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Tis the season to be silly

posted 15 Dec 2015, 06:36 by Fran Brady   [ updated 15 Dec 2015, 06:56 ]
You know those Christmas 'round robins' that come wonderfully and fearfully folded inside cards? You either love them or hate them. I have grimaced at some over the years, especially those smirky, smug ones that make the life, family and achievements of the writer sound implausibly perfect. Then there are the gung-ho ones that describe all sorts of disasters and horrors as if they were all just part of a sort of 'Carry-on' film.

My Edinburgh writing group had its pre-Christmas meeting last week and the challenge was to write a 'spoof' one. I left it till the last minute as usual but once started really enjoyed writing it - quite cathartic!
Anyway, here it is for your amusement . . .

The Ramsbottom family

No 7 Happy Hollow

County Optim

December 2015

Festive good wishes to you all!

Our little family has, once again, had a wonderful year. The good ship Ramsbottom has crested the waves and is sailing happily into the harbour of 2015. With a little routine maintenance, a fresh coat of paint and the barnacles scraped off our (rams!)bottom, we shall be quite ready for the voyage of 2016.

So many highlights: where to begin?

My liposuction trip to Rumania in February didn’t quite go to plan but it is such a beautiful country that I barely minded.  The nurse who accompanied me home in the dinky little air ambulance was so sweet, telling me stories of much worse disasters. I realised my own experience had been no more than a little setback. And I did get a lovely month in hospital once back in the UK. I got through all the books that have been piled up on my bedside table since last Christmas.
So, yes, it’s fine to give me books again this year – one can never have too much of a good thing – although the odd little surprise would be . . . well, surprising.

Darling Cecil, the love of my life, turned fifty in April - the first of the month, as I am sure you all remember - and he was quite overwhelmed by the cards you all sent him. He thought he had heard all the jokes about being a fool but many of you came up trumps with a new one. Of course, we had a wonderful party. It was a shame he did not make it home from the pub in time to blow out his candles and cut his cake but, as Gemma, his darling sister – we are such good friends – said, it probably saved me a big bill for carpet cleaning. The company we used last year was extortionate and they still didn’t get all the candle wax off the Aubusson rug. However, the new Afghan we bought with the fire insurance money quite made up for it. I had been planning to redecorate and completely refurbish the drawing room in any case. It was super to have a little extra money at throw at it

He says he can’t believe he has reached the big Hawaii-Five-O and I assure him he doesn’t look a day over . . .

He’s doing wonderfully well in his new job. I am so proud to think of him in charge of that enormous company – and for the whole night, every night. Of course, the dogs love him – animals always do – all six of them. He has them eating out of his hand. In fact, one of them almost ate his whole hand in June. Yes, we’ve seen a lot of the medical side of life this year. So interesting. So good to make use of that expensive health insurance 

The children are growing so fast. Why, Coriander is bigger than me now!

Much prettier, of course. Ah, the priceless bloom of youth!



 Coriander            Me

 Balmoral (my little Scottish miracle baby, conceived on a wet weekend in the Highlands all those years ago) has decided against an academic career after all and is now doing valuable research towards his first novel which is, I understand, going to be set in a supermarket stock room.

What with our joint spells in hospital in the early part of the year, it was October before we managed a holiday. We decided to try cruising. The ship was somewhat smaller than it appeared in the brochure and sharing a cabin with two other couples was a challenging experience. It is true what they say about these cruise ships: you really can eat as much as you like all day. I never knew what ‘hard tack’ was, although I had read about it in classical literature: Mutiny on the Bounty, Two Years before the Mast, etc. Most educational and authentic. It certainly made me appreciate Marks and Spencer’s Food Hall on our return. Cecil loved the unending supply of rum but has retained only vague memories of our voyage - which is just as well. It was quite ungallant of our cabin-mates, to say the least, to post those pictures on Facebook. However, Coriander and Balmoral did love seeing them. They missed us so much while we were away pleasuring ourselves in the Caribbean and it meant so much to them to see the daily batch of pictures. They were positively clamouring for more each day. It is truly wonderful to know how much one’s children loves one.

Now it is December again and we have shops full of sparkly things, streets festooned with twinkling lights and windows sporting decorated trees. Don’t you just love Christmas?

 I made my cake on stir-up Sunday, as you do, but I didn’t hide it well enough. Coriander says we must have mice.Jenkins, our elderly cat is still handsome but not the mouser he once was, it’s true. Still, I wouldn’t have thought mice would have managed to carve such a large, neat slice off it.

At least, my Yule Log will be a triumph. Like the Calendar Girls (well, the one played by Helen Mirren, anyway), I am resorting to M & S. Don’t you dare shop me (see what I did there?), you naughty tell-tale-tits!

I send you all a big hug and I hope your 2016 will be as wonderful as our 2015 has been.

Christmas Kisses from   Samantha