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Delights in December

January 14, 2017

Rather belatedly as I have had that hacking cough for what seems like forever and I’ve had a very severe case of self pity as a result. However here are the things that cheered the last month of 2016 for me.

I am always delighted when the Pullman is in Victoria Station in the mornings. I saw it three times in December because they run special trips. I’m even more delighted when they use a steam train but that is a very rare treat. I dream of one day  going on a trip myself but I’d need to save. You can often fly to New York for less. But it makes me think of Poirot and those lovely Mabel Esther Allan travelogues and the Chalet girls heading for Innsbruck.

December is the only time it is socially acceptable to eat chocolate before breakfast so I love my Advent calendar especially as it was a glorious German chocolate marzipan one. I’m clearly ageing though as I found I preferred my small treat after dinner rather than before breakfast. My smallest niece who happily rose ar 5:30am for her choccie would be disgusted with her Auntie.

I love visiting the Christmas market at Southbank it makes me feel properly festive. This year I went there three times to meet people and enjoyed the atmosphere.

Then there’s all the special Christmas reading. This year I saved Christmas books especially for December. There was the lovely PD James Christmas compilation which new. A Christmas cosy crime and the old favourites like Christmas with the Chrystals.

I had a splendid afternoon and evening wandering in Oxford with L. I adore the covered markets. The old fashioned fruit and veg stalls never fail to delight me.

Then we met H for cocktails and our annual dinner at El Shami. I have developed a taste for Singapore Sling cocktails.

Vladvent a one off special event held by another H. It involved the delights of pizza, gossip and a glorious Tarte Tatin. 

I took big niece to the Southbank Christmas market and let her choose a Christmas book in Foyles. This was obviously a serious business.

I attended my friend S’s choir Christmas Concert.

My parents returned from sunning themselves in Florida and we celebrated with a delicious family curry at the Star

Mum and I watched White Christmas, ate pizza and drank sparkling pink wine.

The American Christmas magazines my mother brought back filled me with joy. I do enjoy a North American lifestyle magazine.

I watched the KS1 nativity at the school where I’m a governor. It was an excellent performance and once again helped me to feel festive.

My Nanna was 93. We held a small celebration in her nursing home. She knew it was her birthday and was delighted with her cake. It was only a small thing but it is nice to see her happy.

I attended my Godparents annual Christmas Do and caught up with my cousins and their children.

My Book club met for Christmas at the Festival Hall, there was gossip, wine and the Christmas market.

I know many people despise the Office Christmas Party but ours was a low key Thai lunch and it was really quite enjoyable. The following day we all went to the staff restaurant for a more traditional Christmas lunch and concluded the week with drinks. 

There was a splendid coffee with the girls and plenty of moral support.

I held a Christmas At Home to entertain as many of my friends as I could. It was so nice to see them all.

I received a beautiful new Emma Bridgwater Labrador mug as a gift. It makes me happy everytime I drink my tea from it.

You may have guessed I like a Christmas decoration or two. So here are mine.

We have a family tradition to attend a Christmas concert at the Albert Hall. The Jingle Bells concert is far from highbrow its more like a big party with singing and it’s always such fun. People wear Christmas jumpers decorate their seat with lights and generally enjoy themselves. The atmosphere is amazing. Afterwards we headed off to the Spaghetti House for a lovely dinner.

I had a pre Christmas cut and colour which as always had a good effect on my mood and self esteem. A good hairdresser is frankly one of the best morale booster there is.

Then there was a truly delightful Christmas Party at Fan Girl Towers with L’s delicious Brandy Cake.

I was on leave and able to spend a day playing with small niece. We don’t get much 1-1 time and it was nice to be able to interact with her in peace.

My big niece came for a sleepover – we watched Eloise at Christmas and ate chip shop chips in front of the TV. For big niece this is a huge treat. The next day we headed off for her Christmas gift a trip to the Harry Potter Studios. We both had a glorious day. I enjoyed seeing it dressed for Christmas and she was fascinated.

My favourite house guest Millie cat came to stay for Christmas. We kept each other company particularly when I had a sofa day nursing my cold. She was a great comfort although if I was cynical I’d say she was attracted to my blanket and heat pack.

My parents, godparents and I went to Westminster Abbey for the service of lessons and carols. I always enjoy being in the Abbey I like knowing that people have worshiped there for generations. They were there long before I was born and will be there long after I’ve gone. It gets Christmas off to a good start. Afterwards I entertained everyone to supper.

 On Christmas Eve we enjoyed our new tradition of dinner at Ziyafet the Turkish restaurant. It was delicious and they kindly sent me home with a doggy bag of Turkish lamb for Millie. She loved it.

I was lucky enough to receive some lovely Christmas presents. Some of them were delightfully wrapped to which just added to their charm. We also still have stockings. It may be childish but I always enjoy emptying my stocking.

As always I enjoyed my Christmas dinner. As a vegetarian I have a splendid vegetarian Wellington with all the trimmings. 

There was Boxing Day dinner at my sister’s with the traditional delight of bubble and squeak, pickles and cold meet or in my case the rest of my Wellington. Afterwards we played ridiculous games.

My washing machine died. This was not pleasing in fact I was very distressed about it but it was ten years old and owed me nothing. I wasn’t at all keen on learning to use a new one but I was fortunate enough to buy a new washing machine in the sales and acquired a £550 washing machine for £229. Now I’ve got used to it I am compelled to acknowledge that the new machine is a good thing it is much more efficient and the laundry is so much cleaner. I suspect the old one hadn’t been working well for sometime.

I enjoyed the time between Christmas and new year it was a week of quiet peaceful time to read and watch TV.

My grandmother’s nursing home had reindeer visiting before Christmas and they sent us a photo. It was so nice to see her happy and engaged. Animals clearly still get through to her.

I had a glorious walk on a crisp frosty but still sunny late December morning

There was a beautiful journey through Kent and Sussex on a winter afternoon to see my Australian cousins. It was nice to catch up with them and see baby C whom I’d never met.

I was able to catch up on some life admin in preparation for 2017.


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  1. Katherine permalink

    It all seems like such a long time ago now! And it’s only a couple of weeks.

  2. mrsredboots permalink

    The Pullman isn’t as expensive as you’d think – okay, it’s far from cheap, but their February tour is £190 per person, to include a 7- course lunch with champagne and wine. That’s actually the cheapest of the currently planned excursions on the Pullman, but others have a much longer day, and one has a huge lunch on the way out and an even huger dinner on the way back!

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