The family and I went to the pantomime last night to take in the usual excellent treatment of Cinderella, staged at our local Richmond theatre, complete with some outstandingly camp ugly sisters, an ebullient Buttons given to us by the consummate professional, Gary Wilmot, a menapausal fairy played by Jenny Eclair and dodgy prince charming who was more your choir master than dashing rake. Panto is curious, no matter how old or cynical you are it 'drags' you along until you are shouting out with the rest in an almost uniquely British way. The combination of racy jokes, slap-stick humour and sexual confusion is so British, the only incongruous element is the happy ending.
As the audience bellowed a warning to the ugly sisters, played to spectacular effect by Graham Hoadly and Paul Burnham, to "Look behind you!!", whilst they walked about in ignorance, I thought about the Government. Social enterprise is not only a quick win, but as another great quasi British innovation it has solved some of societies most dramatic, painful and costly problems and is right there for the taking on an unprecedented scale. Let's hope they don't walk off the stage without it just because they couldn't or wouldn't heed joe publics warnings from the cheap seats. If they do, I fear for our happy ending.
2011 is not a year many will be sorry to see the back of. We are told that 2012 is going to be harder still, with only the Olympics to look forward to for light relief. But for now I'm all for thinking about crossing that bridge when we get to it and focussing on the holidays.
The Ogden-Newton's are doing something we have never done before which is to run away. We aren't going far, Cornwall, but if friends and family asking often over the last few days when our usual entertaining Christmas marathon is due to kick off, we are about to disappoint more than a couple of folk with our nuclear option.
Nonetheless Hubbie and I decided that the five of us would go it alone, with only a few friends dropping by to celebrate and share a surf on Christmas Day, I can't wait. I have always been very keen on the concept of Christmas as an event which brings community and extended family together but the sweaty heap I end up in at the end has made me think again. At least for this year.
Having said that we have invited family over today for a pre-Christmas lunch which should be jolly and the kids and I have decorated the house, made mince pies, iced the Christmas cake and Katie my eleven year old has made the most stunning chocolate log from scratch and entirely on her own, amazing, truly amazing!
So in many ways we are having our cake and eating it too. Family extravaganza today then off on Friday for a log fire, pyjama fest of mulled wine, Quality Street, some nice little cheesy crackery things, endless games of scrabble and chess and no phone reception, bliss!
My view is we need to refuel the batteries so we can hit 2012 hard! If the coming year isn't going to be easy our job is to have some fun this Christmas. Oh yes it is I hear you cry, Oh no it isn't! Oh for heaven's sake.