Hi there Dear Reader,
First up, I hope that your holiday break for Christmas and the New Year was a brilliant one.
Despite colds and coughs, ours was very enjoyable and it was hard to return to the normal working routine on January 2.
More of which later.
My last diary blog was on 30 November, so there is a little catching up to do, just what have we been up to ?
For the first weekend in December, Jenny and I had a flying trip up to Staffordshire (as has become "tradition").
The trip north to Stoke was uneventful except for a wobble by my Sat Nav which took us off the M6 Toll Road and into Lichfield because of traffic delays and then took us straight back towards the motorway. Knowing a little of the folly of getting back onto the M6 Toll, I headed up the A51 and then the A34 towards Stoke.
On Saturday, we popped to the family graves in Alton after a steady few hours at The Ranch store, a garden centre and huge B&M store in Stoke.
Respects being paid and flowers laid, we were free to visit Trentham Gardens on Sunday before heading south to Reigate.
Trentham is definitely on our warmer weather "to do" list, it is lovely. <more detail here>
Which reminds me that the Elf On The Shelf was back from December 1 until Christmas Day.
Elfie stashed himself unannounced into the car and found his way to Staffordshire with Jenny and I. He had a quiet break away from the trouble that he was encountering back at Reigate with the other 5 elves and a pixie at Jenny's.
New Furniture at Ratters Towers.
My big old leather three piece suite had become essentially too large for the living room - it was essentially fine for one man and a cat, but with Jenny and Layla staying at mine more often, space is of the essence.
The suite was about 20 years old and owed me nothing, but there was a lot of use left in it, so I was a little sad that it could not be passed on to charity or easily sold because of a lack of Fire Resistant labelling.
The council took it away for £43.
A replacement corner unit was sourced and came from the eternal sale at DFS.
It arrived at about 5:15 p.m. on Friday 15 December, and it is very comfortable and handled 7 people on Christmas Day.
We "just" need to streamline the storage units and clear my years of accumulated "stuff" and we will be set !
Immediately after the delivery guys drove up the road, we headed south to Bognor.
The weather was to be frank awful, but it didn't mar our enjoying the stay at Butlins for the Christmas Weekend. < more here >
21 December was my last day at work for 2018 and coincided with our first trip to Wisley to see their Christmas Glow. It was lovely as always. Jenny and I visited again on 31 December. < more here >
Christmas was spent in Merstham at Ratters Towers. Although cold-ridden, on Christmas Eve we went up to the Bloomsbury Theatre to see the stage version of David Walliams book "Awful Aunty".
James and Tara were away in Las Vegas for the festivities, and we decided to street clear of Chris, Charlotte and their family because of our colds, but Christmas Day was spent in Merstham with Jenny's family (mother, sister and partner, niece for lunch).
We were spoiled with presents and stuffed with a slightly amended Christmas Lunch (no starter or fish starters, straight Brussels Sprouts rather than Brussels Tops due to individual taste), and it all left us a little sleepy. A lovely time.
On Boxing Day, 26 December we went to Redhill to take in the pantomime Snow White at the Harlequin Theatre. Ex-MP Ann Widdicombe was the Wicked Queen and was surprising good in a very enjoyable show.
On a bright-ish 28 December, we pottered west to Newlands Corner. I haven't been for a good 20 years. It was very chilly, but we did like what we saw and earmarked it for warm weather investigation. <more here>
Jenny and I popped to the Dorking Halls to sample the long awaited Mary Poppins sequel, Mary Poppins Returns.
Enjoyed it very much - very reminiscent to the original from 1964. Personally I felt the songs we not as strong or immediately appealing, but I genuinely thought it was a very enjoyable movie.
Cough and Cold Report
Christmas was looking in doubt as Layla and Jenny were both down with what seemed like a very flu-like nasty in the week and weekend before Christmas. I had been suffering and having to work through a bad cold since a couple of weeks before the holiday. Perseverance and bloody mindedness got us all through the main part of the Christmas celebrations. Jenny and Layla's symptoms faded, but my cough lingered until December 31 when I was finally able to think that it was passing.
The sickness on the lead up and over Christmas meant that we didn't see any of the Ratcliffe Clan, but we will remedy that in the New Year.
A couple of odd things have come my way this past month.
Upcoming in 2019...
Lego at Wisley (late January / February)
Jenny's 30th (August)
Disneyland Paris (August)
... and those are just the things I know about and can now !!
That must be enough for this helping.
Be careful out there, my friends.
Adieu... until next time.