Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Birthday wishes

We've been in Thaxted all day celebrating my mother's birthday with various Thaxtodian friends. It's been a very charming day, although my body is now officially screaming the word detox. I feel like a cream sponge soaked in chip fat. 

I cooked most of the afternoon. A soup for lunch (for much-needed vitamins) and a couple of quiches for the party in the evening (for a massive dairy overdose. I should have deep-fried the buggers whilst I was at it!) Nathan, meanwhile, sat in front of the open fire knitting socks. You'd struggle to find a more homosexual stereotype than the pair of us this afternoon. 

I also managed to rustle up a chocolate log. We've always had a tradition in our family of making a wish as we fold the flour and cocoa into the eggs and sugar. The rules are simple. It has to be a selfish wish. It's the one time in life you shouldn't feel obliged to ask for the happiness of someone else. This is when you get the chance to wish for a baby or money or a job! The success rate is freakishly high! 

...And so we enter the really bizarre part of the year when nothing really happens. Some poor sods return to work and sit miserably behind their desks, sweating Christmas pudding and dreaming of the January sales. The lucky ones, the ones who have been forced to take holiday, simply sleep and watch Busby Berkley films on BBC 2, contemplating visits to the gym and long walks which never materialise . Being a freelancer, I get to decide what I'm going to do. I suspect I need to knuckle down to some serious writing for the Hattersley piece, although, the way I'm feeling tonight, I think I'd sooner stick a pin in my belly to see whether I burst like a balloon. 

350 years ago Pepys spent the day looking for a decent thesaurus to donate to his old school, St Paul's. Imagine attending the school that Samuel Pepys went to? That said, they probably take him a bit for granted.  I'm sure St Paul's school has a list of famous alumni as long as your arm; like the Brit School, only Nobel Prize-winning. The Ferrers School in Higham Ferrers (which is where I went) is famous for nothing and nobody.  I find it sad that I'm  regularly asked back to York University to talk about my career... And, in fact, to schools across the country to try to encourage kids that it's okay to dream about careers in the arts. But I've never once been even approached by my old school, which, ironically, now claims to specialise in the arts! 

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