I hate airports. Stuff Hugh Grant with his ‘my favourite place in the world is an airport’ thing. The Arrivals part is brilliant – marred only slightly if you are the owner of the child dragging his brother along the floor by the foot – but sooner or later you’re making that inevitable return visit to Departures. Heartbreak, raw for everyone to see, in the middle of all the horrid jolly souls going on holiday for New Year.
All the McDonald’s Festive Pies in the world can’t make up for it, I can tell you that.
This is why I am to be found eating bananas and custard for dinner at 8pm, watching Tom Cruise do tiny ridiculous things in Mission Impossible, and compiling the BIGGEST PHOTO POST EVER of our last week. Indulge me loves; it’s nice to put it all in one place.
So! My sister got married this Christmas. I am one of four, and half of us live overseas. Which meant my mum and step-dad, two younger brothers and their other halves all came here for Christmas week. Since some of our party had never been to the UK before, we crammed e v e r y t h i n g in. It was wonderful.
Wedding first. Absolutely lovely. How classy do they look, eh?
The boys were already rabid about having so many extra adults to play with.
Then some play time. On Sunday afternoon we ran quickly over to Silchester, the ruins of an ancient Roman town nearby. I bet the Romans had sunsets like these too.
Of course, you can’t do England without London.
We tripped around Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square, Westminster Abbey and some other pretty fancy stuff. You know London. Full of it. Embarrassing, really.
The next day, minus siblings, we went to see Nelson’s flagship at Portsmouth, the Victory. It was fantastic.
H got a bit into it.
Please zoom in on that photo by the way: his face is hysterical. Full-on Power Ranger.
Listening to the tour really brought home to me how splendid and patriotic and yet how irredeemably crap it must have been to serve in the Navy in the 1700s. Body parts. Everywhere. All the blimming time.
Then we did Oxford. City of my heart. Seller of excellent noodles.
After all that, there was Christmas. I made my first giant Christmas dinner and it was intensely stressful and, like a miracle, came out beautifully even so.
Even better, my littlest brother proposed to his girlfriend on Christmas Eve, and we all cried, especially when she said yes.
After Christmas everyone started to go home. Time for some leftover turkey, and one last walk.
I am wearing (fake)fur-lined leggings in this photo below, by the way. Thanks, Primark. I felt like Lyra Silvertongue ALL DAY.
Phew, still alive? That brings us up to today, with me sat in pyjamas, eating banana custard and watching hobbity Tom Cruise do implausible things, in a doleful sort of way.
It was a great Christmas. Once-in-a-lifetime, really. I’m glad I get to remember it here.