SS Mary and John church on the corner of Cowley Road and Leopold St is about as close to Catholic, in terms of ceremonial and so on, as you can come without actually kissing the ring of the Pontiff. There were a whole group of guys in robes doing processional with crosses and one swinging an incense laden censer around the whole proceeding. The service itself was fairly unsurprising, the church comfortable and warm. Some of the responses were sung, which only really works if everyone knows the tune or if you have a strong choir to lead, neither of which we had but the carols were lovely. The prayers were all lead, which fitted with the high church feel of the whole thing, and the communion was surprisingly quick. The effect of all the ceremony on top of the slight tipsiness induced by the earlier entertainment combined to give me a slightly zoned out sensation somehow. It made me very thoughtful about the whole experience -in some ways to me Christmas Eve is the more focused religious day. We contemplate the day to come and it's meaning both then and now. On the day itself, we focus on more personal relationships. Afterwards, we split and Alex and I walked home in the mild night.
The next morning, I didn't even have to wake Alex up - we both surfaced naturally at about 9:30am, and after a brief relaxing cuddle came downstairs to get on with the business of the morning - the presents. Alex had got me Charlie's Angels on DVD, which is great fun and a really beautiful white gold necklace which you can see in my new icon :) I also got a very stylish purple vase from my brother and various other pretty, fun and/or useful things. Alex seemed pretty pleased with his presents and we settled down - him to install Neverwinter Nights while both of us watched Charlie's Angels, or at least the first half.
After a while though, I had to step up to my next challenge - I was cooking Christmas dinner. My first ever roast was going to be a duck. I had the instructions from Delia and I'd sat down and written a timeline for the whole process so I was cautiously confident. And, apart from getting a small burn on my hand while I was draining fat from the roasting tray, the whole thing went according to plan! The duck came out really well, the potatoes and parsnips were fine, the stuffing and the veg was ready at the right time and the gravy wasn't horribly lumpy. Mum had made us a Christmas pudding (complete with the wishes of the reception classes she works with), which Jeremy showed me how to light in suitably dramatic fashion :) She'd also made a tofu penguin for Neal, our veggie guest which he was able to gut with great pleasure while we enjoyed our duck. The whole thing put me on rather a high in the end - I felt very pleased with myself for the rest of the afternoon and I'm definitely planning to use my roasting tray more than once a year.
After the dinner we settled down to the traditional post Christmas dinner pursuit - a board game. In Norfolk it would have been Scrabble but I don't have that so deluxe Monopoly was the order of the day. For a while it looked quite finely balanced but then the dice went Neals way and he ended up with all the 100 pound notes in the bank! After that we switched to Chez Geek while enjoying the various chocolates and mince pies available. Eventually, we decided that we'd head back to Jeremy's for a few light snacks and a game of Fridays, which is one of my fave cheapass games. Finally, Alex and I came home together and went to bed, tired after a wonderful day.
Thanks Alex for being a wonderful, perfect boyfriend, Jez, Dez and Neal for making my day fun and enjoying my cooking, and everyone who sent me gifts or cards for your kind thoughts. I hope you all enjoyed your Christmas celebration if you had one and that you have a good New Year.