The weekend pre-Christmas Eve really made a difference this year. Last year, despite being off on Christmas Eve for the first time in years, I was still knackered because it was only one day.
On Saturday we went to the butcher to pick up our various meats - the turkey, the shin of beef for Paul's birthday pie, plus the chipolatas and bacon for pigs-in-blankets. We'd already dropped a £20 deposit back when we ordered everything, and there was only an extra £30 to pay on top of that - the turkey was about £25 (just under 8lb, more than enough for two) and the shin of beef was £17. That amounted to more than twice the weight I need for the pie, so I've weighed the 1kg off that (might not even need all of that either, I might halve it depending on the size of my pie dish) and then apportioned it into 500g bags for future stews/pies.
Oh, the pie in question is Jamie Oliver's "Royal Wedding" pie, from Jamie's Great Britain - I saw him make it on the programme and that, along with the sour cherry bakewell and Empire Chicken - was the reason I wanted the book. You slow-cook the beef shin with the bone and lots of other lovely things like pearl barley. It looks AMAZING.
Paul was a pain in the arse for most of Saturday because he'd gone out and got drunk two nights in a row, and on Saturday morning woke up still half-drunk. We were supposed to get lots of housework done and finish wrapping all the presents, but he went back to bed around 12.00pm so that put paid to that. We managed to wrap the stuff for my mum and David (all of which was food - cheese, biscuits and truffles) before they picked us up for dinner at theirs.
We had Southern-fried chicken wings and BBQ ribs (courtesy of M&S) with potato wedges and nachos. Very nice. :) We then watched Nativity! until late in the evening before calling it a night and going home.
On Sunday we managed to do a bit more housework - cleaning the kitchen, mostly; I need to get in the habit of cleaning the floor more regularly, but the lino is rucked up in places so it's a pain - and wrapped the remainder of the presents for friends and family before heading off to Paul's mum's for the traditional family meet-up. Most amusing part of the night was Patrick (now aged 17) knocking back glass after glass of cider until he started giggling and falling over. Bloody hell, Patrick, you were nine when I first met you. Where does the time go?
Christmas Eve, Paul was at work, but thankfully I'd managed to get the day off. I changed the bed, tidied the bedroom (but didn't have the energy to do any vaccuuming - that can wait til next week) and put another load of washing in. Then I sat and watched the week's catch-up of EastEnders before heading out to the pub to meet Lloyd et al.
Denise and Lloyd bought us the best present ever - a gift voucher for zorbing. If you don't know what zorbing is, Google it. I AM EXCITE. Paul is less excite, but he's going to try it anyway. Odds are he will either love it, or throw up.
As ever, the Day in question was spent eating copious amounts of food, opening presents and not leaving the house. :) We had eggs benedict for breakfast, then opened pressies. Mostly booze and DVD's as usual, a couple of CD's, and another gift voucher off Darren and Andrea for a vineyard tour (presumably including wine-tasting). Paul got me two PS3 games (Little Big Planet 1 and 2), the DVD movie sequel to Dead Like Me, and a miniature fish-eye camera plus film. :D Eni sent me a knitted Phantom (cutest.thing.ever) and my mum and David got us some posh bottled ales/ciders, some chocolate, and a £75 Ikea giftcard - which is just as well because pretty soon we're going to need another DVD rack. :D The rest comprised some more recipe books (I think I need to concede to having too many now...) and the usual clothing and chocolate. Also, Lisa bought me Mary Berry's Baking Bible, which was really intuitively brilliant of her, considering I've never actually mentioned wanting it. :D
Paul cooked dinner this year (very nice), and in the evening I had a go at Little Big Planet, which is more addictive than it should be but quite fun.
For Boxing Day breakfast (or brunch really, seeing as it was about midday), we had a proper cream tea with clotted cream, strawberry jam and home-made scones - which didn't rise very well but were nomalicious nonetheless. More LBP in the absence of any decent Christmas telly - it really has been naff this year - and a cheese feast for dinner. So basically, our entire food intake on Boxing Day comprised fat and carbs.
Back at work Thursday, but I have next week off. My mission
I managed to post a photograph of our cream tea (because I'd laid everything out all pretty on the table) but have so far failed to take pictures of anything else. I think I'll charge the camera up and start doing so - next year I want to start taking more photographs again. I really need to get a new camera but I need to justify to myself that I take enough pictures to warrant a big SLR-type thing rather than another point-and-shoot...
Oh yes. Perhaps more important than any of this is the update on the new job situation. I'm sure most people have heard via Facebook already, but in any case: I had the interview on 17th December. I woke up with a headache, of course. I already know my migraines are stress-related, so it wasn't that surprising. I've been wibbling quite a lot over the test and interview, but it's been a very different sort of wibbling to any of the Legal jobs I've gone for - less "OMG BIG SCARY CHANGE" and more "OMG POTENTIALLY IMPORTANT CHANGE". I'm taking being nervous about the interview - rather than the life-changing upheaval - as a very good sign that I made the right decision in applying. Not that I had any doubt; once that decision was made it was very satisfying, not umming-and-erring like I normally would.
So yes, I had a headache. I cannot remember a single thing about the interview or even really what I said, except that they didn't ask the Equal Opportunities question and that's my best answer. :P I couldn't tell if it had gone well or horrendously or averagely, not that one ever really can, mostly because as soon as I'd left the building and started walking towards the Squeg to meet Paul, my head started pounding like a thousand elephants were doing Riverdance in my brain.
I was planning on going back into work. We went for lunch at the newly-opened Boston Tea Party on Corporation Street, as it's midway to my office (Paul had the day off to finish the Christmas shopping anyway), but by that point the migraine was making me nauseous as well, so I phoned in sick. I subsequently spent the day on the sofa watching EastEnders, and was well and truly monged on Migraleve by the time they rang me up about the job.
Long story short, I got it. :) It took me a while to process that because of the migraine, but when it finally clicked I was incredibly relieved and pleased. We actually went to see The Hobbit on the evening up at Giant Screen but I can barely remember anything about that either, except that it was quite pretty.
It's still conditional, as they need to do references and CRB / medical checks, so I haven't handed in my notice as yet. The reference request came in on Friday (21st December), which David bizarrely forwarded on to me to fill out myself (apparently this is quite common in Legal Services), so I threw something together. I don't think he had time to look at it, though, and as he's now on leave until 7th January I suspect I shan't be handing in my notice until mid-January. In which case, my estimate of mid-February for potentially starting really wasn't far off the mark. ;)
I'll fill out that Year in Review meme this weekend (well, it's traditional now) but 2012 has been a very strange year, all told - so many ups and downs I lost count. Work has been rubbish and soul-destroying on several occasions, but there have been so many amazing, wonderful things to counteract it. (I already suspect the meme may be too constraining to summarise the year.) I dunno, maybe when the eyes of the world are staring at your country for so much of the year (the Jubilee, the Olympics and Paralympics), it makes you think about your own contribution and the changes you need to make.
2013 is going to be better. Or at the very least, it feels like it might be the start of something. BRING IT, BIYATCH.
If I don't manage to update before January: HAPPY NEW YEAR, EVERYONE!