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Friday, December 17, 2010

A Christmas Carol

11

Blimey, it's coming up for 51 Christmas' now, since Santa dragged me down the chimney, all covered in soot.

The folks claimed I was a huge surprise (yes, huge - I recall no mention of wonderful, wanted or beautiful in this conversation..).  Like the ever increasingly bizarre knitwear my dear old gran loved to sic on us, seems Santa received a job-lot of babies in his cabbage patch that year.  This sounded reasonably plausible to me. It certainly explained away those spells I often spent, bundled away at the back of the closet, along with those aforementioned sweaters from our gran.  (Och no, dry your eyes, I'm only joking, we didn't own a closet, it was a coal bunker, and I went in voluntarily, much to my Ma's increasing consternation.. but I digress, my early taste for coal has little to do with this post.)


So yeah, Santa.  I swallowed that story whole.  Can you imagine the trauma caused when a couple of my so-called "mates" decided to break it to me Santa doesn't exist?   

Proper upsetting it was. 

Big sis' soon made them take it all back again, but by then the seeds of niggling doubt had sprouted. Too late to feed me the stork story, yet far too early to spell out the gritty truth, I was left to work it out on my own.

It wasn't so bad, favouring the adoption angle, I realised I'm actually a princess. At least now I had a kingdom to inherit, and the gleeful prospect of eventually lording it over the sibs. Delusions of grandeur provides certain comforts. I adjusted.  

The actual circumstances surrounding my birth were rather less romantic. Half a week well over-due, and a home-birth, it took a whole two days to persuade me from the womb, and even then it required the help of a set of forceps  to drag me out. Maybe I sensed being born in to the thriteenth apartment on the block hardly heralded an auspicious start?


They had to send for the Doc in the end.  Rumour has it he  was carving his roast at the time, and refused to budge until the last of the meal was through, so it fell to Carol (yeah, you read that right - Carol) the midwife, to mainly hold the fort until his almost too late arrival.

Da said I arrived looking like an angry old man, all red, wrinkled, and with this huge, pointy bald head. Ma told me straight up, Christmas turkey never quite tasted the same after that. I can't say as I blame her, she being only 4ft 10in, and with me weighing in at a hefty 10lb 10oz, it's little wonder she woke up in a cold sweat thereafter, every Christmas.  A full ten years on it took her, to brace herself to muster enough courage to complete our family.

Family legend has it that Neil Sedaka was belting out "Oh, Carol" on the radio, as my mother did likewise, but for different reason. Okay, I grudgingly admit it marginally beats being called Noel, but I still think my mother showed a stunning lack of imagination, christening me Carol, as she did.


Still, that proved the least of my problems.



See, it's all fine and well to have a Christmas birthday, yes, granted, you are always guaranteed the day off school, and there is usually  some bit of a party to be found -  but even taking all that into count, it hardly takes the brain of Britain to fathom you sure could choose a better day to arrive in to the world. 

Forgive me for being crass here, but what kind of a kid wants to share their big day being upstaged by someone ELSE'S birthday? Especially since half of it tends to be spent singing THEIR praises, sitting on a cold, hard pew, and in some old, draughty church?


And here's another thing - grown-up's are such fibbers, aren't they? "Oh, here, wee Carol, happy birthday! We've bought you a bigger present than the others, seeing as how it's your birthday and all.." 

What a complete load of total and utter bollocks.  Some people can make their mouths say just about anything!




Judging from what I found wrapped, thank God it actually was my birthday, otherwise I probably might've  only been qualified to receive a wee lump of empty tin foil from under the tree!


And whilst we're on that subject, what is it with these cheapskates who think it's all right to scrawl "Happy Birthday" in my Christmas card? (No, it's okay, don't apologise, I'm over it now. Even though I do still know who each and every one you miserable sods are.)


Mind, if I thought I'd had it bad before, I soon reassessed once my own little brood happened by.  Up until then, at least I could count on waking up to a cuppa' tea in bed.  Having birthed four of our little darlings within the space of six years, can you imagine the Christmas/birthday mornings I spent when they were younger?

The cavalry charge started around 5am, and forget the "Happy Birthday's", I counted myself lucky to so much as escape for the luxury of a pee, before the morning ran through.
 
