park yourself in front of the telly
the crack of dawn
the year's must-have toy
At Christmas, the situation of the average middle-aged woman in Britain can be a fraught one.
To begin with, Christmas begins for her some time in January when she sets up a savings account with which to pay for the annual indulgence-fest 11 months later.
If she is wise, she may also begin her Christmas shopping at this point so as to avoid the general rush, or public madness, which begins to infect the shops at the end of October.
Of course, she will only know in December what is, and so she will have to battle it out with other parents to get hold of it, relying on intelligence gathered by her neighbours and friends.
The rest of December will be spent following the advice of magazines and preparing for a stress-free Christmas which never arrives.
She will make decorations, sew costumes for her children or grandchildren for the Nativity play at school, write Christmas cards on behalf of her family, and, above all, prepare food. Mountains of food - Christmas cake, mince pies, trifles, jam tarts and so many other delicious things with which her family will on the Big Day.
Her chief responsibility is, of course, the turkey - the flavourless bird only really eaten on December 25th, and December 26th, and December 27th, and December 28th, and for some time after that. The Christmas turkey is a special bird. It is closer to the size of an ostrich than a chicken, and rarely fits into a conventional oven at all. If it is bought frozen, it takes much of the rest of the year and a gang armed with hair-driers to defrost properly before it can be cooked. And as it is so big, our heroine has to get up at the, if not earlier, to put it in the oven so that it is ready in time for lunch.
Of course, a mother cannot rest after she has broken several fingers ramming the ostrich into the oven, albeit that it is 4 o'clock in the morning, because then her children will wake up to see what Santa has brought them.
Her children will then want breakfast, shortly after which, so will the rest of her guests. By the time breakfast is over, she has to prepare the rest of the Christmas lunch.
She sweats over the latest celebrity chef's recipe for roast potatoes, and frets over the readiness of the mighty turkey, and, when it is all but done, her husband will offer her a hand.
Carrying the turkey through to the table and carving it before the salivating diners, he somehow steals the glory that is rightfully hers. And then, everyone just eats the food and in a few minutes, they are done.
There is, of course, more washing-up to be done on this day of rest than on any other day of the year, but after that, finally, eventually, and with a small glass of champagne in her hand, she gets to and watch athat they have been repeating for the last 20 years.
But, of course, she doesn't because she falls asleep almost immediately and begins to plan next year's Christmas in her dreams...