Holidays, Sofas and Fitness DVDs.

Is it right to be all rebellious at 40?

I don’t mean I am on the streets, caving in Currys shop window and liberating TVs.  I do though find myself with a massive resistance to the corporate conditioning that seems to be happening.  What do I mean?

Well, if the TV is to be obeyed, right around now I should have booked next year’s holiday, bought a new sofa from a shop consisting of any three letters you want to choose (DFS, CSL, JLS, WTF) and taken ownership of the latest fitness DVD from (insert minor celebrity name here).  This isn’t quite George Orwell stuff, but the “laboratory mice” feeling is gaining momentum with me.

The mass distraction tactics of X Factor and Strictly Come Dancing are done for this year, so what will the masses do of a weekend once we are all back to our normal routines next week?  Whatever it is, I can guarantee that Sunday nights will include at least one costume drama.  Then we’ll have a three month build up to the Royal Wedding, as it is used to distract everyone from the endless round of cuts and disasters.  How exciting!

Herrumph!!

So since we met last, the snow has finally gone, the garage has moved no further towards being a bedroom, as the builders are off enjoying the xmas break, and yes we have had the festivities.

Rebecca presents

Grand Opening

 

The girls were up at a very sensible hour on the day itself, which is a real benefit of having teenagers.  Their main presents were, a new bass guitar for Rebecca, and a Blackberry (a phone, not fruit) for Emily.

After having the usual conversation with Louise pre xmas about not getting each other anything big, she of course ignored that, and after giving me a Two and a Half Men box set, went on to surprise me with another gift.  I am once again the proud owner of a bass guitar myself, after a break of what must be fifteen years.  I have been laying down some tasty licks, and awesome riffage these past few days I can tell you!!  I am a little rusty it has to be said.

I got Louise the Les Miserables 25th anniversary concert DVD, as a holding present, as the real one (I ignored the conversation too) is still stuck in some overseas postal hub!!  I cannot say what it is, as Louise doesn’t know what it is yet of course.  It may be here for easter.

On the subject of that Les Mis DVD, it is superb.  We watched all three hours of it on Boxing Day, and loved it all.

Christmas day itself saw my Mum & Dad and Louise’s Mum at ours, and everything went pretty well from a catering point of view, and indeed it was not possible for us to have eaten any more in one day.  My Dad won the prize though, by accepting a turkey sandwich in the early evening when everyone else was struggling to even get liquids down!!

Even Henry got into the spirit of over eating by trying to will a chocolate out of the bowl and into his mouth!

Henry

Come to Poppa!

I am afraid to say that the tree came down the day after boxing day.  A combination of central heating, and eternal dust clouds from the building work saw it come to an early demise.  Wrestling the bugger out of the front room, and to its new attractive position under the front window was fun I must say.  The pines were so dry and brittle that handling it required protective gloves and eye wear.

The girls got cash from many relatives, and so, trundled off into Manchester to squander it as quickly as possible.  Clothes were procured, with the highlight being this little number.

Baby grows

Emily, Danni, Rebecca and Kirsty in their new outfits!

I was back to work on the 29th, but took the decision to work from home for those three days.  None of my team were due to be in the office so I had no-one to manage as such, and anything I needed to cover could be done from home.  Louise too has been back to the grind.  Boob photography waits for no man it seems.

Just to be serious for a second, if any ladies reading are considering not going for their boob photo when they are summoned, I must encourage you to do so.  A few weeks ago, my Mum had the letter, and it was really only the fact that Louise works in the breast unit that encouraged her to go along.

To cut a long story short, something was found, operated on, and irradicated within days just before xmas.  My mum could very easily have ignored the letter, thinking it to be a hassle etc, and who knows what would have happened.  Go, let them photo your boobs.  You know it makes sense, and if you go to Bolton hospital, Louise may be the one to do so!!