Every spare minute was turned over to slavishly consoling the kids, whilst loudly yelling at hubby to get a swift move on constructing that stupid pirate ship, why can't he?  (Still having a dolls house, a monster garage set, and a full model kitchen in the queue to build, who needs a perfectionist?  It's not as though they wouldn't all be bust by Boxing day anyway, is it?)  

And what the hell is wrong with all these toy manufacturers, nowadays?  Back in my time, when you bought a dolls house, you bought it expecting the picture on front to match up with the contents inside of that self-same bloomin' box.  When you trustingly carted it home, you never expected some twenty-billion miniature bricks, a squeezee tube of glue, and a warning not to inhale until New Years Day, to spill out on to your lap, did you?

Well, not any more.

Nowadays, parenting classes should include a degree in construction, coupled with an option to take the, "How to get your money back from those no-good, thieving b*****d's who first saw you and your kids coming from a whole several miles down the road" course.  I can't be the only one who doesn't read Chinese. 




Now, just when the cherubs have grown big enough to turn their demands away from the more demanding, time-consuming of toys, to the more bankrupting and materialistic kind of gift, we find we have moved across to join my lil sis' and her family, over here on Craggy Island. 

Woo-hoo, now we can have a PROPER FAMILY Christmas, all sitting together to pull a cracker over the communal turkey! Bliss, eh? Well, it would be if my lot weren't such utter carnivores, and my sister and her brood weren't all committed vegetarians.



Seeing as how my little sis' can't cook to save her life, I opt to host this jolly event, but since my lot steadfastly refuse to give up their roasted seasonal carcass, not for anyone - it involves us seated around two separate tables, and with two very different and individual menus a-piece. 

It's sooooooooo hard to be a birthday girl whilst splattered in gravy, and with twenty pans all a-juggling.


What? Celebrate it on another day? Are you nuts?  Don't be ridiculous, I love playing the martyr, besides, it wouldn't be my BIRTHDAY then, would it?


But we have reached a small, little compromise here. We all sit down to eat our traditional festive meal on the eve of Christmas now, it's far less fuss all round and everyone seems to be happy. 

You see, it's a seriously bloomin' hard job being a Diva, I simply thank goodness my family appear to appreciate it.



(Wide beam to camera, slow curtsy, and quick exit.)

103 comments:

Kim said...

My son's birthday is on Christmas Eve. I sense his rants coming in years ahead. You are gorgeous. I love that self-portait!

We're changing things up this Christmas. It will be our first Christmas eve at home with just our two kids. Usually we're at my husband's parents' having a drink fest...I'm looking forward to a kid-friendly Christmas.

Kit Courteney said...

Oooooh, a wonderful antedote to the horrid cold and frosty weather we are having.

Your post has perked me up no end!

Lori said...

You have me smiling from ear to ear with my morning coffee this morning. You are absolutely gorgeous dear woman! In case I don't get to say it on the day, Happy Birthday beautiful lady. Regardless of what you do, I hope you have a spectacular day! XX

Kate said...

A bitter natal day, indeed. My sympathies. My son's birthday is the 26th and I had plenty of sympathy with the Virgin Mary THAT year.
Thanks for the post and stay warm over there.

Rock Chef said...

That was brilliant - you should do standup monologues! Try to get a spot at Edinburgh next year!

I always felt sorry for those with birthdays close to Christmas. Mine is in August, surely the best time to have it! Nice weather, holidays, no clashes with other celebrations...

Have a great birthday this year - have you ever thought of changing all of the decorations to things about you instead of Christmas? How long before anyone would notice?

Pat Tillett said...

This was my first read of the day. I'm glad it was, as I'm starting my chores with a smile on my face!
Really nice...

Kristina Hughes said...

Diva-Tastic!! Loving the pic! Christmas birthdays are the thorn in my side too - actually Dave's on boxing day and Jude's on 28th - very silly time for birthing. I've been married to Dave for 12 years now and I still forget to buy birthdayish wrapping paper - am so glad you reminded me!
Have a lovely one, Shrinky! Will toast you with a little diva tipple on the day xxx

YELLOWDOG GRANNY said...

thanks for putting a smile on my face...

Kyna said...

MerryChristmasHappyBirthday!!!

Sorry. I was too cheap to put them in two seperate sentences.

