It seems to me that time is going by so quickly and notable things happen with such frequency that if I don’t take time to record them, they’ll get lost forever.

So in the past week or so, in addition to Christmas, we’ve had the Lanfranc Road Charity Christmas Carol Event, which raised over £400 for the Daisy Garland. I wasn’t really involved, but TW was one of the main movers and shakers, and she arranged the road closure. The choir, made up of Lanfranc Road residents (and guests) sang two sets of carols and other festive songs such as “Last Christmas”. The event was well-attended, and the guests enjoyed mulled wine, cookies, hot chocolate and mince pies. Although it did rain during the day, the rain stayed off while the carols were sung. Several other musicians played a song or two and there were a few requests to repeat the event next year – it may become an annual event. If it does, I shall have to drink less next time…

On Christmas Eve, we had our annual Open House, which started off slowly but built to a peak about 3pm. As described, that is an annual recurring event, and it seems that people do look forward to it. There were drinks, canapés, and lots of people for a small terraced Victorian house. I think people enjoyed it. I did my traditional Christmas Eve dance for the children before the guests arrived, which consists of me dancing like Dick van Dyke as a chimney sweep on the roofs of London in Mary Poppins; i.e., trying to get my knees up around my ears while appearing to operate a pneumatic drill with my hands. It’s a high-impact dance that I can only keep up for about 20 seconds, but it seems to have become a family favourite. The things we do for our families, hey?
After the Open House, we went to Christingle, which is also an annual fixture. It brings the Open House to a close, and gives us the message of Christmas. No beakers of booze this year, which was a step forward, I suppose… When we got home we asked the girls not to wake us up before 05:30 on the day itself, and they were good for that; they woke us up at 05:30 pretty much on the nose. We’ll have to make it 06:00 next year – that little sleep after a few drinks was not a good combination.

So Christmas Day itself dawned and we opened our stockings with a warming / waking cup of tea. The kids got a lot of stocking presents, as did I. TW got less, but I think I did okay with buying her stocking presents this year. We then had breakfast; the Youngest had a stomach cramp and thought she was going to be sick, which kind of interrupted my digestion – however, she just needed more sleep, so she went back to bed and got another couple of hours – I wish I could have done the same. We had all the vegetables peeled and prepared by 08:30 and we were good to go, just waiting for our guests. TW’s brother and family were coming, and they were picking up the GiL on the way, and M&P were coming too. TW’s family brought some pink champagne with them which set the day off properly, and some lovely Sancerre too, which was incredibly generous of them. We had some lovely prosecco we had ordered from Naked Wines which was an excellent follow-up to the pink champagne, and Dad and I stayed on the fizz all day. I knew he was tying one on when he refused a cup of tea after dinner – both M&P are right proper teabags, so strange things have to be afoot at the Circle K for tea to be refused. We weren’t hideously drunk, either, we were just pleasantly sozzled. We had some special low alcohol wine for GiL which seemed to work; she didn’t suspect that we had watered it down, or at least she didn’t ask about it. We opened presents after lunch, and had a gay old time trying to keep the waste wrapping paper under control. Then, at about 7pm, our guests toddled off and things slowly calmed down.

Boxing Day was a chance to recuperate and get a head full of fresh air on Worthing Seafront with M&P, as well as some bacon sandwiches, which were much-needed. The day also gave Dad and I the chance to compare headaches. 🙂

Christmas Sunday we were entertaining again, as our friends H&I and their kids came over for lunch. TW had a slight panic about what she was going to feed them, but we had already agreed on a “picky” lunch, so I popped out to Lidl to get some baguettes and tomatoes, and job done. More booze was imbibed, but it was a lovely relaxing day and it was great to spend some unhurried time with some close friends. And the kids get on as well, which is a bonus, as we didn’t have to spend all afternoon refereeing pointless grudges – excellent.

Monday was a bit of a non-day to start with, but we had tickets to the ice-skating booked in the afternoon, so although we mooched around the house for most of the day in our PJs, tidying up, we did have stuff to do. And it wasn’t watching ice-skating, it was actually getting on the rink and doing it. And against my better judgement I had also agreed to get on the ice. I started off a bit like a new-born deer, with my legs and limbs squirting crazily in unexpected directions, but I did actually get some gliding in, and I put together a few moves before I retired. I had taken the advice to strap up the boots tightly to heart, and I think at once stage I was cutting off the bloodflow to my toes. I had to get back on to terra firma to readjust my strapping. I did go back on the ice, and I reckon that I probably used 15 or 20 minutes of the hour-long session before admitting defeat. The rink is going to be in effect until the end of February though, so I reckon we will go again before it is closed and taken down – possibly twice?

Tuesday we headed northwards to Oxfordshire to see TW’s family, and we got there mid-afternoon. The family descended on Wednesday, and we had roast beef and glühwein – well, except me, because I was driving. I do like TW’s family though, they are loud and enthusiastic and always happy to spend time together. It would be good to have family meet-ups more often, truth be told. After an afternoon of indulgence and jollity, we drove home at 6:30pm, in the dark and the rain. Since we have a Vauxhall Zafira with a dodgy heating unit, I had to drive through the rain with the window open and no heating. Occasionally I would have to use the soft edge of the ice scraper to demist the windscreen, but it mostly stayed clear. I was also looking out for water collecting on the roads, so it was a very strenuous three hours home. But we made it, and that brings us up to date, ending the year (as we should) on New Year’s Eve.

That’s quite a mammoth catch-up, at least for me, but it goes to show that a lot can happen in a short time. There’s stuff that I’ve missed out too, that I might write about in 2016, but then, who knows what might happen next year? And next year starts tomorrow. It’s good to have something to look forward to.

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