A Long Long Way From Christmas
This is a reader-supported publication. If you can afford to, please consider becoming a paid subscriber.
This has been what could be called an extreme week: Extreme highs and extreme lows. I was thinking of using some swanky metaphor about flying but as this was also the week that two friends I love dearly narrowly avoided being in a plane crash, I decided against it.
Mark and I are both a bit drunk-tired. If I tell you that just before sitting down to write this blog, I slept through the alarm and missed an important meeting, Mark found himself washing the dishes with hand soap, (I’m not sure how much the frying pan enjoyed it, but it sure as hell won’t get acne) and I tried to make toast in the air- fryer, you get a rough idea.
The valley has been exploding - at one point it seemed there was no end to the fireworks. Temperatures have been soaring, so the days were oppressively hot and, to add to the hassle, the day before Independence Day a neighbor who’s not my flavor had a ridiculously noisy party. The police came to shut it down several times, but the neighbor - never a fan of the word no, when it refers to something he wants - only carried on having the party each time they left. It went on till two or three o’clock in the morning apparently. I’m not exact on times as I was so whacked out, I fell asleep, but I have it on the authority of Fergus and his five friends who were visiting from out of state and had just returned from a gig.
So the next day when the neighbor appeared at the door with a bit of cake left over from the party and I refused it, he accused me of calling the cops (I didn’t), then in a strange about turn, denied that the cops were even there (they were). Once we’d exhausted that little cycle, he claimed I was unneighborly (He might have been right about that. I wasn’t feeling particularly neighborly) and announced as he flounced off with his cake that the next time I hold a party, he’ll be the first person on the phone to the cops (I said I was fine with that).
My youngest had heard the whole thing from inside the house while hidden behind a 5-foot-tall lifelike figure of Santa Claus we’d bought from a friend kind of by mistake (like I say, it’s been that kind of week). We talked about a Reddit thing he’d discovered called ‘Am I the Asshole.” I said that I was on the fence about who the actual asshole was, and was completely open to the idea that it could be me, as I’m not great on very little sleep. But later that night when the same neighbor had a commercial-grade pyrotechnic display in his backyard, I conceded he was indeed 100%.
But honestly it hasn’t all been bad. Just really crazy. Like I say we - sort of by mistake - managed to buy a 5-foot Santa from a friend of ours who was moving home and needed him gone. His sudden appearance in the house was a source of great bemusement to Fergus’s five friends from out of state, and confusion for Lachlan who had just returned from a class on Brazilian street fighting concluding that he’s more a lover than a fighter.
Arthur who has been medicated to let him get through the fireworks fiasco has been adorably affectionate to all visitors and to the chickens. And it turns out the chickens don’t give a toss about fireworks apparently, though they are still unreasonably judgemental of squirrels.
As am I. We planted a sorry-looking little peach tree in the backyard a couple of years ago, and it has grown into a bit of a monster. This year it’s laden with peaches, but it’s a battle between me and one particularly feisty squirrel as to who gets to them first.
Earlier this week, as fireworks roared overhead, the squirrel and I eyed each other intensely before racing to get to the peach tree first. Mark, having witnessed it all, claimed it was like a scene from a bad Sylvester Stallone movie.
And Mark has had his own battles. He was worried about his beloved bees. The hive was getting full and the bees needed more space. He figured it was time to harvest some honey. So he did. Almost 20lbs of honey. From a big silver extractor machine shaped like a giant tin can, which was situated (conveniently) on top of a wooden box in the middle of the kitchen floor.
Like I say, this week has been extreme.
Last night we sat in front of the TV and watched Wycliffe - a very low key UK detective drama from the 80s/90s where nothing much happens. It’s our go-to when we’ve had a rough time because it’s so relaxing to count how many bad sweaters there are. (Honestly, it’s truly impressive).
There were fairly few fireworks, no loud parties. The squirrels, the bees, the chickens were asleep, and Arthur snored gently beside us.
“I’ll have to go get jars for the honey tomorrow,” Mark said.
I nodded. “Probably should also get a couple of hundred extra for several tonnes of peach jam too,” I added.
“Yeah.” he said.
“Crazy isn’t it? All the time this noise was going on, the bees were just getting on with making honey and the peaches were quietly growing on the trees.”
In the corner of the room, 5-foot Santa smiled a festive smile.
“Any thoughts on what to do with that guy?” Mark said.
“Probably shed,” I said, “At least until it’s some way close to December.”
Mark nodded. ‘Sounds good.” and then laughed as a spectacularly bad sweater appeared on the TV screen. “That has to count for two,” he said.
“Possibly three,” I laughed.
Sometimes it feels a long long way till Christmas, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t still plenty of gifts to be found along the way.
Till next week.
Well hello there my wee NFTV pals,
I guess the lesson I learned this week was to lean
Keep reading with a 7-day free trial