For your birthday this year, I got you a lovely jumper! With a Santa Claus on it. Isn't that cute?

Oh, and I forgot! I also got you an expensive pair of earrings! The diamonds make the shape of a reindeer! That's even cuter, isn't it???

chewy said...

Happy Christmas Birthday to you, Happy Christmas Birthday to youuuuuuu... Do you bake your own birthday cake too?

I'm putting in a demand that the 3 Kings show up at your door bearing golden pressies, Chanel #5, veggie platters and a tofu goose.

mythopolis said...

Once upon a time in a kingdom far away Princess Shrinky was born on Christmas Day....Disney is gonna want the rights to this tale! I am working on the story board already. And, the pitch: OK, in this scene the shivering young princess has been banished to the coal bunker....makes Cinderella look lame! And we need the toys to go along with the animated feature....the Princess Shrinky doll, the forceps....

Happy Merry Birthday Christmas, and Easter too!

TechnoBabe said...

Wow, 10 lb 10 oz. Were you in there too long? At least you decided to come out and face the world. I for one am glad you did. This is a lovely picture of you. I just know you will be having a wonderful birthday on the actual day of your birthday.

Saz said...

Hiya,
its been a while! And l am now getting around to visit my friends more and more...

lovely picture of you, are your eyes really that GREEN!?

great new look to the blog...to me anyhow!!
luv
saz x

Leslie: said...

You've managed to turn bitterness into humour and taking it very well, I must say, about having to share the day with the BIG ONE IN THE SKY. My sister's b'day is the 29th and she always complained that her b'day dinner was turkey casserole with leftover fruitcake with a candle stuck in it. My daughter's son was born on New year's day so they get their Xmas tree early, taking it down on Boxing Day. Then they focus on Noah leading up to HIS big day. Good idea, I think. Anyway, hope you have a wonderful Christmas this year with your family. Also, have a wonderful Birthday, too. Notice I made it two sentences? lol

Portia said...

Such a great post! AND love the picture of you! Seems we are the same age.

Have a wonderful Christmas AND Birthday!

Cheeseboy said...

This is the funniest post I have read all week. What a poor kid, I can just feel how upset that would have made me.

My mom just flat out told me about Santa one day. I think I would have rather heard it from a kid. I was devastated.

Joanna Jenkins said...

Welcome back. I've missed you.

What a great storyteller you are :-) I have a nephew whose birthday is on 12/21 and always feel like he loses out but you and your birthday ON christmas Day-- That is so unfair.

Wishing you a wonderful and very HAPPY BIRTHDAY a bit early in case I miss you. I hope the day is grand and all about YOU!

Cheers, jj

secret agent woman said...

Beautiful self-portrait.

I guess you could add in a half-birthday celebration in June?

Anna said...

Shrinky, lol, on 'grown big enough to turn their demands away from the more demanding, time-consuming of toys, to the more bankrupting and materialistic kind of gift' - best line! You are so right about the toys, they always seem to come apart, lol.

On the side note, you are very pretty woman, equally weighted for outside and inside.

Well another year passed, and its time to wish you and your lovely family a very Merry Christmas, let it be healthy, filled with love and peace.

I guess I will see you next year my friend.

Anna :)

CJ said...

Happy Birthday and Merry Christmas! May your day be filled with happiness, lots of family and friends,good food and drink, and of course lots and lots of presents! The self portrait is beautiful btw.

Akelamalu said...

Lovely photo of you Shrinky!

You had me chuckling with this post. I wish you Very Happy and Birthday fist and a Happy Birthday Christmas and New Year Second. x

Margaret Benbow said...

There is something special about all you Christmas babies. Also I'd bet the Virgin Mary was 4'10" like your mum, and her baby another almost-eleven-pounder like you!

Shrinky said...

Oh Kim, yes, it sounds set for a lovely relaxing day, just enjoying your babies, and having fun. Just what Christmas should be all about!

Shrinky said...

Eee, thanks for that, Kim, it's wrapped a smile on my face!

Shrinky said...

Hello Lori, I do love me a good rant sometimes (blush)! Thanks for the festive wishes, I just know you and the littles will have a wonderful day, how could you not, with so much love in your house?

Shrinky said...

