Greg's Occasional News & Views

30 December 2018

Well, we certainly had a fun few days – hope that your festivities were all that you had hoped they might be.

Of course, for me, the festivities started last Saturday on the occasion of my birthday! We had spent quite a quiet day contemplating the fact that I was another year older – what are the chances of that? Then, in the late afternoon, Adam announced that I was expected to get my glad rags on ready to paint the town red by 6.00 pm. Those of you who know Moreton Pinkney will appreciate that it’s very small and hence requires very little to paint it red so I felt I might be up to the task. But he then announced that we were off out for dinner to a mystery destination. In fact, since the fish and chip van was due in the village that evening I expected that was our destination but, to my very pleasant surprise, we ended up at the Red Lion in Culworth for a birthday celebratory meal instead.

Which was excellent! The food was outstanding, the ambience friendly and festive and the company was quite tolerable. An excellent start to ten days or so of eating much more than we should!

Sunday and Monday found us all preparing for Christmas itself. There were parcels to wrap and secrete under the tree, a plethora of delicious food items to prepare and, for me, a batch of liquorice ice cream, especially requested by the Master Chef, Ms Playchute, to make. While all this was going on, the two and a half year old in our household was dying to get her hands on some (or all) of the packages under the tree.

There was one in particular that seemed to have caught her eye. Every so often she would sidle up to the tree (very inconspicuously) and begin to pick and work at a corner of the wrapping paper. There would then be an adult declaration that she was not allowed to open any parcels yet – she had to wait a few days. Honestly! What’s that all about?

On one occasion when she was spotted and warned off she quickly grabbed the parcel and sprinted underneath the table in the lounge where, I imagine, she felt she was “out of sight and out of mind” and could open the parcel at her leisure. I don’t think she was really surprised that we could still see her.

Then, on Monday, when Adam was at work and Ava, Pen and I were all busy in the kitchen, she spotted her opportunity. While we were all distracted, she retrieved the parcel, carefully stripped off the wrapping paper and arrived in the kitchen a few moments later proudly hoisting a new reading book aloft and asking that someone read it to her. You had to laugh.

Christmas morning was an absolute delight. It’s been a long time since we’ve had a youngster in the house and there’s no question that Christmas morning is magical. Jessie was somewhat less than cognisant concerning what was going on but a stocking filled with goodies at the end of your bed in the morning is bound to get most folks excited. Fortunately, her awakening hour was not excessively early so we were just about ready to drag our tired butts out of bed by the time a tiny voice bellowed “Merry Christmas” from the bottom of our stairs.

Present opening was interesting. Jessie is very much a careful unwrapper of gifts. She finds a loose corner of the paper and rips it very tentatively and cautiously, tearing off little strips until she is surrounded by a stack of confetti and the contents of the parcel are revealed. Just about everything was a great success, I think, and the rest of us were pretty fairly done by as well!

Christmas dinner was excellent and we managed to get through a small fraction of the thirteen days’ worth of food which had been prepared. Delicious, after which we waddled and rolled ourselves to the sofa and watched a succession of children’s movies whilst intermittently snoring. That’s what Christmas is all about, don’t you think?

Boxing Day Nick, Lucy and Annabelle came over and we went through the whole process a second time – another mountain of great food and an additional abundance of presents. As I’ve written before, Jessie simply adores Annabelle and the two of them were very cute together. Annabelle is very patient with her two and a half year old cousin who follows her around and wants to do everything that Bubble is doing. All in all a great few days.

Now, sadly, all we have left to do is to eat our way through all the left-overs. I guess we should be finished in early February.

Finally, a couple of things made me chuckle this week. The following was from the New Yorker:

Somehow it just struck a chord.

And then I ran across the following in the Guardian – some pranksters managed to place a Santa hat on the Angel of the North.

Good work!

Wishing you all the best for a splendid New Year.

Love to you all,



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