Here we are, already five days into 2024, which cheers me as I’ve always been a little superstitious about years that have odd numbers in them! Does that make me odd? Probably, and a little daft too, because last year couldn’t have been better really, with our two family weddings, and my foray into the world of retirement! So how was your Christmas? I know that some of you were with family, and others spent the festive period on holiday, so I really hope it all went according to plan and you were truly relaxed by the time we hit the countdown for New Year?
This year I enjoyed every minute of Christmas because in spite of the somewhat frantic build up to it, the festivities themselves were truly relaxed and happy. However, Colin and I made far too much food for the family gathering on the 23rd December, and although the children descended like locusts on the gammon cooked in Muscovado, we had an untouched cottage pie left that is now in the freezer waiting for a time when we have six people here to feed! Literally all the children came to visit that day with the exception of Lily who lives in Australia. It was wonderful exchanging presents, catching up with each other and playing games with the grandchildren. We only took this one photo on the timer, but it’s a great memory. Sam and Elise stayed with us for Christmas Eve as did Jack and this year I made them all stockings – something I’ve not done for at least five years – and they loved them! We all sat about in our pyjamas with the log burner lit, and opened our presents before having a bacon sandwich for breakfast. Having left them to play various games and watch TV, Colin and I made the lunch, which turned out really well although we ate so much there was no room for Christmas pudding! It’s still in its box with a pretty impressive “eat by” date so I might keep it and then serve it up in the summer when we have a BBQ! Luckily there was plenty of cold meat for us to take when we visited my sister Jenny and Linda on Boxing Day, the first time in years we’ve seen them at Christmas time. They have such a lovely little cottage in Hampshire and always decorate it beautifully and so, after eating far too much food (again) we settled down next to the log burner and played games all evening – it was great fun and totally festive.
The following day we drove to Sussex to pick up my godmother Edna who came to stay with us for a couple of days. It was her first visit to us at Christmas, as she used to spent it with her late partner John, so it was a real treat to have her with us and for her to see the tree and all the new decorations. Colin did all the cooking, spoiling us with a turkey and ham pie one day and then Beef Wellington the next – both truly delicious and a real spoiley to have everything made for us. The weather was so grotty we didn’t do a great deal, not that I’m complaining as I’d started to feel a bit mouldy with cold symptoms that were then accompanied by a dreadful cough which I still have, but luckily didn’t pass on to Edna. It wasn’t Covid though which was a relief as Edna had been really ill with it last year and I would have felt awful it she had caught it from me!
We had a couple of days just to chill before New Year when we had offered to host my friend Jo’s birthday party which was definitely fortuitous as following a minor knee operation on the 19th December, she had fallen and broken her ankle! She had to spend the whole of Christmas wearing a whopping great boot that she will need to keep on until the end of January. Christmas was definitely a challenge for her, so it was lovely to get her to literally put her feet up and allow us to do it for her, although she did prepare all the veg bless her! We had her meal of choice – cheese fondue – and I made her a carrot cake for her birthday. It was the second one I’d made over Christmas as my children prefer it to Christmas cake! I almost grated the ends of my fingers in with the carrots there were so many 😊 It was so nice though to get everything ready in our new dining room, and lovely to see her children and her partner Simon’s girls too with their new granddaughter Penny. Funny to think I’ve known Jo – or Yo as I call her – for 53 years now! So many shared memories of life, loss, love, joy – all of which are truly special to both of us.
Do you still keep in touch with folk you’ve known since school or longer? I know sometimes we change, or we move away and move on and those people are no longer in our lives. But there’s a saying I know that makes absolute sense to me – “Friends for a season, friends for a reason or friends for life…” Does that resonate with you? And talking of friends, I had a cracking night out last night with many great folk from QVC as we laughed our way through this year’s Palladium Panto, Peter Pan! Julian Clary, Nigel Havers, Gary Wilmot and Jennifer Saunders were just a few of the amazingly talented cast and it was thanks to lovely tech guest from QVC James Murden who organized it for the second year running, making it possible for us all to meet up.
So before I sign off, I thought I’d ask if you’ve made any resolutions for this New Year? Joining a local exercise class maybe or creating a vegetable patch? Learning how to knit or play a musical instrument? I’d promised myself to start playing the saxophone but haven’t got anywhere with that yet so… we shall see!
Take care and may this year bring you everything you dream of that will make you happy.
With my love,