Merry Christmas.

Merry Christmas everyone. I hope you’ve had a good day, whatever a ‘good day’ looks like in your house.

Now, I’ve said before that Freddie having Down’s Syndrome hasn’t made a great deal of difference to our day-to-day lives so far, and as far as Christmas is concerned it’s made no appreciable difference at all. We do, however, have one special rule at the Christmas dinner table (apart from the pre-existing one about not turning up two hours late with a face like a smacked arse saying ‘you needn’t have bothered, a cheese sandwich would’ve done me’), and that is that everyone has to pull their cracker with Freddie. He loves everything about crackers – the bang, the little knick-knacks inside, and best of all – the truly awful jokes!

Jolly old Santa decided it was high time I was forgiven for dropping my phone in the sea the summer before last, and delivered me an upgraded model (and not being your average parcel delivery service, didn’t lob it over the back gate or leave it in a puddle by the front door). So I no longer have to be sat at my desk to annoy you all with rainbows and unicorns – I can do it from the sofa, the loo, or the back of a bus, because this one will run the WordPress app.

The phone was a nice surprise. I also had a not-very-nice surprise, because life is not perfect, but sometimes has a sort of perverse symmetry about it. I had been so looking forward to cooking Christmas dinner in the double oven at what Freddie still calls the new house. But on Saturday evening the large fan oven on the bottom gave up the ghost, leaving me with only the tiny top oven. Just as I was in the middle of baking a ham and mince pies, shortbread biscuits and trifle sponges for a pre-Christmas get-together. And with three joints of meat, pigs in blankets, stuffing roast potatoes and parsnips to cook for dinner on Christmas Day.

What’s a girl to do?

The only thing I could do was take everything out of the freezer a day early, and cook all the meat in relays on Christmas Eve, watching whatever films were on the ‘council’ telly in the kitchen. Having promised the kids duck and pancakes for tea I also had to shoehorn a whole duck in, too. Luckily our unheated laundry room makes an excellent cold-store, so much so that we’re thinking of leaving it unheated. But by Christmas morning the meat was cold enough to slice beautifully, and all that was left to cook was the potatoes and trimmings. I was able to take my time over the presents, and even had time to set up my new phone before I had to venture into the kitchen.

Going with the flow, rolling with the punches, made everything so much less stressful. And, ultimately, everything worked out for the best.

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