Matthew Munson: Betwixtmas and the coming new year

Matthew and Bryan

Betwixtmas is here – that funny time between Christmas and New Year where all rules of time and space are temporarily suspended. You want to subsist on a diet of pringles and Shloer? Go for it. You’re going to play board games that you wouldn’t otherwise touch? Why not! You’ve had the same onesie on for the past three days? Change it, for god’s sake.

Our family Christmas was lovely, except for me having a cold that I seem to have passed around most of my family (sorry about that). It was lovely to give my lad some presents he really wanted, and spend this break having some quality time with him. He’s a pleasure and a joy to spend time with.

We went to a second panto this week as well, which was a lovely extra treat. There aren’t too many theatres in Thanet these days, sadly, and I keep an eye out on the shows at the Granville. I’ve not been there yet in its new guise, but I hope I will when I find something that catches mine and Bryan’s eye.

I have been to the Sarah Thorne Theatre in Broadstairs, however – a little hidden gem. Students and friends from Bryan’s dance school were dancing in the theatre’s annual panto, and we absolutely had to go and support them. I’m glad we went; it was welcoming and friendly, and the panto was riven with jokes that Bryan kept telling me on the way home – the mark of humour that sticks, I guess – and the classic panto story written (if I read the programme right) by the Dame. I’m a writer, but I’m absolutely certain I couldn’t write a script, nor could I act with any degree of competence, so all kudos to the Sarah Thorne performers. A lovely way to spend an afternoon, and I should make more of an effort to support local theatre.

The rest of our holiday is going to be taken up with … stuff. Things. Pottering around. We’re not doing anything that involves a lot of travel or complex arrangements; instead, we’re spending time at home, going for walks, and enjoying our presents. I’ve got a couple of good books to read, and Bryan has some models to make. I also made a rash offer to help Bryan move his bedroom around so he could have some more room to practise his dancing, and of course he said yes almost at once. So we spent a busy hour or so getting that organised, and he seems happy; I’m glad we could make that happen.

I’m also glad we’re making this second week a quiet one. Last week was wonderfully busy, with a visit from Bryan’s siblings (who are brilliant), a holiday club, and our first panto. This week is slower because we can, and it can be just as fun as a busy one. We actually decided to book in a visit to the Carlton Cinema in Westgate for this weekend because local places deserve to be supported when they’re clearly determined to make people feel welcome and valued – so a trip over to Westgate is on the cards, and I can’t wait. It’ll make New Year’s Eve a welcome event.

I’m not much of a party-goer on New Year’s Eve. In my early twenties, I remember going to a pub, and found myself sitting far too close to a speaker. I lost my voice – and part of my hearing – for a couple of days after and I vowed never to do it again. This year, Bryan and I are going to try and make it to midnight just for the hell of it. If the weather’s good, we might go and see a firework display; if not, we’ll watch one on TV – or, perhaps, just watch a film … if, that is, we both manage to stay awake. It could go either way, frankly, and I’m not embarrassed to admit that.

2024 will be an eventful year, I’m sure; every year always is, and I’m looking forward to seeing what opportunities it brings. Thank you to the readers who follow my column each week, and to the lovely comments people have given me; it means the world to me and my family. Happy New Year.

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