“Sweetie, you’re insane,” Mark says and looks totally serious, as if he means every singe word, particularly the last. “Even if we could go to Berlin on short notice, which we can’t, my parents and yours I might add would search for us and then imprison us for the rest of our lives.”

“It’s not like I suggest going there without telling them,is it?” I say. “They would accept it. Eventually. Maybe. In the mean-time, we would, you know, be in Berlin!”

“A horribly place, without the food of Paris and the fashion sense on London. Or the atmosphere of Rome. Imagine Alan Titchmarsh on the telly, and realising it’s the flipping Prime Minister, or whatever they call it there.”

“Chancellor. That’s an awfully condescending thing to say. Berlin is by all account a dynamic and thriving and happening city. Fun and interesting. You’d love it there. As would I.”

“Sorry, you’ll just have to bite your teeth and grit it out. We’re not abandoning everyone for the capital of German decadence just because you don’t want to cook Christmas turkey. Just grin and bear it, Sweetie.”

“Do I have to?”


The main duty of mine this term was to write a term paper, and that I have done now. I handed it in, nearly a week ahead of time. I could have sat on it longer, but it would mean I’d polish it needlessly. It was ready, and the only choices left were linguistic ones.

My friends seem to be panicking. Mark appears to go for a bald look, as he sits at his desk with the paper and groans loudly now and then and tears his hair. An exasperated groan, as if the paper is personally insulting to him. But he sits there. And groans. And uses words that, if I quoted him, would put an age lock on this blog.

I think I’ve been helped by my novel-writing for once. I don’t have the fright of long texts, and I know how to structure them. I know how to order them in my head, and break long works into little chunks which aren’t so intimidating. And that’s why I started to skeleton the paper ages ago, and could flesh it out over time.

Many of my friends seem to have been intimidated by the length of it, and have put it off, and now with just a week to go before the papers have to be delivered, they are fretting and cursing and complaining. And tearing their hair.

It would be a shame if Mark went for the bald look. I don’t think it would suit him. And there would be nothing to run my fingers through when we’re in the sofa in the evening watching the telly.


I have informed my parents and in-laws that we’re staying put where we are over the holidays. Which means they’re coming here for Christmas. Well, everyone except for Dad. Which means we’re going to have to cook a lot of food for Christmas day because there will be like ten people here then.

I am thinking now that I should have shut up about it, and waited for them to make plans elsewhere. Then I could have told them at the last moment so that they could not rearrange things without offending lots of people.

Our Christmas for Two looks like it’s out of the window. At least we won’t have to go anywhere, but we need to make a lot of effort to cook and clean and prepare. Which makes me wonder if it hadn’t been the easier option to just go to them.

But at least, we’ve started to look at trees. With Mark’s asthma we can’t have a real Christmas tree, so we’re looking at plastic ones. It feels quite cheap and silly, to be honest. The ones we’ve looked at seem like they’d fall apart after three days.

Berlin sure looks tempting, doesn’t it? I don’t see why Mark should object to going on a train, with a couple of small bags, and a couple of weeks to explore that city. It’s not like we won’t eat Christas turkey ever again, is it?