Well I’ve packed up all the decorations, the boxes are waiting to be put back in the loft, and I think you’ll agree that this year’s spruce (below right) fared rather better than last years attempt at festive forestry (pictured below left)! You can see Jack in the background there – he arrived just in time to help Colin get it out into the garden! I’ve even managed to keep one of my two poinsettias in bloom, and was given some happy holiday hyacinths that are still filling the house with their gorgeous scent : )
Thanks again to all those of you who entered the competition, and wrote to me with Christmas wishes. I have replied to all of you who wrote in full, so I do hope you’ve found them as I’d hate you to think I hadn’t bothered!
What a whirlwind Christmas and New Year were! It was only when I went to transfer birthdays from last year’s calendar to this, I realized how much we’d actually done! For me Christmas began on the 19th when I drove to see my mum and Joe and exchange presents. They were having Christmas Day with my sister Jenny, Linda and my nephew James, so this was our only chance to spend time together. As always mum cooked up a storm, and we even had chance to sneak into Bishops Waltham to buy my final few presents.
Having finished work on the 21st December, I was cooking and entertaining every day until Boxing Day when we went to see Lucy and Simon! In fact I was so busy in the kitchen, I took very few photos, but thanks to the family and our friends, I’ve got a few precious memories I thought you might like to share:) Lucy, Henry and George came for lunch on the Monday, and Jack drove up to join us. Lucy looks so well, and had her latest scan for me to see!!!
It was great to see Jack with the little ones – his love for Lego hasn’t diminished even though he’ll be 22 next month! It was our chance to exchange presents as he spent Christmas Day with his dad this year and was back to work on Boxing day. Lucy and I went and bought the turkey and trimmings and after a cup of tea and cake all four of them headed home, and we made tracks to Kathy and Olley’s for a pre-Christmas supper which was fabulous! Kathy’s house looked amazing with all the decorations up, and as always she produced a wonderful meal : )
As Colin had been working right up until the weekend, he hadn’t had a chance to do any Christmas shopping and so 23rd December was his day to do that… I finished wrapping all the other presents, sorted the beds, and prepared a special Greek dinner for our friends Jo and Simon who were coming to supper that night. It’s a slow cooked dish that takes about six hours and involves a leg of lamb, a lemon, garlic, and as many veg as you like! I wasn’t sure about the lemon if I’m honest, but found that balsamic vinegar took the tartness away. We had a few glasses of bubbles, opened our presents, and then sat back to enjoy (for the second time!) Under Milkwood – a modern twist on the Welsh classic written by Dylan Thomas. When Jo and I were in the third year at school our fifth year performed it at the end of year concert – absolutely brilliant! They gave us some lovely presents including my Christmas jumper which I have pretty much lived in!
Christmas Eve dawned with the last of the wrapping to do, and lunch to prepare for Sam and his girlfriend Abbie. It was so good to see them again, and before we opened presents, we made a huge batch of mince pies – Sam’s becoming quite the pastry chef! Colin had headed out early to buy food for that evening’s celebrations, but it took us nearly the entire afternoon to find space in the fridge and sufficient plates to serve it on!
If you are a regular reader of this blog you may remember that last Christmas Eve we had a party with all of Colin’s children and my boys too! It was such fun that we decided to do it all again this year, and as you can see from the photos we had a great time. Among the games this year was ‘Don’t show your teeth’ created by that comic genius Keith Lemon. Someone names a theme, and the rest of you have to come up with words related to it BUT you can’t show your teeth while saying them! Try ‘Wedding Day’ with your lips over your teeth… Hilarious eh? Sam and Abbie, Lily Richard and Harry all had to drive home, but the others stayed overnight, and true to form, were up early for presents on Christmas morning! Well, we were completely spoiled – all sorts of wonderful things including an Apple TV system, books, perfume, jewellery, clothes and some fab pyjamas! We had bought them all a Bose Sound Link so everyone was happy. Personally I was thrilled to be given diamond earrings from Colin and a complete set of Golf Clubs… as I can’t run any more, this is to be my new form of exercise in 2015, and one I can share with him, so watch this space!
Being grown up now, they all have other places they need to be on Christmas Day and so having cleared the decks, changed the beds and lit the oven, phase two of Christmas Day began. This time we were spending it with Colin’s mum’s cousins – Renee, Shirley, Les, Diane and Craig. I’ve known them for years and they are great company, so it was a pleasure to have them all here. I was so chuffed that the meal was on time and all edible – my only disaster being my parsnips, which I removed to add the honey glaze just 10 mins before serving and forgot all about them. They were like sticks of charcoal! We experienced a cherry and pecan Christmas pudding that was extremely delicious, and then retired to the sitting room while Colin washed up bless him 🙂
My sister Jenny and her partner Linda came over in the evening and we all played games and listened to music – Colin had bought me The Osmonds double album so we sat reminiscing and drinking port, oh, and called my brother Peter in Australia which made the perfect end to a perfect day.
Jenny and Linda stayed over with us, and they then drove to spend Boxing Day with my niece Emily, while Colin and I set off to Swindon to see Lucy, Simon and their entire family. What a nice bunch of people they are, and all terribly excited about the baby. Lucy and Simon had spent ages preparing all sorts of delicious food and so we ate, played a terrific quiz (Colin’s team won!) and just enjoyed being together with the little ones. Having stayed overnight, we had breakfast, and then drove home so that I could prepare lunch (cold ham and veg) for Colin’s mum, while he drove to collect her from Watford. I have to admit to being totally shattered by this point, and was very glad that Kathleen was happy just to eat, and then sit with us to watch Victoria Wood’s Midlife Christmas which I thought was lovely.
I did fall asleep though when we moved onto the Dad’s Army movie, but I had seen it years ago! Colin took Kathleen home and I packed a bag ready to drive to Dorset the following morning. Our dear friends Ros and Chris moved there from Surrey just before Christmas, and had invited us to stay in their lovely new home. Such a beautiful part of the world, and one that Colin and I had visited many years ago. Have to say that the A303 was a bit of a nightmare past Stonehenge, but we arrived safely and had a great time catching up. The next morning was incredibly cold with a Haw frost, but the sun shone as we set off for Shaftesbury where these pictures were taken.
The lovely lad in the photos is Chris’s son Jack who was home from Cambridge for Christmas. They’d booked us into lunch at a lovely farm shop where Ros and I feasted on the most fabulous pork and cider pie, and Colin motored his way through a beef stew that would have fed ALL of us! All too soon it was time to leave but not before making plans to see each other again soon – I do miss the fact they no longer live just around the corner, but the bonus is getting to spend time with them in such a stunning location 🙂
If you’ve read down this far, well done!! I hope you like the photos and thanks to Rae, Craig and Ros for them – oh and Lucy of course :)I’ll look forward very much to hearing all about your special times and hope that I get to meet some of you at the Beauty Bash in a week or more’s time!
Take care, stay warm, and keep in touch,
With my love,