It seemed a reasonable idea at the time.
After all, it was Christmas, and it was, in theory, a time of peace and goodwill to all men and women.
So here we all were gathered around my new table in my new room eating the food I’d spent the morning preparing.
Then one said one thing, then another replied, the words started to escalate, what had been a pleasant hour was now deteriorating, and I found myself in the thick of it.
All their past grievances were coming to the fore.
One aunt accused one uncle of never supporting her against their father; she was then accused of always looking for excuses and never accepting responsibility for her own actions.
All efforts on my part to shift the conversation away from the present topics came to naught.
By the time we got to dessert, there was no turning back.
One vowed never to speak to the other.
That was greeted with agreement from another, and how their lives would be so much better if they never had to see the other.
I was feeling pretty crushed by now, there was always a possibility this might happen, but I thought since it was Christmas they might temper themselves, but no.
Aunt Glad threw her Christmas pudding across the table at Uncle Alan. It landed on his head, a good shot under different circumstances.
Then it was on for young and old, my new room finding itself caked in pudding and custard.
There was nothing I could do other than scream at the top of my lungs for them all to stop and go home.
There was instant silence, as they’d never heard me speak like that. Embarrassment and guilt flooded the room as they took stock of each other.
Aunt Glad apologised as she wiped the pudding from her hair, along with Aunt and Uncle Rose and Charlie they offered to help clean up, but I’d had enough and said I preferred it if they left and I’d do the clean up. As it was, I’d copped my own share of pudding as they hurled it across the room, catching me in their crossfire.
It was one thing to be in the thick of it; it was another to wear the shame of it for all to see.
Once they’d left, I sat and took stock, there was a lot to clean up, but first I needed to settle my nerves.