The lead up to Christmas, for us as for most, is a hectic time. For us, it meant lots of driving too and from the boat, performing in schools and at Christmas parties - even at the Canadian High Commission. Both Drew and I were glad when we had finished the last performance of the "season" and could have a day or two of "rest" (by which I mean preparing for Christmas) before Santa came to visit.
At the moment, we're moored near a little village called Grafton Regis - only a handful of houses, but one of the Queens of England was born here (hence the "Regis" in the title of the village). It's a gorgeous place to be - we overlook a field with grazing sheep and a 13c church.
On Christmas Eve, we decided to be good and go to Midnight Mass. The church we went to - St. Lawrence's, Towcester, is 600 years old - amazing to think how many midnight masses would have been celebrated there, and under what circumstances!
All was going well, until Drew felt a bit woozy and had to sit down. A few minutes later he said he wanted to leave, and on the way out collapsed! The Ushers were very helpful, and we knew it wasn't the warming whiskey he'd had on the way to church. A quick trip to A and E confirmed low blood pressure - prescription? More salt in his diet!
On the day, our friends Robyn and Reg, their 16 month old son Evan, and cousin Gordon came to the boat for a meal. Getting a Christmas meal ready in an ordinary kitchen is work enough, but preparing it in a small space a few feet long and wide is even more of a challenge - but we managed. We had a great time - and it was good to celebrate with good friends.
My brother, his wife, and her parents were in England for Christmas - but in Swindon - a few hours away. Jetlagged from their flight over, they wanted to meet up on boxing day, so we stopped in at their hotel on the way down to Bath to visit Drew's cousin and family. Another nice meal, more chocolate, and a bit more driving!
We saw my brother and the family again on the 28th, checking into their hotel for the night and enjoying the pool, sauna, and free electricity! On the 29th we went to explore Bradford upon Avon (one of our favourite towns), Avebury, and Bath. That night, we stayed with friends Donna, Reedy, and their son Ethan.
So, our "post Christmas" season has been busy!
We're keeping warm - the weather has been lovely - and keeping busy - including planning how to spend an Arts Council Grant Drew received (what a great Christmas present!). All and all, a great end to the year.
All the best, everyone, for a wonderful 2012.