Round Robin

It's that time of year again! The carols, the fairy lights and the round robins dropping like bricks into the peace of family life. Christmas newletters are a literary challenge that I've never attempted, yet to which I have admiringly aspired. The ingredients are pretty straightforward: list the triumphs of your children and the traumas of people noone else will have heard of and season liberally with exclamation marks to make the plod through your engagement diary sound exciting. And so here, presented with requisite smugness, is my first attempt at communal Christmas cheer:

Our year began, as usual, on Jan 1st. I lay under the duvet thinking: 'Goodness, do I have the energy to face 2011?!', but as usual my wonderful children revitalised me. They came and lay on my face and trumpeted a salute to the dawn on their new plastic recorders. 
Both of them are very musical. Small son has mastered F Sharp on his instrument and we're hoping he'll branch out into B flat come 2012, so that he can serenade us with alternating notes. Daughter has taken up the piano with great verve. She insists on practising with the door shut and with Lady Gaga in the background for the beat, but when I last put an ear to the keyhole she seemed to have mastered John Cage's silent masterpiece '4'33"' with perfect fluency.
All in all, it's been a proud twelve months for our pair who, as we often chuckle to ourselves, have a lot more energy than we do!! Both of them frequently have green ticks on their homework books and sometimes even a comment in the teacher's own handwriting! 
Small Son was give a Level One award after swimming an amazing five metres!! He sank like a stone half way through, but the backwash of other bodies carried him the rest of the distance and I wept with pride when he was presented with his certificate! Most amazing of all for us proud parents, both of them have turned a year older! Where does the time go?!!
February 2011 was a month of culture: the Vicar and I nearly went to see 'The King's Speech'. We found a lovely babysitter and drove to the cinema on the dual carriageway, which reserves the right to frisk patrons because some of them keep knives in their bags. The Vicar always takes his best chopping knife with him to holiday lets because other people's kitchens are never equipped with ones sharp enough for vegetables juliennes, so its encouraging that our young people go forth prepared for every culinary eventuality. 
So there we were with our tub of popcorn on our first night out in a year and we sat there for nearly an hour before we realised we were in the wrong auditorium, by which time the film was half over in the right one, so we had to go home again and have oven chips!! It was great fun, though, to see Heineken adverts on a really big screen, so the evening wasn't wasted and the babysitter got a fiver, so she was happy too!!!
April was overshadowed by drains! No matter how many times I gouged leaves and snails and lumps of the Vicar's breakfast porridge (!!) from the drain outside the kitchen door, then globs of the previous night's supper would start streaming across the patio when I emptied the washing up bowl!! Soul-destroying! But then I thought of the poor people in Syria and Afghanistan and all they have to put up with and it did help put my own troubles into perspective. 
May 2nd saw us lunching with Sheila and Donald. We booked into Pizza Express and heavy traffic meant we arrived ten minutes late, but luckily they kept the table for us! Donald's been having a hard time with his in-growing toe-nail, but he was able to masticate on an American Hot in spite of it. Such an inspiration!
Summer saw me take over the Sunday School after our lovely teacher moved away to a village where people where people use blunter knives and bake their own tortillas! There comes a time when every woman needs an Aga!! I was a bit nervous as you might imagine (!), but it's amazing how a Pritt Stick and a loo roll tube can bring young minds to Jesus!
Hot on the heels of Summer came Autumn... and over the next two tightly-typed pages you can read how I nearly renovated the garden loo, of the really cute thing our tabby did with the Vicar's dog collar, of the awful thing that happened with Moira's alimentary canal, of how the Eurozone crisis affected my seasonal order from the Argos catalogue and how I tried my hand at growing beetroot.....   

And so another marathon year draws to a close! A very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all!


  1. Where are the missing pages? Bring 'em on!

  2. Dear Anna,
    I did so much enjoy reading all the news of your wonderful family. How they all seem to be thriving and growing up. Doesn't time fly? Where does the time go? It seems like only yesterday and can they all really be that age already!!!
    I know you will be pleased to hear that our family have also had a another year and are all a year older than this time last year. Hard to believe but it's true!!! I won't bore you with the details but here are a few snippets (essays, videos, picures of artwork, and recordings of various school concerts) from our year.
    Wishing you and yours as wonderful a year ahead as our year has been,
    Your colleague from 1978,

  3. You might joke, Midlifesinglemum, but friends of friends of ours, who like to parade their expensive holidays and over-achieving children every Christmas, have decided that printed letters are too small a platform for their glory and so they refer their Christmas card recipients to a website dedicated to their family and its 2011 achievements!

  4. I have been subjected to YouTube links of gifted children playing their Grade 3 piano pieces!!

  5. Fabulous!!! I love exclamation marks! Almost as much as Kerry Katona does!!! You are both an inspiration :) !!

  6. No pictures? Not even of Donald's in-growing toe nail?

  7. I may just copy this to send to everyone who sends us a round robin.

    You really do need a photo of all the family in matching festive jumpers though.

    Fab post. Love it.

  8. Brilliant. Loved reading this. Je detest Round Robins - recently had one from an aunt with ALOT of money and all she goes on about, every year, is all the trips around the world she's been on ... I find it a tad distasteful.

  9. That really made me laugh. It will add an extra little glow to any we receive. Really funny.

  10. I'm, quite literally, crying laughing. I'm going to show this to my mother who receives a Round Robin letter every year from the same person. Perhaps she could try her own next time. Although I'm not sure she could bring herself to be quite so liberal with the exclamation marks.

  11. My heart goes out to Sheila. We have an ingrowing toenail in our house too and it's dominating everything this week - it's always we women that suffer most!

    Fab piece - great fun!

  12. Can't wait for the next two pages. Loving your writing.

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