Thursday, 30 December 2010

Some highlights of this Christmas

Christmas 2010

Some of the highlights....

It snowed.  A lot.  I have now totally blown any weather forecasting credibility with B & H.  Whenever we hear on the weather forecast that we're going to expect snow, I always say "it'll never come to anything, it never does these days".  For the second year running, I've been totally wrong......

Becky giving me that precious gift which she made herself at school

Hannah being Hannah!

That silly game of cards when the McRoys came 'round
So lovely and snowy

A delighted Hannah

Becky with her artist's model

    Wednesday, 29 December 2010

    Christmas 2010

    Christmas just wouldn't be right without a candle-lit carol service, once again very moving indeed.  This year's lump-in-the-throat was a rendition of Silent Night.  I couldn't help but be reminded of those stories about soldiers in the First World War singing Silent Night, playing football with the Germans during that brief time when men could just, for a brief time, rise above the evils of the World and accept each other.

    We're reminded how Christ came into the world, not as a King in a palace but as a Saviour in a manger. What does Jesus make of all the cards, presents and so on at this time of year?  Probably not much, so let us think of him as a family and look towards Easter to make sense of it all once again.

    Our Christmas, once again this year, hasn't gone exactly to plan with us not all being able to be with each other.  Nevertheless all is (mostly) well with the wider family. One of the real bonuses is that we can all take a good rest, for each one of us there is the real need to do that.  For B & H the autumn term always seems long and this was again the same, though I wonder, if they've been more aware this year of how long its been.  It seems so long ago - early September - still summer time really when they started back in their summer dresses and now here we are in the middle of the winter.  Each one of us has just kept going and now we have all mentally stopped and flopped.  The opportunity for us to recharge our batteries is important.  For me, mentally recharging those batteries is important and even now I still have things on my mind from work.  No great worries, just wondering how I will solve this or that issue.

    Here we are with Grandma, just starting the Christmas afternoon frenzy of opening presents.  Rachel always tries to string it out for as long as she can, savouring every moment.  The rest of us are simply not patient enough!

    It's also a delight to play a few silly games.  This was "chase the ace" an Hannah always going about it in her normal funny, cute way.

    As part of helping me relax mentally, I have happily been on a few runs, including about 30 minutes on Christmas morning, and over an hour on the following two days.  It works wonders!  Sometimes I run for a mile or so on a kind of auto-pilot, not really concentrating on the running with my feet just doing what they need to do, while I completely loose myself in though.

    I naturally wonder what 2011 will bring.  Almost certainly life will continue to tick over and I'm certainly not seeking anything more.  My challenge continues to be in dealing with the pressures of life and particularly work which links nicely into running as the antidote.  Although it's tough going at times, I know I must carry on.  I need the challenge of doing my job, seeing how it continues to develop.  Again I think I'm the luckiest person there in having a unique job that evolves generally in positive ways.  The more I immerse myself in work, the more I'm likely to stay there and in turn the greater the pressures.  With that is the need to have that escape, that safety valve of getting out thre for a good run.  Cycling this year will also be a part of that as a means of keeping fit.

    I remember going through a phase of rising the 13 miles each way to work and my weight almost dropping by the day.  Sometimes I'd even go for a run in the gym after that ride.  I'm out of the habit of cycling but through running I understand more about how my body works.  However, running and cycling appear more inter linked than ever nowadays.  I've taken the plunge and decided to get a Thorn Audax mk3 for 2011....

    Tuesday, 28 December 2010

    The kids are getting the message now....

    This might look like any ordinary tube of toothpaste having reached the end of its' life.  In many ways that is exactly right and yet to me it represents much more.

    For B & H its a little ritual in the morning, after breakfast with "Daddy, please can you squeeeeeze the toothpaste out for me pleeeeease".To them it was a little game to see who would have the last bit of toothpaste.  For days I'd be saying that was it, surely no more and yet they'd persuade me to have another go and to my astonishment, I'd manage to get a little more out.

    For me, its all about those little routines that mean so much.  A chance in the day to have some fun within a pretty mundane chore of brushing teeth while we were all in a dreadful rush in dashing off to school, work etc.

    It also has come to symbolise our efforts in not wanting to be wasteful; squeezing that very last drop out of something has become a little more important.  Why?  Well, we're in a wasteful world with much extravagance and needless waste.  Waste of resources, money and effort, often at someone else's expense.

    Our old sofa, is now no more.
    We bought it second hand in about 1997 and we remember our friend Paul helping out with transporting it in his trailer.  Getting it into the sitting room was quite a challenge with almost having to bend it to get it in through the door.  Over the 13 years we've had it, all kind of things have happened to it as B & H have grown up.  When Rachel and I decided it was time to update it, they were quite sad but we all like the replacement.  Such good memories.... when we bought it, tried to get it in, the times when we've pulled it up close to the TV in our make-do cinema

    Thursday, 2 December 2010


    Frosty watercress growing in our pond; it all started a few years ago when Rachel said one day "that looks just like watercress" as we sat on the side.

    "try tasting it" I suggested.

    "Errr no thanks, not my cup of tea"

    And so I tasted it and sure enough, watercress it was.  Lots of it, taking over in fact.

    Rachel had a while beforehand, planted some cress in a near by pot and all we can guess is that some of those tiny seeds had drifted across and got established before our very eyes.

    So it seems that our watercress is really good for us.  Having circulating water helps by means of the pond pump and its always nice in a salad, or as Rachel puts it so nicely, a compost sandwich.