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The Secret Cevennes - articles by Samantha David



And counting...  

      For some people, Christmas is an orgy of conspicuous consumption, for others a nightmare best avoided by booking a flight to Casablanca, but for us it's magic.  We relish the tinsel and the lights: Midnight Mass, mince pies at 3am, stockings on Christmas morning, stuffing the turkey into the oven, admiring the tree, opening the presents, gobbling scrambled eggs with smoked salmon and champagne, playing games, phoning relations, cooking and singing carols, eating huge dinner with crackers and silly jokes, dozing in front of Miracle on 34th Street... none of it is too naff or camp for us.

      So I've already got a large pad of A4 full of lists.  Cards.  Who is on the list?  Which countries require early dispatch?  Parcels.  Who is on the list?  Who got what last year?  Did Zaza and Splatt like the foie gras?  Have they gone vegetarian this year?  Presents.  Who would like what?  Where to get it?  How to send it?  Would it be better to hit the John Lewis website for the whole lot?  (Free UK delivery...)

      Who is going to midnight Mass?  Who is coming for The Day?  Boxing Day?  Have we got enough crackers?  Who is picking the greenery?  Has the holly tree got berries on it?  Did we mend the fairy last year when the cats knocked her off the tree?

      How many trees do we really need?  Isn't three excessive?  What about the blue lights?  Didn't they get binned?  Tinsel: the purple strand is still going strong, but what about the rope for the banisters?

      The outdoor lights for the terrace need replacing.  The flashing lights need some new bulbs.  The crepe paper for streamers seems to have disappeared.  Can someone locate the glue?  Do we have enough long leads?  Adaptors?  Fake snow?  No.  No fake snow.  We still haven't got it off the mirrors after last year.

      If we're having sand in the crèche, then either we have to buy some or someone has to drive down to the beach and collect some.  (Which is probably illegal, but perhaps we could return it in the new year?)  But after last year, we shouldn't get it from the pile outside the builder's.  Not after the cats have er... nuff said.

      Shopping lists run into several pages and include items like suet which you basically just can't find in our local shops.  But at least you can bring that from the UK unlike crackers which I slightly feel are tricky, what with all these security alerts.  Or maybe crackers don't matter any more because airline security is now focusing on radioactive poison?

      Beds have to be made, coal ordered, hoovers emptied, freezers defrosted... it's all go, but it has to be done or it won't be perfect.

      The games are vital.  Does anyone really know the rules for charades?  Have we got enough newspaper for the fashion game?  Do we need extra sellotape?  What about the prizes? 

      And the dog.  She'll need a glittery collar, and of course we'll be a Santa hat short if Auntie Miff brings her new friend.  Where's the shopping list?  Where's the menu lists?  Where are the lists of who to invite?  What about the card list?  And the list of lists, to make sure we can keep track of all this?

      Why is the dog lying down in her bed panting gently?  Why is she acting like there's nothing going on?  What's all this relaxation?  Blimme, is she actually wagging her tail?  Doesn't she know it's nearly Christmas?  Can't she make herself useful?

      Like er, write a list or something? 



Next column will be uploaded around 1 Jan.


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