It was a lovely, relaxing time. My younger sister, and my brother were both there, too (My elder sister was with her out-laws) On Christmas Eve we decorated the tree (we also decorated my brother, in order to allow him to prove to sceptical friends that he can do Festive if he wishes, but I promised not to post that particular photo on the internet, so you will have to imagine it!)
The tree was decorated to within an inch of its life. We have 40 years worth of decorations, and E declared that the aim was to make it "As gaudy as possible". I think it's fair to say we met those specifications!
On Christmas Day, my parents and I went to the church, to ring the bells. Ringing is a long term hobby of theirs, and all four of us were taught, as a matter of course, as children, but none of us currently rings regularly.
When my mum and dad moved down to Devon, after retiring, there was no regular band in the village, but a little over a year ago, they agreed to teach a local band.
The learners have now reached the point where they can ring rounds (i.e. all 6 bells ringing together) and this is the first Christmas they have been able to ring for Christmas Morning.
I went along to help out, and I recorded a snatch of the ringing when I wasn't joining in. It isn't great ringing (The aim is for the bells to ring evenly, with the same gap between each 'strike', but this is very good considering how short a time they have been learning, and the fact that they've all been learning together - it is much easier if you are the one learner and everyone else can just ring in the right place regardless of whether or not you do!)
The village church had been decorated for Christmas - there were around 30 different trees - I think all of the different groups, such as the pre-school, the school etc. had all decorated trees, and others were themed. Guess which of the three below was the bell-ringers' tree?
My mum and I stayed for the service (partly to support one of the ringers, who was leading it, as a lay-reader) which I enjoyed, even though I prefer the Prayer Book and King James' Bible to 'Mission Praise' and and 'Good News'. We got 3 proper carols, which is pretty much all I ask of a Christmas day service!
Then home, to open stockings (with no children in the house, not everyone was keen to wake up early to open them before we went to church!) traditional Christmas Dinner (with wonderful free-range, slow reared turkey) then lots of presents.
My siblings had clubbed together and got me a shiny new Kindle, which was a very nice surprise. I have been thinking for a while I'd like to have one, as, much as I love real paper books, there are times, especially when travelling, that it would be nice NOT to have to carry quite so many books..
Mind you, I did only get 2 actual books for Christmas this year, which is something of a record for me. And one as a belated birthday present (The Heston Blumenthal / Dave McKean '|Fat Duck Cookbook' - beautiful, if impractical)
Then on Boxing Day we played host to my Uncle and Aunt, and to my cousin, her husband and their 14 month old son, who I haven't seen since he was 3 months old. |He's much bigger now, and crawling very fast. He was fascinated by the Christmas Tree, but as there were 9 adults around he was thwarted in all his attempts to clamber up it or take things off it! I particularly enjoyed watching him with my brother and my dad (both of whom are very good with small children, despite their best efforts to pretend otherwise!)
then on Thursday we went over to my Aunt and Uncle's house to see them again, with my *other* cousin, her husband and their 2 boys. Much fun was had.
All in all, a very quiet, but enjoyable Christmas. I hope eveyone else enjouyed their holidays.