Margaret Henderson Smith Margaret Henderson Smith
Margaret Henderson Smith
‘Down with a bump!’

It’s The Big Freeze 2010, so no school for rosy apples today. What a start to the new year for the kids! What a start to the new year for the rest of us slipping and sliding our way to wherever.

I’m watching them now. I’m looking out of the window. Just a few brave souls with their shopping bags. Oops! She’s just auditioned for “Dancing on Ice”. Nearly went flying! I’m trying not to giggle. Well it’s not very funny slipping over, is it? I must add that one to my list of New Year resolutions. I’m not doing very well. Not very well at all! Silver Mercedes? New Year resolutions? As you know I broke that one before we even hit the new year! But that’s not all! Last night I talked my better-half into three Belgian chocolates. Three Belgian chocolates just to make me feel better! It’s comfort treats for me just now. Especially just now! But not only that I also persuaded him to have three chocolate covered shortbreads. Huge big circles of biscuits these! Chocolate on the outside. Chocolate chips on the inside. Again, just to make me feel better! To make me feel better because I’d already had mine! I made him eat them against his will. He’s munching away reading the calorie content on the back of the box. And so he should! I’ve become a poor second to Nigel Slater’s Christmas pudding, lately! He can’t get enough of it! He’s saying it’s beautiful and out of this world. He’s saying it really does it for him! He’s sent me down with a bump! From sky-high to the ground on my metaphorical see-saw! I’m thinking as I’m looking out at the snow.

‘Surely we burn off more calories in the cold?’ I’m saying.

‘We’ve got the central heating on!’ he reminds me. ‘We’re not exactly running around out there, are we?’

I have to agree. All Christmas we’ve been marching the scales around trying to get them to weigh less. All Christmas they’ve been on the up!

They’re on the up and I’m on the down! Oh yes! Have I come down to earth with a bump! Party? Brilliant! Brilliant family party! Not quite all the rellies. Brave rellies were off to their rellies. Well-to-do rellies were back home from spending Christmas with littlest apple and his mummy and daddy. Littlest apple and his mummy and daddy together with the Nigel Slater Christmas pudding however, were up with us for the party. The family party!

And that’s just what it was, apart from one or two cherished friends. Well that’s what comes of dithering about! That’s what comes of me subconsciously trying to sabotage the book launch before it ever had a chance! There’s definitely a way to do that and I’ve most certainly found it!

Just choose a day like New Year’s Day when everyone’s bound to be involved with rellies. If they haven’t seen them over Christmas then more likely than not it’s going to be New Year! The next thing to do is to make the invitations so vague that people are hardly sure if they’re being invited or not! Just tell them to come if they feel like it and certainly tell them they mustn’t bother phoning. And the invites you send to the single blokes, just don’t mention them bringing a partner. After all, why would you want them to do that? It’s your party! This is the best chance you’re going to get to have them all to yourself. Well, until the next book launch! And we’ve just seen what happens to those! Yes just do all of that. Yes! Do all of that and certainly have it on New Year’s Day when party-minded people could well be hung-over from the night before! Even my cardboard celebrity couldn’t make it! Didn’t my better-half just tidy him away and suddenly couldn’t remember where!

Oh, it’s not the first time I’ve got it wrong! So very wrong! Well before The Big 40 this! So no excuse! Saturday evening. Weather like this. Cold! Haven’t been out. We’re having one of those lazy days. I haven’t even tidied up. Evening! My better-half ventures forth for fish and chips. We’ve just finished them by the fire. Plates on the floor. The doorbell rings. I jump up. I’m gathering the plates and straightening my jumper and smoothing my hair. I’m in the kitchen. Voices! My better-half’s letting people in. I panic! He’s calling me. I’m greeting dear friends. They’re all dressed up with a bottle of wine. They’re probably hungry and all dressed up with a bottle of wine. Ours is empty. We’re repleat! We both look a mess! My better-half looks blank. I’m feeling terrible!

‘Have we got the wrong night?’ They’re asking.

I’d completely forgotten. I vaguely remember inviting them for dinner. Inviting them for dinner some time ago. I’m apologising profusely. I’m suggesting a takeaway. We want them to stay. They want to go. My better-half closes the door. I’m getting told off! We invite them again. Nothing vague this time! They come and we all laugh. Such good friends deserve better!

How could I have not learnt a lesson? Learnt a lesson on not what to do. Not what to do when having a party. Good friends might have turned up if I’d taken a lesson from that!

Back to today and I’m hiding the chocolates. I’m hiding all the goodies meant to delight guests. Guests that didn’t turn up to the party. Didn’t turn up because of me! No! All these comfort treats are going in the cupboard in the utility. Minus ten out there last night! Whose going to freeze their way outside there to end up with a set of undesirable love-handles? Not me!

I’ve put them away and I’m opening the door to the snow-covered garden. I’m looking at the decking running across the back of the house. It’s covered in a thin layer of snow. I tap it with my toe. It’s freezing! It’s freezing but I want to go out. I want to be one with the crystal blue sky. I want to see, but not through glass, the snow falling from the bare black branches, shaken as the birds gather in a squabbling cluster before taking off. I want to watch them flying away and landing again in the garden. I want to see their tiny footprints in the snow. My better-half’s thrown them some nuts. But first, just one last chocolate! Calories for comfort! Calories for cold! Only one! Golly gosh! This one’s oozing raspberry liqueur through creamy milk chocolate. I’m having such a sensual experience. I’m stepping out. I’m lost to this chocolate. I’m skidding! I’m waving my arms. I’m sliding across the icy deck. I’m slipping and sliding! Oops! My feet have gone from under. I’m having such a heady experience! I’m down! Golly gosh I feel just like Harriet! My better-half’s inside opening the patio doors, laughing.

‘It’s not nice to laugh at people going over on ice!’ I’m telling him.

He’s helping me up. I’m thinking! I’m thinking today’s resolution! I’ll remember to keep it!  Along with the rest! Now I’ve been down with a bump!


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  1. Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed browsing your blog posts. In any case I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write again soon!

    Comment by mikerosss — May 21, 2011 @ 10:48 pm

  2. Many thanks for your kind comments. I’m delighted you’ve enjoyed browsing the posts and yes, I’ll be posting again shortly.
    Best regards,

    Comment by margaret — May 24, 2011 @ 8:15 am

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