We don’t have major plans for New Year’s Eve.  A curry out somewhere, and with that done, the probability of falling asleep pre midnight is quite high.  New Years Day sees us at Louise’s Mums for a meal in the afternoon, and the festivities will be rounded off with a visit to Mike and Amanda’s on Sunday night, where it seems we are being given Pheasant.  This will be a first for us, but I have known for some time that Mike is a renowned Pheasant Plucker.

My hopes for next year (beyond the usual wishes for good health for all) consist of a quickly completed garage conversion, decent GCSE results for Emily, an end to Louise’s health issues, and a decent holiday come the summer.  As an extra, if someone is looking to pay enormous money for someone to write them some lyrics, then  that would be swell too.  I wouldn’t mind having a go at that for a living.  Anyway, as news of my major rock riffage spreads, I am bound to be invited on tour by some major star.  Aren’t I?

Have good times, and I wish you all well for 2011, and as ever thanks for coming here to read this stuff.

Till the next time…..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I blame George Michael!

Armageddon

Can you see Bruce's helmet?

Not that I watched it, but I think that Armageddon was on telly recently.  This is a film which plays out a scenario of the world being threatened by a giant haemorrhoid, sorry I mean asteroid, whilst Steven Tyler screams in the background.  There are many films about the end of the world, and being from Hollywood they tend to use scenarios that are ideal for the big screen.  Deep Impact, if I remember correctly was an almost identical film released around the same time.

I suspect when the end of the world comes it won’t be battled by Bruce Willis, and accompanied by an aging rocker.  In reality, I suspect it will present itself in a more subtle way, that may well sneak up on us all.

Perhaps that sneaking has already started, or maybe it is just Christmas proving to be too much for our over stretched infrastructure, fraught nerves and creaking overdrafts?  Or is that just me?

Whether this is the end of the world, or just a slight over reaction from me (never!) things are looking a little worrying right now.

We are all painfully aware of the financial meltdown of recent years, and what could be a more telling sign of impending doom than Woolworths going bust?  Surely a portent of darker times ahead?  In response to that a new government have been elected, who have immediately used the “oh it was all a lot worse than we thought” line to rip up anything said pre-election, and begin to undertake all the usual actions that we saw last time they were in, but had promised not to this time around.  I don’t want to make this a political thing, as I’m sure that whoever had the poisoned chalice this time around would be doing very nasty stuff to us.

Other signs that Bruce better get his vest on are more subtle than this.  It is clear then, isn’t it that the eco-system is on the blink, as we have had several flakes of snow country wide, and this naturally has been more disabling in the UK than real disasters are around the globe.  Earthquakes in LA, bush fires in Australia and floods in Asia get around seven seconds on the news, but if it ices over somewhere near BBC HQ, we have 24 hour rolling coverage of events for seven days.

Media City

Soon to be the centre of the world

Soon, the BBC and ITV will have large chunks of themselves in Manchester at Media City.  This is just over the road from my desk/office, so I look forward to such coverage of the chaos and disaster in years to come at Salford Quays when the temperature dips below zero.  Bound to happen right?

All the chaos from the snow has been heightened of course by the on rush of Christmas, and the madness that this brings.  Without extreme weather (well, it is just snow but hey ho) Christmas will make most people behave strangely.  We’ve all fallen victim to the last minute panic buys in the run up to the big day haven’t we?  The shops will be shut for around 36 hours, but still, if we don’t get that jar of Hollandaise sauce, then the whole festive season will be a disaster.

Airports around the country are full of people wanting to be somewhere else, and it seems six inches of snow disables the entire travel network.  Families sleeping in foil sheets in public buildings would surely be a scene from a “The Day After Tomorrow” sequel?  The Day After, the Day After Tomorrow….this time it affects Christmas!!  I copywrite that idea immediately, and expect to get a greenlight on that project sometime in the new year from Spielberg.

Then add in smaller catastrophes, like Skype not working.  This, I admit, is not in itself a disaster.  Indeed some of you may not even know what it is.  However, the time of year again heightens the impact of this thing breaking down, when it seems to have been running fine for ever.  Skype is basically an online tool for talking to people, over the internet, for nothing.  Those with relatives around the country and indeed globe, will be relying on Skype to communicate with those over Christmas, mainly as the poor buggers can’t travel home as the entire travel infrastructure is broken.

