There’s no better way to spend Boxing Day than a trip to the flicks, especially when it’s to see the long-awaited sequel to a classic. Liam and I saw the original Mary Poppins as little ‘uns (though not together, obviously) and it was the child in us both that spit-spotted us to Cinema City to see Mary Poppins Returns. In fact, Liam was virtually hyperventilating along the way. Sequels are so often disappointing, even more so when competing with rose-tinted memories of the distant past. Expectations were high and expectations were exceeded. The film is every bit as magical, charming, melodic and whimsical as the original. Kids of a certain age will be mesmerised, and subtle references to the first film will keep the nostalgic grown-ups happy too. As the closing credits rolled, applause rippled through the crowd. By all accounts, PL Travis, the author of the Mary Poppins books, hated the Disney treatment of the first film so no doubt she wouldn’t approve of the sequel either. But I hope Julie Andrews likes her able successor, Emily Blunt – practically perfect in every way, I say. I feel a barrow-load of gongs coming on.
The excessive festive recess started with a Soho reunion: old friends, cards and kisses, secret Santa tat and drunken frolics. It’s a Yuletide tradition of our own making. The next day, Liam and I had a parting of the Christmas ways, he to his folks, me to little sis. ‘Twas the season to be separated when love and duty called. Supermum sis cooked up an all-the-trimmings banquet for a small tribe. The ten ton turkey was the size of an ostrich and took two of her strong lads to haul the big bird into the oven. Plates were perched on every surface and piled high with just-right tastiness. I don’t how she does it. There was just one minor fly in the ointment. A kitchen frisk uncovered a sprout-less cupboard. Trifling recriminations were muttered over the sink, but it suited me just fine, not least because it avoided a windy afternoon with my old mother bringing up the rear. As usual, I didn’t lift a finger. My sister never lets me. I always offer, honestly I do, but my pleas fall on dismissive ears. She always makes me feel like a treasured guest. Brimming glasses of wine appeared from nowhere and a hot water bottle was slipped into my pit while my back was turned. Liam joined the fray on Boxing Day, sporting an elf hat and dragging his bulging sack of filthy goodies from Ann Summers. ‘Rude and Lewd’ could be our family motto and Liam raised the tone with willy-wares, booby prizes and lick-me-quick licentiousness. I could show you the photographs but I fear a call to Social Services might be the outcome. Priceless.