Cakes, Pies and Videotapes

Apparently it’s Sunday? So I’d better do a blog then. It won’t be a long one today as I am doing my best to avoid the usual routines and tasks that straddle normal weeks when I have to go to work and stuff.

Before I get on to festive stuff, Louise has been at it again, being all successful and stuff. You may remember that a little while ago she got herself a job at the local hospital? Well, she’s gone and done it again, and has been offered another. This new job is in the community as a district nurse and this is the one she will be taking in April once she qualifies. Community jobs are the proverbial hen’s teeth and for a newly qualified to get one is almost miracle status, so she’s done incredibly well. If you have a weeping sore in the North West of England she may well be attending to it from the spring!

Christmas Williams style was a good one. The day itself was a little different this year as Emily had to work for a few hours, which meant that we didn’t have our meal until the evening.

The day started as it always does with the girls unwrapping their gifts, and of course Oli got his traditional gifts too.

We spent the day relaxing and cooking (Louise did the cooking anyway), until Emily was done.

We then walked all the way to next door for the meal itself. It was deliciously excellent, perhaps the best we’ve ever had. We all chipped in with elements of the meal but my Mum and Dad did the hard graft of hosting us.

xmas 2014 mealAll too soon the familiar pain of being too full to function was upon us and we all groaned a lot whilst watching some TV and wishing we had room for one of the lovely desserts which mocked us from the kitchen.

Guess who this plate belonged to?

I just couldn’t manage that last pea!

Joseph and Emily…..(oblique song lyric reference there).

The days since have been a blur of nothingness but I have had a chance whilst off work to complete the first holiday video that has been promised to you for about six years now! 2008, The Chronicles of Nana (& Grandad) Tour, is available for your viewing pleasure (and only contains one “deliberate” mistake). I have to say, we only seem to have filmed when we were walking, swimming or pulling silly faces, but looking at the other footage we have for other years, there are better to come. 2006 is in progress now, so expect that any time this millennia.

I have another week off work yet, so the weight gain potential is immeasurable. I have done a little tweaking to holiday plans too, and I shall share that news with you next Sunday, as it may deter me from moaning about going back to work. Yes, I know it’s unlikely.

So I shall sign off for 2014, amazed at the fact that I’ve been blogging here now, pretty much every week since November 2009! If you’ve been with me all the way, seriously, get a life, but thank you.

Have a safe, fun and drunken New Year, and we’ll do it all again next year, next week.

Till the next time…..


Not a slow motion montage of 2012.

Well, we survived Christmas, and despite consuming silly amounts of food (mainly desserts and chocolates) I have not had to buy new clothes.  This is good.

I would declare this Christmas a decent one, and I have absolutely loved being at home for an extended run of days.  It has proved to me, as if proof were needed, that I would be absolutely superb as a lottery winner.  I am a firm believer that if anyone wins enough to ensure they need never work again, and they continue working then they should be stripped of the money, and it be given to someone else, ideally me.

I don’t get this “I’d be bored if I didn’t work” thing.  I have filled every day very easily, and that is without having the luxury of endless funds with which to entertain myself and the family.  With a few million in the bank I don’t know how I’d find time to even think about my previous life where I was a slave to an alarm clock and overdraft.

Most weeks I go through the thought process, in some detail, of exactly what I would do with a sizeable lottery win.  I won’t go into the level of planning I undertake as you would think me sad(der), but whenever those balls wish to drop I am more than ready.  Are you listening Dale?

Anyway, back to xmas just gone, and as you are no doubt aware we were hosting.  The burden was lightened by everyone who came bringing with them a vital element of the meal, so really it was just about finding somewhere for every one to sit.

The day started too early, with Rebecca as ever channeling her five-year old self.  After trying to go for a quiet wee around 7.30am, I got back to bed to find a text from Rebecca asking if she could get up yet.  Knowing that Emily’s body would probably require about four more hours sleep we tried to stall her as long as possible but within minutes she was up in Emily’s room making a nuisance of herself.  Luckily Emily spared her life and we piled downstairs to open presents.

Eye contact is not advisable this early
About 30 seconds later she had them all opened

From various sources Oli had as many presents as the girls.  He liked this one a lot.


