It has been good to be at home this week as I had lots of things to sort out before the end of the year. The weather has been atrocious at times, causing havoc for those trying to leave the island to visit their loved ones.
Sunday 16th December
Today everyone has gone Christmas shopping, as the shops are open, and left me at home. I decided it was a good time to wrap my gifts while everyone was out. I have a theme of red and white this year, so all my wrapping paper matches:-) My best friends always ring up to check the colours, as in the past I have been known to re-wrap things to co-ordinate- yes, I know...very anal!
Today was wet when I woke up. I prepared the wreath for the door, and then remembered that I had one from the year before which could hang in the hallway. This gave me one at each end:-)
It stopped raining for a brief period
and I saw the most beautiful double rainbow. It continued raining for most of the day, so I decided to make my last minute Christmas cake.It is a fail-safe recipe which everyone likes, so it doesn't matter how late I do it :-)
We went shopping in the central market today. The place was decorated for Christmas and there were people collecting money for the Christmas Appeal. It will be our turn at the weekend! Both cats were in the vet's having their teeth done, so we couldn't stay out too long, in case we had to collect them.
We aren't alcoholics, by any means, but we are expecting lots of friends for drinks- both pre and post Christmas. I decided that it would be a good idea to tidy out the cupboard. I found a simple wine rack and rationalised the alcohol into one space. I had no idea what we had beforehand, but now I can see what needs topping up, and what needs to be drunk :-)
Bad news from Carl today- He has hurt his back and will not be coming carol singing with us at the weekend. He has asked me to take my guitar to play for the two evenings, so I had a bit of a practice session today, to make sure that I would be okay. Normally I sing and Carl plays, and it isn't very easy trying to do the two at the same time :-)
The fish was fresh, and many people were ordering their game for the festive period. We will be having duck- but I don't buy it- that's Miles's job. I'll check that he has it in hand when we go round the pubs tonight- he and I will be providing the music for the carols. We are visiting the pubs on the West of the island.
Last night we collected £483 and a few pence. The pubs were busy, although the restaurants were empty. It could be that people were meeting in the bar beforehand, though. Everyone was very generous. We did the same again in the evening, but this time on the East of the island. It was more successful tonight and the final total was rounded up to £1050. Not bad for a small island! The people who came out with us tonight were different from last night, and it was fantastic to have Vanessa turn up with her violin:-)
My colleagues are going to do a course, starting in January and some of us will be tutors for them. One of my colleagues came round for a coffee and we watched a training video together. I then decorated my cake and went out for a nice walk in the fresh air along the North coast. This is a picture of Les Platons and the TV mast at the highest point of the island.
My neighbours are wonderful. I popped out to visit a friend and when I returned I found a large box of fresh vegetables from Liam's allotment, and an enormous mound of kindling and logs which he had chopped for me:-) Miles delivered the duck, and we have everything we need for tomorrow. Malcolm brought a present for the house:-) We have been complaining that the sound quality on our television wasn't very good, so he bought a Bose speaker thingy to go in front. It is very clear that we needed speakers to the front of the screen after all!
Christmas day! Cairis was given a kindle for Christmas, as she is going off to China soon. Miles bought her a rough guide book about China and a set of Mah Jongg. This was very fortunate, as we discovered that our phone line and internet were down. After a lovely meal with our friends we settled down to relax. The weather was atrocious and no-one wanted to venture outside. We lit the fire and the candles and curled up in front of the tv for a while, then spent the rest of the evening playing Cairis's game:-)
Boxing day always starts with M going off to Morris dance in the town centre, leaving me to clear up the mess from the day before:-). We then meet up with the other morris families for lunch and a session of carols and seasonal music. I gave my new guitar case an airing, and we went off to the Farmhouse pub on the north coast. It was nice to see Carl out, although he was still walking gingerly. The Jersey Lilies, the ladies morris dancers, were all dressed as elves. We still have no internet connection, although the phone line is up and running.Everything is closed until tomorrow anyway, so we are just going to relax and catch up with
all the tv we have recorded.
M and I popped down to the fish van for a salmon for tomorrow's dinner party. As the resident Scots, we often have the party at our house, if we are not booked to do a ceilidh. This year we were asked- but said no, as some of our musicians are away. We stopped for a quick coffee in the yacht club, and met Peter who had been sailing on one of the tall ships. He had lots of good stories to tell:-)
The fish was too big for the fridge, so, as it is quite cool outside, I wrapped it up and put it on the back deck- high up so that the cats wouldn't have any interest in it. We then sorted out the rubbish for recycling and took it to the dump. In the new year we are planning to move my office upstairs and there was quite a lot of paper to scan in and then shred..
Monday 31st December 2012 Hogmanay!
I spent a lot of today making sure that the house was straight for the end of the year, and that all the washing was done. I think it is a Scottish superstition, but my grannie and my mother used to do it too. In the evening Cairis went to her friends house and our friends arrived to eat with us. They are all musicians, but we told them to leave their instruments at home and relax. We are usually so busy when we are together that we don't have time to chat much. We sat at the table for hours, eating, drinking and generally enjoying each other's company. Around midnight we moved to the sitting room to watch the fireworks on television, and then chatted until about 3a.m. The whisky flowed and no-one wanted to go home:-)
Tuesday 1st January 2013
Cairis woke me up at 8.30 as she came home from her party! Time was, when I could stay up that late but we didn't go to bed until about 4a.m. so I was still a bit tired. I got up anyway to find that the weather was bright and clear and mild. Long may it continue.
Thank you all for sharing this year's journey with me. It has been fun to do the challenge, and I now have a year of interesting things to look back on. I also now have the habit of carrying my camera with me at all times.
***Happy New Year***, and I hope that 2013 will make your wishes come true:-)