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Yes, it’s official … After an absence of some two months – I’m back. 

Family commitments and other work related matters put the Four Fingers and Thirteen Toes Blog on the “backburner”.  However, with apologies to those who yearned for the next edition of the Blog here is my offering for November.

Officialdom … takes many shapes and forms. I’ve had quite a lot to do with officials over the last couple of weeks, some of it bad (parking tickets are a downer!) and some of it good … I am now officially Princess Seren (well, I like to think I am!) or at the very least I am the recipient, from the Lord Mayor of Cardiff, of the first Owain Glyndwr Seren Award – and what an honour that is. 

Lord Mayor of Cardiff Councillor Professor Delme Bowen, presents Rosie with the Owain Glyndwr Seren Award

However, enough … back to the issue in hand…  One thing is for certain, the “official” run-up to Christmas has started, and with it, the annual emergence of “Grinch-like” partners, who complain about everything festive.  In our house, this ranges from the frequency of the Christmas commercials on television, to the seemingly unending piped Christmas music booming through supermarkets the world over.

But I have to say, yesterday really took the biscuit.  The day started in regular Saturday fashion.  We went through the usual morning ritual of getting up and then there was the smell of the sausage and bacon being cooked in the kitchen – Ahhh …  Junior Grinch dragged himself out of his pit with his nose twitching at the smell wafting down the hallway.  There was a time, not long ago, when he would willingly have volunteered to cook the bacon; and cook mean bacon he does.  However, there is the little matter of “A” level study and the discovery of girls, which has somewhat messed up our routine on the culinary front!

However, back to the kitchen, where some rather nice Irish sausages were sizzling – A La Jamie Oliver style, with honey and olive oil – to be accompanied by the bacon.  Granted it might not have been as crispy as I would have liked, but who am I to complain, as I knew the onset of Grinchness was about to start. 

For readers not from the UK, yesterday (5th November) was bonfire night.  Traditionally a day when, after dark, we Brits get togged up in woolly hats, scarves and other warm apparel to enjoy the spectacle of fireworks lighting up the night sky.  It is also the day when according to the Senior Grinch, we are overwhelmed by the advertising industry with all things Christmassy.

Now, in an attempt to avoid the onset of this Grinchness, I decided to go into town and indulge in some pre-Christmas shopping.

I felt really quite festive. I was wearing one of my bright red dresses (purely coincidental) which added to the aura of festiveness.  As we drove through the University area and Civic Centre, I could see the Winter Wonderland taking shape, which opens in a couple of weeks.  Thank goodness the traffic was too heavy for the Senior Grinch to see.

Dropped off, I had a lovely afternoon.  Browsing through the shops and talking to the shop assistants, it was a really nice way to spend a Saturday afternoon.  A text message to the Senior Grinch summoning him to come and collect me, and all would be well in the Moriarty-Simmonds household.  Wrong!

Feeling all tingly from the chill of a slightly frosty late autumn afternoon, I got into the car.  Enquiring as to whether the afternoon had been as enjoyable in Grinchland as it had been for me, I should have known the response, by the silence with which my enquiry was met.  I gather it had all started quite well.  A pleasant return to the house, waving to a few of the neighbours doing some gardening, and then into the drive.  Out of the car, and then two little faces appeared at the garage door.  “We’re selling scout stamps for Christmas …” 

Apparently mustering all his teacher-like patience (my Senior Grinch comes from a family of school teachers, and, I believe, has hankered after being a teacher himself) he smiled in (I hope) a kindly fashion and suggested that it was perhaps a little too early to be selling Christmas stamps.  Looking a little crestfallen, our tiny neighbours were saved from more Grinchishness by the appearance of the Junior Grinch at the front door.  It was then that Senior Grinch decided he should set a good example to the Junior Grinch and took pity on the stamp sellers.  I am led to believe he took out his wallet (one of many festive outings for the wallet – I have no doubt) and bought something which was Christmas-connected before the fireworks had exploded in their usual cascade of colour over the roof tops of Cardiff.

Now, that was a first – I only wish I’d been there to see it for myself!

Very shortly I will have to broach the subject of the annual Christmas internet shop, with a generous supply of chocolates and other goodies – after all, there is only seven weeks to Christmas.  Great, chocolates to eat that should be kept for Christmas, and the obligatory bottle of cream liqueur that will last about as long the chocolates in the advent calendar!

The downside to this cranking up of the Christmas machine is whether I can survive seven weeks of 2011 Grinchness.

The height of 2010 Grinchness!


But, I took heart on Friday.  There was one chink in the armour of my Senior Grinch that became apparent whilst we were having tea.  He did confess that he was looking forward to unpacking the Christmas tree which was destined for our hotel room in New York last year.  Believe it or not, my Senior Grinch had the tree shipped over from New York after last year’s festivities, and promised it would take centre stage as our table decoration, at our annual Christmas Eve lunch.

So thinking about things, maybe he isn’t so Grinchish after all.  The problem is, after he’s unpacked my pre-Christmas shopping and taken a sly look at the receipts, I’m not so sure … Lets just wait and see!

But however you start your festivities – Christmas or otherwise, and whatever form they take, be it Christian, Jewish or marking the Winter Solstice, I hope you enjoy them.

Me … I’m just glad that normal “blog” service has been resumed, and I can’t wait for next month … Until then, Happy Shopping.