Anyway, I digress.
Christmas is normally quite a complicated affair - definitely because I am involved, and probably because I celebrate Christmas twice.
Not that I am greedy or anything (even though I am), but I celebrate my first Christmas on the 25th where I visit one of my best friends in Leeds (Sarah), and then I have my second Christmas with Izzy and her Dad at my house around the 28th.
It all works marvellously - Izzy's Dad and Grandparents get to spend quality time with her on the 25th whilst I am away partying my head off. And then, when Christmas is over and most people are facing an anti-climatic descent into murky nothingness and desperate despair, I have a whole, entire second Christmas on the 28th to look forward to ...... complete with turkey, presents, crackers ..... the whole shebang.
No flies on me ..... although you can see where they've been.
And because I am kinder than Mother Theresa, but with more sculpted eyebrows, I have got some pictures of my Christmas 'oop north'.
Pic.No.1 Before I set off, I loaded all my gifts into the boot ('trunk' if you are American) of my car. And I also threw in my wellies so that I could walk through emergency mud if the need arose (now there's a thought - do Americans / Canadians have wellington boots?)
What you need to understand before going up North, is that it is bloody cold up there. Everyone walks with a stoop because they have been battling the wind and sleet for so long. And apparently they feed their children coal and twigs, and dress them in sackcloth. It's quite like being in a real-life Lowry painting.
The journey didn't go well. After having a bit of a tussle with the Sat Nav in my new car, I eventually arrived in Leeds two hours late (the total journey took 5 hours instead of 3).
"You're always bloody late," said Sarah in a berating way as she opened the front door to me.
"It's my Sat Nav's fault," I said, "I'd accidentally set it to 'avoid motorways' [note to reader: no idea how I did that - even now], so I drove up on all the tiny roads."
"You are a berluddy div," Sarah exclaimed, before adding, "hurry up and get ready, we are off into Leeds city to meet some mates."
Welcome to Christmas Eve in Leeds .......... here we are in a big pub in the city .................
Pic.No. 2 The first thing we saw was lots of beer and stuff. After the initial shock we decided that it would be rude not to join in. This is a picture of Sarah's real ale
Pic.No. 3 Once the beer was flowing, I got my camera out and quickly realised that the chaps were a little camera shy. That is Louise on the right (Sarah's sister), with her friend Lisa on the left
Pic.No. 4 I tried to demonstrate that you don't have to be scared of the camera. So I pulled a 'Zoolander' pose and shouted 'everybody look at me!'.
Everyone looked at me ..... with a bemused expression on their face, so I pulled my backup trick out of the bag, and believe me, all the ladies love it.
"Hey chaps, if you want to take a good photograph every time, always put your hand under your chin to hide the sagging!" ...... before hastily adding ...."not that you are saggy."
The girls looked at each other like cavemen who had just killed their first zebra - nodding with mouths slightly agape. We weren't getting anywhere fast, so I decided to try out the 'chin technique' with Sarah .......
Pic.No.5 This is me and one of my bessie mates, Sarah. I don't know how she does it, but she has always been resolutely un-photogenic ...... but no, not here .... that's because she deployed the killer 'hand under the chin' trick
Pic.No.6 The rest of the northerners quickly saw the potential of the 'hand under the chin trick' and before I could say 'no underwear shots ladies', Louise had dived in front of the lens .... to try out my new technique. Not that she needs it, mind .... she is nearly 40 and looks about 12. And she has a sharp wit that makes me laugh my head off
Pic.No.7 And then at the end of the evening, we met these two chaps who firmly demonstrated that the phenomena of 'Christmas Jumpers' are totally the 2011 Christmas scene. And they were a good laugh to boot - the chaps, not the jumpers that is
So what a marvellous Christmas Eve that was, and we still had Christmas day to come ..... bravo!
Christmas morning arrived ....... the morning alarm sounded and I lifted my weary, but not hungover, head from the pilllow.
[Arrrrggghhhh, my kingdom for an extra hour in bed .... aw crap, that only happens in fairytales].
So I dragged myself out of bed, studiously avoided everyone, and headed straight into the shower.
Not being a morning person, for the first hour of every day I am like a slug with a personality by-pass. Actually, thinking about it, slugs don't have personalities, so that makes me more of an amoeba.
But luckily, after the initial blip, things started looking up because I was spending the day with Sarah's family - her mum Margaret (who calls herself 'my surrogate mum' awwwww), and Louise (her sister), and obviously with Sarah herself.
And here's what we got up to ....
Pic.No.8 That is the lovely Margaret on the left, with Louise on the right. We had Christmas lunch at a place called Haleys Hotel - in Headingly, Leeds
Pic.No.9 Despite the fact that Sarah was getting into the spirit of our Christmas lunch, she still cunningly remembered my 'hands under the chin' trick ..... you see, I am insidious but without the bad connotations .... what's the word for that?
Pic.No.10 My starter (entree if you are from across the pond) nom nom nom
Pic.No.11 My first presents were 'table presents' and here I am with my booty - a car demister and some hand cream
I have to say that our lunch was lovely and the service was great. Definitely a place to go back to for Christmas lunch. And because it was a carvery rather than table service, I was able to have 8 roast potatoes and more gravy than you could ever imagine feasible. I looked like a bloody weeble when I had finished.
After lunch, we went back to Sarah's mum's house, and it was at this point that I got a bit rubbish at taking pictures because I was too weak from overeating to pick up my camera.
But I can give you a summary of some of the marvellous booty that I accumulated ......
Pic.No.12 L'Occitaine hand cream which is very useful for keeping my hands soft after changing a head gasket or digging in mulch (into the ground not the head gasket). I also got some toffee to propel me along the road of replacing my amalgam fillings with composite resin. Bloody ace
Pic.No.13 Maragaret bought me this fantabulous snow shovel
As soon as I had opened the present, Margaret started apologising profusely; "Eh up, I am sorry love .... I bought this before you bought your big four-wheel-drive car thingy."
"No, you have it all wrong, the snow shovel is perfect," I exclaimed.
"But I thought that 4x4 cars were designed to be good in the snow?" asked Margaret perplexedly.
"Ah - mine might have been good in the snow if I hadn't have put low-profile sports alloys on it," I replied, "so now I desperately need a shovel if it snows."
Louise had witnessed the whole conversation, "So," she said, turning to face me, "you bought a car that was specially designed to handle adverse conditions, and then rendered it unable to cope with adverse conditions by putting sports tyres on it?"
"You got it!" I exclaimed, before adding; "but it wouldn't have looked as nice with the smaller alloys eh?"
Louise shook her head and adopted an now familiar expression that can only be translated as: 'nothing speaks wanker louder than a Ranger Rover.'
Anyway, nobody properly understands ..... uh hum...... cough ...... back to my booty ................
Pic.No.14 I got a new pair of pyjamas. I tell you now - James McAvoy is gonna be beating down my door
Pic.No.15 In case you were wondering, this is James McAvoy. He is the only idol I have. He has blue eyes that can strike a killer blow to men and women throughout the land alike
And finally, we have the grand finale of all my Christmas presents ...... a mug that Louise had made especially for me!
Pic.No.16 Aha, methinks Louise might have been taking the mick about my lack of common sense
Pic.No.17 And then on the other side was a picture of me trying to spear food with a twig in Shotover Park. Aw, man alive how I laughed .... that Louise is a loon bag
So dahlink, let's embrace the spirit of Christmas! It is now your time to tell me what your favourite present was, and guess how much it was worth ....... bring it on!