Sometimes I worry about my family.
You wouldn't believe none of them drink. But the good news is that in addition to being able to maintain my dignity whilst giving the double thumbs-up, I'm also the only member of the family who can wear a party hat without looking stupid.
Anyhoo, Lisa and I are now back in Brighton, and you can tell Christmas is over because it's snowing. My aim was to start the new year with a mouth ulcer and spots, so I spent most (well, all) of Monday evening eating chocolate and Pringles, pausing only to sample the odd mince pie. And may I say it worked a treat. The first photo above was taken shortly before midnight, full of excitement about the year ahead. Which is all the more remarkable when you realise that just one hour earlier, everyone was falling asleep and complaining that they didn't want to stay up.
New Year's Day was spent celebrating Christmas (obviously) with my brother's family. My sister-in-law spent an hour building a five-foot tower out of used Christmas crackers in an attempt to avoid doing the washing up, and I did my bit by trying to finish the Banoffee Pie on my own, and eating half a family-sized gateau. I think that was what my Mum meant when she asked me to clear the plates.
I'd walked to Sainsbury's in the morning for some fresh air (they sell everything now), and in a moment of festive madness, bought a miniature potted Christmas tree reduced from £5 to 20p. I took the price off, wrapped it up and gave it to my niece, whereupon she declared it to be her favourite present and far better than the three expensive gifts I'd spent half of November choosing for her.
Other than that, the week has been spent sharing Big Sis's knowledge of Aborigines (apparently if you wait until they're drunk, you can buy their art for less), and her views on Shanghai (she won't be going back there in a hurry), whilst trying to look at her instant Thai puddings without throwing up. As a newly impoverished student, Sis's Christmas gifts gave a whole new meaning to the word 'cheap' (half of them had been picked up off the ground, and the other half were worth less than the wrapping paper), but it's not everyone who can say they own a lucky beckoning cat found in a Chinese alleyway. My Dad can.
Sadly, all good things must come to an end (which is why my Mung Bean Pudding is in the bin), so Lisa and I left Chelmsford at 7pm last night for a quiet, relaxing and uneventful drive back to Brighton.
Unfortunately things never go according to plan...