The rest of the day was a blur of gifts, family, eggnog and food…so much food.

Rebecca channeling Bet Lynch with that top
Rebecca channeling Bet Lynch with that top
xmas day meal
Some of the clan

Since Christmas Day we have waved off most of the family as they left for Florida where they are right now.  This.Is.Absolutely.Fine.  Moving on.

So thoughts now turn to the New Year, and no doubt you are already overdosed on slow motion montages of 2012, and those ever so hilarious not at all scripted panel shows where they tell us all what happened in case we’d forgotten.

As I can’t do slow motion montages, I’ll keep my review brief.  2012 was, like pretty much every year, a mixed bag of ups and downs.  It is tempting to slag off every year and say you are glad to see the back of it, but if you keep doing that all you end up is dead.

The year about to end was busy, traumatic in some ways but also included some good stuff too.  Of course us somehow managing another Florida trip was a major highlight for me, but just to prove the point about ups and downs, of course Mum’s illness preventing them coming along wasn’t great.

Louise started her nursing course in 2012, which is the realisation of a long-held ambition, and despite some real downs I have ended the year in a really good place job wise.  Incredibly after ten years in one place I have changed jobs three times this year.  The first by choice, mainly on a point of principle after how they treated a load of people who worked for me.  The second was more or less forced as the company was heading for a brick wall, and the third was flatteringly via some head hunting, but awkwardly only a few weeks after starting a new job.  I am often the first to bemoan our luck and look for the worst in a situation, but the way in which that happened, and the job and company I have now settled with was pretty much a gift from the gods.

The girls are healthy, happy (as much as teenagers can be amidst their raging hormones and mood swings) and not on drugs, dependent on alcohol or familiar to the police.  I’ll settle for that.

We also moved house in 2012.  The fact that this happened right in the middle of job move number two made the early summer probably one of the most stressful times of my life.  Having to secure a new job and deal with the inevitable nonsense of a move was not good.  Sure, people go through a lot worse, but I don’t want to repeat that thanks.

The wider world outside the Williams sanctum has crumbled to shit a little more in the past twelve months.  Financial disaster, corruption, scandal and lies have dominated the headlines.  Basically if you were on TV between 1970 and 1985 you should expect to be arrested in 2013.

So looking ahead to 2013, I expect another year of similar ups and downs.  Aside from the inevitable lottery win that is bound to come our way (isn’t it?) there won’t be a Florida holiday.  I know, I know, you won’t believe me but unless a whole heap of cash falls into our lap there is no chance.  The house is screaming at us to spend money on it, and a holiday is rightly someway behind all that in the pecking order.

In the few short months since we got here we have converted the loft, repaired the chimney, cosmetically enhanced the kitchen as best we can without a full refit, titivated Rebecca’s room and painted various bits of the bathroom.  Of course I also bled the radiators!!

The list of what we still want and need to do is longer than the list of desserts I ate on Christmas Day.

Between now and the end of the summer Emily will be doing her A levels and Rebecca her GCSEs.  The house could turn into a war zone in the battle to get them to do sufficient work and revision.  I am of course looking forward to that!

Our journey into the new year will be just Louise and I, as both the girls are out at parties, and of course the rest of the family are in bloody WDW! We intend to raise hell with a visit to the pictures and a meal in local pub.  I am the Ozzie Osbourne of the North West.  Making it to midnight is not guaranteed!

So I wish you all well for the New Year, thank you for your support and time in tolerating the trip report(s), and your continued interest in and reading of these weekly verbal vomits is astounding and appreciated in equal measure.

So there you go, probably the only retrospective of 2012 you will come across without mentioning the Olympics…oh bollocks!

Till the next time….Till the next year…..


The longest break between food has been whilst writing this….

I appear to have blinked and missed Christmas.  I know I am of an age now, but wow, it flashed by in a blur of calories and crap telly.  All of a sudden it is Wednesday, my holiday is half over (or only half gone depending on your outlook on life I suppose) and I am well into my second stone of weight gain.

