I trust you have had a super Christmas and New Year break.
I have been trying to get this diary update written and published since 28 December, but things just seem to get in the way so the informal deadline has slipped and slipped..... unlike the Big Man who always manages to deliver on the right day 25 December !
I have had a great December and start to January, filled with fun and good company, for which I am smilingly grateful.
Shows, fake snow (the real thing on the way home!), fun and beautiful company conspired to make this a very special time.
The "Dick Whittington Rocks" Pantomine, the Skylight Gang Shows in the Pavilion and the Puppet Shows deserve special mention.
<More pictures here>
The gardens and glasshouse are lit up, giving a beautiful effect. <More details and photos here>
I was spoilt to be honest, and I had forgotten the warm glow that a Family Christmas with young children in residence can bring - Special Times.
This year, my Mum stayed in London - dragging her from London to Surrey for such a short break would have been very stressful to everyone involved.
An "Un-Christmas" celebration in London will follow in the next few weeks.
With remortgaging and looking at my outgoings, I have realised that my Car Insurance and Breakdown package was not the £450 a year I had thought, but a lofty £798.
I have wanted to put Jenny on my insurance for a while, but Direct Line wanted an additional £900 when I asked them about it in February of 2017.
I looked on comparison sites and came up with a quote for myself and Jenny as a named driver in the region of £772 (Fully Comprehensive, Protected No Claims, Legal Expenses, Personal Accident, Courtesy Car, blah blah blah).
I called Direct Line to establish what they could do for me, and was offered £1550. When I told them that we would have to go our separate ways and I had another quote for virtually half the price, they did manage to whittle the quote down to £1225 or so.
The very helpful guy on the phone said it was a
shame that they couldn't get closer, especially as I had been with them since 1991.
The moral is of course that you should check how much you are paying out and compare companies regularly.
My Dad, Arthur Leonard would have been 89 on January 5th. I had this photo of him returned to me in a Christmas card after about 10 years (it had been used in a drawing of him).
Happy Birthday, Len xxx