I am returned from visiting herself in England. A triumphant foreign tour due in no small part to the detailed schedule that herself put in place including making bookings and suggesting outings for her guests. A truly successful formula. As my sister said while we were eating in the v nice restaurant herself had booked us in to – “Finally all those notions you gave her are coming in useful.”
I got back late on December 1 and decided to bow to the inevitable and put up some of the Christmas decorations the following day. In a definite #mymiddleclasshell moment, I couldn’t find the Christmas aga covers which I bought last year but, I am sure you will be delighted to hear, Mr. Waffle found them where I had carefully stowed them away for safekeeping. This is actually very unusual for me. I think possibly due to my poor memory/my parents’ predilection for keeping things in random places (you choose), I am actually very organised with stuff and the sellotape, the keys, the measuring tape, the Christmas decorations, whatever you’re having yourself are always in the same location and findable. But even Homer nods.
Speaking of the aga, the combination of the mild winter and this truly terrifying graphic in a leaflet from the Government that came through the door, has meant that we haven’t turned it on yet.
However, I had a triumph with my â‚¬60 phone bill which, you may recall, was charged following not using it all on the ferry. I wrote a letter and vodafone refunded. To be fair, I think it is more sharp practice by the ferries than vodafone but I was glad to get the â‚¬60 back all the same. The additional money in our pockets and the arrival of the cold weather mean that I plan to fire up the aga this weekend. Anyone who thinks that â‚¬60 will go near paying for the aga is very wrong. As a friend of mine says, “You might as well open the oven door and shovel in fivers.” Look, it’s cosy.
Also I have a narky letter with the bank which charged me â‚¬60 for three transactions where I tried to pay money out and the recipient couldn’t accept so it bounced back to my account. I mean, firstly, â‚¬20 a pop, are you kidding me? Secondly, I already pay pretty hefty annual fees which are to cover all of my transactions. Thirdly, we all hate the banks since they nearly bankrupted the country in 2008. No reply so far, I am even now composing my grumpy follow-up (I at least expected the courtesy of a reply, can I have a copy of your complaints procedure etc? Mr. Waffle said he once sent one of those and was horrified to actually get a copy of the complaints procedure rather than the refund he had been angling for). While we’re on letters, I had a letter in the paper. I’m trying out a pseudonym (my married name which I never use) as I felt the letter was a bit notiony but now I am crushed that no one except Mr. Waffle has noticed my letter and texted me. Mr. Waffle is at an advantage as, obviously, he knows my married name. Also he is used to pseudonyms as his mother used to write to the papers under her maiden name purporting to be from a (completely made up) organisation monitoring local litter levels. This makes her sound crazy and I want to emphasise that this was not the case at all. But still.
In other Christmas prep, I have ordered a turkey. 5 kilos was the smallest available, that’s a kilo of turkey for each family member. An unnerving prospect. We had our Monday night Christmas book club which was absolutely lovely. I think the book club having lasted 20 odd years has survived Covid though it was touch and go there for a while. On December 6, Saint Nicolas, providing the kind of customer service the banks would do well to emulate, turned up for the boys 14 years after they left Belgium.
I spent today in town Christmas shopping. I am exhausted. My break from work means I am stepping up in the challenging Christmas shopping arena (previously Mr. Waffle’s domain). I am not hugely enjoying it, I will say that.
And tomorrow is December 8, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception and the traditional start of the Christmas shopping season in this jurisdiction. I will be celebrating it by ordering the remainder of my shopping online.
Also, you will be pleased to hear that my knee is recovering. Is your own Christmas prep up and running?