Well hello! We are back in Leeds after a blissful Christmas week spent on the South Coast staying with my parents. I feel a bit like I've been on holiday. The only downside was the weather, which managed to be cold, wet and very windy most of the time. But it was still pretty wonderful, and a much needed break from everyday life. It's a long and photo heavy post I'm afraid, but I wanted to share some of my week with you.
We spent most of Monday sheltering from the wind and torrential rain in a pub in West Sussex with my friend Abigail, her husband, and their two daughters. The good behaviour of four small children meant we had three whole hours to sit, eat, laugh and catch up and it was, as ever, lovely to spend time with such very dear friends. The wind on Monday night was awful, very loud and quite unsettling, but the storm seemed to blow itself out by morning and so on Tuesday we went for a walk as we were all rather in need of some fresh air and exercise.
Drains were overflowing, water was lying on the fields and it was so very gloomy. We had to drive through a very scary and quite deep flood in a main road to get to our destination, Emsworth mill pond, and I did rather hold my breath as I drove through the seemingly endless pool of water and hoped that we wouldn't float away. The low light and stormy skies made everything look almost black and white.
On Christmas Eve I slept so badly - I was convinced the children were going to wake at some awful hour and I kept waking up, wondering it if was morning yet, then couldn't get back to sleep as I was so excited to see them find their stockings full of presents. Eventually they woke at a very respectable 6.30 and came into our bed to open their presents. Moments like those are a reward for parents for the broken sleep, the night feeds and the tantrums.
It was just the four of us plus my parents on Christmas Day. We went out for another walk (Langstone Harbour this time) in the morning then came home to open some presents. The rabbit was a big hit, I am relieved to say. She is called Rosie and I've made her a scarf and am under strict orders to produce another dress and a nightie too, sharpish. Angus's dog received a luke warm reception. He smiled, then put it carefully to one side and proceeded to ignore it all day. But he likes it and when he's feeling sleepy or affectionate he goes and gets it and plays with it. It sleeps next to him at night. I caught him pretending to feed it a chocolate coin today.
I find it fascinating to watch Bella and Angus open their presents as they are so different. Bella is excitable and impatient and cannot rest and play with anything until every last gift is open. But Angus will open one gift and then go off and quietly play with it (usually while lying on his tummy right in the middle of a busy thoroughfare) and forget about the other parcels lying under the tree.
Boxing Day was a gloriously busy affair with both my sisters, their partners and children. joining us for the day. Fourteen of us squeezed around the table for a lunch of cold turkey and ham, salad, pickles, bubble and squeak, smoked salmon, quiches and tarts. It was delicious and more than a little chaotic.
We ended our week, and our visits to different parts of Chichester Harbour, with a walk around Bosham, a small Sussex coastal village rich in history which I am very fond of. Again, more leaden skies. The sun only seemed to shine when we traveled on the M1 this week.
We fed stale bread to the unnervingly tame ducks and swans, then wandered around the village.
As the sun started to set we walked across the causeway that appears at low tide and we rewarded with beautiful views back to the village.
I fall under a bit of a spell when I visit Bosham, and dream of living in one of those cottages which line the water's edge. Some places do that to you. But judging by the number of sand bags I saw in doorways this week I imagine it's not so idyllic after all, especially when the weather is bad and the tide high.
So, there is our Christmas. Well done if you made it to the end. I had my fill of family, food and sea air, and am very happy. I hope you enjoyed your Christmas too.