Hi Kate, humph, we are snowed in as I type - no satellite TV, no grocery deliveries, and no way to make it out the drive. Hey-ho, at least the eldest and hubby made it home last night before the airport closed, it could be worse!

Shrinky said...

Hiya Rock Chef, ha, hubby has his birthday in August too, the jammy sod! Thanks for the kind words, it means a lot - have I told you you are one of my most favourite of bloggie friends? x

Shrinky said...

hey there Pat, always great to have you stopping by, you always say the nicest of things!

Shrinky said...

Awwwww Kristina, I'll be raising a glass to you and yours, too, on the day, hon (clink)! Hope it's a good one all round, eh? Give my best to hubby, tell him I commiserate on his birth date (wink)..

Shrinky said...

I'm simply returning the favour, Jackie-Sue (grin)!

Shrinky said...

Gee Kyna, you are sooooooooo full of heart, words simply escape me (as I sit on my hands and grind my teeth). Friends like you are rare, indeed.. teehee!

Shrinky said...

Chewy me darlin', if the three kings are wise, they won't be attempting my iced up driveway this side of Christmas (more's the pity). Ha, 'tis a shame the satellite telly has gone AWOL on me, channel 5 could well be the answer to a few headaches (hugs).

Shrinky said...

Steady on Dan, now you wouldn't be building up a girlies hopes here in vain, would you? Only, since you mention it, I've always thought Meryl Streep would play a fine me..

Shrinky said...

TechnoBabe, I am sure I stayed in there far too long than was wise, probably accounts for how mashed my brain came out, eh? (Wink)

Shrinky said...

hey Saz, how great to see you again, my friend! Oh (blush) don't be daft, the beauty of a self-portrait is you can iron out the wrinkles and crank up hue all you like - but that would be telling secrets..

Shrinky said...

Leslie, I hope you and yours have a wonderful day, and an even better new year, hon. My big sis' has a birthday on 6th jan, my lil' sis' celebrated her birthday on the 12th December - my Ma sure was fertile around the month of March!

Shrinky said...

Goodness Portia, are we really? I guess it was a good year (smile). Hope you have a Christmas surrounded by love and laughter, dear lady.

Shrinky said...

Cheeseboy, your dear old ma sounds like a woman after my own heart (giggle). Thanks for the lovely words, I truly appreceiate them!

Shrinky said...

Hi jj, I'm a terrible blogger as of late, I'm so glad you still choose to stick around! (Hugs) Thanks for the good wishes, too - I plan on enjoying every minute of having my brood back around me again. I hope it is every bit as special for you and yours too, hon. x

Shrinky said...

Hi Secret Agent, och come on now, that would be cheating, wouldn't it?

Shrinky said...

Hello my dear Anna, oh, you will see me next year, for sure - count on it! Time has this way of spinning by, doesn't it? I can't belive another year has almost gone. Hope you have a fun filled, loving Chirstmas hon!

Shrinky said...

Hey there cj, Bingle Jells to you too, my friend - I'll be raising a Martini to you on the day (grin)..

Shrinky said...

Ah cheers Akelamalu, and the same back again to you too, dear lady!

Shrinky said...

Ha, what a thought, Margaret - if that is true, no wonder she is a Saint! Happy Christmas my friend, I hope you are surrounded in love and laughter.

Putz said...

blimmy., methinks you are all english if anyone ever was<>>><<>it made me lalf to see a caff walk don the paff to take a baff<><><>it don't make no nere mind bit

Shrinky said...

Hey there Putz, well you are half right.. I'm actually Scottish, but I was raised in England, so I guess I do sound more English than Scots to most (smile)

mythopolis said...

Yes, Meryl Streep would be perfect! By the way, I am Richard Gere.

Ami said...

My birthday is exactly 2 weeks before Christmas.

My mom always said, "We will buy you a BIG present since your birthday is so close to Christmas."

And I always got something really lame.
::sigh::

Should I say happy birthday??

that girl said...

excellent post. you are so flippen funny. and i LOVE the pic. beautiful. happy christmas!

Shrinky said...

Oh crumbs, Dan is only a pseudomyn? People told me this might happen, you can never tell WHO you might meet in blogland - eeeek, I am soooo excited - I just loved you as that de-frocked Priest in the, ooh, what was it called again? Thornbirds .. ?? I have a script I'm polishing up - you're really going to like it, and stuff Meryl Streep, I think I'll play the lead role myself now..it involves a lot of new love scenes.

