Friday, 25 December 2015

Another Christmas party

Tall masted boat moored in the harbour
Boston Harbour, June 2015
You may have noticed that I haven't been reading as many books as usual. This is, in part, due to two new podcasts which have taken the place of my regular audiobook listening, but also because I've been generally doing jobs that need doing or watching films on DVD instead of reading. The films I've seen in December have been rather good too: Mr Holmes (Ian McKellan as Sherlock Holmes is 93 and looking after bees), Amy (Amy Winehouse sings beautifully but is troubled and it doesn't end well), Key Largo (Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall act their socks off), London Road (a musical about the Ipswich prostitute murders, much better than it sounds), Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (humans vs apes and, like Amy, it doesn't end well), And When Did You Last See Your Father? (based on a book by the poet and author Blake Morrison about the death of his father with an absolutely stellar cast).

Aside from my DVD watching it is that time of year again, holidays are approaching and overpriced Christmas celebrations abound. Despite the opportunity to attend at least six of these due to being part of the Venn diagram of intersecting Dietitians, Diabetes teams, Hospitals and Badminton Clubs, I elected this year to attend just one event, with the Diabetes team in the hospital where I work. In fact I've also signed up for the Christmas event organised by badminton club #2 but this has been postponed until January, a strategy of which I thoroughly approve.

So, posh overpriced Christmas dinner event with the Diabetes team took place in a marquee to allow the upmarket venue to rake in even more money from punters determined to celebrate Christmas in the way that seems to have become compulsory - dinner, entertainment, disco. We had a local DJ running the entertainment part, which involved an element of competitiveness in order to win various prizes that I didn't want - but I know I am not the typical attendee. As usual, I wasn't drinking, which I have to admit spoils the fun a bit because I start to tire of pissed-up young women squealing in excitement and falling off their vertiginous heels. What a spoilsport I am, not wanting to spend the evening with the aim of consuming as much alcohol as is practically possible.

My abstinence also backfired when I was nominated as the 'Leader of the table'. The DJ/host invited each table to nominate their leader for unspecified duties at a later time, and I was unanimously elected, with the justification that my sobriety would enable us to win whatever prize was on offer without effort. One competition involved answering ten questions in a minute in order to win £1000, and my protests that I was a really poor choice for this kind of quiz went unheeded. In the event I wasn't chosen to compete, thank goodness. Most of the others on the table knew 8 or 9 of the answers even though they had quaffed a good deal of strong drink; I managed about 5 due to my complete ignorance of any music or TV or 'celebrities' that may have appeared since 1990. For goodness sake, I've only watched one TV programme in the last five years. The other duty of the 'Leader of the table' was to compete in a dance-off, and the less said about that the better. We didn't win anything.

My last complaint about the event (oh, how negative I am) was that the disco included only recent tunes. My preference is obviously for an era when they knew how to write catchy songs that are great for dancing, the obvious exceptions being Come On Eileen and anything that has actions associated with it (the Macarena, and that one where you sit down and pretend to be rowing etc). Where were the 80's hits? Even Abba would have been welcome. I did my best however, and the Lady Shoes left my feet suitably bruised and painful. So that's it for this year's festive dancing.

On a more positive note - I discovered that the computer system that mysteriously calculates annual leave days has clearly uncovered more goat entrails, because although I thought I had virtually no days left until March, in fact I have a bit more than a week! I am torn between the idea of having an extra week skiing (I already have a week booked late in the season) or concentrating on getting my house into a fit state for civilised habitation. Skiing or house? House or skiing? I have a feeling that skiing will win. Seize the day and all that, who knows how long I will be able to maintain this glorious level of fitness?

The scratch choir I joined has delivered its festive message to two churches and one hospital, and the clarinet group has also contributed to a lovely concert alongside flutes and saxophones led by our enthusiastic music director. I have also consumed one festive lunch at work, and at the time of writing there's one badminton match and a couple of quiet days at work remaining before all is suspended for the holidays, although Parkrun is still happening on Boxing Day and I'm intending to be there.

A very Happy Christmas to one and all.

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