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Rejoice! I passed my theory test. I know that's the driving bit everyone says is really easy, but I find roughly 97% of driving difficult (with the possible exception of reversing round a corner, which is fine), and also, being from the year 1847, I don't really know anything about cars. So I'm happy that's out of the way. Been all the way to Morpeth and back already. The fact that I had to get up at 6.30am to get the bus to Morpeth is helping to convince me that maybe, actually, driving would be beneficial to me.
The lessons have been going a bit better too. After all my faffing about trying to convince myself that it's fine and I mustn't panic etc., the best way I found of not being scared was just thinking 'It doesn't matter'. I'm good at being a careful driver (generally), so those bits I do naturally, and anything on top of that – it's not really the end of the world if I make a mistake. So with this attitude, I have been achieving Great Things (well, y'know, things). Maybe actual test in early spring, maybe. Maybe. Do not know. Not sure.

Svetlana the allotment is well, I think, I'm going over to check on her later. There's just not much you can do in December. Irrationally worried that all my enthusiasm for growing stuff will suddenly leave me. I doubt it will though. Hoping to go to a Potato Day in Durham next month, although it's quite a way to go to buy rare and beautiful tubers, and also, it's not even in the centre of Durham so I'm going to have to work out faffy transport arrangements (if I could but 'drive'). Then again, I love potatoes to an almost worrying extent, so I might just go for it.

Trolling home for Christmas, as the song goes, after work on 24th. Must remember to pack. I've got a nice long break this year, which will hopefully be made of festive rainbows. Trolling to Lancashire to see Extended Clan. Trolling to Hereford to see friends. Possibly even going to SWANSEA to see little TwoDots. Quite the culture shock after barely leaving Northumberland this year. Hope it's warm in all these exotic locations.

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I hope all my merry blog readers had a joy-filled Christmas. I did, and I hardly used ANY of the time in church to look through the hymn book and pick out songs that would be suitable for my funeral (Be Thou My Vision is an excellent hymn, I choose that one). I'm forcing my brain into festive mode. One of my brothers got me some potato planting bags and the other got me a soil pH tester so they win to the max. Little Victoria kindly got me some POSH CAKE FORKS, also known as best excuse ever for eating posh cakes, Little Niamh got me some Lush shampoo, and Little Cerys got me a 'Baby Knits – Create Charming Knits for Babies' set which caused a slightly horrified pause among my family members when I opened it and said it would be 'ideal'. We got over that, though, and went for a jolly Christmas stroll.

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Trolled off to Hereford the day after Boxing Day to meet up with some of the Herefordian chums, which was lovely and something I wish I could do more often, despite me feeling very much like I've spent enough time in Hereford to last several lifetimes. Yesterday we had a more eventful trip to see my mum's family in Lancashire than planned. We'd travelled up in two cars (we own one and tend to hire another for when all of us are at home), and the one we own broke down when we were nearly there, so we got there OK, it was just getting back that was something of an issue. I volunteered to go in the recovery truck with my mum and brother on the off-chance that the rescue people were attractive and possibly would agree to marry me. This did not happen and by about 11pm, the novelty of travelling in such a vehicle had worn off and I was cold and tired. Got there in the end though, and the time we did get to spend in Lancashire was nice. My grandparents got me a book about growing and cooking your own vegetables and we discussed gardening quite a lot, along with how the youths of today are a massive disappointment, etc.
I celebrated finally getting home yesterday evening by rewatching the remaining episodes of The Bridge (filled with tension and fear). Today I'm planning to do some knitting and sewing. Sewing's going fine so far but knitting is going less well as I discovered it's been so long since I last knitted that I'd forgotten how to even cast off. I re-remembered but I am not very confident in my knitting abilities. Maybe I'll finally learn to crochet. I have planned nothing for New Year so may end up seeing if my knitting improves with vodka.
O would that I could spend more time like this at home, even if my siblings overwhelm me sometimes and I have to go into hiding to recharge my introvert batteries. I love living in Alnwick, as we know, but ultimately I am there because that's where my job is. Which is fine as long as the job makes me happy, it's just the 'as long as' uncertainty that troubles me. I think I'd move closer if I could, and I think my trollparents would like it too. BUT till then there are plenty of merry things to do in the Land Beyond the Wall and I shall thus 'make merry'.

