87. My Sweet Lord

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I really want to see you
Really want to be with you
Really want to see you Lord
But it takes so long, my Lord

I feel Bobbie's fingers poke my cheek, but my eyes are too heavy to open. She presses her whole tiny palm against my face, patting me to wake me, and helped, I imagine, by her overly energetic father.

'Mummy,' George sing-songs on Bobbie's behalf. 'Mum-meee! Wake up! We want to open our prezzies!'

'Mmnah,' I mumble and roll my head away, ready to fall back into sleep.

George lifts Bobbie away and I feel him move around behind me on the mattress. He leans over me, draws my hair back and kisses my ear tenderly.

I pull the cover up, sighing shortly and ignore him.

'Hannah,' he says in a low voice, somewhere close to my ear. 'It's nearly eleven o'clock.'

'What?!' I cry, sitting up, sucking air in. 'Why didn't you wake me earlier?! The dinner won't be ready! The--' I stop.

George is grinning cheekily and laughing as he holds Bobbie in his lap, his hands wrapped around her middle. 'Did I say eleven? I meant seven.'

'George!' I moan. 'For goodness sakes. That's not funny.'

'No?' he says, taking Bobbie's hands and clapping them together for her. 'Bobs thinks so, see? "Well done, Daddy! Good joke! Got Mummy up!"'

I sigh at him and push the covers down, swinging my legs over the side of the bed.

'Where are you going?' George asks, still amused.

'I still have to start it,' I tell him, grumpily. 'It's a twenty pound turkey. It's going to take at least seven hours, and I have to make whatever we're going to eat.'

Christmas dinner with all the trimmings, and I'm doing it all on my own too. Almost on my own. Me, Mrs Roberts, Joan, one of the other housekeepers, prepared as much as we could two days ago, but I will be on my own today. I've never cooked for so many people before. I've never cooked such an important meal before.

George's family are travelling down from Cheshire. It's all rather last minute as we weren't sure if George's mother would be well enough. Until a few days ago, we didn't think she would be and we were going to go there instead, but Louise is determined to come. She says she wants to see Friar Park.

They were with Pete and Pauline yesterday. Pauline's just had another baby. A girl, Linda, born on the first of December which, with everything else going on, has been a little overshadowed. Today George's parents, his brother Harry and his wife, Irene and their two children will join us for Christmas dinner and then stay until the new year.

Usually, at George's insistence, we wouldn't have any sort of meat or fish in the house, but as the rest of his family can't imagine Christmas without turkey for dinner, George has relented for this occasion. George's brothers rib him about being vegetarian. It's something that was unheard of where we grew up - still is, I imagine - but George and I will eat vegetarian as normal. I've refused to do curry though. George practically lives on spicey food, but it doesn't feel right for Christmas dinner. I'm doing a vegetarian version of what the others are having, along with some kind of bake that I'm planning on inventing from whatever we have left in the pantry. I'm determined this will be the finest meal I've ever done. It's planned meticulously. I will make this perfect for all of them.

George pats the mattress next to him. 'Come back here, you. Bobs has waited since five o'clock for you to wake up so we can open all the prezzies Santa has brought.'

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