December 23rd, 2005


Christmas - with a whimper, not a bang

I'm off for Christmas in about 8 hours.    Spending it with my family, as I have for 31 of the last 32 years, which will be nice.  My relationship with my family seems to be odd by many people's standards - in that I get on pretty well with them as people, and while I still love them for their familyness, the relationship primarily feels like a bunch of cool people I share 33 years of history with (less, obviously, with the brethren).  Of course, I'm lucky in that I have atheistic, game-playing, SF-reading, smart family.  I remember my schoolfriends not so much being flabbergasted that we used to have discussions over the evening meal, but unbelieving that anyone actually talked to their parents...

Anyway, this will be the last Christmas in my parent's current house - my Dad retires in 5 months, and my Mum in two, and after that they're getting the hell out of Kent and heading for the wilds of Devon.  It'll be strange - they've lived there for the last 22 years, since I was 11, and there are a lot of memories built into the fabric of the damn place.  I won't miss Kent itself, miserable hole that it is, but letting go of places isn't something I've ever been good at.

In addition, my grandmother died a year and a quarter ago.  She'd always been what tied my father's family together - every year they'd all arrive at my parent's house (it being the most central, and large enough for all 25-ish of us) for Christmas - and we knew that Christmas wouldn't be the same without her.  But this year one of his brothers has decided to go on a skiing holiday instead, and another is having Christmas with his wife's family, so there will only be 10 of us on the day.  Which may seem like an awful lot to some of you, but will feel a tad empty to me - especially for the last ever Christmas in that house.

Fortunately, we seem to be establishing a new tradition - hiring a house somewhere for a week in the summer and all meeting up there.  Which has actually been more fun, as it's less intensive (except for the 6 or so dogs) and nobody minds if you go and hide with a book for a few hours...

So I've packed a few books and Civ 4, made sure all the presents are in one piece, watered various plants, patted the cat (Erin's catsitting until me and Ed are back) and am about to grab a quick shower.  Then I can play Pikmin (which I've rediscovered recently mostly due to Ed's influence) before heading off to town, where I can meet Hugh/Meredith and catch a plane southwards.

I shall undoubtably post on Christmas Day to wish you all the best, but for those who will be without internet access then, or busy being with their loved ones rather than on a computer, I hope you all have a lovely time, and that you aren't driven too insane by the emotiona apocalypse that many of you go through...
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