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?
Being an American (also not very sophisticated), I am still trying to wrap my head around the Aga. I understand itâ€™s both a source of heat and used for cooking/baking, and you turn it on at the beginning of the season and it runs continually until it is switched off in the spring. But do you have another appliance for cooking in the summer? Or for heating the house earlier than winter? I do love the Christmas covers!
Hurrah a blog entry
We’ve divvied up the present buying this year so theoretically everyone only has to buy one present for one family member. I’m not sure how well this will work in practice but it’s worth a shot.
Oh Ellen, it’s a slightly idiotic (very expensive) purchase which I made as part of my mid-life crisis instead of buying a Porsche. It weighs a ton (possibly literally), costs a fortune to buy and run and yes, I have another oven for cooking when it’s turned off. But I still love it. Honestly, love is blind.
H, thanks for your enthusiasm!
TM, we did this among the grown ups in my husband’s family for a couple of years and it worked pretty well until we all decided not to buy each other any presents and only buy presents for the children which, whisper it, works even better.
I sent a parcel to my family in Dublin..I was told it arrived yesterday by the provider.
My brother texted me today..where was it??
I said..with you??
They had two parcels yesterday..neither of them mine.
Brother gets back to me.
My parcel had been mistaken for one from the daughter of the house for SiL’s birthday. My parcel was there.
Panic over. All still steaming ahead in the Chrostmas world..
Also, at work, it has been suggested we do ‘Secret Santa’ book swop – wrap a book you like in brown paper with a recommendation written on the front..drop one and take one.
Sounds an excellent idea…I am planning my book drop already.