All is well with the world. Yesterday I went a-hunting and a-gathering. And now I am sitting snug as a bug ready to call Santa and tell him we are ready! After battling broadband problems yesterday morning, I finally gave up on the very idea of sticking to a self-declared deadline, and decided to do what the universe clearly intended me to do and go finish Christmas instead. This meant making a list, checking it twice and then donning the kind of clothes suitable for dashing in and out of the car and then neither freezing in-between stores, nor melting in as soon as I entered them.
So I donned hard hat and a thermal leotard and headed up to Southport, singing along to Doris Day doing Christmas and generally feeling at one with the world. All was well. I bought the last few stocking fillers on my not unsubstantial list, treated myself to yet another pink ice bun, and finally girded my loins and entered the madness that is Tesco intent on buying everything we need to see us through Christmas.
Oh Tesco, what a horrible, festive necessity you are. Thrilled, on entering this temple to money down the drain, to spot Rachel from Tales From the Village and hopeful of an insipid cup of supermarket tea and a good old bloggy gossip, I quickly turned on my heel to grab a trolley and promptly lost her in the affray that was clearly half the North West of Britain shopping like Christmas had decided to come early.
So without diversion of the Rachel kind, I shopped and shopped and considered abandoning my trolley and pinched myself hard and forced myself to carry on until my trolley was piled high with festive tins of biscuits (A British Christmas must!) and enough loo roll to see us through to Easter, and then I took it all home and tried and failed to fit it all in to my kitchen and had to stuff some of it under the bed, and sat down to drink a hot cup of enormous guilt at the privilege that is Christmas in abundance.
But I wasn't finished. My insatiable desire to feel safe inside these four walls, ready and waiting for the elves to come and check, is never satisfied until I have in my possession enough books to see me through the entire Christmas period should we find ourselves snowed in, so after liberating Finley from school I whizzed my pale, sniffly little boy up the road the the place of his dreams, the library and while he stocked up on The Spiderwick Chronicles, I maxed out my card on this and this and this and this and left feeling that all was right with the world and while snow might just top the list of all my fears, let it snow, cos I, Alison May had enough sustenance of the food and bookish kind.
Readers I was smug. I wrapped the last of the presents, served up Beef Bourginion from the slow cooker, cuddled a little boy getting paler by the minutes and then sat in festive bliss. The house lit up like The Blackpool Tower, scented by a gorgeous homemade blend of pine, cinnamon and neroli, and the coffee table was groaning with books and nuts and sweeties and candles.
Half an hour later Finley was in bed and I was settling down to the last slice of ginger bundt drenched in brandy cream. All was well. Do you hear me? ALL WAS WELL and then I looked up and noticed that Finley's homework was on fire. No really. This is yet another Alison sets something on fire story. This time Finley's homework had wafted across a little votive candle, set it's self a light and in the process set a book about aromatherapy up in flames.
My coffee table was on fire. All was right with the world.
I put out the fire with much ado, wiped my brow and collapsed on to the sofa only to find my son standing over me, shaking his head and informing me that he would never trust me again.
And so it has to come to this: I have fallen off my pedestal. I might just be able to throw the Christmas of his dreams but if he cannot sleep at night without worrying that Mummy will burn the house down then whats the point? And how was he going to explain his missing spellings to Mrs Painter Chapman?? And what the heck was up with me serving BEEF BLOOMING BOURGINION for tea? What did I think I was, FRENCH???
He is, quite frankly, appalled with me. And today the poor little mite dragged himself into his uniform, shivering and looking generally under the weather and though I forced him into the car, because Mummy has to work, even I could not bring myself to deliver him to the school door with spelling excuses in hand, when his nose started bleeding and his little face looked like it might just crumple all together. So I swung the car around and took him home and now here we are, discussing our super powers of choice (Mine: invisibiliby and time travel, his, webby fingers and infalibilty) and eating cheese and onion bread still warm from the bread-maker.
All is well. There isn't a candle lit in the house and I have promised this darling little nine year old that I will try and stay out of trouble or else report myself to Santa.
Little does he know that I have turned last nights Bourginion leftovers into today's sausage casserole...