As brief as it seemed it was very enjoyable, with Christmas Eve Eve spent with a takeaway, my annual Baileys and the new Peter Kay DVD.  He is still one of the few comedians who can make me laugh out loud.  Being more or less exactly the same age, and from the same town some of his references to his childhood etc do strike very close to home.  We did have a very similar childhood!

From that point on, I have never let my belly get any less than half full.

If we thought for one second that now we have very grown up teenagers that the excitement levels would diminish in the run up, we were very wrong.  Rebecca was excited enough for the two of them in the days preceding the big day, and having asked what time she was allowed to get up on Christmas morning, she arrived at our door at exactly 7.00am!  Emily was behind her, doing her level best to cope with the early hour whilst remaining something close to festive.  As usual no-one is allowed in the front room until Dad has been in to “make sure he’s been”, and to switch on the lights.

So, what was months of build up, present planning and buying, came to fruition in thirty second  frenzy of wrapping paper, especially from Rebecca’s side of the room.

Rebecca's presents
All present and correct

She is a full blown force of nature when it comes to opening presents.  Emily is much more measured.  Whether they have been aged fourteen and sixteen or four and six, this has always been the case.

Emily's presents
Ooh my piles!

One thing that has changed is that these piles are getting smaller.  These days they tend to contain fewer more expensive presents, whereas a decade ago, they literally had half of the room each filled with endless dolls and tat that I would then spend all day un-packaging.

This year, the main gifts were an iPhone 4S for Rebecca and a new “proper” camera for Emily, a Nikon D3000.  As ever, the look of proper shock and surprise from both upon opening these was worth the expense.  Yep, Louise and I are a collective soft touch.

We also had a new family member to buy for!

Once he’d got bored with that present, he looked around for entertainment elsewhere.

The day then went like this.

Breakfast was with my Mum and Dad, where once again I bedazzled everyone with the Benediction of some eggs.  They left us around lunch time, to enable us to either start making “the dinner” or sit and watch telly drinking a gin and tonic.  I shall let you draw your own conclusions as to which option I went for.

Louise’s mum joined us mid afternoon, and with a few minutes to go, I ventured into the kitchen to do manly things like carve some meat, and pick the best seat at the table.  The meal itself was a delight, and from our cocktail of prawns (a Grandma tradition), through the traditional turkey fest and onto the unneccessary yet obligatory dessert, I showed great stamina to keep going to the very end, however I fell at the final hurdle made of cheese and crackers.

The evening consisted of a walk of the dog, and a bum on the couch.  I endured as much of Downtown as I could, before making a run for the hills (bed) when I realised it was a two-hour “spectacular”.  There are only so many stiff uppers I can stomach in one go.  So I read my book (a present from Louise) for a while before placing my stomach on the mattress next to me and drifting off to a dream about leftovers.

Muddy Oli
His head was the clean bit....

On Boxing Day, we didn’t do much to be honest, other than take Oli out for a bracing and lengthy walk around a local reservoir.  He got a bit muddy.

So after an hour’s walk, there then followed a bath of around the same length.  From that point on, we’ve pretty much not done a great deal.  Louise did somehow manage to persuade me to go into town yesterday, as she had some vouchers to spend with a 24 hour expiry period (apparently).  We survived, albeit with a very close call on me spending a silly amount of money on a new coat.  It was on the wrong rack, and so the price I thought I’d be paying was almost double that amount when I got to the till.  I declined, almost politely.

Today, alas Louise was back in work (ah the perils of serving the public) so I spent the morning doing a couple of errands, and some washing (yes, I am THAT considerate), before settling in for a lengthy session my newly acquired Modern Warfare 3.  A Christmas tradition for me.

So here I sit, surrounded by sweets of all kinds, having just polished off some cheese and biscuits that I clearly didn’t need, after necking a large tea only a couple of hours before.  Somebody stop me!!!

So I have to go now to plan my outfit for the New Year’s Eve extravaganza celebration which will involve a helicopter arrival at some star-studded do, rubbing shoulders with celebs whilst quaffing expensive bubbly and posh nibbly food that isn’t from Iceland!!  Either that or I’ll be sat on my couch berating the shocking quality of telly on New Year’s Eve whilst increasing my waistline by another belt notch or two.  Don’t be jealous.  I hope your celebrations go well, and your new year even better.

Till the next time….