We have just spent a lovely week in the UK celebrating Christmas with our families. With family aged from 6 months to 89 and a half years old I have enjoyed everything from baby feeding, playdough cookie cutting with a three year old, 'hanging' with my chatty teenage nephews, family meals, quiet evenings chatting over a glass or two of wine and even assisting in the delicate task of manoeuvring Great Nana and her wheelchair over the doorstep. We are often asked what, if anything, we miss from the UK and time with family is the main thing, hence this past week more time was spent cuddling babies and catching up than blogging!
Our journey home yesterday was made in record time, less than 12 hours door to door, helped by Eurotunel squeezing us onto on earlier train and despite hitting some bizarre 'end of the world' weather in Northern France. The sky we were driving towards was heavy and an odd yellow/grey colour when all of a sudden we were driving through hail that had settled like snow. It was limited to a very small area and had unfortunately caused a nasty pile up involving about eight cars on the opposite carriageway. Hopefully the only damage done was to the cars and not the drivers or passengers, but it was rather sobering. Further south as we drove through the Loire at sunset an enormous wild boar crossed the road in front of us and ran as fast as his short legs could carry him (which seemed surprisingly fast) across the fields. This and the deer grazing was a bit different to the squirrels and swans we'd seen (and Mini had chased) in Surrey and Berkshire.
It is lovely to be back in our quiet French village where a trip to the boulangerie takes more time than you think as there is always someone to talk to. The sun has shone all day and the animals are happy to have us home, especially the cats even though they have been well looked after. The ducks have obviously been affected by the mild weather as they have started laying eggs, so it will be a delicious duck egg New Years Day breakfast here tomorrow.
My New Year resolution is to be more organised - after eight years of living abroad and travelling back regularly to visit family, I managed to arrive in the UK in December with no coat for Ed, no shoes for me, except a pair of high heeled boots which are not great for dog walks in the park or down the Basingstoke Canal, and none of my usual ribbons and bows to wrap the Christmas presents - hopeless! Ade has already put the Christmas decorations away and from tomorrow we will be clearing out the junk, room by room ready for a more organised future. I am a long term sufferer of piles (thankfully of the paper kind and not of the medical kind) and I do have a tendency to squirrel things away as 'one day' they may be just the thing I need, but no more as we are in danger of being buried alive. Please wish me luck, it may be quite traumatic and it will be quite a task.
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank you all for reading and to wish you all a Happy and Healthy New Year. Here's to 2013 the year of organisation!