On the 18th Nov. the Rothwells flew back from KL and I was there for a very early pick-up to transport 4 weary travellers to their very chilly British beds. I saw them again later that day along with Sarah and Lee for our usual Friday family night meal. Jamie was the only one not present as he had flown out to Fuerteventura with a few of his friends for a week in the sun.
While our son was sunning himself Sue and I had the pleasure of looking after his rabbit, gerbil and snake. The last two were fed daily by Sue at his apartment, Maddy the rabbit spent the days running around in my greenhouse and the nights safely locked up in his cage in the kitchen away from any cables or furniture that could be nibbled.
On the 23rd Nov. Sue and I met up with Joan and Phillip at the Premier Inn for lunch. They had flown to the UK to escape the earthquakes back home, see a few friends and visit Specsavers. Usually Roger would have been with us but he was on a months R&R in Cyprus escaping his Bristol duties. It was lovely to catch up on news, particularly to hear about life in shaky Santa Vittoria. I hope to visit them in 2017 as it has been quite some time since we last ventured to Marche.
The weather has continued to remain unseasonable, confusing my apple tree and encouraging the grass to continue growing. I mowed the lawns on December the 1st! I have busied myself at the allotments, pruning the fruit bushes and vines as well as turning the soil over ready for the .spring. Fires have been lit in the evenings though I think that must be through an ingrained winter habit as by the time 8pm arrives the lounge is stifling hot and the temperature outside is often still in double figures.
Rothwell School had asked for volunteers to sort out the school garden via their weekly news letter to parents. Only Charlotte was forthcoming. So one warm afternoon, we dug, weeded, scraped and planted bulbs. An awful lot more needed to be done, but as we weren’t offered so much as a cup of coffee or thanked by any senior member of staff I won’t be doing anymore.
Jamie returned on the 25th and the Christmas festivities kicked off a couple of days later when Sue and I joined the Rothwells at a carol service for the Cubs and Beavers organised by the Salvation Army. The service was appropriately naff and so traditionally British that it was quite enjoyable. Afterwards, Charlotte provided a lovely Sunday for us all, she does make a tasty roast parsnip.
The following day Sue and I had lunch with Jamie at the Sonde Arms in Rockingham. He has acquired a new friend. We were first introduced to Ashton when he brought her to see us one afternoon and she was also visiting him when I helped Jamie paint the wall in his lounge a few days later. We know that she is younger than him, lives in Milton Keynes and likes horses. On the 29th Nov. he took his CBT test to ride a motorbike, we are not sure why but no doubt he is planning to buy one in the future. Very worrying, particularly as bikers are the NHS’s main source of organ donators.
On the 2nd Dec. the Rothwells came over for the usual family meal. afterwards we then went into town for late night shopping. Despite a warm evening it was a very Christmassy affair with artificial snow falling from the sky, free mince pies and mulled wine a plenty. A small herd of reindeer were in attendance, as was Santa on his sleigh. The whole of south Leicestershire seemed to be present, enjoying the excuse to over indulge and get into the party spirit.
On the 10th of Dec. the whole family descended on the Rothwells to celebrate Lucas’s 10th birthday. Unfortunately, the weather was wet and miserable so we stayed inside. They also had Lucas’s friend Hamish and his father staying over from Newark.
The following day Lee and Sarah had a function to attend and had brought Mia down for Sue and I to look after. I entertained her with a 7 hour walk and lunch in Arthingworth. A few days later I had the pleasure of Mia again though this time we had lunch in Foxton.
Mia went to see Santa!
For the first time ever, I had to buy the Christmas tree without Sarah.
On the 17th I attended the Rugby Club’s Christmas luncheon. All went well until Charlotte (she was working behind the bar) and I attempted to take a rather inebriated friend home. After driving him there, Charlotte and I tried to guide him up the steps to his front door where he tripped and fell onto me, knocking yours truly into a wrought iron gate. Thanks to the anaesthetic properties of beer I hadn’t felt the impact or severing of skin from the top of my scalp. The look of horror on my daughters face and that of the my friend’s son who had come out to see what the commotion was about indicated to me that all was not well. After setting my friend safely inside, Charlotte drove me to the Cottage Hospital where I was patched up and returned to base. Sean came to see me the following day and apologised, though I am quite sure he remembers none of the incident. Well, the thought was there.
The festive celebrations have started with a bang!
Jamie and I have booked our next road trip. We shall be off to New Zealand in May.
The photo is Jamie as best man at Michael Hobbs wedding.
And finally……. the end of 2016 will see Suraj moving on to a new job in the NHS. He is still working in the IT department, probably making their poorly computers better.