We’d been looking forward to this Christmas, our first in England, and in our own home here, for some years. Son and daughter-in-law planned to come from London, and Emily was arriving from Barcelona, bringing her boyfriend so he could enjoy his first English Christmas. The Bolton Posse were also booked in for parts of the time. We’d spent time making things ready for a real family Christmas …. and then the day before Christmas Eve, I got a cold.
Only it wasn’t a cold. I kept on giving myself severe talkings to, and pointing out to myself that a hacking cough and a swimmy head could all be kept firmly under control. Then, at a neighbour’s Christmas Eve party, I passed out. And had to be helped home and put to bed by the family.
The next day, I wasn’t up to anything. Everyone had to turn to and cook and prepare – which actually they didn’t mind at all. I somehow got up for Christmas dinner, which I couldn’t bring myself to eat. I was going to bow out before I put too much of a damper on things when Malcolm too succumbed and retired to bed …. where he has remained, and has refused food for several days.
It’s been such a disappointment. I don’t think we were guilty of setting the bar too high, of wanting an unattainable Christmas ideal. We just wanted time together, having fun in a low-key kind of way. In fact, the rest of the family has. And I too have been able to join them for some of the time. So long as I don’t move around too much, I can join in the games we’re all so fond of. ‘Bananagram’ has been the all-out winner: at most times of the day, you could find at least a couple of people hunched over alphabet tiles, competing to construct their grid of connected words. But we’re keen on ‘Scattergories’ too, and ‘Balderdash‘, which involves writing definitions for words nobody’s heard of, alternative plots for long-forgotten films, and unlikely explanations for various acronyms.
None of this would do while Catalan Miquel was still here of course, so there were plenty of card games, and, for those with steady hands, the chance to construct increasingly wobbly wooden towers in games of ‘Jenga’. But I don’t know what the poor bloke made of our Christmas -in-the-sanitorium.
The family pronounced themselves satisfied with this low-key celebration. But for both Malcolm and me, still nowhere near to feeling healthy again, it’s been a bit of a let down. And it’s not just because of Christmas. Today, we should have been setting off to drive to Laroque, to spend New Year with our friends there. We’re simply too ill to consider driving the 1000 mile journey at the moment. Let’s hope we can delay our journey by only a few days.