So here we are–Merry Christmas!

27 Dec

During our last few days in Phoenix we spent some time with our friends Peter and Helen who live in the new town of Verrado. Christmas preparations were in full swing there and we joined them for the switching on of the Christmas lights, a wonderful community event. Peter drove us to the airport on Thursday 8th for our flights home to the UK which passed without a hitch, thankfully no bad weather this year.

In fact our flight from Heathrow to Newcastle was brilliant, we rose through thick cloud above Heathrow airport to a golden sunset but then as the daylight faded the lights below shone crystal clear not another cloud obscured our view. A broad ribbon of headlights snaked below us as Friday night commuters headed out of London on the M25. I could pick out twinkling  Christmas lights and was able to see clearly the extent of the major cities we flew over.  I can’t remember having such a clear view all the way home. We were met at Newcastle by our son Christopher and were surprised and delighted that Kai was with him, Grandma was able to get in some much needed cuddles!

Our base for this Christmas is Riding Farm at Kibblesworth, beautifully converted farm buildings around the old farm yard and farm house, all very comfortable and convenient for us to get to either Christopher’s or Jennie’s house.


The week end passed swiftly with visits from Jennie and Ebony and many more cuddles then it was time to get on with some serious Christmas shopping. A quick trip to Nuneaton to see Mum and Dad and deliver parcels also included a catch up with our niece Rachel with Rich and great nephew James, now walking…actually more like running, around and keeping everyone on their toes!

By now school was out but as Jennie was still working we spent most of the week with Ebony. The highlight was probably our trip to The Baltic Arts Centre for their Christmas craft session for children. The big event for Ebony was face painting. She really wanted to be a penguin and got her wish.


Granddad went off to view the Turner exhibition while Ebony and I  made a dancing dolly which we cut out and decorated together before covering it with glitter at the special table just for glittering. Brilliant to be able to get glitter everywhere and have someone else clear it up!




The run up to Christmas is made extra exciting with Jennie’s birthday falling on the 22nd and Ebony was super excited for the event. We picked up Kai to spend the day with us too, birthday cake and making Christmas decorations took up a good chunk of our day.












P1240464Before we knew it Christmas Eve was with us, what was not done it was now too late for, the Christmas cards I had bought lay unwritten (sorry to all those who did not receive one!) but the parcels eventually all got wrapped and sent on their way to Santa!


We spent Christmas Eve with Christopher and Helen and became the first guests to sleep over in their new home. It was fun to enjoy the Christmas Eve ritual with them and when all the parcels were in place beneath the tree I was transported back several years to when our children were small.


Back at the farm Christmas lunchtime, Jennie and Ebony arrived and the second round of unwrapping began. Christmas when you are 5 and a bit is very exciting!P1240473















Its always good to get some fresh air on Boxing Day and a walk to the park allowed Ebony to make good use of her new Hello Kitty folding scooter. This was probably the brightest day we had had for a while but whilst unusually mild the wind was still cold.

Boxing Day evening Helen, Christopher and Jennie came over to the farm. With the grand children being cared for elsewhere we were able to enjoy some adult only time and relaxed conversation.

We are now having a brief quiet spell before we drive south to spend the New Year in Plymouth. We expect another exciting few days with  Elizabeth Alistair and Melissa and some much needed catching up with them.

2 Responses to “So here we are–Merry Christmas!”

  1. Katy December 27, 2011 at 2:18 pm #

    What wonderful pictures and stories! I’m so glad to see and read about your lovely Christmas. Happy New Year to all!

  2. Liz January 2, 2012 at 1:06 am #

    Elaine, OMG how our granddaughters are alike in regards to “Hello Kitty”. She requested everything Hello Kitty to redecorate her bedroom. However, as the family will be moving from Reno to the Bay Area for her Mom’s new job, the new bedroom decorations will be put on hold for a couple of months. Chloe will be here on Thursday and we will be watching her for a week as her Mom gets used to the traffic patterns for the ride from her grandparents down there (whom they will be staying with for about 2 months) to Mom’s new job over at Stanford Hospital.

    BTW, what is Boxing Day? Sounds like you two are having fun with family and look forward to hearing back from you. I can start knitting later this week!!! Yeah, not being able to knit for 8 weeks has been much too long!!!!

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