December 11, 2014


Pete and I have never spent Christmas entirely alone, and this year will be no exception, with 8 year old Bernard making it worth all the effort. But for the first time ever, there will be no extended family involved. A few months ago, I was asked by a friend to be her doula. I gave it some thought, and agreed, and it turns out that her baby is due in early January. The on-call period we’ve agreed covers christmas, but excludes 24/25/26 December. This is going to be my driest December in a long time.

Initially we didn’t know she would exclude those dates, so thinking I was actually on call over christmas itself, we made lots of contingency plans. And this is how we came up with Pentival (named by Pete, blame him).

Pentival starts on our traditional start-of-christmas day, which is the winter solstice, 21st December. It’s a Sunday so we’re all off work, and provided I’m not at the birth then we will do some or all of the following: go geocaching, give each other nice presents of sensible things like cosy pyjamas, eat pancakes, light candles.

Pete has to work on the 22nd and 23rd, provided I’m not at the birth, so we’ve planned some things for me and Bernard: Monday is going to be clearing out space for new stuff, giving away old toys and things to charity, and donating to the foodbank. We might make mince pies for the foodbank too. Tuesday is going to be games and movies day, possibly going to see Paddington if it’s still on at the cinema provided I’m not at the birth, and getting takeaway pizza for tea. This is, in Bernard’s opinion, the very pinnacle of luxury dining.

By Christmas Eve, there is no more “provided I’m not at the birth” for a few days, so the first thing I’m going to do is get monumentally drunk. Pete is proudly a quarter Polish, and as you know we have long had Hungarian connections, so we are going to have a sort-of Hunpolish style Christmas with Pörkölt (what you would call goulash) and yule log, if we haven’t already done that. I know the real tradition in eastern Europe is fish soup, but that’s where I draw the line. We are planning a Together Present for the 24th, which will probably be premium membership to and the release of a few trackables. This will mean nothing to most of you.

And then on the 25th, with no grandparents to satisfy, we can do whatever the hell we please. At the moment, this is likely to be a long geocaching walk with a picnic, and then come home to roast beef, yorkshire pudding, and all the fixins. And at some point, the presents. If it rains, then just presents.

That’s our plan for this year; what’s yours?


3 thoughts on “Pentival

  1. 20th: Jenny’s birthday. Too close to Christmas for my usual diy party so we are having millions of kids at david Lloyd.
    21st: decs up, I will be allowed to play Michael Buble. Nine lessons and carols in the parish church with the brass band (last year, on our way out, the vicar said “thank you for coming, are you with the band?” I clearly look ungodly.
    22nd: my parents overnight. We might go for pre-Christmas Chinese or I might cook. They bring an amazing buche de Noel, which we might eat then or we might save for the 24th.
    23rd: panto!
    24th: trad veg prep, etc. Trad pop into town to go to the cheese shop. I want to go to the cathedral and see their narnia display which is supposed to be lovely, and go up the tower that is open to the public for the first time in supposedly 1000 years.
    25th: just the five of us 🙂 presents, champagne, roast duck.
    26th: big walk.

  2. The children are away the weekend before Christmas with their Mum so Saturday will be wrapping things, shopping etc. Sunday we are going to Robin Ince’s show at the Bloomsbury in the evening so we will probably make a day of it – maybe visit the stegosaurus at the Natural History Museum. Possible the V&A as I haven’t been there for a while.

    Back to work Monday but off on the 23rd with the kids – I have intentions of doing forcing Christmas crafts on them.

    Working on Christmas eve till lunchtime ish. My parents and sister will then arrive. No kids Christmas morning so a leisurely start – then the turkey thing for lunch.

    Kid’s arrive back mid-afternoon so presents etc. Some extended family on Boxing day. So buffet lunch etc.

    Off to the Barbican for Henry IV parts 1 & 2 on the 27th. With dinner in between hopefully.

    28th at the in-laws in the Cotswold where they will give the kids obscene quantities of stuff.

    All in all fairly busy but there should be plenty of time to chill out in between the things. I’m very much looking forward to the whole thing.

    Ms Gammidgy on December 11, 2014
  3. PLAN: Find a quiet corner away from extended family and eat carpetburgers whilst drinking Belgian beer.


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