Thursday, 24 December 2009

Merry Christmas!

Doesn’t time fly! Christmas Eve is here already and it only feels like 5 minutes ago we were over in Georgia celebrating Thanksgiving. We have spent the last few days completing our final preparations for the festive season. We have even braved the local supermarkets on a couple of occasions, where you would think that people were buying in readiness for a month’s hibernation rather than just a couple of days worth of celebration!

Yesterday we went up to London to see a play in the West End. It really made it feel like Christmas. We spent the train journey up to the city looking out at the snow-covered countryside as we sped by. The snow and frost that we have had over the last week has made this the nearest thing to a White Christmas that I can remember for a long time. Unfortunately it looks as though it will all be gone around where we live by tomorrow. Anyway, the blanket of snow over all the fields, barns and houses made for a very Christmassy scene as we travelled towards Paddington Station.

Our day in London was wonderful. We took the Tube to Covent Garden and had a bite to eat before going to the Novello Theatre to see “Cat On A Hot Tin Roof” starring James Earl Jones, Phylicia Rashad, Adrian Lester and Sanaa Lathan as directed by Debbie Allen. The play was tremendous with exceptional performances all round. We had great tickets slap-bang in the middle of the 8th row – just perfect. The show lasts for 2 hours and 45 minutes, but that time simply flew by – a sure sign that you are having a good time! After the show we went to have a meal at a nearby restaurant, which was buzzing with people enjoying a pre-Christmas night out. The food was great and served very promptly, which was a relief as we had a train to catch back to Wiltshire. We decided as were sat in that restaurant that we will have to make trips like this our new Christmas tradition, every year on December 23rd. Anything else we go to see though will have to go some in order to match that production of “Cat On A Hot Tin Roof” though!

Today we have had to stay in and wait for the washing machine engineer who is supposed to be bringing us a new machine as the last one died just after we returned from our trip to the States. We are, however, still waiting as I write these notes! Hopefully he will be here very soon as we have some Christmas movies to watch and some cards still left to finish off. I hate having to wait for deliveries and the like.

Anyway, yuletide is upon us and I wanted to take this opportunity to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas. I hope that you all have a great holiday season.

PS The new washing machine has just arrived – who said that Santa doesn’t bring exactly what you want at Christmas?!

Saturday, 19 December 2009

Christmas Creations

Christmas is so very nearly upon us now. Amazingly, we are all but ready for the festivities with still 6 days to go until the Big Day. We have all the presents bought and wrapped, the Yellow House is also fully decorated and the tree has been up in place for 2 weeks now.

We have also written and sent most of our Christmas cards. When we went over to the States for Thanksgiving, we took the presents and cards for our family and friends over there. Both the gifts and the cards were manufactured by ourselves and we thought that you would like to see what we have made. Dori will be talking about the gifts in a future post, but here are some pictures of a few of the cards that we made.

We obtained all the various materials from different sources and then had a small assembly line going to get all the cards made. We used small sticky pads to make some of the elements on the cards stand out, and give a 3D effect to them. The envelopes were not lined when we bought them – Dori lined them all herself using some patterned paper. And then when the cards were all complete, we put them in envelopes and then sealed the envelopes with a wax seal. This involved melting some wax onto the envelopes and then pressing the wax with a metal stamp.

Don’t worry that I am spoiling any surprises here – we handed out the cards when we were in Georgia and everyone was very pleased to receive them. Sometimes something that is handmade can be so much more personal, and shows that some real thought has gone into it, as time rather than just money has been spent on it.

It was an enjoyable process, and we definitely got better at it as time went on! This may well be the way of the future. I can definitely see us producing more homemade products in the upcoming years. If we do, then I know we will share it all with you here.

Merry Christmas everyone.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

It's Been A While

You may have noticed that I haven’t been around for a while; in fact it is three weeks since my last post here. Firstly, of course, there was our trip over to the States for Thanksgiving, which was wonderful, and since our return back to these shores we have had to contend with jetlag, a broken washing machine, illness and an internet-phobic laptop! Life has been upside down for the last two weeks, and still isn’t yet fully righted.

Anyway, all of this means that there is some catching up to do. Dori is posting a full documentation of our Thanksgiving trip over at her blog, but here are my own brief thoughts. We were in Georgia for 9 days and that time simply flew by. We had a great time while we were there and we were able to catch-up with both friends and family. We did regular stuff like visiting the mall and going to the movies, and we also ate some extremely tasty meals – both restaurant produced and home-cooked. The weather was great, for the most part, and we enjoyed a couple of walks along the local nature trail. As Dori said a number of times, it was just like our own spa retreat! :-)

As I said earlier, the time flew by and we were barely able to believe it when the time rolled around for us to fly back to the UK. It was like we had only been there for a couple of days or something. Naturally, when we arrived back at Heathrow the weather was exactly how we had left it – cold and extremely wet. But we were happy in the knowledge that the trip “back home” had been so enjoyable. We had a fantastic time and really enjoyed kicking back for a short while.

My laptop died, or at least refused to do anything internet related, just before we flew out to the States. It is now three years old, which seems to be about the most you can hope for as the useful lifetime of a modern computer. So, we had to take the plunge and order a new laptop, which finally arrived three days ago. It is a shiny black Compaq complete with Windows 7 and all. Right now I am enjoying the novel feeling of things actually working in a timely manner and not freezing up every few minutes or so. Long may that continue!

So, what else has happened during my hiatus? Oh yes, the World Cup Draw. The general view is that the draw was very favourable to England, as far as their group is concerned, although I can see some tricky obstacles further along the path should they progress. But as Fabio Capello said himself, you have to beat the best teams if you are seriously considering yourself to be in with a shout of becoming World Champions. One interesting aspect of the draw is that England find themselves in the same group as the United States. That will make for a very fascinating match-day in the Yellow House come June!! :-) Trevor is already having panic attacks about which team he should support!

Well, I think I’ve covered more than enough ground for one post – and I haven’t even got around to talking about Christmas yet! That will have to wait for another day. Have a good weekend everybody.
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