The bit after Christmas

Christmas decorations


I’m really looking forward to Christmas. Well, not so much Christmas as the week after Christmas when everything goes slightly quieter and you can just semi-hibernate. Of course, there’s all the hullaballoo of Christmas to get past first and November seems to be going very slowly despite being full of things to do. It may be that I am just perceiving it as going slowly due to my desire to get to the after Christmas bit. But like waiting for the weekend and worrying about Monday the moment Saturday comes along, I am already anticipating the January bit that comes after the week after Christmas bit.

In any event, there is a lot to organise first on top of the usual everyday things which I call Logistics. On Wednesday, for instance, daughter two had a drama rehearsal till 6pm, but on the same day daughter one had a biology workshop until 4.30. Daughter three finished at 4pm. So I took daughter three and only son to McDonald’s while waiting for daughter one. Daughter two was being picked up by her dad. The next door neighbour wanted her son picking up and I explained that that was fine, but he would have to come on the secondary school, McDonald’s etc odyssey if so. In the end, she picked him up, but as I was leaving the house daughter one texted to say could I drop off her friend who was also at the biology workshop. No problema, but the Tesco delivery was due within 30 minutes of pick-up so I told her she had to exit speedily. Daughter one is not a person with whom you associate the word “haste”. Everything she does has a sort of laconic coolness to it. I was not optimistic.

The McDonald’s drive-through was on a go-slow, but we were back in time for daughter one who arrived about 10 minutes late, which she blamed on the teacher. We went home before dropping daughter one’s friend as Tesco can be exceedingly prompt. My partner’s car was there so we did a quick reverse and dropped off daughter one’s friend and went to the chemist as daughter one needed some kind of ointment for a skin condition and hoping it would just go away was not working.

We arrived back to the Tesco order. My partner went to collect daughter two from drama. Her performance is on Monday. Helpfully she has to be at school at 8am. I have a conference that day. At first I volunteered to take her early and get the train from her school, but then the car would be 30 minutes from home in the evening and we were due to go to the theatre in East London to watch her in action. The event doesn’t finish till 11pm. On a Monday. Fortunately, it is a Shakespeare Festival and there are three other performances to get through before daughter two’s bit which means there may well be time for a short nap.

My partner is going to take everyone in for 8am which means he can get to work early. I can drop only son at breakfast club and get to the conference on time and my mum has kindly agreed to pick-up duties about which I feel very guilty after watching Motherland. Which means I will actually have some time to spare after the conference. Woo hoo. I may be able to meet up with an actual friend for half an hour or sit in a cafe and plan Christmas and an 18th birthday party…

*Mum on the run is Mandy Garner, editor of

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