It's been a strange old week. But it's ended on a high note at least. Went to Birmingham yesterday to meet my mum and dad for a Christmas-treat trip to see Peter Pan at the Rep Theatre. I've got a soft spot for Birmingham. We went there a lot as a child, partly because 1) my mum is a Brummie, 2) my Granny (Birmingham Granny as she was known) lived there and 3) my dad was (still is) a Villa season ticket holder, so quite often he and my brother would go and see a match, while my mum took the girls shopping. (Sometimes I would go and see the match instead of my brother but apparently I would spend most of the first half asking when I was going to get some crisps. And Villa always lost or some important player got crocked whenever I went so in the end my brother decided I was a CURSE who should never darken the gates of Villa Park again. Luckily I knew my place - the shops.)
Anyway, we all had a great day out. Birmingham is so fab, everyone we spoke to there was just so friendly and lovely, and there was a brilliant atmosphere wherever we went. (I am definitely a city girl. Could never do that living in the middle of nowhere thing.) There was a huge German Christmas market with lots of fairy-light-covered stalls offering steaming mulled wine and wooden toys. There was a big helter-skelter and carousel in town, all lit up, and an ice rink near Symphony Hall, ohhhh it just all felt so lovely and Christmassy. Just what we needed, a bit of sparkle.
And Peter Pan was fab, especially all the flying around bits. "How do they DO that?" my son marvelled in the interval. "Are they all magicians?"
"No," said Eldest Daughter wisely. "They've got ropes round their necks or something. Invisible ropes. But why is Peter Pan wearing a SKIRT? That's what I want to know."
I actually found myself getting a bit sniffly at the very end, where the music rose to a crescendo and Peter soared up into the air for one last time, twirling around in mid-air in a very balletic sort of way. There's something about the Not Wanting to Grow Up theme that resonates with me even now. I guess Christmas is the one time of year when you can indulge yourself by feeling like a child again.
Something incredible has happened this morning. I actually managed to read in bed for a whole HOUR. And even then nobody came in crying saying, Mum he hit me!, or Mum I need a drink!, or Mum she opened the advent calendar and it's MY turn. Spooky. The kids have been playing a game where they're scientists on a boat for hours. Meanwhile, I'm still in my dressing gown having just got out of bed, having read hundreds of pages. Now that's what I call a Christmas treat!
A Country Escape by Katie Fforde
5 hours ago