The trials and tribulations of a life of leisure...
Thursday, December 28, 2006
Christmas at Todheugh
The Gipson's have a tradition that the main opening of presents does not begin before lunch has been finished and the washing up done. Stockings are allowed and one present may be opened by each person, but that is it. I remember my first Christmas at Paul's parents and being mildly upset by this revelation, but I must admit that now I like it. We informed my sister of this when they arrived, and was met by general moans but we held our ground. We were told that one of the nice things about Christmas was seeing all the kids out on their new bikes etc. Well, that was not going to happen here anyway.
On Christmas eve morning we packed Daniel and the dogs into the car and drove down to the field. Daniel soon found out that he could not run as fast as Jen. Susan came with us on the afternoon walk to Edrom. In the evening Paul, Susan and Daniel played the Business Game (also known as Mine a Million) - Daniel won. I was happy watching TV and doing some Su Dokus.
We awoke to a white Christmas - the temperature had dropped to -6C overnight and there was a very thick frost. It looked beautiful. Paul and I opened our stockings, and then Paul got up to take the dogs out and start preparing the turkey. Daniel was already up and downstairs with his stocking when I came down. I decided to go out with my camera to take some photos.
Paul had asked Susan to help with the morning dog walk as he was busy in the kitchen. She didn't want to come as she wanted to watch the Robbie Williams concert on TV. She volunteered to peel the potatoes instead which meant that Paul could come on the walk, everything else being under control at this time. We decided to walk the dogs down to the field rather than defrost the car and drive. We walked halfway down the field before letting Jen off the lead. Shortly afterwards we saw two deer in the next field running from left to right in front of us. Poncho was jumping and jarred Paul's back. Jen was transfixed. The deer ran out the side of the field, across the road into the next field and then disappeared from sight. Jen ran to the bottom of the field and then was trotting back and forth looking. I got her back on the lead. We continued walking to the other end of the field and I let Jen back off the lead. She continued running on to the far corner, and then just turned round and headed back to where we had come from. She then disappeared under the fence and by the time I got there was trying to find the best way down the bank. There was a small stream at the bottom, but that did not deter Jen - she loves water. And then she was up the bank the other side and into the next field. Paul volunteered to try to follow her, but I thought that was not the best idea in the world. I headed to the gate in the field, climbed over and walked up the road to the next field. Once I was there she came slowly looping towards me, looking very pleased with herself. We decided that was enough of a walk for the morning and headed for home.
The sun had come out and the lit up white trees against the dark grey clouds looked stunning. I headed back out with my camera. For anyone who is interested Paul has put all the photos on our website.
Paul asked Daniel to lay the table, but Daniel said he would only do it if he was allowed to open a present. Paul said no, but was immediately undermined by Susan telling him he could open a present anyway...
Lunch was ready by about 1.30 p.m. and we were all stuffed by about 3 p.m. I had wanted to watch Narnia on the TV but eventually gave up the attempt as the presents were being distributed. Susan brought down an enormous bag filled to the brim for Daniel. I waited until he had opened them before I brought down what we had bought him. The rest of us opened our presents - I thought I had done quite well with Paul as he had done his normal 'I don't want anything' routine. I had raided one of the charity shops and picked up Trivial Pursuit, Super Mastermind and another game for a fraction of their new cost. Paul had also done well for me with a set of Winnie-the-Pooh paint them yourself garden label figures.
Paul and I then cleared the dishes and did the washing up, and had just got back into the lounge when enquiries were made about tea. Neither of us were particularly hungry, so after a short break just put out a few things for a help yourself buffet.
We settled down in the evening to watch Dr Who, Strictly and the Vicar of Dibley, and generally chill out.
Boxing day and Paul was back in the kitchen. He had done a ham last year that was a great success and decided to do another one this year. Susan came with Paul and me on the morning walk, and then they settled down to watch Chelsea draw with Reading. Lunch was ready at half time. In the afternoon we played Cluedo - Charlie was a bit clueless and kept showing his cards and letting us know what people had shown him. We then decided to have another go at the Business Game, and we all played. Charlie was better at this, but I was victorious. In the evening we played the Sherlock Holmes card game, and Daniel won after showing no aptitude for the game when we played a hand at the start to let them get the hang of it.
Susan and Charlie were just getting up when Paul and I took the dogs out on Wednesday morning. They still had not finished packing the car by the time we got back. They had eventually sorted themselves out by about midday and headed off for Nottingham where they were breaking the journey at a friend's house.
The dogs had been very well behaved on the whole over Christmas, other then Jen's adventure. Daniel had received a few warning growls when they wanted some peace and quiet and had backed away from him only to be followed. Poncho, however, has since blotted his copy book. There was the loud crash of a plate smashing yesterday evening. I leapt up and found him heading back to the lounge with the remains of the turkey in his jaws.
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