Week 53

20th December, 2009 

Snowed incessantly around Yorkshire today. Just managed to get the Sunday papers before it set in. Elsewhere in Britain the Eurostar service has been cancelled stranding 75000 travellers and 2000 were trapped in the tunnel all night while thousands of cars and lorries parked along the M20 unable to move. Lovely cartoon in The Sunday Telegraph today:


21st December, 2009 

The shortest day of the year. It actually felt like it today. The sun shone in a crystal blue sky and seemed low to the horizon all day, skimming the snow drifts. Diggers came and released us from our snow-drift prison just after lunch. We drove over the Pennines to see Pauline’s Mum. Thought you might like to see some shots of the moors on the way over:

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This is on the Nont Sarah’s road (A640) running parallel to the M62. It is a favourite for hang gliding. They throw themselves off the side of the escarpment and out across the moor.

22nd December, 2009 

The snow came in waves today. There was white-out at times on the M62.


The best place was tucked up with a glass of dry sherry, a mince pie and a copy of The Times. Started to plan our trip across Europe in the Spring to our home in Greece. Making lists of all the things we must take with us:

  • 50″ LCD TV
  • 2 x Garden Spade
  • 2 x Garden Fork
  • Video Camera
  • Enough wine for 6 months
  • Etc, Etc, Etc.

Usually, Christmas holidays are the time to book sailings: Hull – Zeebrugge (return P&O) and Ancona – Patras (return Superfast) plus Piraeus – Sifnos (return Hi-Speed). We would already have bought our Easter flights last Summer. Not this year. We expect to leave in April without booking anything. We will not drive to Hull but down to Dover and sail to Calais. We will drive until we want to stop and then find a hotel in France and then another one in Italy and the one in Patras, Greece before arriving at our island. We will take any ferry that is available as long as it is comfortable. We won’t book returns.

23rd December, 2009 

Had to do the hoovering today. Fortunately, the hoover overheated half way through the house and I had to stop. Like 90% of the country, we have a Dyson. We also have new carpets throughout the house. Dyson’s have a tendency to clog up their filters and overheat. New carpets give off a lot of fluff. This is our Dyson and it’s rubbish.


Pauline’s niece, Mandy, is a Director of Xerox. I’ve probably told you all this before but she gave up work for three or four years and adopted three little boys. They are now growing up well, attending Private schools and playing every sport imaginable. They play at the London Irish club where James (the middle one) is quite a star. Daniel, the youngest one is good at football and has been spotted by a scout from Premier League, Fulham Football Club. He has been invited to join their Young Academy. This is the three brothers in their London Irish kit:


24th December, 2009 

A blizzard hit us this morning around 9.00 am. We set off at 10.00 am to cross the Pennines to get Pauline’s Mum. Fortunately, a 4 wheel drive makes mince meat of these conditions. Unfortunately, she is so frail compared with this time last year. The first entry of this Blog (Week 1 : 25th December, 2008) was a picture of Pauline and her Mum. A year shows quite a big difference. Certainly, this year walking is much more difficult. The stairs are like a mountain. Well, they are for me too.

25th December, 2009 

Happy Christmas one and all! Up at 7.00 am as usual. This is the scene outside:


We always have the traditional Sanders Breakfast – Toast and home-cooked Ham although I eat it with Dijon mustard. Pauline & I don’t give each other Christmas presents and haven’t done for years – not since our first Christmas together when we gave each other 40 presents each. Pauline’s Mum got presents – a new skirt and house shoes, books and an easy use electronic can opener. They are really brilliant. You literally plonk them on the can and press a button.

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Because the rest of Pauline’s family is in Surrey, we have to take photos to send to them to prove we are enjoying ourselves:

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The turkey is cooking along with sage & onion stuffing and force meat stuffing. Potatoes & Parsnips are par boiled. Sprouts are waiting in the pan of water for the starters gun. The bread sauce is already prepared as are the pigs in blankets. Mum would approve. She wouldn’t approve of the cheer that went up when I watched the Pope being forced to the floor by some sex-starved woman during Midnight Mass in Rome.

Pauline & I never drink champagne. It doesn’t really agree with either of us. Today at 11.00 am , I settled down to an hour and a half of How England Won the Ashes on Sky Sports and drank a bottle of pink champagne that Pauline’s niece, Mandy, had bought us. I don’t know if it was the emotion of the event (I had missed the Ashes Series while I was in Greece and only kept up to speed by texts from Ruth.) or the quality of the drink but it was some of the best champagne I have drunk. Oeil de Perdrix:


Cheers everyone!

I meant to applaud Caroline for her immense good taste in Christmas Cards. She sent us exactly the same one that we sent out. Only after hers arrived did I notice that it sponsored Irish charities.


It was officially a white Christmas in Quarry Court with snow falling heavily at 6.00 pm.

26th December, 2009 

Snow turned to rain over night and then froze hard. What do you do on Boxing Day? I did what all good husbands do: I toured the town for a chemists to buy cream to soothe my Mother-in-Law’s Piles. You can’t beat it for fun! Whereas my Christmas Day was calmness personnified, Ruth was doing crowd control – not at Bolton Wanderers because that would have been too easy. No, Ruth was controlling the hordes in her own home!

Look at this lovely Christmas Table setting BEFORE & AFTER & EVEN AFTER THAT:

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This is Brandon Pickle. Have you ever seen a boy with such wrinkly legs? How do Granny & Grandad Butcher do it?

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Those responsible for this tribe shall not go unpardoned:

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