Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Home again

Back home. It's been lovely spending time with my parents, although the poor weather and the fact that i've not been well has meant we didn't go out at all - the only days which were dry/sunny enough to go out, we were too tired to do anything such as going for a drive to look at the seaside.

However, despite the general lack of energy, I think we all enjoyed ourselves - I certainly did, and it was very nice to be able to relax, and not *have* to do anything - quite apart from anything else, only having to cook about once every 4th meal felt like a real luxury, as did staying in bed a couple of hours longer than usual (and being brought tea in bed, which happens most mornings at my parents' house, provided you're willing to stay in bed long enough!)

It is also the case that while alcohol may not actually help treat, or cure flu-y head-colds or sinus infections, it most certainly helps to make them more endurable, and christmas is one of those rare occasions when drinking white wine spritzers at 11.30 in the morning is perfectly acceptable!

I was a little disappointed that I haven't had the mental energy to read any of the big new-to-me books I'd been saving up for the holidays, and we failed even more spectacularly dismally than usual on the King William's College Quiz, but I did re-read a number of old favourites, which is always fun.

And it was nice to get home and find my house had not been swept away, or lost any tiles, or fence panels!

Friday, 27 December 2013


It's been a quiet Christmas, but nice, so far. I drove down to Deepest Devon on Monday evening - which was an interesting experience - it was very wild, wet and windy, and there were places where there was an awful lot of surface water and huge puddles and streams on the roads.

Fortunately it seemed to get better rather than worse as my journey progressed, and by the time I arrived ( with the journey having taken about 40 minutes longer than usual) it had stopped raining (temporarily!)

Christmas Morning church 
My younger sister and her partner were at my parents for a pre-christmas visit, and we overlapped for about 24 hours - long enough to catch up, exchange gifts, and to cooperate in decorating the Christmas Tree.

Christmas Day itself was fairly quiet - we went to church to ring in the morning, and admired the church full of christmas trees, each decorated by a different group.

Ringer's tree (Or Dalek)
The ringers have a bell-shaped tree (or possibly a Dalek in deep disguise)

We got home for second breakfast to discover that the heating element from the oven had blown, but happily my Dad was able to jury-rig the oven to work, by the careful deployment of a large baking tray to turn the grill into an oven-style heating element which, combined with the use of the fan part of the defunct oven setting, allowed us not only to bake out croissants, but also to cook a full Christmas Dinner.

Which was a relief. I'm sure we would have managed, if we'd needed to, with the little cooker in the caravan, the hob, and the microwave, but it would have been more complicated!
Burning food!
As it was, we were able to eat and drink to excess in the traditional manner, and to open gifts and watch Matthew Bourne's 'Sleeping Beauty' and telephone family members.

It was a Good Day.

Boxing Day brought more socialising as my aunt and uncle, together with my cousin, her husband and son, came over for lunch - I tend only to see them 2 or 3 times a year, so it was good to catch up.

And having a 3 year old visit reminds you of the thrills of Christmas. He was just as excited about everyone else's presents as his own, with lots of jumping and "What is it What is it What is it!?!" And we all enjoyed the reading of 'Fox in Socks', which followed. (Kudos to Granny, who managed to read it aloud and without losing her self control, despite 6 other adults getting the giggles around her as she read..)

Friday, 13 December 2013

Shopping, and No Trains

I had a day off work today (time in lieu having worked a Saturday, recently). I'd planned to have a nice long, lazy lie-in, which would have worked better if I had remembered to turn off my alarm - obviously, I didn't have to get out of bed, but the flailing around trying to find the damn thing and make it stop did break the relaxing mood a little!

I spent some time in the morning wrapping gifts to post, and was planning to then get the train into Bath to finish off my christmas shopping. However, when I got to the station, I found that (contrary to the website which claimed everything was running on time) all the trains were either cancelled or running very, very late. (when "the next train to arrive" is the one which ought to have left an hour and a half ago, it's generally not a good sign. ) I did go in to find out what was going on (just in case it was all about to miraculously improve).

It seemed that there was a points failure just up the line, which meant that instead of the trains going direct (taking around 18 minutes) they were going to go in wrong direction, sneak round and creep up on Bath from the other direction. I don't know how long it would have taken but given that they were also warning that the train was very crowded, I decided that I didn't really need to go to Bath today.

I did go to the post office and posted the parcels I wrapped this  morning, and also went to the local branch of Waterstones and bought some christmas gifts there, although I do have  a few more to get.

the best part of the day, however, is that I still have a whole weekend ahead of me!

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Starting to feel a little festive

My sister and brother in law are staying home over Christmas, so I won't be seeing them then, so today my sister and I met up midway between our respective homes (BiL is working), for lunch and the exchange of presents.

Which was nice. 

We met at a pub, and, as it could be argued that it was Christmas (I mean, that's why we were meeting, and we were exchanging gifts) it seemed fitting to eat to excess.. Plus the food was good. (whitebait, Ostrich steak, and rhubarb crumble).

It's been a while since I saw her, so it was good to spend some time together and catch up.

Oh, and another bonus? She brought a belated birthday gift - they'd not posted it to me, as it was a bottle of very nice gin, so both heavy and fragile :-)

I haven't really felt very festive, yet, and haven't been able to build up much excitement for christmas, but between making the christmas cake on Saturday, and hanging out with K on Sunday, I'm starting to feel a bit more enthusiasm.

(Of course, at some point in the very near future I shall have to go and queue in a post office, to send the gifts to people I won't be seeing. That may exhaust all my new-found christmas spirit!)

Friday, 6 December 2013

Friends and Music

It's been a while since I posted, but there hasn't, until now, been much going on. I've been looking at houses, and not liking any of them very much, and I've been having a nasty cold, and not enjoying it very much, and none of that would be interesting to read about in any detail.

However, on Wednesday evening, Thea Gilmore was playing in Bath, and I had a ticket.

I went straight into Bath from work, and spent some time looking around the Christmas Market (not too crowded at that time) and had a quick pub supper, (well, as it turned out, a very slow pub supper - I think they forgot my order half way through. But it was tasty) 

I met up with friends, who (as we worked out, eventually) I haven't seen since I bumped into them at the last Thea Gilmore gig we went to, which is about four years ago. It was good to catch up, and as the shw started a bit later than advertised, we had time to chat!

The show was opened by  Nigel Stonier, who is Thea's husband and a talented songwriter in his own right, and who played us several of his own songs, then, after the interval, returned in his capacity of Thea's guitarist/keyboard player.

Thea was also accompanied by a wonderful cellist, and a violinist, and in two songs, by a 2nd violinist, her 7 year old son, Egan.
It was a fun evening. as it's now December, THea sang some of her Christmas song, although we were a little disappointed that we didn't get to hear Sol Invictus. But even without that it was wonderful! 

The only down side was that when I got to the car park to drive home I found I had to scrape ice off the windscreen before I could drive home. I don't approve. It's one thing on the  morning, but when going home it seems unreasonable!