Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas 2009

Had dinner with Rod & Jess at the Wimbledon Wagamamas before we went to see Avatar.  Rod’s finally doing the job that he wanted and that they wanted him to do, but which they kept on not appointing him to because of HR cock-ups.  Jess has also got another inter-parliamentary job which sounds like it’s going to get her a pile more travel.  The flip-side however is that it’s probably put the kybosh on the holiday in Memphis that we’d tentatively planned for later this year.

The movie was good but it was nearly three hours long, so we didn't get away from Wimbledon until about 23:30.  Although I was still feeling pretty shabby the drive was quite good; no traffic, no delays and no especially bad weather.  We made it to St. Helens around 03:45 and headed straight to bed.

Christmas Eve was largely a write-off for me; lethargy and over-sensitive skin and eyeballs, mostly spent in front of the TV after we emerged from our beds around lunchtime.  We stayed up until midnight though, watching some 100-best clip show about Christmas.  Brett called home before we went to bed and we had a chat with his family, who were only just gathering at Susan’s for their Christmas Eve present-giving.

Christmas Day, I was feeling only marginally better, so resorted to drugs.

We opened our presents first thing.  Rosie, Brett & I took a stroll out around the park after breakfast and I got a few decent photos of young swans, ducks and gulls on the ice on the lake, as well as tobogganists on the hill.  Auntie Pauline had arrived when we got back.

The parents had laid on a lovely buffet lunch, so we ate and chatted a bit, then lounged around until dinner; fish terrine or coarse pâté followed by beef wellington. A choice of Christmas cake or Christmas Pudding Ice Cream for dessert.  All very tasty. I picked up another usable pair of cufflinks from the Christmas Crackers too.

Boxing day was a pretty much a repeat of Christmas Day, except we had Auntie Anne, Cousin Maria and her five year-old son, Jamie, visiting as well.  I was still under the weather and we had a ham instead of beef wellington on the menu.

Sunday was the first day I felt vaguely human.  We arranged to go over to Chris & Michelle’s and went down into town to watch Sherlock Holmes first; it was an enjoyable movie.  The only time I really cringed was at Hollywood's mucking about with London geography (one of the lead characters runs from the cellars of Parliament to the top of Tower Bridge in about thirty seconds!)

Chris and Michelle were well and we met the latest addition to their family, baby Charlotte.  Chris had managed to bugger up the web browser on one of his computers and wanted me to take a look at it.  Somehow his browser wasn’t reaching the Internet connection – which was connected and seemed to be working from a command line.  I was suspicious of his McAfee security suite, as those domestic products get their grubby fingers into all sorts of places, but ultimately couldn’t track down what was causing the problem with both IE and Firefox.  Recommended he stump up for a Win7 upgrade.

Back at the ranch, Steve & Steph and family had arrived, so we tucked into another festive buffet and chatted with them for a while until Kath & Iain came over with Rebecca, shortly followed by Pod & Jenny.  We spent a few hours catching up with them and Mikey called briefly from Cuba again to wish us a belated happy Christmas and discuss cigars.  We eventually headed to bed around 22:30.

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