It’s the 7th January.
If anyone wonders why you don’t, as a rule, get that Christmas tree up until the last possible moment before (British) Christmas, then the fact that in the Solnushka household you are still deep in the holiday season should be reason enough. The midwinter blowout won’t be over until Old New Year on the 15th. If you last that long.
Sadly, you have mixed feelings about today. No sooner had you got the Star sleeping though the night – twice is a routine in your book – than you, well, B, decided to introduce him to the delights of an evening Orthodox Service to mark Christmas Eve. Although not, you would like to point out, the midnight one.
Luckily, the church was warm with the sound of singing, bustling with people some of whom were even ready to stop and coo, and lit up with candles reflected in shiny things, all of which is the Star’s idea of a really fascinating place to be. And they have a room in the back where when even this fails to sufficeyou could go and have a comfortable chat with another mother of a small infant whilst being soothed by the industrious flower arranging and cake baking that the women of the parish were doing in preparation for the main event later on.
However, it was getting on rather by the time you got home, and so the Star, whilst obviously refreshed in soul and chewing quite contentedly on his Piglet toy, was not in the mood for settling down for a full night’s sleep. Although he did keep the wakings down to two and was reasonably amenable to being put firmly back down again once soothed.
Mind you, the restlessness could just as well be the result of bananas. These seem to block the Star up somewhat. Unfortunately, you only identified bananas as the probable cause of the problem – delving with gritted teethinto the baby books you reluctantly keep on hand for just this kind of eventuality - after you had given the Star banana for breakfast again this morning. Ah well. Prunes tonight for both of you. Well, if the caffeine seeps into the milk, then surely the prune juice does too?
Thankfully you aren’t doing much today, as you are having yours and his families over for dinner on Saturday. Actually, thinking on that, you probably should be doing much. Tidying anyway.
That’s OK though as you have been quite energetic previously this season.
Christmas was spent at your parents’ house. If you were in a bitchy mood you would liken cooking for the Star in your Mother’s kitchen to participating in some kind of extreme sport, but in fact you will reserve that comment for the description of getting from A to B in a suburban semi which now contains not only all your parents’ furniture but quite a lot of you (Paternal) Granny’s and (Maternal) Grandad’s as well. And you have the bruises to prove it.
Still, despite yours and the Star’s colds doing their best to keep you down, you both managed to have a good Christmas Day. The Star enjoyed the wrapping paper, you enjoyed his presents and everyone enjoyed the food. You know you are getting old, though, when you are the one snoring in front of the TV in the afternoon.
New Year you spent at home, also watching TV. Which was more entertaining than it sounds because you now have Russian TV (via satellite) as well as the standard British channels.
So you first had a warm nostalgic feeling watching the Russian equivalent to the Christmas Bond film/ It’s a Wonderful Life/ Mary Poppins. Called The Irony of Fate or With a Light Steam, it’s about a man who gets very drunk on his stag do and ends up in St Petersburg instead of Moscow. He, of course, doesn’t realise it so sets off home and as there is a street with exactly the same name as his and a lot of Soviet apartment blocks look alike, he still doesn’t get it until after he has gatecrashed some woman’s intimate New Year’s dinner with her boyfriend. With hilarious consequences. And he gets the girl in the end.*
Then you did Russian karaoke, as the Russian New Year countdown program has singalonga words across the bottom of the screen. You were appalling at keeping up with the Russian songs unless the choruses came round a lot, but particularly pleased with your attempt to sing literally the rendering of the transliteration of the songs in English. “Halo, Dolee, yess, halo, Dolee; eets so nice to haf you baak vere you belonk.”
Then you celebrated New Year in Russia by watching Medvedev’s Address to the Nation and letting off party poppers on the balcony to the strains of the (Russian) National Anthem, shouting a lot and going inside to eat salad.
Then you watched a bit more Russian TV, ate lamb and celebrated New Year for what you assume was the satellite feed to Germany by watching Medvedev’s Address again, letting off party poppers on the balcony to the strains of the (Russian) National Anthem and shouting a lot.
Then you watched Jools Holland and had cake and celebrated New Year in the UK by letting off party poppers on the balcony to the strains of the London “There isn’t supposed to be music. The music is in the rhythmnicity of the fireworks going off. No really. It’s better like this. Music is so last year” Firework Display and shouting a lot.
Then you went to bed and listened to the neighbour’s techno music until 2.30, when they turned it off and woke up the Star.
Anyway, a Happy Orthodox Christmas to everybody out there. And Happy New Year. And Happy Christmas. Etc.
* This is not your favourite Russian New Year film, however. Your favourite Russian New Year film is Peculiarities of the National Hunt,which is about a gang of Russian men going hunting with a Finnish guy. Nobody gets the bear, but it does feature a cow pissing on an officer out of a bomber plane hatch, and it doesn’t get much more amusing than that in your book.