And so this is Christmas....

...and here's what we've done.

Well, what a lovely Christmas Day that was. Pretty much a perfect day from start to finish.

We got up at the usual time, in the pitch dark, rekindled the woodburner and gave the cats their Christmas breakfast, the dog his turkey Caesar, and the wild birds a special fat ball with dried insects.

We'd already had our big Christmas meal with friends on the 22nd, when 10 of us sat around the table, each bringing a dish (pork loin, nut roast, chocolate mousse...) - a lovely stress-free way of spending Christmas, so on the day itself, there was no pressure - just the DH and I, opening pressies over breakfast.

Having been married since the Ark, we tend to choose our main presents for ourselves, and he had gotten me a bottle of vintage 1985 Mitsouko, chosen by me and paid for by my sister, since we can't buy Guerlain on Ebay from France. Meanwhile, I gave him a mystery box containing something he'd ordered for himself (it turned out to be a microphone for podcasting).

Our other presents, however, were indeed surprises - for him, books and DVDs and for me, to my astonishment, a Kindle. I'm made up. I've been resisting a Kindle for a long time because I like to be absolutely certain with technology that it's really going to be worth it. But since we've formed a book club locally, a Kindle has become a more useful entity, as it enables us to pass books around more easily. First up, the first Rebus book, Knots and Crosses, and The Year of the Hare, which I'm meant to read by January 9. 

Presents from others included, as ever from my sister, items for keeping warm in our medieval house (this year, microwaveable slippers: in previous years, kalmuks, fleece blankets with sleeves and even a Billy Connolly Big Slipper); lovely Neal's Yard toiletries; chocolates; and - again from my sister - a beautiful bottle green velvet coat with a fake fur collar. Many years ago I had a bottle green velvet coat that I adored, but which my arsehole boyfriend destroyed, as he hated me in it, so it is very nice to have one back again. 

Time was, the DH and I would have Buck's Fizz for breakfast, then stagger around all day, but these days we are more abstemious people, so after breakfast I had a bath, put the chicken on to cook, and we went for a walk over the surrounding fields. Our dog Zola was diagnosed with congestive heart failure on Christmas Eve, so we were keen not to tire him, but a short walk allowed him to run around at his own pace, and then back we went for lunch - farm chicken on a bed of ginger and garlic, with roast peppers and fennel, followed by apple and chocolate ice-cream. 

After that, it was watching Day of the Jackal (one of the DH's DVDs), a natter to the family in England, and a leetle sleep, then we made our Christmas donation to microcredit organisation Kiva.org, loaning money this time to people in Georgia for animal feed, and a women's collective in Peru. For some years now, we have sent e-cards and given money saved to Kiva, and the total is now rolling over at about $300. I highly recommend Kiva as an organisation, as it helps people to help themselves.

So, several Carry On movies and one Royle Family Christmas Special later, we rolled off to bed. A fabby day, and today - hopefully - a good swim and then some gardening.

Merry Christmas, one and all.  

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