Home for Christmas? Next year mum, I promise!

The office is deader than Tiger Woods' marriage, and Tuesday Club is officially over for the year. Hardly anyone is left. Yes, it's Christmas. And once again I've decided to stay in Spain rather than make the journey back to Durham.

At work, our team has now decreased to two (just me and the Scotsman, who is married to a Spanish lady and has a baby – multiple reasons to stay). And Spanish colleagues routinely ask: "No te vas a Londres?" (Aren't you going to London?) (because most English people live in London, don't they?)

I tell them no, and then always feel the need to defend myself when I see their puzzled faces.

No I am not estranged from my family. No I am not a Scrooge bah humbug Christmas hater. I am normal.

I have a Spanish boyfriend you see, so I have Christmas with his family here.

I have to work up until Christmas Eve, so there's really not time to get back.

There are no direct flights to Newcastle airport so I would have to fly into Edinburgh or London and get the train. It's such a lio (hassle).

All of which is true, but it's a bit bad on my part and just downright lazy to be using the same excuses for the last four years.

And bless my poor mum, who I know would love to have me and the bloke there at Christmas, but would never guilt trip me into coming. In fact she has never ever guilt tripped me into doing anything, which I just realised recently.

A girl at work was telling me how her mum had said to her: "I pushed you out into this world, you can't treat me like this."

When I told her I couldn't believe her mum had said that, she just asked me: "Well hasn't your mum ever said anything similar?"

No. I can more imagine my mum saying: "I'm leaving your dad for Marylyn Manson" than I can picture her saying anything like that.

So I have vowed that I will get off my arse and make sure get back home next year to introduce the bloke to his first British family Christmas. Turkey, crackers, a boat load of booze and my dad nodding off in front of the telly during the afternoon re-run of Back to the Future or Indiana Jones. He can't wait.

It'll be very different to the experience here, where Christmas Eve is the present opening and the big party, and everyone wakes up with hangovers but no obligation to do anything or even leave the house or bed.

That is if airline strikes/freak snowstorms don't stop us first. Poor PB was stuck in Terminal 1 for about 18 hours and finally walked through her front door 29 hours after leaving her flat in Madrid.

Meanwhile Two Shandies had her flight cancelled, got on a new one, sat on the tarmac for two hours then had that one cancelled. Not great for someone who's freaked about flying. They put her up in a hotel in Barajas near the airport and she got a knock on her door at 5am saying it was time to get to the airport. She got back in time (and in one piece too).

The last time I saw them both was at our traditional Christmas meal, which this year we had in an Argentinean meets French restaurant and was notable for three reasons:

1) The tables were made out of old sewing machines which all had squeaky foot pedals on them. They were all begging to be messed with, so we did, only to be told off about it because it "bothers the clients"

2) We went to a bar afterwards and walked bang slap in to the middle of a rugby team's Christmas party. I thought English rugby teams were bad, but Spanish ones give them a good run for their money. They were pissed to the point of falling over, letching over everything in a skirt and after a girl who was part of their group dropped a glass, they started some sort of rugby chant until she stripped naked. At least no one drank any pint glasses of vomit though (I saw this happen on the ferry to Calais once)

3) A group of Tunas came into the bar and tried to play, but were booted out by the bar staff. The existence of these weird modern day minstrels was news to me, but the bloke explained they're university students, dressed in medieval clothes that go round playing music and trying to skadge money, food and booze off people. Just when you think you know it all about life in Spain, you learn something new. (Though I thought he was making it up for the fist five mins)

Anyway, Merry Christmas friends, and thanks for reading this year.

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