Christmas is over. Sad times.
Yesterday we had a family party to celebrate my brother's 18th birthday and I'm afraid I was rather too quick to jump into the role of 'loud, drunk relative.'
I started drinking very early and drank most of the wine I brought back from France without offering it to anyone else. My mum's cousin's children were there who I don't know very well, and one of them has just got into the Royal Academy of Music to do Musical Theatre and while everyone was gushing over that, I was sat in the corner, swaying from side to side and stuffing cheese into my face. Then someone mentioned that my cousins Sophie and Chloe are also doing drama-related things and everyone started talking about how it must run in the family because there are three youngsters all doing marvellous things in the field of theatrics, and the whole time I was sat in the corner, drinking fizzy wine and nodding silently.
Eventually, someone turned round and noticed me and said "What did you do at univeristy?"
"Drama" I slurred.
"And what are you doing now then?"
Before I could answer 'Not a lot' someone chipped in, "She's living in Paris!"
I have to say this sounds a lot more impressive than the truth (that I wash a strange man's underpants and wrestle French children into the shower), so for a moment I allowed myself to bask in the oohs and ahhs of approval until somebody raised the question I've been trying to avoid:
"So what are you going to do when you come back then?"
A helpful relative suggested that I might 'get back' in to drama and, no word of a lie, I said:
"That dream's dead for me, darling!"
And for some reason I adopted a mime cigarette on the end of a mime cigarett holder and I took a mime drag and flicked the end of my mime pashmina over my shoulder and just for emphasis I added "That dream died, a long time ago."
I felt like the embittered, alcoholic relative who had her day treading the boards at the Royal Court and somehow, maybe following a series of messy divorces and a fraud scandal, I have now escaped to Paris where I spend my days getting drunk on cheap wine and telling American expats about how I could have been a megastar, how they wanted me in Hollywood, but how I threw it all away to marry that Prince in Abu Dhabi, who consequently divorced me upon discovering my reliance on valium.
Even though I was joking, I did say with some sincerity that things could only get more painful for me, as I would soon be watching the showbiz careers of my cousin and second cousin go from strength to strength while my shortlived foray into 'drama' ended with my graduation in July.
My cousin Sophie said "You are twenty one. You are being ridiculous."
Am I though?
Thankfully, I was saved from being the drunk mess when my other cousin, who lives in Serbia and is getting married to a local in May, brought out little bottles of this very strong Serbian spirit. Soon everyone was on their way to being as drunk as I was and at about seven pm, I persuaded my cousins and my brother and a couple of his little mates to make a venture to the local pub. Christmas is, after all, a time for family.