And for our piece de resistance, Jo Fletcher – the great, the terrible (kidding), the marvellous – has delivered us one final blog post to round up the Christmas season. Today is the last day in the office, so while there’ll be a little more chatter from us (as we’re very difficult to shut up, apparently – or so my desk buddy says), this is our official goodbye – and we’re wishing you lot a very Merry Christmas.
‘Of course I’ll manage one more blog,’ I said, crossing all my fingers behind my back. ‘After all, that’s my Christmas sacrifice!’ (Haha. See what I did there?)
The Fletcher-Drury household is all about tradition and ritual, from filling the Christmas mugs (collected from Yuletide markets from Budapest to Berlin, Winchester to Wien) with mulled wine or the cider Wassail cup (I am, after all a Maid of Kent, where Wassailing the apple trees is a centuries-old tradition) to a background of Christmas music. (And no, contrary to popular belief, every singer does not have a Christmas album in them, no matter what their best friends, great-aunt and next-door’s cat says. There’s a whole no-go area at the back of the rack that proves it.)
The tree goes up on our return from whatever the market of the year is, which takes an age, as every bauble holds a special memory (the plaster boar from Trier; the glittery skull from Mexico, Betty Boop from Disneyland, collected from everywhere we’ve been), and after that it’s festive lights all the way . . . although it came as a bit of a shock to me to discover that not everyone makes their stuffed raven a special Christmas tree decorated with hanging knights in armour. I think that’s odd, frankly.
And as the year comes to an end, we mourn dear friends now moved on, including, most recently, that wonderful writer John Gordon (The Giant Under the Snow is one of those classic tales I regularly dig out to reread, to remind myself of how good the best can be).
After raising a glass to them, we’ll toast friends and family far and near (there’s a reason the mulled wine’s kept simmering – never boiling – in a huge Maslin pan; we’ve a great many friends and family to get through), wishing them health, wealth and happiness, and a safe return home (should they so desire).
Which brings me to you, my stalwart JFB team, especially Olivia and Molly, as well as Beloved Readers and Dearly Beloved Authors and Artists: yet again, you’ve all done JFB proud – and so I bid you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and I forecast a blistering 2018 for each and every one of us!
Let the Yuletide Commence!