In the Midlands we are well used to the lack of snow, or even frost over the Christmas period but I can’t remember a warmer Christmas than this one. On the plus side it has meant that the family have not been stuck inside, afraid to venture out into the chill British winter. Double figure temperatures have ensured that thermals have remained firmly in the drawer.
Both Sue and I have had ‘the bug’ (along with many of our friends) that traditionally does the rounds at this time of year. I guess there is a laboratory in some non-Christian country producing new strains of virus, specifically designed to take the edge off the festive period and bump-off a few potential missionaries. On second thoughts, it may be a marketing ploy by the pharmaceutical companies that produce the Flu vaccine. What a great initiative to preserve your market share. What a great conspiracy theory!
I took to my bed on the 20th with hot water and soup and let my antibodies do their work. Sue chose a different strategy and ignored it.
On the 22nd I was well enough to attend a Christmas dinner at the Angel with the guys that I play pool with each Thursday. This time I managed to avoid any gate diving and completed the evening in the state that I started it.
The following day Sue and I watched ‘Schindler’s List’ on the lounge cinema system. We had decided to watch the film when we visited Schindler’s factory in Krakow during November. Using a gift voucher, I bought the video from Amazon and streamed it through the projector. A long film, but superb. The events portrayed produced an overwhelming sense of poignancy, with recognition of the various locations exacerbating the feeling of shock and horror at the inhumanity of it all.
The family arrived on the afternoon of Christmas Eve. After first visiting the ice-cream parlour in the town for the boys we next visited the Nelson pub for the grown-ups. Returning home, Charlotte and Sarah prepared a couple of curries for the evening meal. The rest of the evening was spent playing amusing games until everyone retired awaiting Santa’s appearance.
As expected, it was an early awakening for the boys, but they are old enough now to sneak down to check that HE has been and then to relocate to mum and dad’s bed to check out the contents of their stockings. Presents were opened after breakfast and as usual it was a rather convoluted affair, particularly as now we have a beagle that gets more presents than most of the adults!
Christmas Day was the same wonderful family affair as those fortunate enough not to be suffering under one catastrophe or another. A scrumptious lunch followed by a calorie burning constitutional around Foxton Locks then a lazy evening playing with freshly opened surprises and the trying on of new items of clothing. We are lucky. Late that night, Sarah and Lee drove to Cottgrave to celebrate Lee’s birthday on Boxing Day with his parents.
Boxing Day for us was the traditional greyhound racing in Peterborough. As last year, we had booked a couple of tables to ensure that we had seating as it has become very popular. We arrived just before the first race and were soon sat with food and drinks making our bets and planning how to spend the certain fortune coming our way. Sue was the only pundit to end in profit and true to form wouldn’t give an exact amount on her good fortune, but she won on most races!!!!
The following day we all drove up to the Braunstones and then with Lee and Sarah we carried on to Abbey Park in order to give Mia and the boys a chance to stretch their legs on what turned out to be a lovely warm late December afternoon. Returning to Braunstone we had a lovely chicken casserole before driving over to the Little Theatre in Leicester to watch a performance of ‘Sleeping Beauty’.
We woke to a very cold and foggy morning, so naturally it was decided to stretch our legs around Pitsford reservoir. Visibility was poor on the journey there and also on the walk from the Dam wall to the café at the other end of the lake. We were not the only foolhardy ones to decide it was a great morning for a walk and had plenty of company either on cycles, running shoes or hiking boots.
We spent nearly and hour at the café warming ourselves with hot drinks before setting off along the opposite shore to the cars. The sun made an appearance around halfway along our route, illuminating all that we had missed so far, what a magnificent day it had been just a few metres above our heads through the fog. The sun began to set as we drove towards Harborough.
The Rothwells returned home just before New Year’s Eve and quiet once more descended on Willow Bank.
It seems likely that 2017 will be more turbulent both nationally and internationally than in recent years, though I guess it can be argued that 2008 was pretty much a game changer. Brexit and Trump are unknown factors that have yet to pan out and of course we mustn’t forget ISIS, earthquakes and asteroids that are equally unknowns. Perhaps the discovery of life on another planet or even more astounding, a visitation from ‘said’ life-form may rattle a few cages, putting ALL things into their true perspective? Not likely I think, but fingers crossed.
However, reality IS about to descend on a past friend of Jamie’s. Quite a long time ago Jamie had his apartment burgled and along with several personal items taken, his bank account details were compromised. The burglar used these to empty Jamie’s account. This constituted a fraud against the bank which duly sought redress from the fraudster. There was no doubt that the bank itself was also at fault and compensated Jamie fully. Though his past ‘friend’ admitted the bank fraud, he denied the burglary and the stealing of Jamie and Harley’s personal goods. I went along with Jamie and Harley on the 5th Jan. to Leicester Crown Court to which they had been called to give evidence. When they defence barrister learnt that Jamie and Harley were present he advised his client to plead guilty, which is what he did. He will now return to court and be sentenced on Jan. 26th. That will put things into perspective for him.
Last Saturday Sue and went along to the Ha Ha Harborough, a monthly comedy club held in the local theatre. As expected, a very funny night. But, I must be getting old, the last act and headliner was not to my liking. To all (including Sue) the jokes and humour produced waves of laughter, however, prudishly I found the lady too rude. To my mind there are certain topics/areas that are just not funny and shouldn’t be ventured into, no matter how many expletives you throw into your patter. I am saying no more.
Yesterday I entertained Mia. Along with Peter we went for a very long rainy walk and lunch at Foxton Locks. We both came back very wet and very tired. You could say we were both dog-tired and slept well that night
In May Jamie and I will be off to New Zealand. We have a camper van (similar to the one we had in Australia) for 13 days with a couple more in a hotel in Auckland. We have yet to plan where we shall be visiting.
Sue and I will be off to Nepal in a couple of weeks. We shall be visiting Kathmandu, Pokhara, Sarangkot, Chitwan and Nagarkot. I have booked us a flight to Mount Everest. There was a time when I fancied climbing it, then when age crept in I lowered my aspirations to base camp, now I will settle for flying round it.
Jamie has a new girlfriend, her name is Ashton. He has brought her around a few times to visit us and seems very pleasant. He seems to be making quite a success over his currency trading business and I believe that he and Suraj may be going into business together.
Suraj has started his new job at the NHS. It certainly appears less taxing than his previous job and at present not much of a challenge for him.
Surprisingly, possibly due to the warm winter Charlotte’s little gardening business is still producing work for her. It shows she will turn her hand to anything as the other day she laid floor boards down in a clients loft!