Sunday, 21 December 2008

Pre-Xmas Drinks Do

I'm not feeling quite so curmudgeonly about Christmas this year. No idea why. I haven't even bought all my presents this year online, as I have done in previous years - this year I even braved the shops. I think it was probably the sad sight of the-middle-class's-favourite-faux-ethnic-store The Pier going out of business that turned me from someone who perennially sneered at those poor saps in their manmade fabric, drip dry sportswear queuing outside the doors, into a born-again shopper, complete with running shoes and specially sharpened elbows, ready to fight my way to a scented candle with 50p off or a handmade Indian wall hanging (complete with pole, no less) that had had its price slashed by 30%.

But I still can't do sociable. Even with the neighbours. I mean, they're nice enough people - retired, keep themselves to themselves, have a holiday home in France that they disappear to for 3 months in the summer. They even tolerate our cats crapping in their garden, which is damn near angelic of them. But the husband, B, can't bear the squirrels which, I have to admit, I do feed, if only to try and distract them from the food I put out for the birds. It kind of works, but we do suddenly seem to have the fattest squirrels I've ever seen - they look like they're wearing fat suits - one, in particular, is so fat we've named him Mr Creosote. Anyway, they drive B to distraction, gawd bless 'em, so much so that, in the past, he's thrown small stones at them while hanging from the bird feeder in their garden (the squirrels hanging, that is, not B - although that's a remarkable image...) He caught me watching him doing this and, looking gratifyingly shamefaced, stopped. What he does now is even better though - he claps his hands very loudly at them. P and I like to imagine that he's performing some kind of Squirrel Deterrant Flamenco Dance just out of our sight.

The thing is, they're having a drinks party - right now, as I type. And they invited me and P, but we're quite shy socially and don't really want to go. Actually, we did have an excuse, P's sister originally summoned P to install some curtain poles in readiness for the royal visit by the aged parents-in-law for Christmas, such installation to occur today. However she's having a new wooden floor put down in her kitchen which was to have been finished yesterday but has overrun, so we're not going over there now. But we've already told B & H next door that we wouldn't be around for their lunchtime drinks do (as we had to go to his sister's, yada, yada...) and now P's out the front washing the car and the guests are arriving. I think we're going to have to hide and pretend we're not here for a couple of hours...

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