The problem with a house that faces north, it gets cold at the front overnight - takes half a day to warm up in what little sunlight we have at this time of the year, and then gets cold again as soon as it gets dark - about 4.30pm at the moment. Very depressing - if you have been sitting at a desk all day, like me - you will feel my pain.
Today I made the first slow-cook casserole of the year - it took about 6 hours, but was lovely - half today, half tomorrow. That's going to be how I get through the next 6 months. Last night - researching Xmas dinner options for vegetarians, I came across something called 'cheesy peas' by Jamie Oliver. Yes. Peas, and cheese. Quite vile - and almost certainly a reference to 'Cheezy Peaz' on the Fast Show - about 15 years ago, which was meant to be a joke, not a serving suggestion.
I'm seriously looking forward to Xmas on my own this year. When I was much younger I use to go to great lengths to be let alone at Xmas - house sitting in London was a favourite - as I got older, more social and more inclined to try and get into a relationship - I had to endure many really offensive and destructive periods in other people's over-heated houses after over eating a generally rubbish meal with too many mixed drinks - whilst someone or other did everything they possibly could to start a fight. I went out with someone once who's sister used to spend all year thinking of ways to ruin Christmas for her family (and the poor saps like me who got dragged into everything) - there was always a crisis - usually followed by slamming doors, tears, recriminations and accusations. A bit like being a child again and listening to my parents crack under the pressure of playing happy families - usually at about 11am and after a couple of drinks. I have a feeling that this is why people go visiting before lunch on Xmas day, it lets them keep a bit of distance and let off steam. Another thing I used to do is offer to cook - it was a great way of avoiding people, you were always left alone and nobody bothered you in case you got pissed off and left, and after dinner they would usually be too tired and grateful to pick on you. A few people have already started talking about their Xmas arrangements in forensic detail, but having cooked the dinner many times - I can assure you, it's really easy - so why do people make such a big deal about it?
Something else I want to avoid is the Xmas Cuckoo syndrome - that thing where single people are either bullied into attending dinners against their will because people feel sorry for them, or alternatively - parachuting themselves in for a free meal (with drinks and central heating thrown in) Both options disgust me. There was always this strange aspect of living in Brighton where you felt 'obliged' to not be single at Xmas (or 'boyfriend season' as many American homosexuals refer to it) I once had boxing day lunch with about 30 other people at a house in Kemptown, where at least 60% of the couples had know each other for less than a week.
As everyone I know is either married or settled, and almost all of my peers have children (mostly between the age of 4 and 7) - I'm pretty much redundant at this time of the year anyway.
This year has gone very quickly - one good thing about being so busy - I haven't had time to think about things, one bad thing - again - I haven't had time to think about things. I'll be 49 in 6 months - and although it should, it scares the hell out of me. Whilst I can in no way be called a failure - it really doesn't feel like that somehow - The best I can hope for, the way things are, is that I manage to get to my birthday and pay off my tax bill, keep up with everything else, continue to pick up work - and not loose my house. None of these are guaranteed. A couple of quiet weeks will give me the chance to catch up and try and think forward. I also have a few books to read and I will try and do some cheap, non invasive decorating - although as there are so many major things that need doing, it will only ever be temporary and superficial.