Deck the Halls.....
Bristol Travel Blog› entry 34 of 37 › view all entries
Christmas was amazing for this Kiwi Kid. You have to remember that at home Christmas is the height of summer and we run around in jandals and shorts, playing backyard or beach cricket (if the family happens to be at the beach as so many Kiwi families are), and eating cold ham sandwiches for chrissy lunch.
Here in Bristol we weren't expecting snow but the sun was almost gone by 3.30pm and those of us who were employed at The Mall Public House, and who were still in town for the day, were to be treated to a fine dinner by Nicole and her family who had come down to celebrate with her in Clifton.
The day started with Darryn, Tony and I enjoying a couple of breakfast pints in The Kennel as we exchanged gifts.
The pub was only open for limited hours and many of the staff (the students primarily) had already headed home to their own families.
We had to time our Chrismas dinner right because obviously there were pints to pull for the regulars who were still in need of our familiar establishment. So whilst Nicole worked in the kitchen the rest of us set the table and worked on decorations. It was all very festive!!
Nicole had allowed us to put aside our uniform kit, saying we could dress any way we chose for the evening in the pub. In a stroke of sheer genius I threw on my Galabia from Morroco and rocked up to work as Jesus.
The night wasn't too busy, which was fantastic, and I had plenty of time to swan around the place, blessing the patrons and getting Christmas kisses from all the lovely ladies in the establishment.
Darryn was in the pub for the night too. We were hanging until closing so that we could get along to the other Christmas celebrations we'd been invited to.
Tony's Ma (Our Ma) had asked us around for a feast, as had Rachel, who was now staying with her Mother. We intended to get along to each of them, but I had to do work between the pub dinner and Our Ma's.
Finally we got out of there and headed down the Barton Hill where Ma lived. Tony's family were all there, his Ma and Pa, and his Sister Kelly, with her family.
Obviously we were arriving late due to my having to work but Tony, Darryn and I were sat at the table and Ma proceeded to fill our plates with two types of roast and the full assortment of Christmas trimmings that a Kiwi Lad had only read about.
Darryn and I had been the subject of awe at Ma's house before. Good Kiwi lads are taught that it's impolite to leave your plate dirty, so not only must you eat everything on it, but you must also try to mop up as much of the gravy etc that you can.
Our Ma saw this as a challenge. She had made the two different roasts to beat us, but we weren't to be beaten!
Dinner was fantastic and we were really having a great time at our Ma's. Unfortunately time was progressing and we had to think about getting on to Rachel's Ma's before it was too late. Darryn and I weren't overly fussed but Tony was pretty keen.
We got to Rachel's to find her on the sofa with her new man. Rachel got us settled down for another huge meal and left the three of us alone to eat.
Once we'd finished we all had desert together and went back into the lounge. Rachel and her man were happy to sit and enjoy the tv. Tony became more and more restless and we all started to feel that maybe it was just a bit too late in the evening to be welcomed for dinner.
We offered our respects and Christmas wishes, and left them to what was left of the night whilst we shot back to Our Ma's.
I still feel that this is one of the most authentic Christmases I've experienced. Not so much because of who I was or wasn't with but the whole "winter theme" really rang true.
Clifton, all of Bristol, was a glow with lights and the place was feeling quite magical.
Shop windows were full of fake snow and frosting just as we did at home but this time it was accurate.