DERNIER MOT - CHRISTMAS SHOPPING
The Senior Partner has put his foot down. "I'm serious," he said. "It's got to stop. We moved here to simplify life, not to ride the 21st century merry-go-round of conspicuous consumption wearing spurs and cowboy hats!"
"What's he mean?" asked the JMs.
"I mean we're not getting carried away this Christmas!" said the SP, giving me a Look. "We will not be Over-Exaggerating!"
"Cancelling Christmas? Dad! You can't!"
"No new lights!" pronounced the SP. "No new decorations! No excess! I don't want to see the dog wearing a tinsel collar or scoffing chocolates!"
And before anyone could argue, he pulled his ear-protectors on and took his chainsaw out to the woodpile.
Oops. I thought he would have forgotten Belle's indiscretions last year. After all, it was her first Christmas out of the cage, and how was she to know that too many choccies make you sick as a bichon?
"He's not serious, is he?" said a little voice at my side. "He doesn't really mean it, does he?"
"Absolutely!" I said firmly. "And so do I! You kids will have make-do with homemade crackers, cabbage soup for dinner and presents from Emmaüs. You're all disgustingly spoiled and a bit of deprivation will do you good. In fact I think your father's right. We ought to cancel Christmas completely and you can all spend the day doing homework!"
The JMs sighed and rolled their eyes. "Yeah right, Mum. You so would cancel Christmas..."
They know me so well. I love Christmas, I simply adore it. I'm the one who goes OTT every single year without fail. Don't tell the SP, but me and Bella started shopping last month.
Yes, after 18 months of my poor little doggie sitting outside the shop howling, the supermarket manager cracked.
"Put her in the trolley for God's sake!" he begged. "I can't stand the noise!"
So when I'm cruising the aisles inspecting interesting items like toasted cashews, smoked ham and chocolate cherries, Bella comes too - sitting on a cushion in the child seat with her paws up and her whiskers twitching.
"What do you think, Bella? Smokey bacon or chilled chilli?"
"Yeah, you're right, we'll take both. Okay, let's have a look at the charcuterie, shall we?"
The thing is, I don't mind about the deccies, to be honest. The SP is perfectly right; we've got so much that with the lights up, our house looks like the Eiffel Tower. I can even go along with the presents. Nobody in this house actually needs a new pair of pyjamas or a cow's-tail coffee mug.
It's just the edibles that I cannot and will not forego. Turkey and cranberry sauce, mince pies and cream. Yummy yum. Bella's the same of course. She simply can't resist anything tasty; chicken curry and Christmas cake are her favourites. So we won't be scrimping on the smoked salmon or the marzipan stuffed figs and we'll still be having stilton and satsuma-mountains.
As for the chocolates, I quite agree that Bella shouldn't eat them. In the first place, chocolate is poisonous to dogs, and in the second place I've been dieting all autumn so naturally will be eating all the chocolates myself. There's nothing like a diet for working up an appetite. I'm particularly craving those little dark choccie sticks with the candied orange peel. Yumbolicious.
I'm so excited. I can't wait to see the SP's face when he sees what I've got stashed in my pantry. He'll pull down the corners of his mouth and glower at me with his eyebrows but behind his Stern Father Mask he'll be all eyes a-glinting, lips a-licking, and chops a-smacking.
Just like Bella in the trolley.
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