What else? Oh, Christmas. Well, Aunt Charlotte must have insisted Toby spend it with her. So much for Veronica's Christmas pudding wish - or mine, come to that. I'm pretty sure Simon spent Christmas at Aunt Charlotte's, too. As for us, we tried to put on a cheerful front for Henry's sake, but she was too miserable to appreciate it. To be honest, even I felt my festive spirits evaporate when I went to look for the box of decorations and found they'd been stored directly under a leaky part of the nursery ceiling. Toby's cardboard angels, my tissue-paper snowflakes, a dozen years worth of paper chains - all reduced to a sodden gray pulp. Even the gold-painted pine-cones seemed to have sprouted mould. And it was raining too hard to contemplate gathering any flowers or greenery outside, not that there's much about at this time of year anyway.
In the end, I followed the example of an arty governess we had a few years ago and set up a tall twisted bit of driftwood in the kitchen, with shells strung from the branches on pieces of leftover knitting wool. Henry contributed an angel she'd carved from a cuttlefish shell. And Veronica and Rebecca managed to cook Christmas dinner together without any major catastrophes. We had roast chicken stuffed with herbs, glazed ham and all the vegetables Henry could salvage from the waterlogged garden. The pudding was... well, it had a very interesting texture. Henry dropped her slice on the floor and it bounced. I think we boiled it too long. But Julia and the rest of the Stanley-Rosses had very kindly sent us a hamper stuffed full of mince pies and nuts and preserved fruit, so we had that instead. Afterwards Rebecca made egg-nog and I read A Christmas Carol aloud by the stove, while Veronica fixed the leaky tap over the sink and Henry mended a rip in her best fishing set. Uncle John stayed in his room throughout, of course, but the door was ajar, so it was almost as though he was there, too. So it wasn't such a terrible Christmas, after all.
Saturday, December 22, 2012
Christmas Quotes: A Montmaray Christmas
Today's quote comes from pages 140-141 of A Brief History of Montmaray and is a quote from the main character's diary.