I wrote this at about this time last year and I think it’s my favourite post so I’m reposting it now. It is a work of fiction, although some readers thought it was real, but based heavily on real life. Anyway, I hope you enjoy reading it:
Well! What a fabulous year it has been and how time has flown! I can’t believe it’s almost a year since I wrote our last Christmas letter. Our year has been so packed and frantic, and haven’t got around to seeing many of you this year so I thought this would be a good way of telling you all our news.
Where do I start? Oh yes! The Christmas card. It’s a picture of all of us together in Jasper last Christmas. The palatial “log cabin” (tee hee) belongs to a (private) patient of Justin’s, who very kindly invited us there. And he must have liked us very much because that’s where we’ll be scoffing turkey again this year. The skiing is fabulous and there’s always fresh powder to be found for us accomplished off-pisters. For those of you not in the know, Jasper is a resort often favoured by royalty and film stars. Not that we’re bothered about that sort of thing, of course! Look out everyone, here we come!
Well, what have we all been up to this year, you ask. The year started with Iolanthe’s entrance exams. We put her in for 7 schools. Naturally there was never any doubt that she would win a place at St. Cosmo’s (and the Scholarship rewards all the extra we shelled out for those years of tutoring *sigh* ) but having offers and scholarships from so many schools does look good on the school website, doesn’t it? And I do think one should try and do one’s best for the old Alma Mater.
Of course she has taken to the new school like a Gressingham duck to water just as I expected. She is so happy and, naturally, taking all the extra work in her stride. I mean, once must simply get on with things, mustn’t one? Obviously it helps that she is in the extension stream for the vast majority of her subjects, but I imagine it must be quite a challenge for less gifted pupils. Iolanthe’s leadership abilities were recognised in the first week by her classmates as she was voted Form Captain and her viola playing is in such demand it’s a pity she can’t divide herself in lots of tiny pieces and share herself out!
Banqquo is careering up the school with his usual frenetic pace. Not only has he won his colours in rugby, speedskating and rhythmic gymnastics this year, but he has been elected Captain of the Debating Society and attained A* grades in the five IGCSEs he has allowed to sit early this year, which means he has only 10 more to sit with the rest of his year in June. We are delighted that he is predicted to gain equally stunning grades in those. It is just a question of which subjects he has to drop next year. If we left it up to him, he’d be doing 10 A levels, the little tyke! His music is going from strength to strength too. He won the oboe prize at school this year and has been selected as one of the youngest ever members of the National Youth Orchestra. More ferrying around for us as he’ll be needed at concerts all over the shop! It’s just as well Pavlina, our latest au pair has a European driving licence! I have absolutely no idea where he finds the time for all this. Really, I don’t. He’s been too busy to join us for supper for the last six months. Ah well, every cloud has a silver lining!!!!!!!!
Our darling Columbia is really enjoying herself so much at Oxford that she hardly ever finds the time to come down, even in the Christmas break. With one year left, she is already in demand on the Milkround circuit and has already been approached with several stunning job offers by some of the best known names in management consultancy. The question is whether she will be off to New York, Abu Dhabi or Singapore next summer. More holiday opportunities for us, clearly!
Justin is always very busy at work these days. There is such demand from people wanting a little nip and tuck, a stroke of the laser, an tiny injection here and there. Honestly, they say there is a Recession, but all he sees are vain patients wanting to look younger. Of course it is just putting off the inevitable for a couple of years in most cases, but it pays the school fees! If ever, Heaven forfend, the day comes when I’ll need to start considering some “work,” I know exactly where to turn. Thankfully Justin’s private patients have bolstered his NHS disfigurement work. And such a blessing that the strike day was a private clinic day for him!
I am still prospering, thank goodness. The Arab Spring has meant lots of new, lovely clients for me, all expatriating their lovely money. They are so grateful to me for sorting them out, of course, and they express their gratitude with tickets to the Opera House and Hermes. One particularly grateful client, I’d better not say he’s a Saudi prince, (oh, whoops!) even happened to have a Birkin bag just lying around. It’s so useful for carrying around all my phones! What a lucky duck I am!! I’m so busy with work and my rigorous grooming schedule that I can hardly breathe, but I still make time for my fantastic Pilates class (“and breathe!”) and Saturday lunches with the girls. Mens sana in corpore sano!!
I feel so blessed to have such an understanding boss, and the flexibility to work from home whenever I please.The wonders of modern technology mean I can always stay in touch with my lovely clients, wherever I happen to be in the world. And, as ever, Mrs P my wonderful housekeeper, and the au pair mean that the children don’t ever have to miss out on all their mind-enriching activities just because mummy is not around. Mother is always glad to help and spend time with the children too. It keeps her mind occupied, bless her.
My big career news this year is that I was made a Partner and so my bonus will pay for the spectacular new extension we’re planning. More news on that presently, but I’ve been involved with every stage of the planning and it’s going to be simply stunning. I can’t wait to throw my first little soirée in it.
Yes we’ve been busy this year, but I’ve always felt that “sharpening the saw” is truly important, so we managed a few little jaunts away. It’s fantastic to spend time away with all the family, just catching up on our reading and yoga and being together, don’t you think?
Sandy Lane, Barbados, in June
St Rémy in August, as usual!
And a sneaky long weekend shopping in Dubai at October half-term:
And finally, we’ve been occupying ourselves on the gundog front as well. Monty picks up regularly and shows such control and patience for a dog of his tender years. Obviously, it takes an awful lot of hard work to train a dog to be as steady and obedient as Monty but I always say that you get out what you put in, don’t you think? The other day someone had spilled some treats on the ground just a few feet from Monty’s nose. Any normal dog would have snaffled them all up immediately given half the chance but Monty stood stock still, just gazing disapprovingly at the other, more chaotic dogs. We are so proud of him. He will have a special new collar from Santa for Christmas!
Anyway, that’s enough of our news. We hope that this finds you as it leaves us and send Season’s Greetings to you all.
Love and hugs