I write this gingerly, my wrist recovering from a bad sprain sprain acquired a week ago today. It was a mould-covered wooden bridge that took my bicycle tyres out from underneath me, tricking me into landing palms first. A trip to the local Minor Injuries unit made sure nothing was broken: the pinned bone from some thirteen years ago apparently complicated the X-ray interpretation, but there was no new snap visible, and the swollen joint is now mostly back to normal.
The past week has also involved a thick head cold, which lifted after a couple of days, only to descend once again, yesterday. While the mists seem finally to have dispersed, I’m still a little wary of the usual Christmas drinking, lest it cause the veils to drop once more, the band to tighten round the head, and the teasels to deposit themselves in the throat. But tonight I hope to, as it were, start to warm to the social requirements of the season.
Much as we would rather not drive, the necessity of travelling over Christmas this year (made difficult most years by the rail companies arranging engineering works, then far worse this year with the floods and strikes) requires us to drive. The absence from the Christmas table of one of K’s sisters, plus her partner – both in Australia this year – impels us towards my in-laws much as the welfare of our cat – looked after at least on Christmas day by a neighbour – compels us to make a swift return. And for this year at least the infernal combustion engine seems to be the least problematic way of squaring so many circles at once.
There remains no sustainable solution to the problem of my parents living so far away in Spain – how could there be? – apart from a Skype conversation on the day itself. But we must count our blessings and the benefits of technology; wear our Santa hats for when the webcam switches on, and our best smiles, with no tears at all; toast absent friends and loved ones and a life that’s too short to spend all of it wishing for the impossible.
… Although, if you were going to make such a wish, just once in a while… Christmas is as good a season as any in which to do so. May all of yours come true next year; cross your fingers for mine.