Like many of our celebrations recently, the new year was rung in quietly, oh so quietly. Just Lovely Husband and me at home: him in the study skyping with old friends, reading strange journal articles and letting his computer chug through mountains of data; me in the loungeroom watching episode after episode of Pillars of Earth (because it's the only TV left in the house I haven't seen) and then in bed at 11pm with season 4 of The West Wing and text messages from family just before the countdown. Because I'd spent the afternoon in my pregnant lady paddling pool, I slept badly under the breeze and noise of the fan.
This, of course, is quite similar to our Christmas, which we have both christened the worst in history. With Lovely Husband in the emergency department being treated for gastro on Christmas Eve and then recovering slowly over the next few days, there was little festive cheer around here. The night before Christmas we closed the house down against the heat, had a Sherlock Holmes marathon sitting miles apart on the couch and then he escaped to the study while I took to my yearly viewing of Love Actually. On Christmas Day, we unboxed our new flat screen (a joint present a long time coming) and surfed through many more channels of crap over ham sandwiches. There were calls and a few presents but none of the normal things that make up Christmas - an early morning wake-up call from the youngest in the house exclaiming over the piles of presents, no low-key breakfast, no mountain of wrapping paper, no test-driving of toys or games of cricket or frisbee to entertain the masses before lunch, no mountain of food for lunch followed by mountains of pavlova and pudding, no welcoming of further guests and giving up of chairs for the older, less mobile relatives, no afternoon naps, no raucous game of Heather's Revenge in the late afternoon, no walking off of lunch, no dinner of leftoversm no sugar-coma from the Christmas lollies that the kids have opened without permission.
Next year, we've been summoned to my mother's house - her only request for her 60th birthday, which falls earlier in the month. We haven't all been together with her on Christmas day for many, many years. And I'm already looking forward to it.