Sunday, 4 January 2015

Christmas Horror. And rafts.

I’m home! How exciting for everyone involved. So exciting for my parents that, after the first day of being around me, they both became overwhelmed and spent the day in bed being unwell. Sorry, mum and dad. And sorry for telling the internet.

The holidays began at baggage reclaim, sweating and swearing in four layers of coats and jumpers, head in my hands on a luggage trolley repeating the words “I want to go home. I want my mum. I want to go home.” After half an hour of staring at a blue screen with the words 'awaiting baggage' taunting us, I ran out of the airport and into the arms of my mum and my sister who were both supporting Christmas, judging from the jumpers.

I bored my mum for several hours on the drive home about what it’s like to be a teacher, what Uzbekistan is like and “oh my God, this feels like the wrong side of the road, how amusing.” And we got back to Matlock Bath and nothing had changed. Oh, apart from the addition of the worst street lights in the world which make everything look like daylight when it’s not.

Is it day? Is it night? Life is confusing and disturbing enough as it is without having to ask these questions.

I spent the whole of Christmas eve asleep until the event of the year (Eurovision aside): Nic the Vic’s Temple Hotel Christmas Pub Quiz. Catchy. Sadly, our under-23s team’s performance was substandard. Pop culture knowledge was second to none, but the eight years of immorality that separate me from a Catholic upbringing meant that the vicar’s questions on Biblical details from the nativity were rather challenging. However, it would be rude to whine because there was a lot of beer and I have a sneaking suspicion that one question was included just for me: “How many countries end in –stan?”

Actual Christmas was, and I’m not going to mince my words so pardon my language here, pants. I awoke to the sounds of both parents puking in stereo, and realised that my sister and I were in charge of Christmas. So while everyone else was instagramming every roasted ingredient of their perfect dinner, my little sister and I cried into the odd-smelling combination of everything we could find in the cupboard with potato on top. We then watched the first half of the Miranda Christmas special, hoping it would cheer us up, but, obviously anyone who has seen that will know that the first episode ends pretty sadly and is also… well, not very good.

The next day was a lot better, because on Boxing Day you’re allowed to see people who aren’t related to you, which in my case meant seeing people who weren’t vomiting. In Matlock, there is a very famous event that takes place on Boxing Day: the raft race. It’s so famous that it was even in the Matlock Mercury this week. A bunch of totally sensible people assemble rafts from old oil drums, wood and sometimes old pieces of cars and ride the results down a small portion of the River Derwent. The best place to stand to watch this spectacle is as near to the weir as possible. This is because all the boats get stuck on it so everyone laughs and throws bags of flour at them.

Here are some people dressed as Oompa Loompas in a boat.

The Christmas holidays gradually got better from there, and included many nights out and visits to Manchester and Liverpool. Big thank you to everyone who has invited me to places, had me to stay and agreed to come to the pub with me over the holidays.

And now you're in my blog. Soz, guys.