Monday, 2 January 2017




"Christmas anxiety" for me, usually sets in around about October.

 "Proper" House Wives start making Xmas cakes and puddings..(Don't they have anything better to do?..Sorry if that sounds catty...I'm just jealous)..

However, it's the TV adverts that REALLY make me despondent..
From October onwards, the TV  exposes us all at far too regular intervals to....

ALL those beautiful Christmas  scenes of
 ALL those perfect families,
 in ALL their perfect homes,
 stuffing themselves with ALL that perfectly prepared food.

 Quite frankly, It"s enough to make me weep and hit the bottle...
Those perfect images being so far away from anything I have experienced since I was a child.
 (I wonder if mum felt the same   way as I do now, all those years ago)

This year, the Xmas panic attacks started in August.
 We had finished shooting "Malevolent Shadows" and I was feeling fabulous.

Lolling round the pool with a few good friends..We were laughing our heads off at nothing in particular, drinking local vino collapso and sampling the delights of some delicious local charcuterie.

 I thought "THIS is how Christmas should be"..
and the palpitations started as I reflected on the sheer ghastliness of the previous years "festivities".

The house had been choc- o- block with some friends (thank God) and a motley crew of distant family.

At this stage, I must point out, that I always make certain that the bedrooms have the best linen, flowers, fruit bowls, caraffs of water...Not to mention an abundance of those little shampoos, conditioners and body creams which I "nick" in vast quantities from every hotel I have stayed at during the year.
  Yes, my Petals, in addition to all my other vices, I am a Hotel Thief......but I ALWAYS tip the chamber maid VERY well. 
And, as if all of the above is not beyond the call of usual hospitality, I am a very generous giver of presents........
So what could possibly have gone wrong?

Well, as Sod's Law would have it, I had one of my "attacks" on Xmas Eve....
Rendered blind as the proverbial bat and in more pain than my rather low pain threshold could tolerate, I was confined to bed in a dark room and had to tell everyone  to "get on with it themselves"..

Typically, friends rose to the challenge... but not so, certain other individuals who complained that on being invited to a house party, they did not expect to do the work of servants!...
The complaining woman promptly had a row with her husband for which I somehow was to blame.
Even from the confines of the bedroom, I could feel the toxic atmosphere developing..
Old family resentments erupted, people were understandably displeased with their gifts (as I was half blind during the "wrapping process"and, therefore, not too accurate with the labelling)
 Old "Loony Tunes"  (psychopathic orthopaedic surgeon of a brother) having expressed his usual surprise that I was still alive (just about) when I should have been dead long ago from decadent living, received some rather sexy lingerie meant for one of my mates. 
He thought (quite understandably) that I was giving him some sort of psychological message...need I go on?

Husband tried his best, but is an introvert by nature (understatement)

"Old Loony Tunes" pointed out to husband's brother (nick named "Pizza Face"by his friends)  that he had never seen such a severe and disgusting case of acne on an adult in all his medical career. ...Thus confirming what I have always said.
 My brother should confine his medical abilities to chopping people up..something he is considered very good at, rather than veering into the territory of physicians.

My own kids and grand daughter were doing "their own thing" else where, and I must admit this rather added to my feelings of despondency, inadequacy and deep depression..
(my kids are for ever telling me how embarrassing I am)...the days of their undying loyalty being only a hazy memory..
I am only embarrassing in that I do not sit quietly in a corner doing my knitting like any self respecting grandmother...
Bugger that!

..I want to LIVE LIFE !

So you might understand why the contrast between that perfect summer afternoon, full of "joi de vivre"  and general frivolity with friends, precipitated the pre Xmas palpitations sooner than usual.  

BUT, I am not so lilly livered as to give up without a semblance of a fight.
In other words, THIS year was going to be different.

 AS far as I was concerned, this would be a Christmas for those few people who enjoy my company as I enjoy theirs...
There would be no depression resulting from family refusing invites, as they would not be invited... the sequelae of that being family eruptions....why hadn't I thought of this before! 

