Christmas basically means the end of the year as far as I'm concerned and between now and then, like most people I imagine, my To Do List is looking more and more ridiculous. Aside from work deadlines (2 chapter book edits, 1 short story and a picture book dummy to complete) we have recently bought a new house. Which, of course is very exciting, until I think of how much we have to do before we even move in. It's a beautifully daggy 1950s brick house very much like the ones Howard Arkley used to paint. In fact I think this Howard Arkley image I've used might be our very house (minus the one tree in the front garden.) Having been in the same family since it was built and never renovated, everything inside and out is original 1950s. This includes the rose-print carpet throughout, the flocked cream wallpaper, and, in my 18 year old son's bedroom, 1950s racing car wallpaper, which, as you can imagine, he was thrilled about. I know retro is so hip right now but there's only so much racing car wallpaper anyone can look at for more than half an hour.
Anyway, once the carpet is out and the walls painted and I've got a few trees growing in the garden to break up that bowling-green lawn, I know this is going to be a fabulous place for us, particularly as it's nearly twice the size of where we are living now. Even though I adore our tiny little inner-city weatherboard, with two huge sons and one not far behind, we are literally bursting at the seams. And the best news is that now we might even be able to have more than one guest over at a time!
Basically, our summer is going to be spent ripping up carpet and wallpaper, packing boxes and unpacking them again. With as much writing and illustrating work as I can manage in between...
Except for Christmas day. With all my family overseas including my two eldest boys, my partner and I and our youngest are going to spend Christmas day in a tent on the beach. A little island of quiet before the busyness of the new year.
So, each time my son opens a little flap on that advent calendar and I begin to panic, I just picture that image of us on the beach in our tent and I can almost breath normally again.
I hope your summer is shaping up to be a good one and that if Santa doesn't bring you exactly what you wished for you at least get some non-mouldy chocolates in your stocking.