Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Festive Cheer....

Today it rained. Last night it rained. No rain for 2 months and now this. Thunder, lightning (ALL day), torrential rain, flooding. It rained for 12 hours non-stop.

Power outtages have become more frequent as the electrcitiy supply is stretched with the cold weather and the lack of rain (hyrdoelectric)

It's good for the electricity supply I guess, but bad for the inevitable chaos that ensues with bad weather (power cuts, flooded roads, mud everywhere, crazier traffic & enlarged potholes) I could go on.

Our road floods whenever it rains. Literally more than ankle deep right across the road, so without a car or galoshers, you're trapped.

I returned from the school run at 8.20 to discover the power had gone off, for the 3rd time in 6 days. It was off all day the last 2 times. This time it was off 12 hrs.

I mentally ticked off all the things I couldn't do now: email, order the last few Christmas presents online, dry my very wet hair (I forgot to take an umbrella), wash clothes (still bloody from my daughter's dramatic gash on the head yesterday), cook (cake for school Christmas stall), iron (ok, not so tragic), listen to the radio, listen to music, sew (cushion covers for a friend), have any heating on, shower (electric pump), or even see what I'm doing. I was tempted to just go back to bed....

However, today I have plans, I have a Christmas coffee morning. With real mince pies. I phone the lady who runs the craft group I go to sometimes, who was hosting it. Her mincemeat was confiscated from her hand luggage at Gatwick, she tells me. So no mince pies. Clearly an explosive mix. Worse, they have begun to dig her road up without warning yesterday. Both ends are blocked by diggers, which have been abandoned there overnight. I hope no one in her rd goes into labour or has a heart attack...

So we can't drive to her house or park. There is no where else to park. It's impossible to find a space in Tirana. You can't drive to anyone's house here unless they live 'out' of the centre or have an embassy style villa with off road parking. SO I could bike, as I usally do, but this is monsoon rain ( I Know. I lived in a monsoon climate for 2 yrs..) I'd get soaked.

Who would have thought a coffee morning could be so complicated?

I had another Christmas party tonight, the women's international group bash, but my husband is going to a series of lectures on macro-economics (much more important than swigging cocktails with a bunch of ex-pat women, possibly even more fun...), but our newly found babysitter (not used yet) I discovered, too late, has a regular commitment on Wednesdays. So it's home alone. Again. When am I going to get my glad rags out & go to a party? Even a coffee morning suddenly seems hugely appealing, with or without mince pies. A spot of mulled wine, a dash of tinsel, even canned carols.... I'm desperate.

Still all this is in keeping with Albania's general lack of seasonal cheer. Christmas is not celebrated at all. It was a communist country with a full on Mao style cultural revolution after all. It's not even a public holiday.

I miss the festive run up, there are no pantos, neither school nor church put on a nativity or any Christmas play, we can't even have the tradition of 'buying the tree' from a farm.

Sadly Christmas trees ( I mean real ones) aren't available, so I am going to have to swallow my pride & buy an artificial one. And believe me the cheap Chinese imports make few concessions to emulating the real thing. You can at least get a green one though.

Still, looking on the bright side, I'm probably very right on and envronmentally with it. It's probably all the rage in LOndon isn't it to have a 'sustainable' (even everlasting) tree . You know
"Real Christmas Trees are SO 2007, darling"

I'm sure Harvey Nics do a fabulous imitation Norwegian Spruce....

Well mine will be lurid green, plasticky & limp. I must remember not to position it too near the wood burner as it would melt like a nylon nightie with the merest whiff of wood smoke. And without that nice pine-y smell.

Oh, and as for the turkey, well, if I want one for our Christmas dinner, it will have to be a live one, I'm told. Evidently that's the only way you can buy one here. I'm not sure I have it in me to strangle a turkey. More to the point I don't even know how I would get it home.. strapped on to my child's bike seat behind me??

Anyway I've told my Mother-In-Law, (who has kindly offered to help with the food, by bringing out a Christmas cake & pud etc from the U.K), that she will need to kill the turkey upon arrival.

She has agreed with me that we'll eat chicken...

3 comments:

Potty Mummy said...

So with you on the chicken. I remember once seeing my mum gut a turkey she bought direct from the farm. It was when the egg came out that I had to leave the kitchen...

GM said...

Amidst the greyness of an Albanian Christmas there is still humour to be had, it seems. Perhaps the children would enjoy watching the ritual killing of the turkey? It will either be a great thrill or turn them into vegetarians for life - either outcome is not unreasonable! And children in the west are too cosseted anyway - yours will have levels of self-reliance and a broad understanding of raw human inadequacy that by-passes most of the bus-riding little moppets in Angleterre.

Although they are missing out on te compulsory how-to-deal-with-a-knife-attack lessons in PSHE.....

Iota said...

Could she put a frozen turkey in her luggage, and let it defrost at 30,000ft? I'm not being serious, but I'm sure it's been done.