Weathering Christmas Day

2008-12-23 00:00

Should it come to pass that the Christmas weekend be warm and sunny, we shall have been witness to more than just the miracle of Christmas.

Without fail, if my husband and I so much as plan to hold a function involving more than four people, be it a simple tea party or a full-scale knees-up, conditions are guaranteed to turn foul, despite contrary assurances from the weather bureau.

And the bad news is, this year we drew the short straw for hosting Christmas.

Such is our bad luck with the weather that it’s become something of a family joke, to the point where, if my parents require a spot of precipitation for their sweet peas or wish to fertilise their lawn, we’re encouraged to invite a few friends over for an afternoon braai.

I suspect I’m a reincarnated rain queen. At the mere mention of having a social gathering, my latent powers run amok and miraculously conjure up hail and hurricanes out of a perfectly sunny day. I don’t even need to leap about chanting and shaking my fist at the sky.

I should perhaps offer my services in the drought-stricken corners of our continent.

In light of our plight and given that our lounge has all the ambience of a crowded lift should its occupants exceed eight, a few seasons ago we decided to erect a large thatched gazebo in the garden to remedy the predicament.

Smug in the knowledge that we’d cheated the elements, it initially escaped our notice that our visitors were expected to undertake a perilous journey across several metres of slippery paving before reaching our new entertainment area.

It swiftly became apparent though, that after a couple of glasses of Christmas spirit a quick trip to the loo was tantamount to a kamikaze mission, exacerbated by the fact that the pathway circumnavigated the swimming pool. I tell you there’s nothing like taking a nosedive into a pool while decked in one’s Christmas finery to take the snap out of one’s cracker — quite literally.

The gazebo, however, was not only designed for entertaining, it was also built to house my husband’s pièce de résistance — an authentic, wood-burning pizza oven.

For several months, this giant dome occupied a spot in the middle of the lawn like an abandoned igloo, before assuming the focal point under the thatch.

Four Christmases have since come and gone, the thatch has turned grey and the Chorister robins have raised several families under the eaves. But, although the pizza oven now boasts a chimney that rivals the Voortrekker monument in its magnitude, I have yet to see a pizza, or indeed any other form of charred offering, emerge from its bowels. I am of the opinion that another miracle may be required in order to accomplish this, or at the very least, three wise men.

In the meantime, the thought of tottering through the rain from the house to the gazebo laden with turkey and Christmas pudding does not excite me.

So unless the gods smile down on us (or better still, the sun does), we will be accommodating eight adults, two teenagers, a toddler, a tiny baby, a donkey-size dog, three cats and a turkey in our little house, thereby giving new meaning to the words “a tight Christmas”.

While this may all sound very cozy, we will only be short a couple of camels for a complete Nativity scene. And three wise men …

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