So, yeah. I never did finish the other entry I started, though it was mostly just moaning about Primark sizing fail, and a small work annoyance which was going to regurgitate all the stuff I already rant about at great length.
I will be temporarily reverting to a Christmassy layout to get myself in the mood. Eni, I will email you later as I want some (minor!) tweaks to the SB!layout and am still in no mindset to learn S2. :P
Yesterday Paul and I did the majority of our Christmas shopping. I had the whole day off, Paul had booked the afternoon. I got up around 9.30 and was preparing breakfast by 10.00, at which point I looked out of the kitchen window (the only one not perpetually obscured by curtains at this time of year) and swore at the weather. Actually, the snow wouldn't have been quite so bad, except it was freezing yesterday as well.
Anyway, I had some breakfast and headed off, starting at the butcher to order the turkey. Another 14lb bird ordered for collection on 23rd December. I do likes me turkey. :D (They were also selling three sea bass for a fiver, which is excellent value. If they still have any left this weekend I may go back and get some, as apparently they're normally £4-£5 each.)
Then I bus-hopped to Moseley to get family cards from Pottery + Pieces. As I came out of the shop I heard the church chiming the hour but forgot to count. Guessing it was about 11.00am, I ferretted through my bag to look for my phone, only to discover I'd left it at home. (Ordinarily I wouldn't have cared, but I was meant to ring Paul at lunch to arrange somewhere to meet up, and obviously I don't learn people's numbers any more.)
So I went alll the way back to Kings Heath and thus home to get the phone. It wasn't in the kitchen where I thought I'd left it (from doing Twitter updates earlier that morning), so I briefly panicked, then discovered I'd put it in my work bag instead of the smaller bag I had with me. I also put on more comfortable trainers, which unfortunately had no grip at all, so when I left again I was sliding down the pavement... I hate British snow; it settles then freezes and becomes treacherous.
Anyway, I went back to Moseley and changed there to get the 1 into town, as it stops near the Town Hall and thus the German Market. Obviously, I got there in time for the lunchtime rush, which probably wouldn't have been quite so bad except there were bloody kids everywhere, presumably on school trips. I did the rounds of the market (unsurprisingly it's the same as last and every year), and managed to get one present in Shared Earth before giving up at 12.30pm and ringing Paul so he could rescue me.
We met outside Snow Hill Station and went to the Briar so I could have some lunch, before braving the crowds once again. With a second opinion in tow, things were much more successful; we got several presents at the German Market and some more in Shared Earth, then started the run of the usual shops. A couple more gifts in Muji (they are overpriced but brilliant for quirky gifts) and The Works, a ridiculous amount of books from Waterstones (we spent just over £100 in there!), and some bits from Past Times and the Webbs Christmas Shop in Pavillions (where Disney Store used to be).
As a result I think we're about 95% done in terms of gifts. I bought cards, wrapping paper and tags some time ago so that's all sorted, and there's just a couple more items to get for friends / family, once we've inputted everything into a spreadsheet and worked out any deficits (trying to spend equal amounts on people and work out the overall cost, though most of it went on the credit card). I also need to get the usual batch of stuff for Paul and allocate it accordingly for Christmas / birthday (one of the latter is on order from Amazon already), which I need to try and get done next week if possible so I can let him know his own cost limit for me. ;)
The tree is going up this weekend (photographs will follow), and we're visiting Jade and her boyfriend in their new flat tomorrow, with Drew's latest play ("James and the Giant Peach") on Saturday afternoon. Apart from the two Messiah concerts on 10th and 14th December respectively, the diary is mostly clear to fit people in, though I anticipate that situation will change shortly...
So far, then, so good. I'm getting slightly better, year on year, at not getting horrendously stressed about Christmas, having learnt from previous experience that Having A Plan is better than not. It basically means I have be uber-organised and maintain energy levels for all the various aspects, but the end result - two or three days of relaxation and the end result of the hard work - definitely pays off. And this year I get the whole week off, so at least I get a proper break out of it, too.
Tonight's to-do list:-
- Tidy up, do washing up, hoover carpets in living room, hall and landing;
- Copy some CDs;
- Start making my little Christmas Boxes for work (need to be done by 17th December);
- Hopefully not freeze.
We thought the gas fire had stopped working on Tuesday, but it seemed fine last night. IT'S REALLY FRICKIN' COLD NOW, and even with the new roof the house is bloody freezing. Britain does not have discernible seasons any more, just Frozen or Heatwave. I was muchly amused last night by the BBC newsman's disgruntled and resigned tone of voice when talking about the snow and the fact that transport systems failed to cope again. All those politicians denying climate change need to stop living in a fantasy world and look at our current weather patterns over the past few years. If that's not an indication of climate change, I don't know what is.
One day, the Earth will fight back against all the abuse; of this I am certain. At which point, humanity will merely find another planet to populate and systematically destroy, assuming Mother Nature doesn't organise a mass cull before then. :P
Anyway, on that note, I shall sign this one off.