Panettone time

One week before the first brother arrives and I do not yet feel ready for Xmas. I have bought a couple of presents and quite a lot of chocolate but because I had allowed this weekend to finish my assignment, which I ended up submitting on Thursday, I now feel both ahead and behind.

I do not normally put the tree and decorations up until after the first week of December, and nearly always with a glass of wine or two, but I am still not drinking and it feels a little early. I need a weekend around the 8th to allow time, timeliness and enough space to get over the hangover I will probably end up with after eight months of abstinence.

But it was hard to avoid a little slide today. I saw a video that someone had posted online which was a compilation of various cats destroying family Xmas trees by various means and it made me feel right in the zone. When my brother was under a year old, he used to have a baby walker – like a big square frame with a seat in the middle – so he could walk around with support. The problem was that as he was very young (he was a very early walker) he had no spatial awareness and would frequently take out pretty much anything that was in his path. There is a great photo of him, the cat and a felled Xmas tree and it is not clear who exactly was responsible, or if they somehow colluded.

My mother had messaged me to say she could not find panettone at her local supermarket, so I said I would have a look for her as I knew a shop that might be able to help. Ten minutes later I was at an Italian grocery store and gazing at rows and rows of them. Plain ones, almond ones, chocolate ones. Panettone in boxes, hand wrapped panettone in paper and tied with a bow, and the panettone my mother was after: panettone with lemon. For good measure I bought one with mandarin too and also a classic one. Each in its pretty tall box with a ribbon loop at the top. Whatever else happens at Xmas, we will have pannettone.

I got back enthused and decided to erect the Xmas tree, which was a great idea, given that the weather was not hot, but a bad idea because erecting the xmas tree also involves moving furniture, cleaning bits of floor that have been hidden from sight and of course, carefully unwinding strands of lights that I carefully wrapped around cardboard the year before and failing to drape them with any success around the tree.

It is definitely harder without wine. I got the lights around the tree and the tree onto a table, but then ran out of energy and went for a lie down. I had been up very early, because Archie had decided that he quite liked all the very early mornings I was doing last week and tried to keep them going, which is why my husband opened his eyes at 4am to see him sitting on me ready to bark me into life, like the Hulk does with Ironman at the end of Avengers.

The glass balls have yet to be attached and there is no star on top, but the lights are as good as they are going to get and there are three colorful boxes of golden bread ready for Xmas morning. The festive preparations are underway.

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