So either the end of the world is nigh, or Christmas is just a bridge too far for our fragile, overly complicated world these days.  (By the way, as long as A Bridge Too Far is on telly over the festive period then all is well with the world again, no matter what else happens!!)

I have a theory though.  Perhaps all of this is a sign from God (or whoever you believe in) to give us a message, nay a warning.  And what might that warning be?

I can’t say for sure, but I think he is saying something like….

“Armageddon really bored of the same dozen Christmas songs being played back to back for four weeks again, and I am going to keep breaking things until you abandon them or you cancel Christmas altogether”.

So this is something for Noddy Holder, Mariah Carey, Shakin Stevens, Wizard and all you other one time a year PRS cheque getting types to think about.  Please, let’s retire these “classics”, even for a year or two.  Why not hire the brightest and best songwriters we have, like you know, The Cheeky Girls or David Guetta to write some new ones.

If we don’t, then each year will only get worse and we only have George Michael to blame.

Don’t get me wrong, I like Christmas, I am only sulking mildly this year as I have no holidays left to take, and have to work through it, whereas in the past I take a full two weeks off.  In a way, what is there not to like about it?  It is a time of year when overeating is mandatory, and you get given stuff for free.  Right up my street, I think you will agree, but really if I hear Noddy tell me “It’s Chrrrrriiisstttmas” one more time, I may have to track him down and undertake some sort of dirty protest on his Christmas lunch table.

Apologies for the inevitable return to Meldrew-esque ranting……I put this Humbug style post down to the horror of being in work right up until the day, the stress of living in a scene from Auf Wiedersehn Pet, and having no definitive plans for (or chance of) a summer holiday.  I’ll get my coat…..

Till the next time…..

Perfume just smells nice!

As mentioned last weekend, we had guests to stay, and we had a lovely time, in good company, with great food.

After lunch on Saturday we had a drive out to Whalley.  A pootle round the shops, and an overly expensive coffee in Maureen Cooksons.  This isn’t some old dear we visited, but a rare thing, an independent department store with a coffee shop where a coffee is a similar price to an item of clothing.  All was well though as Steve paid!!  The highlight had to be the hot chocolate shot.  It was, as it sounds, sickly, overly sweet, and likely to remove a tooth or two, so it was right up my street.

Xmas House

There's a light that never goes out....

Steve and Di took us to a mutual friend’s house, (they live in Whalley, the mutual friends,not Steve and Di) via a local landmark.  The saving grace for this house is that they do it each year for a hospice I think, so it is just about excusable.

A brief stroll later, we stopped for a drink of varying degrees of softness depending upon who was driving (that would be me), and a good chuckle at Mark’s (chap of the house) failing attempts to get his outside xmas lights to work!  How ironic when around the corner, the other house don’t seem to know how to turn them off!

We returned to Bolton, and partook in a Chinese of enormous proportions as promised.  This catering option is not totally driven by our lack of culinary skills, but more by Steve’s hankering for a decent Chinese takeaway.  They live “in the sticks” and their nearest take out is a good twenty minute drive away.

The rest of the evening was spent chatting and playing games on the Wii and Xbox.  Not Black Ops of course, not with mixed company so we resorted to Scene It instead.  It isn’t important, but I won.  Just saying!

Apollo

Youmeatsix...no, it was just me at 11.15!!

Again, pre-empted by a series of moany tweets, Sunday night saw me happily picking the girls up from the Manchester Apollo, following a Youmeatsix gig.  I ranted a little at certain parents being allergic to getting off their arse past seven o’clock to pick their kids up, and instead rely on others (always us) to do the honours.  This is because we refuse to let a thirteen and fifteen year old get home from Manchester on public transport after 11pm, on a school night.  Yes, I do sound 106, but I’m not bothered.  That is just ridiculous.

