As with many, Xmas for me has to be endured rather than enjoyed. My daughter in Yorkshire invites me but I don’t really want to leave London. I get invited to other families’ celebrations but I’m an uneasy guest. So a few years ago I invited a close friend and her son. This seems to work well. It is really another meal with close friends. This year I found the preparation of the traditional turkey and trimmings enjoyable as there was no time pressure. Timing can be tricky, so I carefully prepared a timetable to bring the vegetables and turkey to a collective finishing time. Feeling sorry for those like me, who feel estranged from the enforced jollity of the festive season and its attendant consumer pressure, I invited my Hungarian gardener to join us too.
Rather than slump in front of a mediocre television schedule with mince pies, stilton and port, I bought a board game called Smart Ass. It is in the style of Trivial Pursuits. There were six questions of increasing ease to identify a place, object or person. The skill comes in timing your answer, as if it is wrong then the other person can wait till the end of all the questions. There was a location question on Prague. The first was ” I was unharmed during World War 2 “, too imprecise, but I blurted out Salzburg on “Mozart visited me for the premier of Don Giovanni”. In fact I recently re-read “Mozart’s Journey to Prague” for that opening which shows you that under pressure or under influence mistakes can be made. There was also a pack of tougher questions called hard ass. The game was competitive, informative and fun. It took us enjoyably till 8-30, when my guests left.
It’s over for another year.