It's been a pretty fine Christmas so far.
We did Christmas morning at my parents' house, like always and this was Bert's first 'real' Christmas where he got to open his own presents. He toddled into the room, saw the presents and went 'Wow!'. We later realised he was 'roaring' at a picture of a Lion, but it still made us all smile.
Christmas with rugrats around is strange, you (well I do anyway) find yourself thinking back trying to remember what Christmas was like when you were that small.
Bert got some fantastic presents; kids' toys nowadays are just brilliant aren't they? And my brother Dougal got a Model A Ford, which means he'll not be getting any serious presents from my parents for the next couple of years I think.
Anyway, everyone has finished opening stuff and my dad disappears downstairs and comes back in with an enormous, flat parcel, about 4' square and hands it over to me. I start to open it with some trepidation; it looks like it might be a painting or something and paintings that get bought for you without your having seen them first can be tricky, especially if you don't like them.
No need to worry. I peel back the wrapping and discover that they've given me the first painting that I can ever remember; the first one that they ever bought. It's a fantastic, naive, picture by Andreas Kuhn (of whom you have, almost certainly, never heard) of two fishermen in a small boat holding a net.
I was, and still am, completely and utterly gobsmacked. If you'd asked me which of my parents' paintings was my favourite I'd've chosen this one unhesitatingly. If you'd asked me which of theirs was their favourite I'd probably have chosen the same picture. But here it is hanging over my fireplace, slightly too big for the space, but who cares.
Dad, the utter swine, was videoing this. I watched the tape yesterday and I seemed to spend about five minutes just staring at the painting, jaw dropped, occasionally saying 'wow'. I was a complete cliché so I was.
Last night we had the family 'round our place. Gill spent the afternoon cooking a fine, traditional Christmas curry. 'Real' Rogan Josh, Chicken Tikka, Tarka Dal, Stuffed Bindhi all the trimmings. Delicious. And there's Rogan Josh left over. Tomorrow we do dim sum and finally get to see Lord of the Rings.
Then on New Year's Eve, it's all back to the Aged Parents to see in the new year with a night of making our own entertainment; everyone performs a 'party piece'. Gill and I are going to have a go at a mindreading act; I did some 'straight' magic last year and various other members of the family did more or less polished acts. It promises to be a hoot again this year.
I think I'm going to be ready to go back to work on the 2nd. It'll almost be like relaxing.