They would rather they took this chance than not have a drink all night and go and pick up their daughter.  Knowing all this they “offer” to drop them off at the train station on the outward journey.  Gee, thanks.

On to the week, and as those who endure my tweetage will know, the weather conditions are having a detrimental effect on the garage conversion.  I fully appreciate as ever, that the weather is both worse elsewhere, and affecting many more serious issues than us gaining a  bedroom, however, I can only write of my own experiences!!

This week was all about removing the garage door, and replacing it with a window and wall.  I guess now, we are right on the cusp of stopping calling it a garage, and starting to call it a bedroom.  The construction of the front wall took three days rather than one, due to snow and frozen sand, but we are all but water tight now.  Hopefully with the rest of the work being inside we can make good progress this next week.

I did learn this week, that the best directory of “workmen” is to be had by a relative being a member of a golf club.  My Dad is, and whenever we have something that needs doing we usually give him a bell, as no doubt within the ranks of golfers there is at least one of every profession.  This held true this week, as we needed an aerial sorting, quickly, for the new bedroom.  It had to be done asap as we are wall mounting the TV, and so the cables had to be laid before they finished boarding the walls.

One call to my Dad, a referral to a Steve, and he was there the next day, doing his thing, for a very reasonable price.

With the project coming to a full head of steam now, it has been a bit of a shock to my system.  The amount of money I have had to spend this week has been frankly quite distressing.  It is all (more or less) budgeted for, but it appears that everything is required now.  Bathroom stuff, tiles, TV, aerial for TV, the list is endless.  Well, it isn’t really as it just ended, but you know what I mean.  This outflow of cash goes against my natural instincts!

Christmas came a little early on Friday evening.  With my brother going over to France to his house for the whole of Christmas and New Year, we had a family meal on Friday evening to exchange gifts.  We had another Chinese, and I knew it was good as I was so full I was in considerable pain.  The true sign of a good meal.  As we headed for home the snow came.  It was so bad that we couldn’t get the Mondeo up the hill to our house and had to park it up and walk the last few hundred yards.  This was big snow, and it was to keep us housebound for all of Saturday!

Speaking of which, how can it have come to pass that I have made it to the ripe old age of 40 without ever seeing It’s a Wonderful Life?  I know not, but that was the case until yesterday afternoon.

 

Snow Mini

Snow chance of going out

With more snow outside than backstage at a Depeche Mode gig, we literally could do little else yesterday than settle down to watch one of the many Christmas films that Sky were dusting off.  Having sat through the first half hour of Home Alone 2 earlier with Rebecca, I marshalled Louise and Emily onto the couch, cracked open a box of Quality Street and settled in.  For those wondering, Rebecca was going out with a friend to get their fringes wet in the snow.

its-a-wonderful-life

I'll never get my Mondeo up that hill in this weather!

I was, as you may have guessed delighted with it, and somewhat surprised at the way the comedy in it still works today.  James Stewart is well, there aren’t words I can use to describe his performance.  Classic.
Looking at Facebook later, it seemed half the western world were also tuned into the same film!
Now then, speaking of stuff on the TV, I have to comment upon something that bugs me more with every passing pre xmas day.  I appreciate this is a propos of nothing, but I can make my own rules here.
What the hell is going on with these ridiculous perfume ads??  I have never come across such arty, pretentious, up it’s own arse drivel in my life.
I can only imagine the conversations around boardroom tables in advertising agencies across the land throughout August.
“So here’s my concept, we get some hairy bloke to dive off a cliff into water, and then as he gets out, he shakes his hair all sexy like, and flexes his love handles a bit.  All the time he is being watched by some decent looking bint, and this will sell loads of toilet water”.
Even though diving into water would remove any smelly stuff from his flabby body, I can almost see a connection between the product “Cool Water” and him lobbing himself off a cliff into the sea.
However, my absolute favourite of this festive campaign is this nonsense….
From what I can make out this appears to be some sort of game of charades.  This blonde piece is like some sort of modern-day Una Stubbs, acting out some sort of very long and complicated film.  If you watch closely at one point she definitely does the sign for two syllables!!  My guess is One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest!
Even ones that seem to have a very good premise, which in this case is Charlize getting her baps out, they have to go and spoil it all by having her talk French.
Nearly every perfume ad is done in French, and based on my assumption that less than 5% of the UK population can speak French (well, why would you!) this cannot be a sensible ploy.  You don’t see other products sold this way. It simply wouldn’t work.
Vous ne pouvez pas obtenir plus vite qu’un installateur ajustement kwik.  Let’s see how sales go off the back of that ad campaign shall we?
So to all thick rimmed spectacle wearing, pink shirted, pointy shoed, £100 cuff link wearing twonks who work in advertising, (and I have met many in the line of duty) perfume makes you smell nice.  It does not make you look like that berk on the cliff or give you jumblies like Charlize Theron, so please don’t insult and offend us with this constant stream of arty nonsense.
and breathe….
Till the next time……

