Thursday, January 04, 2018

On the first day of Christmas...

Doesn't Christmas pass quickly? Always? Over a week has gone now, and there's still mince pies to be eaten, and we've not quite finished the stock from the turkey - Grace makes some superb soups from meat and bone stock. But don't the decorations look sad now? Not tatty and worn out, but almost out of place. Some folk near us have thrown their Christmas tree out! Ours will stay though, and all the rest of the decorations, until twelfth night, as per tradition. No drummers drumming, however.

Christmas was great. Friend Michelle arrived early in the afternoon of Christmas Eve. On Christmas morning we all seven went to church before enjoying a fine feast together, Grace and Naomi our chefs in residence. We waited between courses to allow our stomachs to find room for the several desserts that were almost ready, and only then did we pull the crackers.

Now these were not ordinary crackers. Ohhh no! These were Robin Reed Symphony Crackers. They had hats (that fit!), as normal, and awful jokes that make you laugh anyway. But they had something else rather different.
It's a set of eight whistles, each tuned to one note of an octave, with sheet music and a baton for the conductor. A number gets stuck to the end of each whistle, and everyone takes one. There were only seven of us, so Jess had two. The printed music isn't in standard notation, but rather a string of numbers from 1 to 8. The conductor has the job of pointing to each whistler as and when their number comes in the sequence. You're not actually doing this, and you're probably not rather tipsy either, so it may not sound like much fun to you, but it was funny. Very funny. The comic effect of the whole shambolic affair was further enhanced by the fact that some of the whistles were... well, not to put too fine a point on it - a bit out of tune. And it just may be that the person who committed the sixteen tunes into sequences of numbers wasn't actually entirely sure of all of the tunes, resulting in the canniest of the "musicians" anticipating their moments, but getting it wrong because the score disagreed with them. It was hilarious. Jess made a short video of it, and I'll post that as soon as I've deemed it fit for public consumption. If I can.

Desserts over and washing-up in the dishwasher, we all sat around the Christmas tree and opened gifts. No gold, frankincense or myrrh (though I'm told that the last two have numerous uses as essential oils, so I wouldn't have been surprised to see them amongst the presents), but everyone was delighted with it all.

Christmas Day isn't complete without silly games, and we played several. And they don't get sillier than Spoons.
"Spoons, also known as Pig or Tongue, is a fast-paced game of matching and occasional bluffing. It is played with an ordinary pack of playing cards and several ordinary kitchen spoons or other objects.
Spoons is played in multiple rounds, and each player's objective is to grab a spoon. No spoon may be grabbed until one player has collected a four of a kind, but once the first player to get a four of a kind has grabbed a spoon, all players may immediately reach out to attempt to grab a spoon. No player may grab more than one spoon at a time. As in the game musical chairs, there is always one fewer spoon than there are players, so one player will always be left without a spoon. Depending on the variety of game being played, that player either loses the game and is eliminated, or continues playing but loses a point. When two players are left and one person gets four of a kind, it doesn't matter who gets the spoon. At that point, whoever gets it the fastest wins." (Wikipedia)
So it's easy to play, even when you're full of dinner and fuelled by post-present excitement and alcohol, and it's very addictive. We call the game Spoons, but we use cotton-wool balls. Imagine the damage that can be done by seven people lunging at the table and making a grab for something as hard and effortlessly propellable as a spoon! Six of them!

Numbers were swelled in the early evening by the arrival of six of Eddie's family, games continued, chins were wagged and a large tea was demolished.

Then bed. We were zonked! It hadn't been a white Christmas as weather forecasters had suggested might happen (some weeks ago!), but it had been a really good day. Thank God for Christmas!

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