It’s happened a lot recently, that a day into any time off work I’ve started to come down with a bit of a cold. Nothing specific: just foggy throats, snotty mornings and a dazed head, like I’ve always just finished doing some physical exertion that’s made the blood either rush to or away from it. A cycle ride into work and back usually sorts me out, but right now I have the paracetamol and tartan rug out and am mainlining strong, milky tea.
Rhetoric dictates at this point that I say about the longest holiday I have ahead of me that “I’m dreading Christmas.” But I’m not: I can’t wait for it. The reason for the past two days off work is that my parents have been passing through, on their twice-yearly epic journey from near Barcelona to near Preston, via Bilbao, Pompey, Eynsham and—occasionally—Nottingham. They’ve dropped off Christmas presents and picked up Christmas presents, and now I’m all keyed up. It’s all K. can do to keep me from humming carols, although I did get away with an impromptu duet of Silver Bells in the restaurant we went to yesterday.
K. says I’m the Christmassiest person she knows. Her justification: the decorations will go up on the evening of Sunday 30 November, and the set of three Christmas CDs will start their heavy rotation on the stereo. I’ll then start hunting for online Christmas radio stations, giving up when I find they’re all massively oversubscribed or sadly defunct (it wasn’t like this in 2005.) And if I can get my act together beforehand there’ll be some sort of advent calendar project and a short-story booklet to be distributed.
May and November: my months. Beltane and Samhain, K. corrects me. Momentum exchanged, as the calendar grinds towards its solstice, and I begin to pick up speed. A transfer of chthonic power, propelling me into action just as the earth drifts off into sleep. Now if only there were a pagan explanation for my tricksy adenoids.