Thursday, 2 January 2014

And So That Was Christmas

Happy New Year to one and all. 

I've not been blogging for a couple of weeks. Shortly after my last blog we headed up north for the Christmas break and, if you've read these Notes From Retirement before you will know that the caravan, our home from home in St Andrews, has broadband with a speed that is slower than a three toed sloth. Which means that uploading photos of festive merriment with the grandchildren would have taken almost as long as the eight hours it takes to drive there. 

You may have noticed that there was quite a lot of weather about while we were in the caravan which is on a heavily wooded site. The winds were gusting at tremendous speeds and when the storm was at its height one of the panels buckled inwards before springing back out again and we felt the caravan move quite violently - giving Rocking Around The Christmas Tree a whole new meaning.

Anyway, better late than never, here is Marion with our lovely Scottish granddaughters Rose and Melody on Christmas day.

And here I am with Melody. We had a lovely Christmas day. Sarah and Duncan cooked us a fabulous Christmas dinner and there were plenty of fabulous presents.

Although this one, bought by my Mum for Marion, remains a bit of a mystery. Mum says that ,despite buying it, she doesn't know what it is either. It came from Marks and Spencer but if you type the code from the M&S label into their website, they too don't know what it is. Answers on a postcode or perhaps in a comment below.

We drove back down from Scotland in relatively light traffic on Boxing Day before heading to Rochester the next day for another Christmas celebration with the Kent side of the family. Josephine and her mum cooked us a fabulous haunch of venison and we had another session of giving and receiving lots of super presents. On Saturday we brought Paul and Catherine back to Framlingham as we wanted to do a bit of Christmas cooking ourselves. An accident on the A12 put paid to the timing of our plans and resulted in a three hour delay but we made it to Framlingham in time to put the turkey in the oven and enjoy another festive dinner.

The sun shone brightly on Sunday giving Catherine a chance to have a look at our amazing castle before we headed back down to Rochester, dropped them home and drove back to Framlingham - I think we're keeping Haynings Service Station down the road in business - they must wonder what we're doing with all that diesel.

We managed to get to see my mum before Christmas but missed my sister Julie and her family who made a flying visit to Southport from their home in Spain. But they did pop in to see us on Skype. Julie said "I hope we're not on a big screen". Yes Julie,as you can see, you were. I will never tire of the wonder of Skype. The quality of the calls gets better and better all the time. I've just downloaded Skype onto a neighbour's laptop and it means that we can check how he's doing and if he needs anything very quickly (okay I know we could do the same by going next door but that's not always practical). I'm hoping that we can get some more people that he knows onto the system and he can then pop in to see them from the comfort of his armchair.

New Year's Eve saw us heading down to The Crown Hotel. It's great to be able to go somewhere within walking distance so we can both enjoy a glass or two of wine.

The Crown's chef Matt put on an ambitious nine course taster menu. It was a delicious meal served over a couple of hours and everything ran like clockwork. There was plenty of experimentation with some quite adventurous dishes amongst safer courses and I particularly enjoyed the crab and langoustine tortellini and the fillet of brill as well as the superb fillet of beef with snails (Marion isn't keen on beef or snails so I ended up having an extra course). There was a wine matching option with each course so we had to give that a try but the glass sizes were sensibly small and seven glasses later (or probably nine for me and five for Marion) our heads were still clear. Marion has been suffering from a touch of flu so we left The Crown before midnight and got to bed just at Big Ben started to chime.

As you may gather from all those reports of feasting over the past few weeks, our Tesco Diet was put on the back burner but we're getting back into it from today. I put on five pounds over the holiday but I'm still seven pounds lighter than when I started the diet. 

We bought this DVD to help speed up our weight loss and I've been doing all the exercises diligently. According to the presenter Jillian if I keep it up for thirty days I'll look like this.