A Happy New Year to everyone.
It’s been a long time since I wrote an entry, time has just flown by and it seems to have been the busiest Christmas ever. I can’t possibly recall everything that happened, or record it here but will try to put in the main events and the things that left their mark.
Sunday 17th was the family Christmas drink, when members of my father’s family meet up to exchange cards. Sadly the numbers that attend are dwindling, for two reasons, one is because this tradition was started a long time ago and so many of them are no longer with us. The second reason is, so many of the family now live elsewhere. But it was nice to see those that were there.
Christmas for me really started on Thursday 21st. It was my first day off school and in the evening we went to the Black Country Living Museum. We were blessed with a cold and frosty evening and spent a magical time walking around savouring the sights, smells and sounds of the place. If you’ve never been and have only half an interest in the past, then I suggest you go. I would have liked to have Fish & Chips for our evening meal while we were there. The village has a genuine old fish shop and they fry in dripping, which makes them crispy and unlike anything you get today. But the queue was so long, we were not prepared to wait. Instead we decided to sample the Hog Roast, which for £3.00 for a large bap was excellent value, there must have been half a pound of pork in it and it was cooked to perfection.
Victorian style Carol Singers were singing in the village centre and as usual ,the characters living in the cottages were totally in part and were preparing and cooking the type of dishes typical of the turn of the 19th/20th Century, all by candlelight or gaslight and cooked on a roaring range.
Saturday 23rd our friend Catherine ( otherwise known as our adopted Radio daughter), who now lives in France (Hello Catherine!) came for dinner and stopped the night. We had a lovely evening catching up with the gossip and carried on until we all started falling asleep. She bought me a lovely present, a clutch bag with flowers on it.
Earlier in the day my step-daughter called in to exchange presents, she had come up from Bath tocollect hermother, who was going to be staying with her for Christmas.
Christmas Eve, my step-son and his girlfriendcame round to exchange presents and I then spent the rest of the evening frantically wrapping presents. In the end I had to give up and go to bed, so Mike’s presents were wrapped Christmas afternoon, while he was doing his radio programme.
Christmas morning Mike and I went over to Hopton Wafers, a village about half an hour’s drive away. Mum & Wilf had stayed there overnight, in a cottage in the grounds of the village pub ,they were having their Christmas lunch there and were stopping Christmas night too. My sister Val and her partner Mal met us there and we had champagne (not Mike), then Mike went off to work and I came home with Val & Mal.
The afternoon was spent cooking. I was doing a Turkey breast and a Beef Wellington but we decided the Turkey would be enough and the Beef could wait until Boxing Day. I don’t know what sort of Turkey this breast came from, I think it was really an Ostrich! There was some confusion in the Butcher’s when I went to order it. I normally have a 20 pound turkey from them but this year, as it was just four of us I thought I would just have a Turkey Crown. I know what Turkey Crowns are, I’ve had one before, it’s the two breasts left on the wishbone and ribcage and makes a very nice meal thank you.
But no! I was told I didn’t want a Turkey Crown by my butcher, as it would be too large. Now we like a lot of meat and it’s essential to have plenty left over to have with pickles, for at least a couple of days, so I wasn‘t happy with what I was being told. But he was having none of it, I was just going to get one Turkey Breast, not the double Crown. He assured me it would be from one of the larger birds and not to worry. That’s why I decided to have the Beef Wellington also.
Well when I went to pick it up!!!! And that’s another story, which I will relate in a minute. He brought out this thing and slapped it on the scales, “Just over 10 pounds, is that alright?”
How on earth did that bird walk, I know all his stuff is free range. So if the two breasts came to over 20 pounds, what on earth did the whole thing weigh? How would you dispatch a thing that size? Very carefully I should say! But it was wonderful, probably the best turkey I have had and of course there was loads left over.
As I went early on the Saturday morning to collect my order, I found, as I reached the middle of town, that an empty warehouse was ablaze and I couldn’t get down into Lowesmoor, which is where my Butcher is. There were fire engines and police vehicles everywhere and hoses were being brought across various roads to try to boost the water needed to deal with the fire. The roof had already gone and flames were shooting up high into the sky.
Eventually I found a side road to park in and walked to the shop. By now the queue was out of the door (8.15 am) and then my phone started ringing. It was Mike, who was at the radio station. He had heard the news and was ringing to say, if I hadn’t already gone to the butcher’s, perhaps I should go later. When I told him I was already there, he said I could do an eye witness report for the News. How silly do you feel standing in a queue of people you don’t know, being interviewed over the phone about the fire we were all looking at? The answer is, Very.
When Mike got home on Christmas Day we opened our presents. I had a lovely Rose Bush from Mike, which has my name on it. There is a company in Shrewsbury that will send an unnamed rose, which has been personalised as a gift. It’s not a rose that can be bought normally but other people can also have this rose named for their loved one, so it is semi unique (if you can say that). He also bought me my favourite Chanel perfume, some expensive face creams and a lovely pair of Lounging PJ’s, which I am wearing now. I had lots of other lovely presents, too many to list here.
Late on Boxing Day Catherine, Flo and Isabella were supposed to arrive but they decided to delay their crossing and so arrived the following day. They drove and crossed the Channel from Boulogne to Dover. They used Sea France and the ferry was cold and dirty and they would have preferred to stay in their car.
A busy few days while they were here, visiting people and places and just not enough time to do all that we wanted and on Saturday they went. They spent New Years Eve at Eastbourne, to be nearer the Ferry for the next day. This time they were using Speed Ferries, which is a Hover type of ferry. The one they were booked on was cancelled due to technical problems, so instead of going just after 2pm, they didn’t sail until around 6pmand the crossing was terrible, due to the high winds. I had a text saying they had booked into a hotel in France, as they didn’t feel up to continuing the journey. I hope to hear from them later today, when they get home.
It’s been quite an eventful year, with Catherine getting married at the start of it and then Isabella’s arrival making me a Grandmother in the Summer. To finish the year, Simon & Tori got engaged on Christmas Day, so that’s another wedding to start planning and saving for.
I ended 2006 feeling rather low. I heard some horrific things over Christmas that have happened to people I know. My mood was not improved by the hanging of Saddam . I know what he did but is the world a better place for his brutal execution? How could it be? Should we all live in fear of reprisals, yes, I think so.
I want this New Year to be a good one, when all my loved ones are happy. I desperately want to lose this excess weight I have been carrying for too long and for Mike to give birth to that baby he has been carrying for the last ten years. So I guess that means we will be trying to diet again.
It’s back to school tomorrow, the children aren’t in but it is a training day. I hope the speaker is interesting, otherwise I could be asleep by lunchtime.
Happy New Year to my niece Emma, who is just preparing to leave Australia, to head on to New Zealand. We’ve just realised I shall be in Germany when you come home, so I’m going to miss the party! We shall have to catch up with you soon after. There are some pictures of your Mum and general Christmas shots at the top of this entry for you. I’m not including the one your Mum took of me, she has obviously inherited our mother’s knack of not taking the picture when you expect it but waits until everyone has fallen into disarray and then presses the button!
I still have over 30 Alerts to read for new entries for other Journals, I've been trying to keep up but had very little time on the computer. I've read most of them but have only had time to comment on a few. I hope to get back to normal now.
Happy New Year to you all!