We've had a wonderful Christmas break and enjoyed two Christmases. The first was spent on Christmas Day in Rochester with son Paul and family. We had a great time and enjoyed a fabulous Christmas dinner with some outstanding and delicious cooking. It was over too soon alas and we then drove up north and, after a night with my mum in Southport on to St Andrews where we did it all again with another super Christmas dinner with Sarah, Duncan and our two Scottish granddaughters Rose and Melody. It's so good to get together with family at Christmas and it is sad that our son and daughter are so many hundreds of miles apart.
Which means that this sort of thing continues to be a regular feature in our life. This was the journey up to Southport when we braved the M6 for the first time in many months and realised that it's just as bad as it always has been and our four hour leisurely drive from Framlingham became a nightmare journey of almost seven hours. Arriving the following day in Scotland made us appreciate that it is all worthwhile as it is so good to be part of Rose and Melody's lives - it must be horrible for grandparents whose children emigrate to the other side of the world.
As she is always reminding us, Rose is a big girl now.
Her little sister Melody has been practising her smile - she's getting there.
The icy weather turned the football pitch at the caravan site into an ice rink so Rose was in her element playing at being Queen Elsa from Frozen.
Whilst Melody loved her visits to the caravan.
My book was on free promotion on Amazon for five days over Christmas and I was amazed at how many copies were downloaded. Over three hundred were requested in just one day. Consequently a few more reviews have started to arrive and I am delighted to say that they continue to be positive.
We are still in Scotland now but are returning to Framlingham later in the week. On Saturdy we went down to the Lake District for a surprise 60th birthday party for our dear friend Janet Wareing (pictured above with her son Will). Janet's husband Dave had booked a large house almost on the banks of Coniston Water and thirteen of us enjoyed an excellent dinner there with copious amounts of wine on Saturday night.
On Sunday morning we blew away the cobwebs and walked across the hillside to Tarn Hows.
Tarn Hows holds some special memories for me and I took a brief detour from the rest of the party and went to see this hidden cottage called Rose Castle. It's very remote and hidden away above the lake. When I was about nine our family spent a summer holiday in it and it was idyllic to have the whole of Tarn Hows to ourselves when the few visitors left in the evening. That was over fifty years ago before the M6 made Tarn Hows much more accessible but the cottage (now a National Trust property) still has a secluded feel. Although it holds fond memories for me, I am not sure that my mum would agree as there was no running water and we had to use a well in the field. There were no flushing loos either and we had to make do with a thunder box - a plank with a hole in it in an outbuilding.
After the detour I caught up with the rest of the party and headed back to Coniston and the house where it was time to pack up after too short a time with missed friends.
I'll finish back at that frozen football pitch. What three year old wouldn't grab the opportunity for this?