Friday, 18 December 2009

On the 18th day of Advent ...

A tummy upset or a fleeting hint of flu or something. Although it didn't really start like that. It started with Quality Street. And Roses. And bite size pieces of Stollen from Marks and Sparks. And more Quality Street.

After managing to be organised enough, it is my last day at work until January. And the office seems to be knee deep in a never-really-decreasing supply of the aforementioned treats, although I remain uncertain as to who are our benefactors.

When I was a child, I'd feel incredibly lucky if I got some Quality Street for Christmas – they were the height of sophistication. And the shiny foil wrappers, in a rainbow of colours, could be carefully smoothed out and then used for some sort of craft project. These days, shiny sweet papers are loosely scrunched into balls and tossed to an excitable cat who bats them around until loosing them under the sofa.

I pulled out a few of this selection this morning – and after two, put the rest back. I'd never fully realised just how full of sugar and milk they are – pretty much devoid of yer actual chocolate.

It was supposed to be the Christmas disco this evening, but at around noon, I started feeling queasy. By 1.45pm, I'd decided that there was only one thing for it: home Jeeves and don't spare the horses, followed by an afternoon curled up on the sofa with extra layers of clothing, heat and a supply of Lemsip. My editor concurred and by just after 2pm I was back home.

A Lemsip, a couple of Bovrils and two episodes of Star Trek later, I was feeling remarkably relaxed and, even though still a little queasy, the aching muscles had calmed and the headache gone. I was in the mood for a chick flick. I don't exactly have a vast collection – but I do have a copy of The Devil Wears Prada, which I bought a couple of years ago and has been sitting on the shelf waiting to be viewed.

And that rather seemed to do the trick. It's funny – Meryl Streep is hilarious as ├╝ber-bitch editor Miranda Priestly, while Emily Blunt and Stanley Tucci also turn in cracking performances in support and Anne Hathaway avoids being too bland as the PA who doesn't care for the world of coutoure.

It actually manages to make one or two little points – not least that saying that you exclude yourself from the world of fashion is impossible, since everything, even on the High Street, is influenced and guided by what starts on the catwalks. It could, of course, have gone further to point out that claiming that you exempt yourself – and even actively trying to do so – is every bit as much of a fashion statement as treating the glossies like religious texts.

A couple of episodes of Sex and the City followed, accompanied by potato farls that I'd found the evening before in Waitrose, having not seen them since my youth. I toasted them and slathered them with wonderfully salty French butter. It wasn't health food, but it was yet another tonic for the fading queasiness.

So, for all that I missed the final big bash of my Christmas season, I ended up thoroughly relaxed and feeling better, and ready for the coming period.

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