Sunday 27 December 2009

the festive season

The run up to Christmas
The run up to Christmas felt like a bit of a sprint finish, but we got there in the end: last presents bought, wrapped and put under the Christmas tree; cards hung up and more news to catch up on; the festive season menu chosen and food shopping finished; all the time keeping an eye on the weather forecast as the snow and ice wreaked chaos on roads and public transport. The celebrations kicked off with pre-Christmas drinks with friends on Wednesday which helped to get us in a festive mood. A last minute reprieve in the weather meant that both Jack and Katie arrived home safely and on time on Christmas Eve, and all was well.

Christmas Day and Boxing Day
After all the rushing about, it great to chill out on Christmas Day with a lazy breakfast, a visit a few doors away to feed a friend's cat, followed by presents, from fresh flowers to fabulous things to eat and drink, homemade goodies, feasts for the eyes and charity presents with a healthcare theme (very apt) amongst other things!  Many, many thanks to everyone for your generosity! The Christmas meal went off without a hitch and we enjoyed an evening of tennis, motor racing and trivial pursuit on Jack's new games console.

Katie's friend Emily joined us for our Boxing Day walk. Other years we have headed for the hills (well, they count as hills around here - Shotover, Wittenham Clumps and the White Horse Hill).  This year, we stayed closer to home and on the level, with a walk along the west bank of the Thames as far as Godstow, a pit stop at the Trout for refreshment, and home via the wide open spaces of Port Meadow, trying not to slip on the icy patches or sink into the mud where the ice had melted! 

I put on the evening meal to cook for two hours before we were due to eat.  However, when we gathered in the kitchen a couple of hours later to prepare the vegetables, Steve noticed that the oven had only just come on...Not only had I set the oven timer for two hours, I had also inadvertently delayed the start of cooking by the same length of time. Doh!  So we were on to Plan B, something quick and simple that we could cook and eat in time for two of us to go out to the cinema as planned.  Thanks heavens for pasta and sauce - not our usual Boxing Day meal, but it did the job!  

Unbeknown to us, the hiccup on the catering front continued....Jack and I returned from the movies to find the gammon joint still in the oven, some two hours after it should have come out, while Steve sat in blissful ignorance in the front room, finishing the bottle of wine, having forgotten about it completely!    Ah well, that's one way to get very crispy crackling!

And now....

Today has been a lazy day, catching up on sleep, news from friends and thinking about the rest of the holiday and the approaching New Year. Unspoken, but there in all our minds, are thoughts of how Steve will be this time next year.  Although the side effects of the chemo still haven't gone completely, in other respects he appears to be well and continues to hold his own in the battle with Leo. Our first Christmas since diagnosis is over. May there be many more to look forward to in the future, as well as all the special occasions in 2010!

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