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A Knackering but Pleasant Weekend

Christmas doth approach, and my next two weeks are going to be ridiculously busy, having to cram in seeing various people, finishing my shopping for Paul, doing the food shop and wrapping / handing over presents. I don't have time for any more socialising unless it's at the pub on Christmas Eve with the usual suspects, as Christmas is now just under two weeks away and I'm literally running out of hours. :P

Anyway, this weekend was very pleasant. As it was my uncle's birthday on Monday (6th December), my mum and David had my grandmother and uncle over for dinner. The original plan was to all go out for a meal somewhere, but it's too much hassle at this time of year, so we'll probably do that in the new year instead. The meal wasn't until Sunday, but we headed over there via Kings Heath / Birmingham to finish the last bits of shopping and got there mid-afternoon.

We went to the cheese shop (Capling and Co) in Kings Heath to get one final present and also spoiled ourselves with some Mobier (a bit like brie but oiler) and Gruyere. OM NOM GRUYERE! I tried some at the Birmingham Internal Food Festival and it was amazing, so I'm quite looking forward to that. Very expensive but definitely worth it.

On Saturday night we had a lovely bit of herb-encrusted salmon (from Aldi, I think) with very interesting home-made pastry things, basically dauphinoise potatoes, parma ham and cheese inside a pastry case. As a result I've left my mum's with a selection of recipes for the above-mentioned, plus some alternatives for our Christmas Day breakfast since I can no longer eat scrambled eggs. Ainsley Harriott came up trumps in that regard; I have a couple of options now that we're going to try out before the day in question (savoury spinach and cheese muffins, or an interesting mushroom and bacon dish).

We then sat and watched Disney's A Christmas Carol (the motion-capture one with Jim Carrey), which was actually a lot better than we were anticipating. It was very dark for a Disney film, I thought, though the silly humour cut through a lot of it. After that we finally managed to agree on the new Star Trek film, which Paul and I have both seen twice before so recommended it. Despite claiming not to know anything about Trek, David seemed to enjoy the injokes and guess who the characters were, and it turned out to be a good choice; the action sequences kept David entertained and my mum enjoyed the injokes and references and Trekness of it. I can't wait for the next one (if there is one), incidentally; I'm really, really enjoying the reboot and think it was sorely overdue after those endless TNG cast movies. If we're not getting a DS9 movie then I'll settle for the new TOS-era films instead.

After that we started watching To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar because David wanted to watch The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. Paul and I had watched it fairly recently with Lisa (she'd never seen it!!) and David had never seen To Wong Foo.... Except by that point it was already nearly midnight and he kept falling asleep, so we gave up around 1.00am and went to bed. :P

Sunday, my grandmother and uncle were meant to arrive at 10.30ish after she'd been to church. They didn't arrive until midday, but it transpired she'd had a row at church so didn't go to work. (She's 85 and still doing church services for a measly £4.00 a go, when they remember to pay her. She keeps deciding to stop indulging them but still goes back...) Also one of her dogs is very ill so she is understandably worried.

Normally these extended family affairs can be a struggle, but actually, it wasn't too bad. She's been told very firmly by David that she must not talk about my dad in my mum's house / presence, and she only had one slip-up, which David managed to defer by changing the subject. We kept Robin (my uncle) in a good mood by engaging him in things he's interested in, i.e. the Beatles and Liverpool. My grandmother did remind me AGAIN of that time my piano teacher left her dress in Rackhams after my piano exam (I seriously do not actually remember this; I remember the exam and the fact I'd lost my voice because of nerves, but I do not remember my grandfather taking me there or the piano teacher turning up afterwards having tried on a dress in Rackhams, taken it off and put her coat on over her underslip. She's reminded me of this so many times that Paul knows the story by heart, and I'm no longer certain if I really DO remember this happening or have constructed the images in my head.)

At one point she took me aside and produced a photograph out of her bag of Dominic (the half-brother), whilst making it very clear that she was only doing as instructed. She even said as much as "There you go, I've done my duty", or near enough.