Bob the Builder, can only build it in suitable temperatures.

This week I learnt something.  Apparently it is not possible to mix concrete if the temperature has the audacity to fall below freezing!

The cynic in me immediately assumed that the builders were simply work shy fops, who had some objection to working all day in the midst of snow and temperatures that would see  monkeys “sans globes”.  I could have checked this out via google or some such device, but felt better wallowing in my bitter pit of cynicism to be honest.

As the next stage of our garage conversion is the laying of the floor, apparently this concrete lark was pretty fundamental to progress.  Hence, we lost two days, and I can’t tell you how depressing it was to stare at the same desolate scene in the garage for all that time, especially after witnessing significant changes in week one.

On Thursday a builder returned, somewhat reluctantly, and progressed the project a little.  His day was spent trying to break up frozen sand.  Nice.

My infantile mind could not reconcile these practical problems encountered by the builders with my reality of dealing with these super low temperatures.  I have been moaning all week about having to walk three feet to my car, defrost my bloody car door handles, and thinking this was a major inconvenience.  I then proceeded to moan that the builders didn’t turn up for two days!!  I am an arse at times.  (Comments neither required or welcome).

With the house resembling one on Coronation Street at the moment, we had a debate about whether to postpone a long-planned visit this weekend from our friends Steve and Di.  I work with Steve, and have done for over ten years.  We worked together at my last place, and I persuaded him to make the move to the new job with me too.  They have also been lovely enough to be the source of DVC points for some of our prior visits to Florida.  In addition to that, they have even looked after my snotty cocker, which isn’t something anyone could do!  They are officially documented as being the nicest couple on the planet.

In the end, we decided to go ahead, and they are aware they must take us as they find us.  These weekends normally take the form of much eating, some drinking, a visit “out” somewhere if the weather and season permit, and then a Chinese takeaway of illegal proportions, and a chat about Disney, the Universe and everything in between.

We last visited them back in the early summer, and this was documented here in the Sindery and Snot blog.

The reason for the earlyish posting of this here blog is that I expect not have time this weekend to squeeze it in.

Our plan for this weekend is to stay nice and local, and just have a wander around the Last Drop Village, which is about five minutes from us.  The other suggestion was a trip to the German markets in Manchester, but we’ll see.  The coldness will be a major factor in our decision, and there you go, once again, my cynical ramblings about work shy builders is highlighted for the hypocritical nonsense that it is.

I have also promised Steve that I will show him Call of Duty Black Ops on the Xbox as he does not own it yet.  I am duty bound to honour his request as he is a guest in our house!  I’m sure there will be some hours spare whilst the ladies ready themselves for something at some point.

Rebecca Bring me the horizon

Bring me, bring me the horizon

On Wednesday this week the girls were at yet another gig.  The seem to spend as much time at the MEN arena as they do at school!  This time the headline act was Bullet for My Valentine, supported by Bring Me The Horizon.  Usually I can appreciate much of their musical choice, but these are both far too “screamo” for my tolerance.  I can’t say I could name you a song from either, but I do know that when they girls put them on in the car, I really have to bite my tongue to avoid the classic Dadism of  “who the hell are these jokers?”.

