I'm late with this, but I will catch up. Despite all of the food, presents and heaps of Moët, this is a difficult Christmas for my family. It is the first without my brother Murray who died in a car accident earlier this year. That has been really hard on my mother but if that wasn't enough to deal with my father collapsed the night before Christmas Eve and we spent 24 December in a hospital emergency ward waiting to see what caused it all. The fall damaged a knee and he hit his head and he already had some broken ribs and a shoulder injury from his last fall, so he is still in a lot of pain. Nobody really seems to be able to identify the cause apart from old age and his body just wearing out. It is very sad, but I guess this sort of thing eventually comes to most of us.
My brother in law Phil is a wonderful man and also an underpaid slave of the NSW Ambulance service. He was the local acting station manager on the day Dad collapsed (and also Christmas Day!) and arrived with the ambulance on Christmas Eve to look after him and take him to hospital. He even called in again to check on him later at the end of his shift. That is him in the image above, putting up the Christmas tree at my parents' home. I provided invaluable deconstructive criticism and reintegrated shaming (from a safe distance).
So on Christmas Day Mum, my sister Mez and I we went back to the hospital to check on Dad and give him some Christmas cheer. He'd been moved to a ward, but they were still doing tests. He reads a lot so I gave him Howard Jacobson's Man Booker Prize winning The Finkler Question.
Christmas lunch was just Mum, Mez, me and three dogs. We did fish this year, tonnes of fish: Atlantic salmon, prawns, lobster, scallops and Balmain bugs. WE didn't get to the bugs and took them and what was left of the prawns to a bigger family dinner later on with all the cousins, aunts and uncles.
It was a long day that many of us were dreading, but in the end it was saved by many caring family members, some amazing dogs and a couple of bottles of Moët.