Now, here's the thing. This is my father's attempt to make amends / extend an olive branch. Which is all very well. But I would rather he didn't keep on using my elderly grandmother as a go-between. Admittedly he did email me a couple of years ago and I meant to respond but got distracted by general life stuff. And then there was the whoe baptism debacle, which honestly was just bad timing, being only a month or so before my mum's wedding. Given his apparent reaction to that - somehow he managed to see the photographs, I presume the ones that my uncle / grandmother took on the day on their film camera, and they were "thrown on the floor" - I'm very glad I chose not to attend the baptism, as it would inevitably have come up. Er, excuse me? WTF is his problem? I can only assume he's jealous that my mum didn't have to buy her husband from the Phillipines...

This accounts for my constant ambivalence about trying to get back in touch. I know that he should meet Paul, but his dissinterest at the time we were first going out makes me not want to bother. I should get back in touch and try to put all the mess behind me, but Annabelle is pregnant again and I do not want to get involved. Besides which, I still haven't forgiven him for his utter cowardice a couple of years ago when we went to see my grandmother just before Christmas, when he drove to her house to put a card through the door whilst we were there and then buggered off again, without bothering to ring the bell or anything. She'd told him we were coming, obviously; he lives about five minutes away. Until Robin came back and found the card on the doormat, we were actually having a fairly pleasant evening, but after that I just wanted to go home.

Aaaanyway, that was the only small dampener on the day. After they'd gone we all started in with the wine, set up the new Wii and spent the next four hours beating each other up in a variety of ways. The general consensus was that the archery was the best four-player game because at least we didn't get too competitive or violent. My mum and I had at it with the swordplay game (she was imagining her awful acting manager and venting frustration, it was terrifying). I beat all three of them at it though, with dirty tactics (as soon as they hit 'OK' I would started whacking them - at one point I knocked David out in three strikes). Paul and I played table tennis and were quite equally matched for the last game but I managed to clinch it. I also really like the basketball game. :) (I should also mention that I suck at bowling with the Wiimotion installed. Boo. Also the boxing is really difficult!)

I WANT A WII! I said this last Christmas after we went over to Jen and Dave's and I was awesome at it, but it holds true. David got theirs on a phone contract so I think we'll be going that way as Paul wants to change his phone and contract anyway. This morning my right shoulder and arm are really aching, though. So at least it's good exercise. :D Also it effectively cut through my drunkenness at the time so I was relatively sober by the time we'd finished.

The only downside was that on Sunday morning I woke up with a bit of migraine. Luckily I had some Migraleve in my purse that I'd taken to work a couple of weeks back just in case, and that killed it off for the majority of the day... at least until all the aggressive Wii-playing, which brought it back again. By the time I got home on Sunday I felt like death warmed up (what I call a "liquid headache" [it feels like my brain is full of liquid, and the liquid is MADE OF PAIN] coupled with nausea) so took another couple of Migraleve and died quietly on the sofa for a bit until they kicked in. I have no idea what's in those things, but they bloody work so I shan't question it. I just wish I could get hold of a packet of just the pink take-at-the-first-sign-of-migraine tablets, as I'm stocking up on the accompanying yellow take-these-if-it-doesn't-improve tablets because I never need to take them...

We got a taxi home so because we had so many bags, and the general feeling was that we should do this sort of thing more often - all get together for a meal and films and Wii. Lisa also wants a repeat of my birthday with all six of us (me and Paul, Lisa, Paul's mum and my mum and David) because she had such a nice time, as did we all. I have promised to cook Japanese / wagamama for his birthday so we'll try and do it then, though I think I'll just ask what people want in advance otherwise it'll be impossible...

Okay, well, this entry was a result of the fact that this morning Winscribe was unresponsive. They were doing work on the server on Sunday and obviously hadn't got it up and running again by the time people were back in work today... In which case, I think this is more than long enough, so I shall sign off.

I'm hoping to get Christmas cards and presents in the post this week, so really need to start wrapping things soon...

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T'eyla Minh
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Last read: The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Victor Hugo; Glamorama, Brett Easton Ellis; The Other Boleyn Girl, Philippa Gregory (amongst others).

Currently reading: Les Miserables, Victor Hugo; The World According to Garp, John Irving.

Last watched: Six Feet Under, season 3; Glee, season 3.

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