On the Monday Nan had her Christmas Dinner with the crowd from Huntingdon Gardens, they went all the way to Enderby to eat at a Toby Inn (I didn’t know they still existed). The Food was traditional, but it wouldn’t have been a ‘wrinklies outing’ without a few moans about slow service, cold food, too busy etc. I think she enjoyed herself, and it got her out and about on her own. Later in the week we had a bit of a panic over her medication which had run out (again), but it eventually got solved when I went and fetched it personally from the chemist. I have now put a reminder in my Yahoo diary which repeats for ever, to remind me to fetch the pills.
On the most inclement day possible, Sue drove down south to meet up with Phillipa to exchange Xmas presents. Phillipa had the worst of the two journeys as the storms were coming up from the south and she was also feeling rather ill, which after visiting the Doctor the following days resulted in a short spell in hospital. The NHS under Santa’s influence saw fit to medicate and release her in time for Christmas.
Sarah travelled back up to Sheffield (via Nottingham). She was in such a rush to return home for the festivities that she had forgotten Lee’s Christmas presents and had to get them. She called into Thurcroft to check on Nan’s house and everything was fine.
During the week we had a surprise visit from Dawn and Nicky (from Thurcroft). They had driven down to give Nan her Christmas presents and they popped over to see us for around half and hour before making the journey back. I was busy chopping logs in readiness for the Christmas period so didn’t see much of them.
Christmas Eve: The unwell, Rothwells arrived complete with chest and tummy bugs, closely followed by Nan and later that evening, by Jamie (coveting his own version of a chest cold backed up by a whopping mouth ulcer). That morning I made my traditional Chestnut Soup to get us into the mood. This year I changed the recipe and followed one by Jamie Oliver, and it proved to be quite acceptable. In the past we have travelled to Kettering for an evening’s Tenpin Bowling, but with Ellis being so young and full of mischief, we played the game in the lounge on the ‘Connect’. Later that night Santa arrived and the tree was surrounded in brightly coloured parcels.
This year there was a change in personnel. Sarah had decided that after so many years of delivering the presents on Christmas morning, at the age of 19 years it was time she passed the role onto someone else, and she had chosen me! Afterwards I could see her point as there is no time to open your own, as people demand another present from the pile as the y have already opened their last one. My solution was to put all mine to one side and opened them after everyone else had finished.
After tidying up the mounds of wrapping paper, storing the gifts into little piles (some larger than others), the girls and Sue set about preparing Christmas Dinner. I am not sure how it was organised , but it was felt that this year the creation of the festive feast went much better and was not such an onerous task for Sue. It was still as scrumptious as ever, with the Turkey that had been brought by Jamie as being the star on the plate.
During the afternoon we played with what ever toys we had received.
Santa had brought me and Suraj a Tablet PC each and it was a time to explore what they could do. Later that evening we watched Doctor Who on the big screen. It was quite disappointing, the story-line was too far-fetched and quite a lot silly.
Later that night we all went outside to release a Chinese Lantern into the skies over Harborough. Earlier on we each had written down a wish onto the envelope. It was a chilly night but mercifully the rain that has been with us for nearly a year now, held off, and despite a few problems lighting the candle it was soon floating over the centre of Harborough and will no doubt be reported in next week’s Harborough mail as: UFO SIGHTING ON CHRISTMAS DAY.
Boxing Day: Illness struck! Lucas was quite sick (tummy), so Suraj stayed in Harborough with him, while the rest of us travelled to Peterborough for a spot of traditional Greyhound racing. Yet gain the greyhounds won and though we were agonisingly close to a fortune on more than one occasion, we came home with empty pockets. Lucas seemed much better when we arrived back later that evening. Sarah travelled up to Nottingham to be with Lee, as it was his birthday (tragically bad planning by the parents) and she returned the following morning.
Pantomime Day: The following evening we travelled to Corby to see a production of Aladdin. Charlotte had picked up Lucas’s tummy bug and was suffering but managed to soldier on and came with us. We had managed to get much better seats than previous years and were right at the front. The boys seemed enthralled throughout the performance and appeared to thoroughly enjoy it. I think the fact that they were so close helped the concentration and the fact that the pyrotechnics were next to our seats and kept going off at unexpected moments added an extra touch of excitement.
That night Jamie returned to his apartment as he had work the following day and Nan returned to hers as she craved a little peace and quiet. Over the following few days the rain returned with a vengeance and limited any outdoor activities, though ‘Sale Shopping’ was on the agenda for one day, while Sue and I stayed behind and enjoyed the company of the boys. I took them to the park and Sue played jig-saw with them in the lounge when I returned.
Our next adventure was to practise a little bit of Geocaching. A couple of weeks ago I was looking at the location of some nearby Geocaches and inputted the co-ordinates into my GPS and intended to try and find them. Charlotte, Sarah and the boys expressed an interest so one drizzly afternoon we went looking for them. The first one we found was in the Square in the centre of Harborough (must have passed it a thousand times over the years!), buoyed with success we set off to find the next one in a very dark and wet Symingtons Recreation Park. After mush ferreting around in bushes under the light of depleting mobile phone batteries we found it. We had enjoyed it so much that I paid the annual fee to join the Geo-caching Community and this gave us access to loads more caches. I had plotted in the co-ordinates of another in Lubenham in readiness for an afternoons searching over Christmas, but the weather was so poor over the festive period it got a little delayed. On the first chilly (but dry) afternoon possible, Suraj, Charlotte, Sarah, the boys and I drove to Lubenham village Hall to start our search. It involved visiting 5 location around the village, picking up clues, deciphering them through the use of a formula and then using it to find the cache. We found the clues, but failed to find the cache, so retired to the village pub for a drink before returning home defeated but slightly happier (we have since worked out where we went wrong and intend to return).
We had the company of the Rothwells until New Year’s Eve. That afternoon we all met up as a family for the last time in 2012 at the Roebuck (a new pub on the outskirts of Harborough) for lunch. On return home I took Sarah’s car tyre to ATS to get a puncture fixed (which they did for free). Afterwards, Charlotte and Suraj stuffed the car with presents and clothes (I never thought they would fit it all in, but they did) and after goodbyes, returned home. Soon after Sarah set off to Lee’s to celebrate the New Year. That left Sue and I on our own. Strange feeling, everything so quiet and no washing-up/drying to do. We spent the evening watching what we wanted to on the TV and then went to bed for 10pm. Yes, 10pm!!! We didn’t feel the need to sing Auld Lang Syne (it’s a Scot’s poem and I have always hated it), link arms and dance around in circles. I woke briefly to the sound of fireworks at midnight, but Sue resolutely snoozed on. We woke this morning to a bright but chilly morning, and no hangover.