It would be completely false to give the impression that my Christmas was brought down by computer backup problems. I actually had a great time, as this and the next post will reveal.
Let's kick off with Christmas Eve. I was going out that evening, and decided to wear a long dress that, strictly speaking, was more suitable for a visit to the opera in summer. But I couldn't resist. Here I am, trying it on at home. I was wearing my pearl necklace, and intended to put my hair up at some point. For a bag, it had to be the glamorous black Prada, what else! Underneath, no bra, just panties and hold-ups - possibly a little too unseasonal? - but I intended to take a black angora cardigan to keep the chill at bay, and in any case I had for my outer garment the classier of my two long grey Windsmoor overcoats. Black flats completed the ensemble.
The shot above wasn't a 'selfie'. I got my cleaning lady T--- to take it. Here she is, hoovering my study a few minutes earlier:
She's a very cheerful person. She's been cleaning for me since the middle of 2010, but has known me since from the early days of my transition - three and a half years already! A trusted ally.
Anyway, satisfied that my kit would pass muster, I left T--- to it, climbed aboard Fiona - with the Veuve Cliquot champagne in the Prada bag, but (of course) forgetting the angora cardigan at the last moment - and we raced off to Brighton. By six o'clock I was at V---'s.
It was going to be a mixture of her family and friends, but sans the children. The initial line-up consisted of V---; her sister C--- (over from Paris); fellow-shopowner A---; friends B--- and her husband I---; K--- (helping with the cooking); J---; and myself. Later on, after the meal, we were joined by I---'s sons T--- and A---, both down that evening from London; and then even later by V---'s youngest daughter L--- who came in at midnight with romantic news. I knew everyone except the two sons. So eventually there were eleven of us. Plus Co-Co the little dog.
First things first. Champagne! There was Lanson Black Label on ice. (There was in fact so much Lanson Black Label in the house that we never did open my bottle of Veuve Cliquot, but V--- is keeping it for whatever celebration turns up early in 2014) And not only champagne, but smoked salmon and pâté on toast, so much that the two sons T--- and A--- were able to snack satisfactorily on the remains despite missing the main meal.
Champagne has an amazing effect. You become so frivolous!
Then V--- and B--- helped me put my hair up.
I checked the effect in better light in the bathroom. The photos tell me how to gather the hair, ready for pins or a claw, and what the result looks like - so they are in fact instructional and not just narcissistic (that's my line, anyway).
At some point - if the photos do not lie - we broke into a song. Here's V---, B---, K--- and myself doing an ABBA. Mama mia! But it was the champagne singing. I'm pretty sure nobody said Thank You For The Music.
Then we sat down to eat at the main table, which was groaning with plates and bottles, and the lovely food that V--- and K--- and cooked. Crackers were pulled, jokes were read, paper hats put on (then taken off, because you needed to be a pinhead to wear them), and there seemed to be much to laugh about while eating.
V---, by popular request, played on the piano:
And thus the evening passed, full of fun and good cheer. I had a lovely time. As it happened, the cardigan would not have been needed. After midnight, I dropped K--- and J--- off on the return journey. I had paced myself well. I felt full up, but there was no hangover or headiness whatever. Just as well, because next day, Christmas Day, it was going to be the turn of my own family, and I wanted to be fresh for that. Tomorrow's post.