Shrinky said...

Ami, on behalf of all the recipients of lame gifts, may I wish you a happy belated birthday (grin)?

Shrinky said...

hey there, that girl - what's happened to your blog? Have you taken it down (pout)? Where ARE you?? Where ever you are, I'm sending lots of positive vibes your way for a wonderful, happy Chirstmas hon - hope to see you back in the new year (hugs).

Jinksy said...

Brilliant, m'dear! I'm sure you cope wonderfully, every year! LOL :)

Heff said...

Wait.....THERE'S NO SANTA ?!?!?

#1Nana said...

The portrait is lovely. At some point you will be greatful that your birthday gets lost in the holiday madness. Who needs to remind everyone that you're another year older. Best to stay forever young!

I will be sending you birthday greetings on your half-birthday in June. In the US there isn't any other holiday that day...is the same true in the UK?

Merry Christmas!

The Blue Zoo said...

Oh yes. I know.

My birthday is the day AFTER Christmas. When everyone is partied out and dead ass broke.

My bday was always an after thought. Some of my cheaper relatives would write Happy Birthday on my christmas present. Jerks.

The Blue Zoo said...

Oh, and I LOVE your pic!! =)

Shrinky said...

Hi Pen, aw, best foot forward and all that, eh? (Wink)

Shrinky said...

Oh Heffie-baby, shhhhhhhh, it's NOT true - okay?

Shrinky said...

Hello #1 Nana, I've never heard of such a thing celebrated over here, what a fun idea!

Shrinky said...

Haha, Blue Zoo, I seem to have tapped into a raw nerve with quite a few of us in here - perhaps we should all rise up and stage a march, "Full birthday rights for all!"?

Grandma's scrapbook said...

That was brilliant Merry Christmas Happy Birthday!

coopernicus said...

At first I thought I was reading an updated Dickens tale but I believe none of the Cratchet rug rats had a chistmas christening.
Be that as it may...
Merry bleedin' Christmas and
Happy Birthday...

I'm off to build a bicycle for under the tree...now where's that blow torch...

Nick said...

Better to be called Carol than another Christmasy name - something like....Wenceslas

Happy Christmas to you too.

Suldog said...

Well, damn it, Happy Birthday, Shrinky! That other fellow gets enough of it, so you can be first this year!

~Babs said...

WHOA,,what a beautiful portrait Shrinky!
A finer CHRISTMAS CAROL could never be found!

Here's two hugs:
One for Christmas
and one for Birthday.
XO

Paul C said...

Most entertaining read, filled with humorous anecdotes. Our family just experienced a late December birth and similar thoughts have come up about the competition this time of year.

Shrinky said...

Thank you Grandma's Scrapbook, hope you have a wonderful Christmas, too.

Shrinky said...

Haha, cheers Coopernicus, perhaps I should re-name this post, "A Christmas Carol"? (Smile)

Shrinky said...

Nick, now you come to mention it, guess we all have our cross to bear, eh? (Wink)

Shrinky said...

I akways knew I could count on you, Jim (hugs)..!

Shrinky said...

Aww Babs, I feel warmer already (toes curling)! Thank you pretty lady - hope yours is a wonderful Christmas, too. x

Shrinky said...

Hello Paul, many congratulations upon the new arrival - I'll bet Christmas will forever be that extra bit more special for you and yours, from here on out!

mythopolis said...

Merry Christmas to you, Incredible Shrinking Woman! Wish the best for you and the fam! D.

WhisperingWriter said...

Pretty picture.

I have a friend whose son was born on Christmas.

Merry Birthday!

Shrinky said...

Aw, thanks Dan. I am so pleased to have made a dear friend this year, you always lift my heart and make me smile (x)!

Shrinky said...

Cheers Whispering Writer, I hope you and yours have a peaceful and loving Christmas, surrounded by laughter and joy.

gaelikaa said...

I used to feel sorry for people born at Christmas cos they only got one present.

Hilary said...

Awww poor diva! ;) I wish you the happiest of birthdays and a very merry Christmas for you and yours.

Shrinky said...

Hi Gaelikaa, ah to be honest, it isn't so bad really - I just like the excuse to have a rant (grin)!

