Well the marvelous news is that he was on best behavior. The whole day passed with no over the top shouting, no threatening to strangle anybody because they put a log on the fire using the wrong lifting method, no tirades over cutlery. Nothing - nadda. Just a whole lotta love in the air and a very good meal indeed.
I almost thought he'd turned over a new leaf but then it was Boxing Day.....
We were all invited to a drinks party at some friends of theirs and so off we trotted. Well me and mine walked - he went in the car.
The drinks party passed reasonably well (at one point he dragged my husband backwards by the neck of his jumper for 'standing in the wrong place' which had the potential to turn 'interesting' but luckily my husband is a mellow man.....). There were various other slightly disturbing scenes including a cocker spaniel on the table licking a game pie as someone carved it and a man below the age of 35 in mustard coloured cords and braces - but all in all it was 'fine' and the kids were suprisingly well behaved ( although I do confess to feeding them both trifle which I hadn't tasted - I LOATHE trifle, any food involving soaked foam should be banned - anyway it turned out the trifle contained something like 3 bottles of sherry and a slug of port so maybe that the secret?).
The afternoon wore on and my dad got to the point where he suddenly wanted to go home (he feels safest at home - he has complete control of the cutlery for a start) and, like a Roman Emperor moving his army, everyone had to pack up and go NOW.
I pointed out that I was just starting on a cup of tea (yeah - how rock and roll am I?) and as we were walking we would follow on in 20 minutes or so.
Ohhhh that set him off. Red rag to a bull.
He has a 'thing' about people walking once dusk nears. He is convinced they will (even if totally sober, very alert and very sensible) stray into the path of a passing boy racer and that will be that.
'IT WILL BE DARK IN HALF AN HOUR' he bellowed'.
'HALF AN HOUR!!! YOU HAVE 10 MINUTES TO FINISH THAT CUP OF TEA AND LEAVE! UNDERSTAND!?'.
Yeah - I understand. If we don't leave within 10 minutes you will come back and find us with a fistful of Asda bags and make us wear them home.
I kid you not.
One of the most excruciating moments of my adolescence was when a group of friends came to stay at my house so that we could attend a local beer festival.
Just as we were about to leave my dad appeared in the driveway informing us that if we set foot outside the gate without some kind of Hi-Vis gear on we would all be roadkill. He now owns a fine set of reflective clothing that wouldn't look out of place landing planes at Stanstead but this was in the era before that arrived so - having scared us all half to death - he went back into the house and emerged with.....
....a selection of Asda bags.
He then informed a gaggle of teenage girls, all done up to the nines and wearing their finest frocks (a Beer Festival was about as exotic as it got in our local vicinity) that they would make a hole in the bottom of the bags and wear them like tabards over their heads because the white plastic would 'save our lives - and ensure drivers had several seconds less thinking time before they braked'.
I''m not sure if that's totally true - I would think that seeing a selection of teenage girls dressed in supermarket plastic bags and high heels may well slow the braking of some drivers but hey, I doubt anyone's run trials.
I need not say anymore. I never lived it down. Social suicide in one easy fix.
God knows what he'd do now in the days of 'Bags for Life' - I don't think a hessian weave number with ladybirds on from Tesco has quite the same reflective powers.
Anyway (I'll get back to Boxing Day now) his agitation at the imminence of dusk was a sign that his mood was on the turn and as we arrived home, sure enough, he was throwing a tantrum because he'd asked for a cup of tea 10 minutes earlier and it hadn't arrived proving his theory that he's the least important person in the house and now EVERYTHING WAS RUINED AND IT WAS TOO LATE.
At this point we left. Fast. And thus preserved our memories of a very lovely Christmas.
I hope you all had a good one - nice and chilled out and nobody was forced to go out wearing an Asda bag......