So the attendance of a gig, as usual, saw me in Manchester, at 10.30 on a school night, waiting in a sea of eyeliner and angst, to pick the girls and their friends up.  One of these times, their friends parents will do the honours!!  Sorry, did I say that out loud?

Rebecca had done herself some serious damage headbanging, and looked worse for wear all the way home. She was immediately despatched to bed with two paracetamol and a life lesson.  Emily, ever the sensible one, had “mini moshed” as she put it, in between taking 666 (a number worthy of the hard rocking devil worshippers she was watching) photos, most of which look the same, but of course are crucially different to those in the know!

Bring Me The HorizonStrangers to the Shower.

 

I got home around 11.30 after dropping off fringes all over Bolton.

Sunday sees them watching Youmeatsix at the same venue, and I can only hope some other parent will feel guilty enough to volunteer to taxi them around this time.

Emily’s mocks seem to be going OK.  I ask every night how she has got on that day, and the standard answer is a shrug of the shoulders and “Meh”.  Make of that what you will.  She has had one mark back already for one of her Maths papers, and it was a good one, so I’m playing it cool and accepting “Meh” for now.

She’s also been filming her media studies project, and has roped in her friends to star in her production.  It is inevitably a horror epic, and I look forward to seeing the full two-minute cinematic masterpiece shortly.  Homework was never that much fun when I was at school.  Dammit, I swore I’d never do “in my day”.

Cpl George Carey

Rebecca's great great great uncle (I can't be sure I have the correct number of greats there)

Rebecca has been working on a History project this week, and she needed to do a project on a soldier who served in World War One.  Luckily for Rebecca my Dad has been researching our family tree since he retired, and was able to hand her the entire contents of her project on a plate.  Well it was several sheets of A4 but you know what I mean!

He has done a cracking job though, all the way back to the 1600s, and he has photos and documents of many of the family.  It is also amazing that only two generations ago, having seven or eight kids seemed to be the norm!  I shudder to think.

For starters how would I get them all in the car after these gigs!!

Looking at the photo of George here, puts my moans about concrete, trips to the MEN, and well, everything else I whinge about in perspective.  He died aged 22, at Ypres in April of 1918.

I can’t and don’t want to imagine what he went through and saw in the three years that he served in the war.

So on that cheery note, I shall post this entry, and leave you to your weekends.

I will see you back here next week, on the other side of some beer and possibly a Chinese takeaway so large it may endanger my health.  Steve has an appetite to match mine, but he just manages to control it better….well control it some would be more accurate!!

Till the next time…..

 

Germans & Trenches!

The highlight of the week was without doubt the return of Rebecca from Germany.

German Trip

Team England in Germany

She had been a mixture of homesick, tearful, joyous and most things in between throughout the ten-day trip, and so we were very glad to welcome her home on Friday evening.  She arrived with a case full of dirty clothes and presents from “her german’s” family.  For some reason they were all ginger based, with several different variations on the theme of ginger cake.  That is in no way a complaint, any gift ending with the word cake is welcome in our house.

She had of course “fallen in love” with a German boy whilst over there, and within hours of her return was missing him.  Having longed to come home for half the trip, she was very soon wishing she was back over there!!  This was not helped by an incident involving her phone.  You may remember a few weeks ago that she got a new Nokia E5?  Well, just before she left for Germany she reported issues with it, but we didn’t have time to get it sorted before her departure.

As 99% of her phone use is text based, which was working fine, she managed whilst away.  On her return I phoned Orange and they diagnosed it as faulty, and impressively said a new one would be with us tomorrow.  Saying that I called them at around 7.00pm, that was pretty good.  So true to their word a new handset arrived the following morning, and we had to hand back the broken one.  Retaining the battery, sim and memory card was however not enough to preserve all Rebecca’s contacts, and the text messages she had from Tom, the boy from Germany!

She was devastated! I felt awful, and she is now in the process of sourcing all her missing contacts, but can’t get her texts back.  This was not a “Dad of the Year” moment I can tell you.