Shrinky said...

Aww, thanks Hilary - I wish the same for you, too, dear lady!

laughingwolf said...

my older daughter was born xmas eve... but we always held her party up to a week before, so as not to interfere w/xmas...

holiday blessings to you and yours, cutie ;) lol

Shrinky said...

Hi there Laughing Wolf, aw now, here I rest my case - how come MY parents couldn't have been that sensible? I shall raise a glass to your daughter come Christmas Eve..

Life, Laughter and Paris said...

Happy Birthday Shrinky! Thank God we don't have voice comments or you'd have to suffer through my awful singing of 'Happy Birthday To You'. Sorry to hear about Christmas horning in on your special day. Never mind, you know it's really all about YOU! (Christmas message under separate cover) :)

Sniffles and Smiles said...

Happy Birthday, dearest Carol!!!! You are so beautiful!!! What a wonderful self-portrait!! And your writing is superb as usual!! Just stopping by to wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas!!! Love you much!! ~Janine xoxo

tattytiara said...

Two days in labour with a 10+ lb baby? Something tells me that Santa story wasn't so much for your benefit as it was to help your mother block out the actual memory. Yowza!

Gorgeous portrait, my dear, and a very, very happy birthday from one December baby to another!

Kit Courteney said...

Happy Birthday Carol!

Have a wonderful day.

And Merry Christmas to you and your lovely family :) x

Skunkfeathers said...

Merry Christmas from the former Colonies across the Pond ;-)

SJ said...

Too bad I didn't do a Christmas post this year. I would have managed to scribble in a tiny font somewhere below between the disclaimer and the PS a "Happy Birthday Carol" :)

Shrinky said...

Hi there Life, laughter and Paris, aw now, here's a gal with the right attitude (grin) - thanks hon, hope you had a lovely Christmas, too!

Shrinky said...

Hey Janine, how lovely to see you in here (hugs)! Christmas was wonderful, as was my birthday - I hope yours was, too!x

Shrinky said...

Hi there Tatty! You too? Aww, never mind - hope it was a good one, anyway! ((hugs))

Shrinky said...

Cheers Kit, and the same right back to you, too! (Smile)

Shrinky said...

Hiya Skunk, thanks hon - guess I'll be visiting you next year!

Shrinky said...

Hi SJ, it's about time you got yourself back in here (arms crossed, foot tapping), you put up a new post yet? (I'm only teasing..) Hope you had a Merry Christmas, and are looking forward to a great New Year!

Grandma's scrapbook said...

I wish to you a Happy New Year, and let it be a year of your climb !

Parabolic Muse said...

Oh, for heaventy sakes. You posted this on the 17th?!? What the hell have I been doing?!? Well, I was sickly, but that's not the point. I enjoyed this, even if some of it wasn't enjoyable! I was a big surprise, too, but the story isn't really for the telling... You have my sympathies and I don't think it's at ALL crass!!

My mom's nurse at the hospital named me. Mom ran clean out of names by the time I got here!

I hope you feel much more fabulouser!

mythopolis said...

Hi Meryl. Just been going through the script about our scenes.....seems sorta steamy, but, we are professionals and I am sure we can make it work. Looking forward to seeing you in Belize. Yours truly, Richard Gere. : ) PS, Love the locks!

Shrinky said...

Thank you Grandma's scrapbook, let's hope 2011 proves to be a wonderful year for all of us!

Shrinky said...

Haha Chrissie, your Ma and mine had a fair amount in common then! When my lil' sis' finally arrived on the scene, the naming of her was passed over to my big sis' and me. We named her after a doll we had (Lainee)!

Shrinky said...

Hey there Richard, I can't believe the nerve of these producer's - they obviously haven't told you, then? I've been asked to SCREEN TEST for the part, since that scrawny Julia Roberts has expressed an interest in the role. Apparently, she feels you and her have far better chemistry together - pah, as if! I'll have my agent call you..

(Flouncing out of the room, and slamming the door behind.)

Middle Child said...

What Rock Chief said - I love your stories - and what beautiful green eyes you have...my sister was born on Christmas eve - the last of us five - but that was much better than Chrissie day as we held her birthday separate...

phaseoutgirl said...

Carol.. This is such a beautiful photo!