Tuesday 24 December 2013

Wearing the boys out on Christmas Eve

Despite the wild wind "blowing a hooly" as Sharon would have it, we headed into town on Christmas Eve to wear out the boys. First stop was haircuts in Morningside for the big three while Sharon and Angus finished the grocery shopping. Angus and I had our haircuts on Sunday, so we were excused. Finn just wanted a trim (he's trying to grown a long mop on top) and was a little disgruntled that the barber took off a little more than he wanted.

Next we headed into town and parked on Charlotte Square, close to La Tasca, where we went for a late tapas lunch. The restaurant was quiet but the service was dreadfully slow, with our paella taking some 45 minutes to arrive from ordering. We weren't in any hurry, but it can be hard enough keeping the four boys entertained in a restaurant at the best of times, least of all when it's Christmas Eve. Fortunately they had room to roam and ate up well when their food came. Sharon did complain though and we earned a 40% discount on the meal. No complaints about the food really, it's a good gluten-free restaurant, but our appetite waned in the time it took for the food to arrive.

We then dawdled along Rose Street in the gloaming, Angus delighted at the lights strung above the street and having a good look at all the decorations in shop windows. We exchanged a pair of trainers for Finn then wandered into the German market where Finn bought a wooden pig and Sharon bought some decorations as the strengthening wind whipped around the stalls. The big wheel was closed, as was the lower gardens, no doubt to the chagrin of those runnig the event. Saying that, the town and market seemed quieter than expected. Whether it was the weather warnings that had dissuaded people from travelling into town, the midweek nature of Christmas this year or the much-discussed belt tightening due to dire economic straits, I do not know, but central Edinburgh was much quieter than previous years. Sharon took the boys minus Finn on the carousel then we took a detour via Jenners to see the tree (3,000 lights!) before passing the festive pinnacle that is the Dome, its columns LED-resplendent. We bumped into the Barrs before struggling into the chill wind, back along George St to the car.

Angus was in fine form but Rowan got a bit cold and miserable - as ever, he wouldn't zip up his jacket! Both Edinburgh Castle and Jenners were lit up blood red - "Castle Blood" - and looked more grotesque than festive. Angus and I decided that vampires lived there. We also spotted Santa in Starbucks as we walked back to the car. Obviously in need of a double espresso for the long night ahead.

It was after six when we got home and the boys changed into their onesies for a supper in front of the TV in the temporary, but cosy, sitting room. We watched the end of Finding Nemo and Elf then it was upstairs to bed. Finn was desperate to go, being very tired, and even Sean, notorious for not being able to sleep ("Try closing your eyes and staying in bed, Sean. It might help."), requested a "boring book" and was asleep within minutes. Angus resisted briefly and Rowan went down quickly too, the stockings laid out at the ends of their beds and Santa and Rudolph's snacks laid out on a tray by the tree in the bare, but thankfully wind and watertight, extension. Sharon and I carried on with a few festive jobs as the southerly gale picked up outside, battering the newly blocked walls and windows and tugging at the tiles freshly nailed to the sarking. I pity poor Santa having to do the rounds on a night like this!

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