24th December 2016
We are on the final run up to Christmas, both of our kids are here, my sister and husband arrive in a few hours. We are lucky enough to be celebrating in the beautiful home of some very generous friends as they ski in America. The accommodation has come ready decorated and is complete with open fires and wood burning stoves, even a turkey is to be delivered by the local farmer.
After the first few days of culture shock it was weird how unweird life back in the UK quickly became. As we drove through our home county of Kent to our old neighbours, the roads were so familiar and unchanged we slipped into autopilot as if we had never been away. We could easily have driven a few meters further, around the corner, turned into the drive at West Ongley and walked back into our old house. As I strolled with Gilly and her lab Molly across the fields, I knew each step so intimatly that I could imagine Coco our Great Dane bouncing towards me through the heavy mist, as if the last couple of years had never existed. The arrival of a weather warning by email, for a possible cyclone forming over Fiji, felt like an alien object amongst the stream of Christmas wishes and arrangements.
Christmas has definitely been all around and it is lovely to be celebrating it with so many good friends and all our families. For us Christmas really started with a weekend with Rachael in Bath and a visit to the festive market that lies in the shadow of the magnificent Bath Abbey. A week later we parked in Rochester for a quick visit to the bank, sandwiched between the 11thC castle and the 12thC cathedral, we gazed up at the intricate and powerful stonework and realised how much we take theses ancient buildings for granted, having grown up locally they have been the backdrop to our lives. We imagine how incredible to a Pacific Islander or for that matter a New Zealander they would seem.But we can’t seem to keep away from yachts and the sea for too long, when we heard Ramsgate Marina was putting on a big show of Christmas lights we went with Ricks Mum to take a look. Nearly every boat had been decorated with many having strung lights from the very top of the mast.
And of course the ‘things to do in UK’ boat list is as long as ever. Happily we have had word that the engine injectors and pump have been put back on and the engine is running sweetly and the calendar of visitors for next year is growing.
However for the next few days we shall just be focused on a family Christmas, fingers crossed that the turkey arrives today and that we can master the Aga well enough to cook it.