I'm currently feeling a little bit 'delicate', which is to say, I'm currently sat in a heap on the sofa covered in blankets and a duvet and have been for some time. This is the fault of the 'office Christmas party', seemingly designed to troll introverts throughout the world. I don't feel too bad any more, to be honest, I'm confined to the sofa more by my own laziness than by feeling ill.
It was fun though, even if I decided to ignore the whole 'lol I'm on medication so shouldn't really be drinking' doctor's advice and that. I was able to absorb a reasonable of alcohol despite this. I even managed to haul myself out of bed relatively early this morning to go to the opticians. This, please note, forms a major step in my development as a Proper Person, since I'd previously always gone to the same one back home and never organised my own appointments before. I still have terrible eyes but we are looking at getting me a new contact lens prescription which lets more oxygen into said eyes meaning that when I wear them for HOURS ON END, my eyes won't shrivel up like they normally do. The appointment was hindered slightly by the fact that I'd forgotten letters in my over-tired state, but hopefully nobody noticed this.
I've got a lot of packing to do tomorrow as it is HOMEWARDS the day after tomorrow and I have not been very useful today. I'm not especially looking forward to the journey which I'll be making with a suitcase that's nearly bigger than me, but I am looking forward to being at home. In the meantime I am happily playing Crusader Kings II as some Vikings who are trolling the Anglo-Saxons, which is one of my favourite things to do.

I am settling down to my Friday evening habit of pizza and a horror film (this week I think it's going to be this one). Yesterday I merrily trolled off to celebrate Sinterklaas with some dear trolleagues, which was very nice. I'd unfortunately bought my Sinterklaas present while under the influence of Gluehwein, and thought it'd be a good idea to buy a computer game where you get to pretend to be Soviets, shooting Nazis. The true spirit of Sinterklaas. In return I got the rather more normal present of a Christmassy candle. It's inspired me to do some 'Christmas decorating', actually. Since I moved away from Trollparents aged 18 I've never really bothered to put up decorations because it'll only be me seeing it, but maybe I'm just feeling more festive this year. Perhaps it is the sanity snacks, who knows. It might be because we had a power cut at work for a couple of hours the other day and used the time to put up the Christmas decorations. I went a bit overboard and started festooning most unattended items/desk belonging to my trolleagues, not ALL of whom appreciated my attempts to spread festive cheer.
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Baby Me being cute

O and this time last week we were merrily walking the streets of Copenhagen. Not in a prostitutious way. O would that I could emigrate. The visit renewed my Sweden-learning efforts, though. Because I'm turning into little Rhian to a dangerous degree, I've started watching excellent Swedish quiz show Vem Vet Mest every single day in an effort to improve my understanding. SUCH LEARNING. I've also been looking on Workaway and Wwoof to see if I can organise my Wise Plans for next year but it only made me concerned that the people I might stay with would either murder me, refuse to speak Swedish to me or just not like me very much, all of which would be awful.
I am bumbling around this weekend, hopefully doing some Christmas shopping online (avoiding Amazon, we shall see how this goes), doing SOME gardening but not too much, decorating my house but not to an insane degree, doing my Pesky Law Course for work and maybe dying my newly-short hair, although this worries me a bit because it might turn out, like, PROPER red. I'll also be devouring the Jerusalem artichokes I helped to dig from the fields of Skåne, using MY TEARS at no longer being on holiday as festooning.

