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Y mother is stalking me on poultry-related matters.

MShe is kindly providing the fowl for our Christmas feast. Which has resulted in many phone calls where we rate the pros and cons of fresh versus frozen.

I have been quite lackadaisical in my responses so far, what with me having a very tiny human to keep alive and all.

I didn't understand her enthusiasm for the festive centrepiece, not at this early stage of Advent. Until my sister-in-law laughed and told me that Christmas is three days away. Three days? Mr C and I looked at each other askance. Surely she had the same faulty calendar as my mother? Alas no, they were right. We have nothing. Not a sausage. (Or rather, not a pig-in-blanket.) We had, with the wild enthusiasm of those who arrogantly assume their baby will arrive late, invited family over for Christmas dinner.

We figured it would solve the issue of me being too fat to function. I'd just lay on the sofa, like a beached whale and have folk feed me at regular intervals.

Since our daughter was born, a week and a half ago, time has stood still. We live in a wonderful haze of feeds and nappy changes, exchanging offers of sleep, the way we used to whisper sweet nothings to each other.

There is no food in the house to feed anyone over the age of six months. I'm briefly tempted to just offer all guests a boob on arrival, but I'm still at the amateur stage, so there may not be enough to go round.

I'm loath to trust online shopping with the most important meal of the year. I'm still trying to live down last year's debacle, where I managed to somehow order a singular sprout and my family made me cook and present it on a plate for them.

Plus these supermarkets have a habit of unapologetically going rogue with their replacement items. I have visions of our Yuletide table, resplendent with six slices of beef because they'd ran out of joints, and presumed I wouldn't notice. It's a fair shout.

I nearly answered the door to my mother and father-in-law naked from the waist up yesterday because I'd been wee-wee'd on three hours earlier and forgotten to find a new top, so failing to clock that Christmas lunch has been replaced by deli sandwich fillers.

And what about the paraphernalia that everyone expects with their parsnips and sage stuffing? The crackers? And Christmas pudding? Where will I get those, three days before Christmas? I vaguely recall that festivethemed crisps are big this year. Will 20 bowls of those do? I remember agonising over last year's Christmas outfit. I'd got engaged three days earlier, and needed to wear something that would show the ring off to maximum ability. This year I may just about manage to brush my hair.

Our daughter has eight Christmas outfits to choose from. I'm going to have to change her every hour, like she's hosting her own awards show.

Alcohol. Neither Mr C or I drink. But we get given a lot of the stuff. So we've enough to throw our own stag do in the garage,. Could we just get our guests so hammered, they don't notice we didn't serve them any food? Then wax lyrical about the imaginary three-course meal that took place.

We can't even rely on our local corner shop to provide us with overpriced, second rate food items. Their suppliers went bust a few weeks ago and their shelves remain a barren wasteland.

Even their PS8 blocks of cheese have been purchased now. Such are the depths people will stoop to, in times of shortage. PS8 for a little block of cheddar. What's the world coming to? They say it's the thought that counts. So maybe we can all just sit around, thinking of great meals we've enjoyed at Christmases gone by.

I feel blessed beyond belief this Christmas. I have everything I have ever wanted. A beautiful baby. A husband who adores us both. A loving extended family to spend the day with.

(Will they still love me when they leave our home Christmas night, stomachs rumbling and visions of roast potatoes dancing in their heads?) I pray you are equally happy and loved this December 25th. And that you remembered that it actually WAS December 25th.

I hope that Santa is good to you.

And that you are even better to one another. Have a peaceful day, cherish every second of it. And I'll catch you on the other side.

There is no food in the house to feed anyone over six months
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Dec 22, 2017
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