January 9th, 2004


An overdue update

So, it's 2004 already and four whole weeks since I wrote anything here! But at least I think I'm finally up to date with my friends page. . .

On December 11th and 12th I took a couple of days off work which were ostensibly so that bopeepsheep could catch up on some much-needed sleep while I looked after smallclanger. In fact she found it difficult to sleep much during the day, but she did get a bit more rest than usual so she felt rather better by the end of the weekend. I went to B&Q for some shelves and spent a fair amount of Friday putting them up. I don't think we did anything special at the weekend, though on Sunday evening we joined in with a Christmas baking-and-carolling session at Wesley Mem (but we cheated by taking shop-bought mince puffs).

On Tuesday 16th we were to sing carols in the nursing home at Merton (near Bicester) with a select group of people from Wesley Mem, followed by a carol service at the nearby village of Murcott with slightly more people from Wesley Mem and other local churches. The plan was that I would leave work early and arrive home not long after 4:30pm so that we could jump in the car and take smallclanger to his Granny's and still be at Merton by 6:15pm. Well for various reasons we didn't leave until almost 5:30pm and it took the best part of an hour to get to Witney because of very slow-moving traffic on the A40 (the roadworks didn't help, but they didn't seem to be the cause). So we arrived at the nursing home just as the carollers were returning to the lobby for an aprês-chanson mince pie. However, this did mean that we were in time for the service at Murcott, and some informal singing afterwards. Had a bit of a scare on the way home when on a dark country road I accidentally switched the windscreen washer on instead of the full headlights and it just happened to be at this moment that we came to the T-junction at the end of the road. Fortunately, no harm was done.

On Saturday 20th we were supposed to go to an informal carol-singing session with some neighbours of bopeepsheep's parents - but it was cancelled because the pianist had just become a new grandmother and was away visiting the baby. But we still visited bopeepsheep's parents anyway, and played Scrabble.

Sunday 21st was quite busy as it was Wesley Mem's carol service in the evening, which required me to be there at 4pm for rehearsal. It was a good service and bopeepsheep managed to get there only a couple of minutes late despite the appallingness of the buses. After the service, while sampling the mince pies and biscuits, we tried to collar the minister so as to set the wheels in motion for smallclanger's christening; however, after the initial "hello"s someone else interrupted. bopeepsheep didn't feel like waiting, so we left it for another time (but alas we haven't managed that yet for various reasons).

On Monday evening I attempted to come home early from work - although it wasn't that early because I'd had rather a long lunch break out trying to find a suitable birthday present for my Dad. By about 8pm it became clear that we weren't going to make it out of the house for our trip North, so we postponed until early the next morning. Although we didn't get up quite as early as intended, we were still out by about 9am and so made it to Bolton by lunch time - and we gave my Dad his birthday present.

To be continued. . .


Families and films: the update part 2

On Christmas Eve we paid a visit to my Granny who, sadly, is in an advanced state of dementia. At least she was awake, and paid a bit of attention to the baby, so we can now say that they have met each other (although neither will remember it) and we have photographic proof. We came back home via Hobbycraft.

On Christmas morning we got up in a fairly leisurely manner and Mum and Dad brought down huge boxes of presents - most of which were for smallclanger. :-) He didn't make that much effort to open them, so we helped him and he had a bit of a play with the wrapping paper (and now he has a room full of toys, some of which he hasn't even seen yet - at least, for more than a few seconds). We went to the morning service at my parents' church and came back for a light lunch.

It's been a kind of tradition for the last few years that my Mum cooks Christmas dinner for a small group of people from the church (those who don't have other arrangements with their families) - it was originally for her father's benefit (as he became too infirm to manage in our house, where the only bathroom is upstairs) with a few church people invited to tag along; but though he's no longer with us she didn't feel it was right to stop doing it. So my parents went back to the church to make preparations at about 2.30pm and we were to join them from 4 till 7. bopeepsheep was not having a particularly good day and elected to stay behind, but my brother and I went and had a good traditional Christmas dinner, and brought some back in case J was feeling any better.

On Boxing day we hit the sales, and since Mothercare hadn't been open we went back into town on Saturday morning. In the afternoon we set off back, although the queues to get on the M6 were appalling (it took the best part of an hour to get round Manchester and past the next few junctions). We stopped off at buzzy_bee's and gave her and DH a birthday present: the Lord of the Rings Risk game. We ended up testing it out, which meant we were quite late getting back home. :-)

On Sunday we went to bopeepsheep's grandmother's for lunch with her dad, her brother and his fiancée. (We had been expecting more members of the extended family but apparently we had misunderstood.) An aunt popped in with her husband and son and they were force-fed. Unfortunately, tempers got slightly frayed just before we left.

On December 31st we went to see more of bopeepsheep's family, including her godson, whom we gave a Christmas present (some books). Her grandmother was there again, but there didn't seem to be any lasting effects from the weekend. After we got home, we went out again to Witney, where her parents' neighbours were having a New Year's Eve party - a quiet affair, this year (apart from an over-exuberant boy, who we are determined will not be the model for smallclanger's future!). At midnight we let off some poppers and one of those present (whom J has known since he was about 7) proposed to his girlfriend, so we went outside and let off some rather bigger poppers with shiny confetti in them - the effect was rather pretty, though I expect the cleaning up afterwards was a bit of a bind. We crashed at J's parents' and came home in the evening on New Year's Day.

On the Friday we took smallclanger back to his grandparents' and went gallavanting off to High Wycombe, where we went to Asda (which may seem quite strange, but it's the nearest one to Oxford and bopeepsheep rather likes their baby clothes; it's also the only place we've found where they sell cans of half-decent root beer and also 2-litre bottles of Cherry CokeCoca Cola Cherry). Our haul included lots of clothes, root beer and Coke and a few half-price Christmas items including a tree for a fiver (which buzzy_bee might recognise!). We then had a rather nice pizza at the restaurant which is next to UCITheFilmWorks before going to the 7pm showing of Return of the King(s). It was a nice day out.

On Saturday the plan was that I would go shopping and then put up some shelves, and possibly do a bit of general tidying up. However, my Mum phoned asking if we would be in at about 2pm as she and my Dad were planning to drop in on their way back up North from seeing my brother in Kent. So we had to do a quick blitz on the living room and managed to make the place sort of half-decent and gulped down some cheese on toast before they arrived. They brought us a couple of items from the Mothercare sale in Bolton (which annoyingly had not been available in the Oxford branch, nor on the web site) and had some time with us and the baby. Eventually I went shopping for the shelves and general groceries in the evening, and I put the shelves up the next day. Stupidly, I put the top shelf up without realising that it would block the alarm sensor, so that will have to be moved (if nothing else, so that on the next alarm maintenance visit the engineer doesn't call us silly names). Haven't got round to that yet, and there are also a couple more shelves which have wanted putting up since before Christmas. Eventually we will have the whole house shelved from floor to ceiling. :-)

And suddenly the holidays ended and I had to go back to work. :-(