Boxing Day – In Folkestone

Another change in the norm for us. We went to Folkestone as we had been invited to spend the day with Steve and Trudy. We called in to pick up Daddies Little Angel and the Rear Admiral first. As soon as we arrived food was ready. The table was heaving with buffet food all looking wonderful. Once we had chatted, scoffed ourselves full and exchanged presents. We played games. A quick game of Elefun (or something like it) which didn't keep us entertained for long, then the Trivial Pursuit came out. As there were 6 of us, we did teams of 2. The all girls team won. Trudy is very good at this. It was close though. Afterwards we played Who Am I and Charades. It was a great day.

Hooray, Christmas holidays start here

On 23rd, I finished off the Christmas shopping and most of the wrapping. Christmas Eve, Dan and I went to Hastings to visit the family. We spent some time with my mum and dad first, then delivered some parcels to Julie and Mike's. Then up to see my Siobhan. We joined in their celebrations as Shah has proposed. We had pizza and home made cakes for dinner. When we left there, Dan was well on his way to being drunk.

When we got home, Dave and I went to a Steve and Sarah's house for drinks and snacks. We had a lovely relaxing evening, chatting and listening to music.

On Christmas Day, we opened our presents from each other. It was a novelty not having to rush to get ready and go out straight afterwards. Dinner was cooked for just 3 of us. We opened the bottle of Chapel Down wine that we had been saving for a special occasion as it was quite expensive. It was rough! Think we'll stick to the cheaper stuff in future. After dinner, we got out the Ker Plunk game. It's a bit of a tradition at Christmas to play games. Another tradition is for Dave to fall asleep after dinner. Dan joined him, until it was time to get ready to go and find his mates.

Kat joined us with her fella and we opened more presents. We had prawn cocktails and cold meats and pickles. It was soon time for the Dr Who Christmas Special. Then Blokus was played. The kids went round to see Brian and Rachel. I had to give in and go to bed early as I wasn't feeling well.

Wednesday 22nd December – Work's Christmas Celebration

Our last working day was 22nd December, and to celebrate we had our work's night out. We were able to leave early so that we could get ready. There was a split in the company this year. Half of them went to the main party which was at the Detling showground. One of these big party tent arrangements. I'm sure I would have enjoyed it but none of my department wanted to go to this and I felt that I should be with them, especially as it may be Glynis's last Christmas with us as she is considering retiring. We went to Eastwell Manor. It was a lovely, civilised evening. I was collected from home by Tony and we were first to arrive. Tania soon joined us and we went through to the lounge for a drink. Once Christine and Glynis had arrived and settled, we served with these posh aperitifs very neatly arranged. They were different and tasty. There were 4 of these little wrapped parcels each.

We were shown through to the dining room. As I knew the portions are never huge here, I opted for all three courses. Being in the Accounts department, the owner of the purse strings, we went for the best option which was £25 each for the three. All were very good, served with silver service. Most people I know would have probably gone home hungry but this was plenty enough for me. I didn't feel so full that I couldn't move afterwards which is usual when eating out. After dinner, we went back to the fireside in a lounge and had another drink. An enjoyable evening was had by all.

19th December – Walk to Bybrook Barn

We set off in the morning in the snow, wrapped up well, for our hike over to Kennington. It was so pretty. A good excuse to take lots of photos again. It was quite a fun walk and not too cold.

At Bybrook Barn, Robbie and I didn't go into the Grotto. We had a wander over the bridge to the look at the frozen, snowy lake. Once the happy Eden and co had come out of the Grotto, we walked up to the top of the gardens where she got to have a go on the tea cup ride. The whole place seemed empty. We hardly saw another person that wasn't staff. Dave and I watched while Brian and Rachel took the kids on the train ride.

Then we went inside to look at the lovely Christmas displays. They always do a good display there of fairy stories, etc. We thought that we would stop in the restaurant before going back home. I suggested that we went to the American diner outside. It was great. I had cheesy chips and they were smothered in cheese. Very yum. Must go back again some time.

18th December – Christmas Party at our house

As it was snowing again, we walked up to the town for a bit of Christmas shopping. We went to the Gorge with Martin. I took lots of photos on our way. When we were on our way home we had a bit of entertainment watching the buses slide up Bank Street. The paths were mostly OK. The dodgy bit for me was crossing the road when I fell on my bum. When I got home, I checked the champagne flutes that I'd bought for a present and found that there was one broken. I thought I'd done this falling over but then I noticed that the missing bit wasn't in the box or the bag. So they can go back.

To save money, we decided to have our group Christmas party at our house. We arranged for everyone to bring along something different. There was far too much food in the end. Best to have too much than not enough. I prepared a quiz of 4 rounds. Round 1 was “Acronyms”, round 2 was “Mr and Mrs” with questions like “Just the one Mrs ….., from “On the Up”, round 3 was Disney film and round 4 was Random questions taken from the 90's quiz book. It made a change for Dave and Jose not to win!!

We had our usual secret Santa pressie swap. The budget for this year being £5. Some people did really well including me with a towel cake with scented candles and foam bath.

We were chatting with Brian and Rachel about taking Eden to see Santa and we've decided to walk to Bybrook Barn tomorrow. It will be much easier than trying to get to Maidstone.

Sunday 12th December – Family party

On the way to Hastings, we stopped off in Tenterden for a drink. Matt and Nicky like to invite all their family and friend's over to their home for Christmas celebrations. It's not always convenient for everyone to get together at Christmas and the house isn't big enough to accommodate everyone now that the family is getting bigger so this year they had the idea to meet up on Nicky's birthday at Wishing Tree Community Hall. Roy introduced me to “shove ha'penny” game. Would like to play it again sometime even though I wasn't very good.

There was pass the parcel game with chocolate bars or tubes of sweets in the layers. I think everyone got at least one. Afterwards, Matt disappeared and Santa appeared with a present for everyone. There was lots of food and drink and a very good time was had by all.

On the way home we stopped off at the White Horse in Newenden. They had a lovely fire going and we sat as close as we could. Sort of in the chimney. It was very relaxing looking into the flames.

Saturday 11th December – Children's Christmas Party, Hythe

As we were down in Folkestone, I dropped Dave off with Jose and went to Capel to swap out the Partylite special offers that customers were not happy with from my recent party. I can't say I blame them. The deal was £25 of goods for £5. I had seen mainly Christmas related items on previous weeks. What they were sent was a barrel jar candle and some body cream. I hope I was able to appease everyone.

Dave had been asked to be Santa for the Autistic Society's children's Christmas party. We went down with Jose and hid Dave in the toilet. I joined in Maria and Enrique as they watched the puppet show. Enrique thought it a bit strange that I was there but not too worried about it. After the show, most of the children went downstairs as it was food time. Enrique decided that he wanted his face painted first. Scary Enrique Monster appeared. The person doing the make up was brilliant with all the kids.

We managed to persuade Scary Enrique Monster to join the rest of the children downstairs. Santa was smuggled out of the toilet. Any children that saw him appear, we had to tell them that he had to come up the plumbing as there were no chimneys. All of the children were extremely well behaved and waited their turn to get their present from Santa. One young lad, dressed in combats, was particularly keen. He sat up the front near to Santa to wait his turn. Later he was most impressed when he caught sight of Dave's combat trousers under the Santa suit. Dave had to tell him that it is extremely cold at the North Pole and he needs to wear trousers under the suit. Dave also strung them some story about living next door to drunken polar bears, or something like that!

We went back to Jose and Maria's for tea and we watched Eclipse film. As we were already in Folkestone, we went to visit Kat. I had been promised a cuddle with the piggles too.