New Year in the UK

We have been enjoying spending time with Janet, Adrian and Ella, just doing the normal day-to-day things and seeing Ella develop.  It is wonderful to be able to just sit and play with her on the floor amongst her new toys and watch her reactions as she starts to learn new things and develops her motor skills with things like stacking cups, although at this stage she is more interested in unstacking than stacking – after all, cup towers were meant to be knocked over.

Janet’s friend from Australia, Laura, arrived on Wednesday to work here for 2 years and is staying with Janet, Adrian and Ella for a little while until she finds somewhere to live.  She was lucky enough to organise a job through an agency, reaching in a small school in Reading.

On Friday, we all went into London by train and while Laura was off at a meeting with her agency, the five of us had lunch at South Kensington and then went to the Science Museum, which was interesting.  We had intended to go to the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibit in the Natural History Museum but the queue was out the door, through the grounds and out onto the footpath, so we decided to go to the Science Museum instead.  We visited the Machines section and the Flight section.  We didn’t have time to do the Museum justice and we are hoping to go back for a longer visit.

New Year’s Eve was spent having a lovely dinner together and then playing various board games etc throughout the evening – there was lots of laughter and merriment.  We celebrated the New Year with a glass of Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Champagne, a gift from Laura’s Mum, Helen.

On New Year’s Day, we all rugged up and walked to church together and then had a lovely lunch at The Bear Pub in Maidenhead, before walking back home again.  The weather over the past few days has been overcast and showery.

Monday 2 Jan 2012– sunshine!

Today, we went for an organised walk with Janet and Adrian’s church community – there were about 100 people.  We started off at White Waltham, walked over fields and through muddy tracks to Corner Cottage, skirted the South Wood and Burrington Wood, past Shurlock Row, through Waltham to Shottesbrooke Park and back to Corner Cottage, and then back to White Waltham.  It was supposedly about 4 miles, but we think it was longer than that as it took 2 hours and we were walking quite briskly.  We had to climb over stiles (a step up and over a fence) and also through and kissing gates, which is a type of gate that allows people to pass through, but not the livestock.

It was an enjoyable morning out in the sunshine, although the muddy conditions made walking hard going.  Early in the piece, Sandy got her toe caught on a branch and went A over Z, face first into the mud, hurting nothing other than muddying her beautiful new Gore-Tech jacket and her jeans.

Tuesday 3 January – Showers most of the day, heavy at times and very windy – top of 11°

This morning, Adrian had to go back to work – we have really enjoyed spending time with him over the past 2 weeks while he has been on holidays.

So, the festive season has ended and Janet, Laura, Richard and I took all the beautiful decorations off the tree, packed them away and Richard stripped the branches, ready for the bin – an undignified end to our beautiful Christmas Tree.

We will have lots of happy memories of our Christmas in the UK.

It was quite warm inside today, so Richard was getting around in shorts and tshirt and bare feet while he was cutting the tree up and taking the bags outside to the bins – now he knows why Englishmen don’t go around dressed as he was – nearly froze his little toes off!!


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