I write this between Christmas trees. We are to have two, a normal one and a tiny one, because this year we have decided to have Christmas in a different room. I always think of the nursery - we never got round to renaming it, even though Cosmo is now 15 - as the Christmas room, as that's where we've always had the tree, opened the stockings and presents, slobbed about, watched the telly and consumed the chocolates. Certainly, we decorate the rest of the house - ancient decorations, never renewed, greeted with loving exasperation each Advent as they droop and bits fall off - but the nursery has been the Christmas hub. No longer. For reasons with which I won't bore you but involve a running machine, it's the drawing room's turn to strutt its stuff. When we told the children, they looked terrified. 'You mean Christmas is going to be DIFFERENT?' 'Er, yes.' 'But you're no good at different! We're no good at different! We don't like different!' Oh dear! And I thought we had brought our children up to know the value of risk taking.
A compromise has been reached. The nursery will have a tiny tree so that it will not feel left out, which also means that the dogs, who are not allowed upstairs (our drawing room is on the first floor) will have something to look at. As both Biscuit and Crumble loathe Christmas, viewing their stockings as some kind of softening up process in prepration for something very very nasty, I'm sure they will be relieved.
On the writing front, I'm trying hard to get book one of the new trilogy finished by Christmas Day. It's running over length but I can't ever quite seem to reach the end. 'Look,' I tell Parsifal, Raimon and Yolanda, the heroes and heroine, 'do get on with it,' but things keep happening. This morning, I have to extricate Raimon from a dog kennel, whilst Parsifal nurses the Blue Flame. And it's not as if the work is over when the story's finished. Then, I have to go back, pruning and toning, a cross, if you like, between gardening and a spa treatment, before ever the editor gets hold of it.
I am so deeply into these books now that my characters go with me to Tescos, and to the cleaners and I've occasionally had to pull in off the road when they become too vociferous. Let's hope they have a snooze whilst I'm eating Christmas dinner. I've suggested that just for the day, they might like to stay in the nursery with the dogs, but, as the children keep pointing out, when you try and do things differently at Christmas, how can you be sure of anything?
Very Happy Christmas!
Onwards and upwards,