I got some brilliant late birthday presents.
Madevi drew me my own angry pony card AND got me a small vintage goat smallholding.
My sister got me The Yorkshire Vet's Yorkshire Vet BOOK and not only that, she got it dedicated for me, I die (actually, she apparently got Prog Rock to go and get it signed, he is so saintly and the thought of him doing this is really making me laugh).
The book is everything I could have wished for, featuring Julian examining testicles with intense concentration and bashfully holding a giant tumour. Also sentences such as "Blimey, that's a large spleen". 10/10, would buy for whole family, probably will.
I do know you are almost certainly entirely indifferent to my tales of Yorkshire Vet, I am sorry, there isn't much happening in my life and I have become very boring and cotton-wool headed so I have to rely on veterinary distraction. The last few episodes have been excellent in numerous ways - tiny tiny tiny tiny minipony foal, mass mini horse castration, whippet puppy, cute kitten line-up, OWL (tawny, concussed, happy ending) and the next one on Christmas Eve looks cracking, featuring a tiny stripy piglet in a blanket (if this makes you think of dinner, my beloved exclaimed "suckling pig!" at the first sighting of it, so you are in good company).
Things that have attracted my ire recently (yes, apart from the hideous state of the world, which is unbearable):
1. Study leave
My children either do not leave the house at all or go to school for like, an hour or something then return to sprawl on the sofa consuming all my bandwidth and expecting to be fed and mansplaining to me the many things I am doing wrong, or why they OBVIOUSLY don't need to be revising.
I love you, clementines, but why are so many of you shit? It is very simple: you must be juicy, tart and not impossible to open. I tire of you being flavourless, flaccid and bitter. Get your house in order, citrus fruits.
3. The hens
We spent most of last weekend construction Hen Alcatraz, because Hillary the Hen and her tiny sidekick spend most of their time luxuriantly shitting on my back doorstep and cackling at me. They both escaped within about 3 hours of being released into their new improved captivity.
4. Belgian customs
Who are holding my birthday present from F hostage and who sent me an incomprehensible, lengthy document asking questions about my tax status, none of which contained the option "this is a low value gift, you fuckers, let me have this shred of joy in my life".
5. The disappearance of the "compress" function from my computer.
6. The shrinkage - not my doing, of course - of my beloved cashmere bedsocks, which are now the correct size for a (very lucky) three year old.
7. Constantly having to delete witch doctor spam. I get it, Dr Unity. The next time I need a love spell, I know where to come.
8. My total inability to put on my new Tamagotchi, sorry Fitbit. Nothing makes you feel more like a bewildered pensioner than your own inability to close two small plastic fastenings.
9. Tracking the paltry handful of things I have ordered for Christmas online and impotently watching as they sit, immobile, in far-flung depots.
I know there were many more. Angry muttering is now my main hobby.
This is such an odd time of year, I do love it, but it's an intense ball of FEELINGS and EXPECTATIONS and MEMORIES and SADNESS. My heart feels like it swells up like a gigantic sponge with the weight of Christmas past, the fact that my children no longer have any desire to ride the giant cockroach at the Christmas market and now know that Jesus is called Jesus and not Nathan, the absence of the one person in our family who was properly brilliant at Christmas, the strange loneliness of being the only one in my family who would even contemplate the consumption of a mince pie and the desire to be in a chilly chapel singing something very, very old. It's weird for loads of people, though, this is hardly news. But if that is also you, I found this podcast (Episode 3, Happy(ish) holidays) very cathartic. It is so so sad - it made me weep openly on public transport (people often weep openly on the STIB but usually it is because they have been stuck in a tunnel due to a derailment for three hours) - but it's also funny and reassuring and hopeful.
Alternatively, take comfort in my sister's take on York christmas:
European christmas is so classy i am realising. York is flipping mobbed with people baying for presents. and pissed. i went to station at 8pm the other week it was like when u go a club and they turn the lights on at the end but there were more people and they had 1000 bags of shopping. They were doing the flipping hokey cokey on my train. hahaha There were also some intense conversations i heard a pep talk from one drunk lad that included the phrase 'Your Mum IS CAPITALISM' (like in a good way) and a totally sober woman that telling this young lass she met literally 2 minutes ago that at age 46 she didnt feel ready to nurture another human being, she seemed pretty happy about this state of affairs. I forgot how York York is.
Very much enjoyed our shopping trip this weekend (we managed to buy ONE present).
Oh yes this is perfectly comfortable. Don't you worry about me.
You young folk just enjoy yourself. This hard tiled floor is perfectly comfortable.
I'll just be here, waiting for death.