As is the way, she seems to have got over it now.

This week also saw the snow finally arrive in the North West.  We have been a pocket of resistance against the seemingly unstoppable snow until the back end of the week.  I wouldn’t claim to be snowed in, but even the threat of snow caused a two and a half hour journey to work on Monday (I travel twelve miles), so on Thursday with actual white stuff on the ground, I elected to work from home.

This wasn’t an option earlier in the week as the garage work has well and truly started, and this manifested itself, in the first day or so, in a complete lack of central heating, as the plumber moved the boiler to a new location.  Had it stayed where it was, it would have been in our future shower!

Garage Trench

Our poo will go through that!

Safe in the knowledge that the house would be warm, Thursday at home was productive, if not dust filled, as the first week of the job, it turned out, involved lots of digging, to put in drains and soil pipes to remove our future ablutions.  So watching this also made me very, very happy to be an office drone.  Tedious it may be, but at least it is warm.  Watching the chaps trying to dig a trench through a concrete floor in sub-zero temperatures more than convinced me that I am in the right place.  Yes they may enjoy the four days of summer more than I, but the pay off is simply not worth it.

Temperatures were so low during this work that they broke three digger machine things!

Our house, it will not surprise you is a mess.  The assurances that the work would be contained within the garage were ambitious.  Dust gets everywhere, and we temporarily have a washer and dryer in the middle of the kitchen until they can replumb them into their future homes.

Saturday morning, early, I was out in my finest bobble hat, digging out Louise’s mini from the snow.  The need for food was probably the only possible reason that I would undertake such work willingly.  The mini was the weapon of choice as it seems to cope far better with these conditions than the marauding beast that is the Mondeo.

Louise returned a little later with enough food to survive a nuclear winter, so we should be OK should we get any more snow.

So with a house with a look of Beruit we naturally went out on Saturday to get our Christmas tree!  After years of falsies, we went for a real one this year.  The main driver behind this decision was that the good old fake one lived in the garage, and now with that becoming a bedroom, it had no home and had to go.  It was about the same age as the kids, so it was time.

So battling road conditions, and the urge to stay in the warm, Louise and I went to the local Garden Centre, and picked one out.  The cavernous world of the Mondeo boot proved essential once again, as it easily swallowed up the 6ft tree, and laughed in my face, as if this would be any sort of test.  I’ll be finding pine needles in there for about six months.

The decoration of said tree took hardly any time at all.  The lights worked first time, and crucially, and unusually, did not take the customary three hours to unravel.  I always put them away wound up nice and neat, but at some point in the intervening months some bugger finds them and ties them into un-doable knots!

Louise had been to John Lewis earlier in the week and spent an obscene amount on specific baubles, so these are all that adorn the tree.  Most years we have everything plus the kitchen sink on the old false one, as it was huge.  The minimal look is a winner on all counts!

The Louise update this week is that she did not return to work as planned.  The doctor wanted to do some more tests, for the “other thing” she may need an operation for, and therefore suggested she stay off until those are done, and they know what they are going to do.  The plan now is for a return on the 14th of December.  She did however get some good news this week.  She had word from work that she has now completed her NVQ Level 3 Health.  With her health woes this has been a fine achievement, and hopefully once back at work, will mean progression, and of course some more cash!!

Health wise she is pretty much fully operational now, as evidenced by her shopping ability.  In fact having her back in work for four days a week may be welcome to restrict the amount of time available to her to demonstrate this in retail establishments around the North West.

To complete the family round up, Emily is building up for her mocks, and should be revising.  She assures us she is, and only has two days left at school this term, as the rest of the time is taken up with the mocks themselves, or study days.  Unluckily for her, Louise will be at home to make sure these are not Facebook and MSN days!!  Life is cruel sometimes.

So with the weather looking like this outside….

 

Winter View

BRRRRRRR!

The plan for this afternoon is to stay indoors with the TV and the Xbox, and enjoy some lunch which will no doubt involve something of a ginger nature.

Till the next time…..