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Folk who know me well understand the reasons why I'm not much of a Christmas person. Too many bad events and tragedies have occurred in my life during this period so for me it's a case of trying to keep a smile on my face if only to stop spoiling other peoples' enjoyment.
This year I would be spending Christmas and the New Year on my own and so it didn't take much for me to realise that if I allowed my unhappiness of past Christmases to be all consuming together with being by myself, at best I'd spend the entire time drunk or at worst feeling suicidal.
I resolved to do neither and make a real effort to make the most of it.
I started off by decorating the boat inside and out. The photo on the left really doesn't do justice to how pretty she looked on board and I'm sorry but there are no photos of the outside because no sooner had I strung out the lights but the snow fairy visited and dumped five inches on the roof which sort of detracted from the effect they were supposed to have had!
Not to worry, it was the thought that counted.
Next was a furious run to the supermarket for provisions as I'd decided to go all the way and cook a traditional Christmas lunch. Roast duck, new and roast potatoes, sprouts, runner beans, stuffing and gravy. Oh -- and Christmas pud.
I drew the line at crackers. Well who the hell do I pull them with? So with my fridge and drinks cupboard well stocked I was ready to give Christmas my best shot.
I was woken by the phone at 9am Christmas morning. Ali wishing me a 'Happy Christmas'. I felt better for that! During the morning I prepped up for lunch, had calls from my kids Joanna and Richard and headed off to the 'Swan' at mid-day.
A couple of pints later I headed back to the boat. I'd have stayed longer but the Christmas music on the sound system made me feel rather emotional. I didn't want to spoil what had been up until then, a happy day.
Lunch was excellent even if the duck was slightly over done. As I headed to bed I decided that Christmas Day had been a success.
Boxing Day I've always thought as a complete anti-climax which is good coming from one who doesn't like Christmas much anyway; again I wasn't about to ignore it but work comes first -- like yesterday's washing up! Dear God! There was a mountain of the damned stuff! Yesterday's breakfast, lunch and supper things all had to be done. With the job completed I headed out to the 'Swan'.
A good crowd today and no music so I stayed rather longer than I'd intended and had a very gingerly walk back to the boat. Booze and icy-cold weather is not a good mix and I've narrow pontoons to negotiate!
Yeah. Christmas 2010 had been okay and without doubt, better than I had hoped for and way better than I'd expected. All that is left is to get through this hellish cold weather......."hellish cold?" Sorry. This seriously cold weather, see the New Year in and get back to normal stuff like work.
The main struggle between Christmas and the New Year was water. All the stand pipes were either frozen or burst and there came a point that I was contemplating buying bottled water to get me through but I persevered. December 31st and a stand pipe is useable! Boy did I need water! Took almost 45 minutes to fill my tank but now I can shower, wash the mountain of clothes outstanding and more importantly, stop worrying!