Sunday, 20 December 2015

Holiday Mishaps I Have Known

I was cruising round cyberspace ( in my Buick convertible, no less) reading people's Christmas posts and got to thinking about Christmases past when I lived in East Africa. They were extremely varied: occasionally disastrous, often hilariously funny and always action-packed.

There was the year when I gave Eldest and Middlest (aged maybe 6 and 4?) the hand-beater to whip the cream and they got so enthusiastic they turned the entire dish of cream into butter...plum pudding and home made butter anyone?

There was the year I catered for about ten and all the guests brought extra people who were lonely. We had the oddest multicultural gathering ever, including an ex-pat French Chef working in a Nairobi restaurant, and not enough chairs, plates, or food. Bread and butter for Christmas lunch all round. That was the same day that three  guests decided to climb on the roof to fix the TV aerial...the corrugated tin roof which was not built to withstand three men tromping round on it. It sagged so alarmingly that Pa-in-Law made us all get out of the house in case it caved in!

There was the year when, due to financial constraints, we had to go vegetarian but some guests just couldn't stand it so they nipped out mid-afternoon to the nearest kiosk (a sort of tiny African shop in a shed) for 'nyama choma' (local fire-charred goat's meat, tough as old boots but very tasty). That was also the year the askari (security guard) brewed a huge batch of changa'a (moonshine) under a bush in our garden without our noticing and the entire farm staff got so intoxicated they didn't wake up for nearly three days...

There was the year Eldest was three years old and the Hub made her a wooden Rocking Horse and the minute she got going she rocked so hard she upended it. By 8.30am Christmas Morning I was examining her at 20 minute intervals for concussion, having already bandaged her head and arm.

There was the year we were all at the in-Laws for Christmas, which always involved a huge table, beautifully laid out under the umbrella tree, and one of Pa-in-law's farm suppliers arrived with a belated gift of two turkeys...very alive and gobbling furiously! He had heard that wazungu (white folks) like turkey at Christmas and was being truly generous. Pa put them in the pig house to keep them safe from the dogs, but they gobbled and squabbled all day and quite put everyone off the usual grand turkey spread that Pa had prepared! Pa was only DISGUSTED!

There was another Christmas when Pa-in-law had the usual twenty or so people to lunch and mid-afternoon a gang of the twin's friends (17 years old-ish) decided to saddle up every horse they could find and go for a gallop on the vlei...I never discovered exactly what happened but it had something to do with swimming the horses across the dam and unexpectedly discovering a grumpy hippo in residence...anyhow they all returned indescribably wet and muddy, including the horses!

I won't say things have calmed down in recent years, but the entertainment tends to Church and other people's children related, so just different. Pa-in-Law, God rest his soul, was one of the greatest party givers I've known and tolerant of incredible chaos during the holidays. I won't say he instigated things, but they sure happened around him and he would just sit and smoke and smile like the eye of a tornado.

So how will your Christmas be, do you think?

3 comments:

Benta AtSLIKstitches said...

Quiet any way, but very quiet compared to your experiences!

Sarah Jeffries said...

So fun reading about some of your Christmases pass! This year has been the year of the Christmas virus/tummy bug! My three daughters were here with two sons-n-law and a grand! Brunch & gifts were had then some afternoon napping. Only to wake and find that the youngest was not feeling all that well. A phone call from my brother informs me that he, his wife and baby are battling the same yucky stuff! Away they go to the doctors as the infant is too small for waiting (and they're first time parents lol). Through the night the hubby wakes with the yakking and tummy troubles and son-n-law, of the middlest, starts with the same stuff during the evening... I am still hanging in there but with clinched teeth, praying hard that it passes me by!!!

Jane In The Jungle said...

Love this! Wish I had tales of exciting Christmases like this! Mine just always involve having in-laws over and me doing lots of cooking....we're the only ones with kids so I miss out on playing with them, there was one Christmas it snowed and they couldn't get to our house, it was so nice and pleasant and a lazy fun day...sigh....maybe one day that will happen again.

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