Life has returned to 'normal' after the veritable insanity that was Christmas and New Year. Normal apart from me deciding to sleep in till 8.35 this morning and having to leg it up the hill to work to avoid EXTREME TARDINESS.
I had a nice break, and it was good that I was able to have many days off without having to skip up and down the country in between Christmas and New Year. I was really worried about returning, for some reason (well, the reason is probably because I'm mad). I knew I wasn't returning to Buckinghamshire and thus had nothing to fear, but it didn't stop my fretting. I think it was just because it's so very far and I was all worried I'd never see my family or friends ever again and that nobody loved me, etc. But luckily, I'm now 150% more rational and have realised that there are such things as 'holidays' and 'booking early to avoid giant fees' and 'planning ahead' and 'Skype'. And delicious halloumi OMNOMNOM.
I don't have many plans for the immediate future, which is good. I'm thinking of buying a throw for my sofa, and a dressing gown, and a 2013 diary. And I'm about to sit down and watch Borgen. If anyone wants to suggest where my lost childhood may have gone, that would be most welcome.
(I am still a child really. I ordered a Danish flag for the office because I love Danes so much, and also a book called 'How To Be Danish', because if Father Christmas insists on getting me Amazon vouchers, this is what happens. Maybe I will book time off work and go to Denmark and just look at all the nice Danes).
(also I really want a tortoise but the numerous impracticalities of this make it impossible)

Good evening, merry blog readers, and how I hope that you had a merry festive time. I did. I got a popcorn maker, and SILENT HUNTER 4. I'm not doing as well as an American submarine captain. I understand German u-boats much better. But I sank 10,000 tonnes on my first go, so it's not too shameful.
Anyway, in real life I have been doing things too. Went for a nice meal with much of The Old Gang in Hereford. I rocked the boat by suggesting not going to Pizza Express this year, as is our custom, but to a Thai restaurant. Turns out I was entirely right to do this, as I am in all things, because the food was DELISH. It was nice to see so many School Chums again. I'm off to see my nan in Evesham on Saturday, then will be going to Lancashire on Sunday for GIANT FAMILY DINNER, the one where there's about 14 of us and the waiters all look like they're about to cry and I'm really polite to them to try and compensate for there being so many of us. It's nice to be back for so long, too, although there's been so much to do that I haven't had much time to see a bit more of non-family local people. I say that, but then, I did play lots of u-boat games so it is partly my fault. Also I bought a dress.

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It marks a departure from my preferred 1950s-style flowery dresses, and last night I quite literally woke up in a cold sweat because I thought it would make me look fat, and because it was too late to cancel the order. Then I remembered that I'm mental and have anxiety issues and that it doesn't really matter, all things considered, if said dress makes me look like a whale and that there are more important things in life.
Part of me thinks I'll be travelling back to Buckinghamshire early next month. I don't think my brain's processed the fact that I now live in Alnwick. It kind of feels like the three weeks I was there were either a happy dream or some kind of temporary exchange scheme that my company organised to mess with my brain. But no, it is not temporary. Must force brain to understand this. Here, have the customary end of year meme:

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(title shamelessly nicked from )
I have returned home for Christmas, gaudete. The journey wasn't too bad, actually, despite my panic at Newcastle because I only had 6 minutes to change and had to dash around the station, flinging Geordies aside left, right and centre. I like the fact that the bulk of the train journey involves no changing, so I can curl up with a book and actually get some reading done.
Anyway, it's Christmas and I'm rambling about trains (also they're hopefully opening a section of track between Alnwick and Alnmouth soon, which is really exciting, and I am going to sponsor a sleeper). I went to see the Hobbit on Saturday, to the amusement of all (it's a running joke among my friends and family that I'm a hobbit due to my small height. Not my hairy feet though). I enjoyed it, largely because a couple of the dwarves were HAWT. My sister shared this charming card on my Facebook wall. I've rung BT up twice trying to arrange my home move, and must ring them yet again on 27th. I must go to town soon because my brother's pressie has not been delivered in time for Christmas. All is well.
I shall probably post again before tomorrow, because I have Free Time now, but just in case I don't: MERRY CHRISTMAS FAITHFUL BLOG-READERS!

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