Friday, December 27, 2013

'Milla's Diary, Christmas 2013

NOTE: This is affectionately written fiction. Any resemblance to royals, living or dead, is purely coincidental. This piece is copyright protected.

Need to catch up or know who is who? Check out the first installment of 'Milla's Diary.

NOTE: This is affectionately written fiction. Any resemblance to royals, living or dead, is purely coincidental. This piece is copyright protected.

Need to catch up or know who is who? Check out the first installment of 'Milla's Diary.

27 December 2013

Well, this little diary has fallen woefully behind thanks to the joy that is a family Christmas here at Sandringham. Where to start?!

Of course I had the usual marvelous time having Christmas with my children and grandchildren! My son prepared a lavish feast, the au pairs had the children beautifully decked out in trainers and jerseys--so modern--and little antlers! What a hoot! Dear One and I just HAD to try them on--perhaps we'll wear them for next year's Christmas Card? We'll see. He made a brief appearance to hand out the kind of Christmas Cheer everyone loves (money) and beat a hasty retreat. The ex did much the same, all though he did stay long enough to enduce one Grandchild into a laughing fit that resulted in sick all over the rug. Need I say who mopped that up? Well, even well-off young families today rarely have more than an au pair and a weekly char (these days a cleaning service, if you please) so I did it to spare the daughter and d-in-law their festive holiday nail art! So fun!

The next day was the command performance luncheon hosted by the Mother-in-law. Mind you it took my hag-from-hell-voice to get Dear One into his suit and out the door. He LOATHES the family Christmas luncheon. I got several bracing drinkies down him (sadly you can see his florid George III / William IV face in the arrival photos in the press).  Haza was greatly missed, but the dear boy was on his way home from the South Pole. I thought it odd he had that layover in Bali, but then soldier's do like their fun now, don't they? Way more fun than we had, let me tell you! Pip and the Mother-in-law were at it tong and bones through the entire "do." Dear One had a wistful look on his face and the OTH wiped away a tear--so like the Christmases of their youth, but minus the sparing Grandmothers. (Pip's mother was quite a character, I understand, topped only by her own mother, in the annals of relatives who should have been locked in the attic). Never did discover the source of the disagreement. Seemed to have something to do with the Mother-in-law waking him from a nap and him calling her "Estelle...." OAPs are such dears! And these two really are Darby and Joan, I always say.

The extended family was a bit sparse this year. Many of the Mother-in-law's cousins' families were seriously under-represented. I head the word "work," mentioned. Pushy had her lot out in force, you may be sure, in spite of the boy supposedly having a "career" (her word, not mine) with an investment bank in Los Angeles. Must have quite generous holiday leave--seems he was just here. Adding to the joy was Edith's nursery suite--the props children and not one, but two, uniformed nannies (probably out of work actresses--no one could get a nanny into something starched these days). Pip kept tripping over the boy. The cousins' children all had impeccable manners and made lovely neck bows and curtsey's to Great Aunt Queen. Not Edith's lot. They ran around like little monsters and the girls is quite old enough to know better. At last the OTH stuck a foot out and sent the young man flying and we endured a force 10 melt-down until one of the uniformed nannies remembered her job and took him off to play video games.

We had the ever-festive gift exchange after lunch. Each person with a roped off section of table and stacks and stacks of largely unwanted, re-gifted, presents. Pushy gave everyone autographed copies of her book. Can't even re-gift mine since she scrawled "To dearest M...." Lovely. Cousin G gave Dear One shooting socks that had been originally gifted to his father in the 50s and which Dear One remembered late Uncle G receiving, but there you are! Money does not flow freely from this family--not for each other anyway.

Edith's boy screamed loudly that he'd "already GOT that" and they didn't have the grace to choke him like other well brought up parents would. Edith didn't even blush, just assured the wife that "Papa" hadn't heard them. Well, he was probably right on that score, but Mummy certainly did! Pip must have got an earful on THAT at bedtime. Naturally the Mother-in-law oozed and had heart palpitations over the "clever" homemade gift certificate from Randy. "To darling Mummy, good for one hug and a bottomless Gin & Dubonet, with love from Randy." Pass the sick bag. Dear One nearly was from the noises he and his sister were making. Typical Randy that is. No money involved ever. One year it was a collection of his wartime photography. His office printed the booklets, so no expense to him personally.

