One more sleep!

Yayyy!!! It’s Christmas Eve!!! One more sleep ’til Christmas! And even better, two more weeks before I have to go back to work!!!

MrPloppy and I hosted our almost-traditional (we’ve done it three times now, which is nearly a tradition) Bookcrossing Christmas party on Friday night. We were supposed to be starting at 7.30, but last time I’d seen awhina we’d vaguely discussed her and meerkitten coming round earlier and ordering a pizza or something for dinner. I rang her at 5 to check whether that plan was still on, and she’d forgotten, but said she had some fresh fish she’d intended to cook for dinner, so if I supplied the vegetables she’d bring the fish over and we could cook it here. She arrived with Ken (soon to be Mr awhina) and his daughter in tow (they were supposed to be arriving late that night, but had come up a day early), and between us all we managed to somehow create dinner for six (well, seven, actually, because lytteltonwitch arrived while we were eating, so we dished up a plate for her too) in about half an hour – pretty good going!

Lytteltonwitch had brought an engagement present for awhina and Ken: a large box of goodies, topped by a Ken doll (to keep awhina company until Ken moves up to Christchurch permanently :-)). The two kids were eagerly peering into the box over their parents’ shoulders until awhina spotted what was underneath the doll: lytteltonwitch had put together a collection of “things newlyweds might need”, and just a glimpse of the first item (chocolate penises) before awhina quickly slammed the box shut was enough to get the girls giggling for the rest of the night and demanding to know what else was in there (we said we’d tell them when they’re 18 :-))

Then it was a quick rush to get the dishes done and everything cleared away before the gwilks and TheLetterB arrived. The gwilks brought some games along, so we played several hysterical games of “Apples to Apples” until it started to get dark, then piled into cars and headed over to Jelly Park, to decorate a tree with books. This was the second time we’ve made a Christmas booktree, so we were all well organised with plenty of Christmas-themed books (everything from biblical stories to barbecue recipes to romances with “Christmas” in the title – about 80 books in total, I think), and hung books (suitably protected from the rain in plastic bags, and decorated with red ribbons) from every accessible branch (and a few inaccessible ones, which the kids climbed the tree to get to). The tree looked fantastic when we were finished, with lights from passing cars reflected off the plastic bags as they fluttered in the wind:

(that’s lytteltonwitch posing beneath the tree, in her special Christmas dress – she wore that to work!)

The books I contributed to the tree (all with Christmassy titles or cover art) were:

Just like last year, cars were tooting and waving (well, the people inside were waving, anyway!) at us as they passed – though that might have been because of lytteltonwitch’s short skirt and the fact she kept bending down to take books out of the box!

Once all the books were hung, awhina, ken and the kids headed home, and the rest of us went back to our place for supper and a few more games. The gwilks had to get home and relieve their babysitter at midnight, but lytteltonwitch and TheLetterB stayed on, so we tuned into Radio Shropshire for the weekly Bookcrossing update. We decided we needed to ring in again and wish the host, JimOnTheRadio, a Merry Christmas, so lytteltonwitch was delegated to the task (I did it last year, but I wanted to be able to listen to it myself this time!) She rang the station, and they arranged to ring us back (so we didn’t have to wait on hold on an international toll call). A few minutes later the phone rang, and it was Jim. He interviewed lytteltonwitch for several minutes about our booktree, her short skirt, and our horrible weather, and she did very well with her first ever radio appearance, sounding much more confident than I felt when I did it last year!

A very successful party overall, I think – everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves, anyway, and I know I certainly did!

The next morning, the kitten knocked on our door, bearing a Christmas card for us (with a book voucher inside! Whitcoulls boxing day sale here we come!!!) and several of the books we’d hung from the tree. Apparently they’d just driven past the tree, and while some books were still hanging from it, some had obviously been pulled down and then just thrown on the muddy ground :-(. Luckily, most were still in their bags so protected from the mud and rain, but one (Married by Christmas, which lytteltonwitch had released) had been removed from its bag and was soaked through too badly to be saved, so I had to throw it away.

I promised the kitten I’d release the others somewhere dry, so this morning I walked up to the supermarket in Bishopdale for a few last minute things, and while I was there released the books (Small Change, Can This Be Christmas, Christmas Due Date, and The December Rose) plus another Christmas-themed book that I’d just finished reading (The Christmas Train). Hopefully they’ll fare better this time.

Currently reading: Eragon by Christopher Paolini (borrowed from the kitten – I thought I should read it before I see the movie)
Currently listening to: The Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst

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