It's not quite 7.30am on a Sunday and here I am. Despite the early hour, I have already ticked off one thing from my 'list of things that never get done'. I have tidied out the tupperware cupboard. It was reaching for the kids' milk cups and having an avalanche of plastic land on my feet that I decided that the time had come. And so I now have lovely neat little rows of plastic bowls reunited at last with their long lost lids. The plates are stacked nicely. The cups all have their appropriate component parts (they all come with straws or sucky bits or something half-chewed and annoying.) I estimate that this little haven of perfection will last until 8am when the boys decide they want breakfast and go get their bowls, at which point it shall return to its previous shambolic state. I should take a photo of it just so that I can console myself on dark mornings.
I am also about to wrap up the last of the Christmas presents destined for foreign shores, before heading out on my morning march in the freezing cold air. I had hoped to be stomping through a fresh blanket of snow. Instead it looks like I'll be slipping on a paltry sprinkling of snow that's frozen over the ground. I've got two local mums who've agreed in principle to come marching with me. They might change their minds when I bang on their doors at 8.30am with a gust of icy cold air hitting their ankles. I managed to go for my stomp yesterday morning but it wasn't restful. I decided to trespass on private land again and quite quickly discovered two landrovers parked next to the woods. There's only one reason that people in landrovers would be up that early in the morning - shooting. Not even two minutes walk later a rather loud bang followed by many strident squawks from the woods next to me encouraged me to about turn lest they mistake me for a rather large blue raincoat clad pheasant.
I can feel in my bones that today is going to be one of those satisfying days in which I get a lot done. I like these kind of days. Yesterday was also a picture of efficiency in our household. I braved the madding crowds to buy the rest of my Christmas presents. Apparently Christmas is coming early this year because everyone and their aging relatives, noisy children and dogs were at the shops. It was the Christmas chaos but without any of the festive cheer. So people were just downright grumpy, barging their way through with heavily burdened trolleys, grabbing for things and pushing into queues (yes, even here in England there was queue jumping).
I managed to get most things but failed to find something for my husband, The World's Most Difficult Man To Buy For. I think that my gift to him should be for me to buy something for myself that will make me happy so that he gets to live with a less scowly wife. I fear he won't agree with my plan. I saw many, many things I would like. Most of them were shiny. But I think I might be getting more tupperware. Or new pots. Woohoo. I guess at least pots can be shiny if you hold them at a certain angle to the kitchen lights.
On the subject of Christmas, I have a gripe. (There's a surprise). I've been flicking through the gazillion women's magazines that I have lying around (care of my job, not my spare time or a desire to flagellate myself for not being the perfect fashionista according to said mags). All of the December issues - without fail - tell you how to glam up for the festive season. There are tips on how to do your makeup/hair in a nano-second while feeding children fish fingers. There are all sorts on tips on how to squeeze yourself into little black numbers and other articles on how to wear the same dress three different ways for all the various parties you'll be going to.
And that's my gripe. Am I just Norman No Mates who doesn't get invited to festive parties or is this whole mega party season just a fabrication of the deluded editors? Sure you could have an office party. At a push you could have two office parties - one for you and one for your partner. But I'm willing to bet that a good number of mums don't work and therefore have no office party. OR they work like I do and have an office party for one in which we toot a party blower, wear a pointy hat and don our pjs to settle in with a tub of ice cream to watch the X-factor. I'm also willing to bet that many companies don't invite partners to their Xmas parties (cost cutting in the credit crunch and all that). And even if you do get to go to a Christmas party, you'll be so busy trying to get the kids fed and into bed that your look will be far more 'au-natural-cum-pulled-through-a-bush-backwards' than glamour puss anyway.
The alternative I guess is to be reliant on friends to throw glamorous Christmas parties that you get invited to. We have quite a few friends. I know of no-one throwing a Christmas party. Well, except our elderly neighbours but given they're the ones who want us to cut our hedge down, I don't think we'll be making it onto the guest list this year. How disappointing. Everyone is too busy attending school nativity plays, pre-school parties, carol services and simply surviving to have time to throw Christmas parties even remotely approaching something glamorous.
By the same notion, who really has time to stencil their own tablecloths, create home-made Christmas decorations from pipecleaners and pine cones and snowy white pom pom garlands? I'm all for having festive decorations and a well laid table, but these magazines seem to suggest that we should have started our cottage industry of Christmas crafts last January. And the whole notion of getting dressed up for Christmas dinner. Seriously, do people really wear their Jimmy Choos and YSL frocks while shoving a turkey baster up the poor dead fowl's arse? I don't think so.
So prove me wrong. Tell me about your glamorous parties that you'll be practising your eye shadow application for. Send me pics of your home-made holly wreaths. Convince me of the merits of looking fabulous while slaving over a hot stove. Go on. Make me weep with jealousy.