Once they'd all departed, Dear One had his overcoat on seconds after the last car had pulled away from the curb. Pip wanted me to stay and watch sport, but Dear One was not having it. Back to the Masoleum we went. It took Thomas the Tank Engine, the proper Pooh blankets, another gallon of booze and a a fine slam-bam-thank-you-man to right his mood! Once he was out cold, the dogs and I caught up the Street on the iPad with a lovely take-away curry. He didn't even STIR. Must have taken one of the green pills before I gave him the booze. When he hadn't even got up to pee, I began to panic and held a spoon under his nose. Thank God. Still with us. I could not, and I do mean COULD bloody NOT due Sandringham as a new widow! He HAD to live thru the holiday! (Of course he nearly peed laughing over this when I eventually told him).

So we decamped to the frozen tundra of Norfolk. The Mother-in-law and Pip, being denizons of Downton Abbey, went by Train with the discount for being OAPs. (Take away a Queen's private train and she'll stick you for every discount available, Mr. Blair.) I dropped the Filippino kitchen maid off at Heathrow, then doubled back to light a fire under Dear One. Sandringham, when we were young, was fun. We'd nip out there in his little MG. So fun! Today it requires a semi-automatic rifle to his head. Mind you, I'd done my prep work. His Night Before Christmas pants were packed, as were the Jolly Elf ones, the proper Pooh blanket, Teddy and his essential dvds and cds were at hand. I had a roll of every biscuit he'd asked for in the last 2 years (I have a card file) as well as a thermos of tea, one of coffee and one of blackberry Ribena. I dragged him to the car and we were off.

Christmas Eve we all converged except for late Aunt Margo's lot who go down with the Mother-in-law. They are her REAL children. She adores them and they have exquisite manners, are very sincerely thoughtful and pay their own way. Randy also got there bright and early but had gone out to practice his golf swing before driving Mummy to the stud. Can't tell a stallion from a gelding, but there you have it! Dear One stepped inside just in time to meet Pip head on. Not a good start. They exchanged snarls before Pip remembered needing a pee and headed off in the wrong direction. Dear One bolted to our room and found an Opera broadcast to kill the afternoon with. I made my curtsey and went off in search of Pip whom I found chatting with a lovely Brazilian culinary student interning with us this holiday. Seeing he was quite happy, I made for the bedroom to watch the Street on the iPad with my ear buds.

Dinner was its usual horrible self. Bad food, bad conversation, bad spirits, cheap booze. Typical family dinner. The "little" boys--Randy and Edith-- vied for their parents' attention, while Dear One and the OTH groused. I chatted with the under Butler, Cousin L and his wife worked on their tax return (well, money was the topic and his brow was a bit furrowed.....). Eventually we got to the port and cigars and the women fled.

I spent a delightful half hour pretending to be locked in the downstairs loo (I just held the door handle when the staff tried to free me) and read a later day Barbara Cartland with SWMNBN's first named scrawled in big loopy cursive on the title page. When I finally came out, Mrs. Edith was looking daggers in my direction--must have had the same plan. Randy, always first to bolt the dining room (he doesn't drink, if you can imagine in the present company, especially), was bemoaning the exclusion of his ex to Mummy, but she wasn't budging. Finally Yummy arrived with Baby and all was well for, oh, about 6 seconds. Then Edith had his two brought down. Well, that set Baby off crying and nothing, not Grandpapa's goon faces or Papa's silliness or even Uncle Haza's arrival could right him. Back to cold storage for him. Edith's daughter and Cousin L's younger child found a corner in which to entertain themselves and the boys of that group went off peacefully to play billiards, but Edith's demon spawn son was too much for everyone. You see, the problem isn't the child or even the parents, its AGE. Pip was over 40 when Edith came along and Edith was 40 when his first arrived. The children are simply far too young for their grandparents. Dear One took the boy aside and tried to talk nicely to him about being still and quiet, but he said "You aren't the boss of me." Dear One, in THAT TONE, said "Well, actually....." The boy decided to be quiet if not still. Then then the Boy took a turn with him. Marginally better. At last Randy--who'd have thought it? Picked the child up, swatted his behind and reminded him that the Queen of England was trying to watch Downton Abbey. What do you know? He shut up and sat down next to Uncle Randy and was an angel. Did Edith or the Mrs. thank Randy? Of course not! They were outraged!

Well, just as we were settling in to see who Mary would choose for hubby #2 the power went off. Lovely. Dear One jerked my arm out of the socket and dragged me up to our room. In the candlelight we had a lovely holiday night playing Great-Granny and King Edward. Such fun. Such lovely holiday memories.

1 comment:

Susan said...

Ha -- I wonder if the royals do watch DA? How did Edward get nicknamed Edith? :) Loved the bit about the scare of Dear One having departed Earth early ...!