried to take in, along the lines of everything, life particularly, is a miracle and that, well, everything is amazing. He had a point. The service consisted of the hymns and the sermons and then we all filed out, shook hands with the Indian Ginger Baker and made our way home. It was great.
My first job when I got home was to peel a load of potatoes (they're in the oven now) and then, after a brew, I got the old laptop out and started writing what you're reading now. There are Christmas carols on the sound system and everybody else is getting ready for the Christmas lunch round at my Mother-in-Law's. It's always a fantastic occasion. The food is top notch, especially the stuffing and the wine and the turkey, everything about it makes Christmas worthwhile.
We've opened our presents and the space under the tree is now looking a little empty. The kitchen, on the other hand, is full of wrapping paper and empty cardboard boxes.
Soon it will be time to take the spuds (now roasted) out of the oven. Then it's lunch time and then, later today, possibly after watching the Queen's Speech (I hate the Queen's Speech) and drinking tea and enjoying a slice or two of a Yule Log, it's time to head home for Christmas television and general relaxation 'in front of the box'. I'll probably end up writing some more as I'm slowly becoming obsessed with it. I'm not sure if that's a good or a bad thing, but there you have it.
It's time to go, so I'll say goodbye for now.
My thoughts go out to all those injured in Westerham's Costa Coffee incident yesterday, and my condolences go out to the friends and relatives of the 70-year-old woman who lost her life.
Season's greetings to all.