Tradition

I know, I know. Christmas was ages ago, and everyone has already moved on.

Well, everyone except me….

I love Christmas; I was always that kid who would bug his parents to get a tree as early as possible (and i’m pretty sure they took pleasure in leaving it as late as possible every year!)

And every single New Year I struggle to let it go.

No, not the tree…..the whole thing.

I clung on so tight this year that I only just finished the Christmas Baileys last night (I love Baileys) and there is still a chocolate Santa kicking about somewhere in our living room.

So I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas period like we did, and the happiest of Happy New Years to you all!

The last few weeks have been a bit of a whirlwind for us, as i’m sure they have for you. Christmas, New Year and a Belfast wedding were all sandwiched in between two very long train journeys (London to Edinburgh, and back) and a multitude of 5k runs in all conditions. And that’s not to mention the million different catch-ups with friends and family that come along at this time.

The weirdest thing is, I think what I love the most about the festive period is the sheer repetition of it all. It should be completely unbearable, when you think about it.

The same old Christmas songs.

The same ridiculous amount of money spent on socks, chocolate oranges and copious amounts of booze.

And the same old family traditions, year after year after year.

It’s all about tradition after all. And the best thing about tradition is that, while it’s all supposed to be age-old and steeped in history, it’s also totally fine to just go ahead and make up your own ones.

For example, every year from now on, we have decided to have our own mini Christmas dinner for just the three of us.

(Side note – if any more little ones do happen to come along at any point, they will also be welcome to our Xmas Dinner….but just don’t tell my wife I said that)

And since Marley played the role of the Gruffalo’s Child in his nursery nativity play (nothing at all to do with the nativity) we now have a new tradition of watching the video of that every year.

(Don’t worry, Dad, it won’t take the place of The Snowman….we can still watch that too)

But then there’s the old tradition stuff. For instance, in my family, Christmas doesn’t really begin until I have put the angel – which I made when I was about five years old – on top of the tree.

All the other decorations can be put up by anyone, but that particular work of art must be placed on top of the tree by me.

And now, in true family tradition, I have passed on that mantle to Marley. So it is now he, and his tiny little hands, who must place the sacred angel on top of the tree to announce Christmas officially open. As shown…

Tradition and family are the real meaning of Christmas for me; maybe that’s why I find it so hard to let it go each year. I saw the look in Marley’s Great Granny’s (my wife’s Granny’s) eye’s when she had all of her family together in one place; Grandad and Grandma, their kids, their kids’ offspring all running around…..and Great Granny overseeing it all.

If only you could bottle that…..wait, maybe that’s what Baileys actually is!

Happy New Year!

It’s Chriiiiiisttmaaaaasssss!

I’ve shut the work laptop for the last time this year!

The tree is up, the presents are bought (I hope….oh God, I really hope they’re all bought….) and we’re finally ready for our family Christmas up in Edinburgh.

We’ve actually already had our first ‘Christmas Day’ for just the three of us (plus the cat) here in London, but now we head north to spend it with the rest of the clan(s).

Family Christmas!
Sprouts and all

It will be especially nice for Marley this year, since it’s the first time he has really understood what it’s all about (well, not Jesus and stuff – I mean seeing family, eating lots, having a visit from Santa and getting his hand on some “PRESENTS!!”)

And if he’s anything like me, he will absolutely LOVE Christmas.

I enjoy it so much that I’ve organised a Christmas Pub Crawl every year since we moved to London, which has got bigger and bigger each year. This time out, more than 20 of us kicked off the silly season at six different pubs in Camden and, as you can see, we enjoyed ourselves.

Camden pub crawl

As some of you may know, I’ve been doing a running challenge (5k every day in December) and I have to admit the one after the Pub Crawl was the toughest so far…..including the one the morning after a vomiting bug.

Today is Day 20, so I’ve now passed the 100k mark, and as much as I hate running, at least i’m working off some of the Christmas calories…..which are mounting up, day on day; today’s Beef Wellington and Rum Baba lunch with the Lady Wimbledon team being a prime example!

So work’s finished, all we need now is to pack our bags and jump on a ‘choo-choo train’ to Edinburgh.

Well, I need to empty my suitcase from our last trip first. As you can see, that was in SEPTEMBER.

I really hope my Mum isn’t reading this…..

Merry Christmas everyone!!!

Lackadaisical

Pretty sure it’s lack-a-daisical

My mum was right…. I can be lackadaisical sometimes.

When I was younger I distinctly remember this word being levelled at me (I think my mum would like it to be known that she pronounced it correctly, for the record) and at the time I always felt it was unjustified.

I did just want to watch five more minutes, Mum. 

I was going to tidy my room later.

I wasn’t just being a lazy swine and laying on the couch watching Back to the Future 2 for the 30th time. 

Looking back, my Mum’s accusation was – of course – completely justified.

But I like to think my laziness has subsided over the years, especially since becoming a father.

Not only is there too much to do now to be lazy, but the fact that there’s a little version of me relying on my lazy ass to go out to work and keep him fed, clothed and generally looked after, means laziness just isn’t an option.

However….when it comes to exercise, I still feel that lackadaisical-ness return; that urge to sit on the couch for five more minutes, or to look out of the window at the rain coming down and say “I’ll go out when it stops”, hoping it never, ever stops.

Worst of all, I’ve even used Marley as an excuse:

“I would love to do more exercise, but now we’ve got Marley I just don’t have any time”

Sorry Marley!

At the end of last month, a good friend of mine challenged me to run 5k every day in December. For no reason at all, he just challenged me.

And I accepted.

Freezing cold run in Edinburgh, Monday 10th December

He must have caught me at a good time, because usually that is precisely the kind of thing I would use anything (Marley included) as an excuse not to do.

And tough as it has been at times, we’re almost two weeks into December and I’m still managing to get a 5k done every day, come rain or shine.

(Well, I haven’t actually been out in the rain, I’ve done most of the 5k’s on a treadmill. So, just come shine, really.)

But the point is, i’m getting it done. And I’ve been sharing my progress on Instagram to help motivate me, as it would be all the more disappointing (humiliating is the word) if I don’t manage to get it finished and everyone knows all about it. 

The reason I’m writing this post and sharing this progress is absolutely not to brag, by the way – I mean let’s face it, I’m hardly going to give Mo Farah a scare with my only-just-under-30 minute 5k times.

And nor is there a particular lesson or message I’m trying to get across by writing this.

I really just wanted to admit to the world that I can be a lazy swine at times, and that my Mum was right. But that I really appreciate that a friend challenged me not to be, and I accepted.  If that happens to encourage anyone else who, like me, is used to making excuses not to do something then that would be excellent too.

In the meantime, wish me luck…..and don’t forget to subscribe up on the top right so you get updates whenever I post this stuff!