December was very busy with few opportunities for taking photographs and fewer for taking walks!
All the things we hoped to do before Christmas that I mentioned in my Advent post were done, with the exception of taking my mother Christmas shopping. She gave me a few shopping lists of things I could more easily get for her and we did a big shop for her at the supermarket on the day before Christmas Eve. She decided to give everyone some money for Christmas instead of buying gifts and we were all very content with that.
I did spend a lot of time shopping in December but mainly for food items and ingredients for Mum and me. Most of the presents were ordered on-line – this is the easiest option for us as we live some miles from the nearest shops.
I spent a whole morning away from home at the doctor’s surgery followed by an appointment with the optician. Elinor had a doctor’s appointment to discuss a couple of problems she has and then I went for my regular blood test. At the optician’s, Elinor was told that she needed yet more new glasses and we made an appointment to return the following week to collect the new prescription.
Elinor’s last couple of weeks at college went well. We attended the parent’s evening, viewed her work and listened to the wonderful things her tutors had to say about her. They predict very good marks for her at the end of the year. We went to see her artwork on display in a gallery in Norwich.
The gas boiler was serviced and we discussed having a new boiler installed in the summer. A representative from the firm that will be replacing our garage doors visited us to talk about the work to be done and we were told the fitters will be installing the doors in a couple of weeks time. We had to have a water pipe moved to make way for the new garage doors.
The flush on our downstairs toilet kept going wrong and has now given up for good. The whole contents of the cistern will need replacing I think. We will have to call the plumber back yet again.
I got a puncture in one of my car tyres but fortunately it was repairable.
We attended the December Coffee Morning at the Rector’s house and also helped host two Carol Services at our church in Rumburgh.
I baked more than six dozen mince pies.
I wasn’t able to attend church on the 3rd Sunday in Advent as we were returning from our trip to Manchester that day. We had a lovely meal with members of Richard’s family in Manchester and exchanged presents with them. Our hotel was comfortable and for the first time ever on a Manchester visit, I managed to sleep well and for most of the night too!
We had a delicious lunch out with my brother Andrew and we exchanged Christmas presents with him as well. He was expecting both his children to stay with him for Christmas.
He gave us his presents for my sister and her children as we were to visit her in Kent the following day. Our car was full of gifts on our 150 mile journey south to Francesca’s house and we brought a different lot home with us again that evening. Francesca made us very welcome on one of her very few days off work this Christmas. She had already worked 80 hours that week! Over-worked, under-paid and under-appreciated she spends her life as a paramedic practitioner saving the lives of others and looking after the welfare of her staff and colleagues. I am so proud of her.
We wrapped countless presents and sent off a number of parcels to people we couldn’t manage to visit. Many, many cards were written and posted or delivered by hand. A number of letters and e-mails were written to friends and relatives and some phone calls were made and received. I also managed to keep up with all the housework and the washing and ironing.
I had a book of daily readings for Advent recommended to me by Rachel from Could Do Worse . I found them very useful and was able to spend at least 15 minutes each day in quiet contemplation and prayer.
We attended the local theatre at The Cut to see Richard Durrant’s Candlelit Christmas concert on the evening of the day we had lunch with my brother. We enjoyed the concert very much. Here is one of the pieces of music we listened to.
The house was decorated a couple of days before Christmas and Richard put some lights up outside the house.
Alice was coming home on Christmas Eve but as she was working that day her train wasn’t due in to Diss station until well after 9.00 pm. Unfortunately the train was delayed because of signalling faults before it got to Sheffield and was 45 minutes late. This meant that Alice was unable to catch her connections and there were worries that she might not be able to get home at all that night. Fortunately, the train she was on eventually arrived very late at Norwich so that is where Richard went to collect her. After I had given her a cup of tea and something to eat she had some present-wrapping to do and unpacking so she didn’t join us at Midnight Mass at St Margaret South Elmham church.
Mum joined us for Christmas lunch the following day and brought the Christmas Pudding with her. We went to her house on Boxing day for a buffet evening meal.
Richard and I went to church on Sunday morning at St Peter’s church and celebrated the Feast Day of St John.
The following day we were all going to go out for a walk together but I spent the day in bed with a migraine instead. Richard, Alice and Elinor went to Walberswick Woods.
On Wednesday, my mother had a 9.40 am appointment to attend at the Eye Clinic at Norfolk and Norwich Hospital so I picked her up at 8.15 am and drove to Norwich. The appointment went well and she only had to wait twenty minutes after her appointed time before being seen! We did some shopping for her on the way home and after taking her to her house and having some coffee I was back at home by 1.30 pm.
All too soon, it was New Year’s Eve and Alice had to take the train back to Sheffield.
I managed to take a couple of photos of the flowerbeds at the station to take my mind off my sadness at saying goodbye to Alice.
I leave you with another of my favourite tunes.
Thanks for visiting!