Well, that was a hell of a good time.
Thursday we had Adam & Sandra, and a lonesome Louise over for some quiet drinks and snacks. I put together a delicious chilli con queso, which turned out to be fairly popular.
Friday we had Kate & Francois over for a quick drink and a swap of presents, Matteo is more handsome and wonderful every time we see him. And constipated.
Then on Saturday I was off for a quiet drink with a small group of old friends on Ponsonby Rd, which turned into a mighty fine meal at Canton in Kingsland (where Claire joined the fun), followed by another quiet drink at Ruby.
Saturday night was spent finishing off a painting for my mother. I’m pretty happy with it, but then I would be as it’s a self-portrait. I’ll see about getting a decent shot of it up here, I find it really hard to put up pictures of my paintings though, I feel like the photo never quite captures the painting right.
Sunday, or as some people would prefer Christmas Day was spent, well, we slept in fairly late – I didn’t get to bed until the wee small hours – then we loaded the dog and about 5 carrier bags full of presents into the car, and headed over to my mother’s place, we hung around there for a couple of hours, opening mucho presents and having a good time, then we had to kick it off over to Albania to see Claire’s mother… Who wasn’t home. She’d gone out of her boat, not bothering to tell her only daughter that she’d left. Turns out a nasty bump on the head she got the other day is having a greater effect than she might realise. (She was knocked out cold, had to go to hospital, and the accompanying bleeding on the brain has been described as like a mini-stroke.) But all was not lost, as if there’s one thing Claire has a lot of, it’s families. So we kicked it over to her step-father’s place on the other side of Albania, we arrived, with presents in tow, about an hour earlier than we’d intended, and just as they were finishing up their Christmas lunch, we were heartily pleased to be invited to join in, as this was around 2.45pm, and we hadn’t had anything to eat yet. So I loaded up on turkey and ham, and other such Christmassy goodies, and plowed in.
We handed out more presents to people, and got some more in return, and all was good. Then Ben (Claire’s youngest brother) pulled out one of his presents, and it was inspired – paddle tennis! I set it up in the backyard, and we played until the ball flew off, then I reknotted the ball and we played until – no kidding – the ball fell apart. Really. It split along one seam, and as we kept playing, the rubber construction kept cracking and breaking, in the end only the felt was holding it together. Claire’s step-father found us another tennis ball somewhere, and using someone else’s swiss army knife I retasked it to paddle tennis duties. Then the others (Claire’s younger brother and his girlfriend, and Claire’s youngest brother) kept playing while I headed off to the youngest brothers room to play Halflife 2 for a while.
About 6’ish we headed back to my mother’s place for Christmas dinner, we got there before the other’s arrived, but only just. Had a few drinks and such, then ploughed into more turkey and so forth. Took a break from eating to gift more presents (and recieve way more than our fair share in return) and then had a bit of a tiff over the pavlova – I had a pretty big first helping, and then got snarked at when I went to get some seconds, even though everyone else had already loaded up on pav and Christmas Pudding. I felt a bit put-upon, and kind of exploded in return – but aside from that it was all completely excellent.
Boxing Day, aka Monday, aka Yesterday, we headed out to swap some presents that didn’t quite work right (I got Claire a coffee tamper, and my mother got me a coffee tamper, neither coffee tamper fit our machine, and no one needs two) and to spend some certificates from last year and the year before (I guess I kind of hoard them a bit). For future reference, if anyone wants to get me gift certificates, you simply cannot do better than Booksellers Tokens. I can use them at Whitcoulls, and a variety of other places, which means that I can get books and magazines, but also DVDs and painting stuff and so on, all with the same tokens. (Oh, but all tokens will be greatfully received, regardless of where they’re from, I do know I’m a bit difficult to buy for.) That took all day, and involved all sorts of places, ending up having dinner at a really great little Japanese place I’d always walked past previously – Fuji San, in that cluster of Asian food places near the top of Queen St – it was delicious and surprisingly inexpensive.
Last night I started a new painting, and then before bed queued up a few tv shows, so I woke up this morning to…
And it was good.