This time next week it'll be Christmas, that's right motherbloggers - it'll be present opening, turkey munching, nut cracking Christmas time. I am reasonably excited. Scrap that, I'm the happiest I've been all year and counting down the seconds until I can get on a train and get the ball rolling.
The only teensy weensy fly in the Christmas ointment is that I haven't done any Christmas shopping yet. I loathe shopping. I can't really understand how anyone finds it enjoyable. I hate clothes shopping the most but present shopping is also pretty dire... there's so much uncertainty and worrying that what you're buying is either not good enough, not expensive enough or not suitable for whoever you've bought it for. Then there's present buying etiquette where you're not sure whether you're even meant to be buying a gift for someone or not. You don't want to look cheap but at the same time it's just occurred to you that you're not that keen on them so why do you have to suffer the queues in HMV?
Yesterday I managed to buy 2 gifts. I considered doing more but then I realised it was a Saturday and everyone with a job was shopping, so why didn't I just wait until they're all at work? Smart people, the unemployed.
Also, I was unwell yesterday. I know! There had been no alcohol involved at all and yet I spent the entire day lying on the sofa with various rounds of tea hoping that no bright lights entered the room. I hate to be ill almost as much as I hate to shop so the two people I bought gifts for yesterday should be grateful that I did both at the same time for them.
Thankfully I have a super immune system so today I'm fighting fit... it might also help that I got some sleep last night. I should have known yesterday would be a washout after the activities of Thursday rolling into Friday...
Thursday night I kidnapped my younger yet bigger brother and took him to a gig with me in a tiny town made of Staples and Barns in the West Country. We had lots of laughs and then decided that, seeing as we were already out and it was already late, we would stay and watch the headliner. This was awesome in terms of comedy but a mistake in that I still had to drive to that Bright Town on the South Coast. However, Duncan Oakley (Mr Headliner) made us laugh an awful, awful lot, I particularly found most of the puerile stuff amusing which caused younger yet bigger brother to frown at me a little. I recommend you seek out Duncan and his jokes as they are particularly brilliant.
I dropped the sibling back off at my parents' house and, after stealing copious amounts of chocolate brownie and crisps to keep me going, set off for Brighton. To say the journey was dull would be unfair; I had a hire car with heated seats and steering wheel and a selection of my mother's CDs to keep me amused. It is truly shocking how much of Sam Brown's album I can still sing along with at the top of my voice.
I arrived in Brighton at about 3:30 and then had 2.5 hours sleep before getting up at 6 and continuing my journey along to Hastings. Why Hastings? Well, because my theatre company (Spun Glass Theatre) were doing a Christmas activity day for the pupils of a local primary school.
We were to perform a half hour session for each of the 7 classes... this was my sleep deprived Everest. The infants were a piece of cake (the ones that didn't cry with fear), they listened to a nice story, joined in with the songs and even took quite kindly to my terrible puppeteering of a wolf that is apparently the school mascot.
The juniors were a different kettle of fish... we decided that they probably wouldn't be that interested in a story about a dog weeing on a tree. So, we got hold of the list of children in each class and used it for a cameo performance between Santa and the wolf. Santa would read out the name of the child and the wolf (and the elf pretending to be the wolf) would make up something ridiculous that the child had apparently asked for for Christmas. If ever there was an argument for reducing class sizes, this was it. Have you ever tried to make up 35 crazy Christmas gifts that are neither too rude nor too boring for a class of 10 year olds? We had anything ranging from Weetabix to a date with Justin Bieber to a request for a red velvet dress to do karaoke in. On the arrival of the headmaster, the wolf declared that one child had requested a bite on the bottom for said Captain from the mischievous wolf. It briefly crossed my mind at that point that the chances of getting paid for this job were slowly slipping through my puppet filled fingers...
Finally we had completed all the classes and so we packed up the car and drove all the way back to Brighton. I had done 3 times more driving than I had sleeping in the last 18 hours and it was really starting to show...
Still, it got us firmly in the Christmas mood and the children were all happy so maybe a headache and an inability to do anything yesterday was a small price to pay for such a varied few days. Now, if only someone wanted to do my Christmas shopping for me I'd say it was time to kick off the festivities!