Then,  "Loony Tunes" and his really lovely family invited themselves.
 My fab godchildren AND even eldest son plus daughter in law and grandchild also thought it might be fun to stay with the Bonkers Old Bat (me)  as did a few other family members who I thought had quite disowned me....

Blimey, back to a full house party...

But THIS time, it WOULD be different...

  There HAD to be some sort of secret to putting on a "Good Show"





I had an extreme "Pauline moment"

A moment of such Gargantuan Damascusian proportions that I was momentarily quite overwhelmed with my own brilliance.

The secret lay in the word "Show".

Now, I have done quite a bit of public speaking in my life and have always felt that your duty as a Speaker is to other words, put on "a show."

And What are the THREE vital ingredients to putting on a "good show"?





Why do I always get an auto immune attack at Xmas?
  Because I get into a fearful panic and stress myself into a frenzy.
This process stimulates the "Fear, Flight, Fight reflex"
 which in turn causes the body to produce amongst other things like adrenaline, vast amounts of the hormone cortisol.
 This  brings on my corneal ulceration..painfully blinding..lumps around joints, anorexia and other jolly symptoms.

So, AVOID stress at all costs.

  I immediately bought all Christmas presents...paid someone to wrap and label them. In addition, a few extra  presents in "Present Chest" in case of unexpected visitors.
 The panic of last minute wrapping now avoided.

Called Waitrose and ordered EVERY BIT of required food to be made by them..
didn't even feel guilty at ordering their mashed potatoes.


Organised for a couple of girls to do all the serving of drinks, food and washing up.

Found a photographer to take some pics of what I was beginning to think had the beginnings of a half way decent Xmas.

Made up all the beds in the house weeks in advance.

Decorated house and bought  tree by 1st December.

Remembered crackers.

Made a play list of decent music in advance to avoid the usual rummaging around  dvds for music when someone felt like dancing.

 Learnt a few line dances off You Tube, so that should people want to dance there would be no problems with "partners"

Tuned all instruments in the event of a "jam"

Made certain all leads worked plus microphone and amps.

Instructed husband to get in LOADS of alcohol...surprisingly, he did not so much as flinch at this request...

Normally, there would be some remarks about me and my friends all suffering from chronic alcoholic poisoning ...
Perhaps because this year one of his family was admitted to hospital with chronic liver disease secondary to booze he was more amenable.
 And if you are thinking that this was all a very expensive and massive cheat, I can only agree with you..
but WOW!
It was worth it.

Old Loony Tunes and family were the first to arrive..Both he, and wife (a GP) having expressed their usual surprise that I was still not yet 6 feet under, acknowledged that it must be my Viking blood that kept me alive, and, therefore, we made great plans for forthcoming skiing trip and they even invited themselves for a summer holiday to my dream house on the basis that it wouldn't be locked up in probate as a result of my impending demise...

Son and family arrived and were utterly charming.
 Grand daughter, a smashing little extrovert, got things going as she insisted on showing us all how well she could sing and dance...
soon the house was stuffed with all age groups..

The line dancing was a terrific success (I STRONGLY recommend it as an alternative to those ghastly Xmas games..... 
You know the ones...Monopoly... Charades and Trivial Pursuits...nothing trivial about THAT game..I have known it break up relationships)

The music room was soon throbbing.
A "Full On Jam" with godson on drum kit, son on piano, guitar and vocals. Me on electronic piano (Xmas present from husband) and all the singers harmonising while the others danced.
Grand daughter took to the microphone like a real pro along with all the other good vocalists...have you heard "The wheels on the bus go round and round" sung "Blues Style" in several harmonies?

Those not of musical persuasion lounged in my new "smoking room" drinking eating and generally flirting ...TWO new romances on the bubble.

I became rather weepy at some of the really thoughtful gifts I received and went into complete Blub mode on being presented with a poster that was supposed to describe only hinted at a scintilla of insanity!

Oh Dear, This all sounds too self satisfied for words...

 (From past experience) that my current feeling of  unusual happiness will be completely shattered by some impending doom filled event within 48hrs max.
 So please allow me a few hours of relative relief from lifes dramas..
Even as I say good bye
 and toodle pip for now,
I have a frightful sense of foreboding.
yours as ever ,