'This December dawned like a deluging black hole'

Di Wade
Di Wade
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Columnist Di wade writes about her mad panic this month.

Well, I don’t know about the most wonderful time of the year, but this is certainly a singular one.

Unless it’s just me. Years of barrel-scraping gift-choosing later, I still unfailingly look forward to December with the starry-eyed enthusiasm of a kid at, well, Christmas: There are the fairy-lights for one, (which I think I rate primarily as I can actually see them), then all the silvery, jingly music, promising untold warmth, wonderment and wish-fulfilment on the end of the next toasting fork – and of course the still magical notion of the jolly guy on the sleigh with the flying reindeer: Even if magic mushrooms WERE largely to blame for that little lot.

I’m not even averse to cold in the right situation, some of my best holidays having included brass monkeys gawping at a truly fairytale New York – and reindeer-sledding, ice-fishing and snowshoeing in the winter wonderland of Finland; besides driving and falling off a husky sled, and only narrowly not parting company with a skidoo; en route to NOT seeing the northern lights in the middle of a forest at midnight.

And I love the whole mince pie, mulled wine, marzipan, mad jumper and Miracle on 34th Street bit, (with bells on), so the job should be a good ‘n. Except it mostly winds up reminiscent of my Icelandic whale-watching some years ago.

Not only did I myself not see anything, but nor apparently did anyone else, the guide’s final “Well we didn’t see a whale but we DID see a gannet” surely endangering her life had she been at the Glasgow Empire.

This December dawned, or at least from my point of view, like a deluging black hole.

Which was a pity as I’d arranged to go Christmas shopping with my mum; whom I could not persuade to stay at home and watch the rugby.

So forth we went together, to dash through the rain with a recalcitrant umbrella, fight through shoppers and their screaming offspring, and stare helplessly at shelves, willing their contents to become perfect gifts, a festivity-killer if ever there was one.

December 2nd: The cold which had brought me a nose like the unexplained leak in the kitchen, had so discovered my ears that

Annie Lennox’s angels from the realms of glory sounded as though they were proclaiming and rejoicing through a mouth full of cotton wool, as I increasingly listlessly put my tree up.

December 3rd: The tree fell down.

December 4th: My inbox blew up, under the sheer weight of exhortations to all but self-flagellate and

divide my Christmas between needy strangers this year: I’d planned to divide it between the people who’d made the past 12 months bearable, but whatever..

December 17th: Told my happy, jolly taxi-driver that if he didn’t next appear on a sleigh with a bunch of

reindeer, (to whisk me away from all this, including soakings to rival falling off an upside down dinghy near Garstang aged 10), he could……