12 Days of Christmas, Day 4 – Mio Debnam

And for the 4th Day of Christmas here is my friend Mio Debnam, who lives in Hong Kong and is also the Regional Advisor for SCBWI Hong Kong. It’s always a thrill when we catch up, whether in Hong Kong or at a SCBWI gathering somewhere around the world. 

Following is Mio’s recollection of a family tradition that she ‘stepped’ into – an after Christmas lunch walk through a very interesting paddock.

It was my first English Christmas. The morning – filled with carols, laughter and good smells had been splendidly jolly, but as we sat down to the long awaited Christmas lunch, stomachs rumbling, I thought this must be the highlight of the day. I was glad I’d managed to resist snacking as the table was crammed with food. A glistening golden turkey, a baked ham studded with cloves and sticky with honey, crisp roast potatoes, deep bowls full of jewel like vegetables, not to mention stuffing, gravy and cranberry sauce. A feast fit for a king – and feast we did until we had to undo the straining buttons on our trousers. 

It was three o’clock by the time we got up from the table and staggered to the sofa by the fire. I sank into its warm embrace intending to doze a bit, but my plan was rudely disturbed when Peter, my boyfriend’s father, walked in and announced, “We are ALL going for a walk now!” This after-lunch walk, I discovered, was a family tradition. We all groaned, but as everyone else was getting up and collecting their coats and scarves, I reluctantly levered myself up, and turning away, tugged my zipper up to the point where my trousers wouldn’t fall down, then shrugged into a coat.
The sun hung low in the sky, but the air was still and not too cold. I breathed deeply and started to enjoy myself. Maybe a walk wasn’t such a bad idea after all, I thought.
That was before we decided to take a shortcut. There were cows in the field. They were pretty big, and there were lots of them, so I kept a beady eye on them. Good job I did. Half way across the field, I noticed that they were drifting closer. They seemed interested. A couple began to canter towards us. This was alarming. We broke into a trot. As I was busy watching the cows, I forgot to watch where I was putting my feet and my high heeled boots – worn specially for the Christmas meal – sank into cow pat after cow pat, each more gooey than the last.
Luckily, we made it to the fence and vaulted over it before the cows reached us. I had some difficulty making it over, as my boots now had huge amounts of cow poo clinging to them and weighed a ton, but finally I too was pulled to safety. We were now on a muddy dirt track, hemmed in on both sides by head high nettles. “Hmm,” said Peter, pointing at a spot miles into the distance. “I’m not sure, but I think that the way home is that way…” At this point the sun disappeared behind the hill and we were plunged into darkness, only broken by a circle of light three centimeters across that Peter’s tiny Christmas cracker torch threw onto the ground.
It took us ages to get home – but we found every rabbit hole we stumbled into, every wrong turn we took hilarious and we filled the night with laughter and song.  This, it turned out, was the highlight of my first-ever English Christmas!

Mio is a writer/editor and also the author of a middle grade fantasy novel, four picture books and several educational readers. Her latest books are the kidsGo! Guides – a series of travel guidebooks for kids. 

To find out more about Mio drop in to her blog and say hi at kidsgotravel blog.

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