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When you are: December 2010

28 December 2010


My inspiration has gone.

I set the blog up, after some prodding by Richard (thanks, bud), with inspiration from one person. The writing was often aimed at generating a wry smile from him, and still bringing in other friends and family into this remote place we call a family home. Some posts have lead to other off-line activities or creations, such as the Chris Bonnington climb-a-thon when #1 started climbing stairs leading to a quick artistic rendition in Photoshop. That I'll miss. That, along with many, many other aspects of my father-in-law. MOTS' dad, the boys' Granda. Snoopy.

Trouble just won't be the same without you.

25 December 2010

[2] Baby's first...Christmas

And of course #1's FIFTH Christmas. And our first as a complete family. And our first on our own with no extended family. Wow, big changes this year then!

Last night we left out the usual fare for the big fella in the red suit and his army of reindeer. We have had a few practice runs leaving apples in bowls on each stair over the course of the last couple of weeks. When I say each stair I mean until the apples or the bowls run out, which can only mean the poor reindeer at the back of the pack are looking highly likely to miss out.

The big night itself came, and on the fireplace we left:

  • Apples for the reindeer, as uspected in individual bowls. Oh, and plates too so we didn't leave any hungry reindeer
  • A mug of hot chocolate for Santa. He's still tea-total when he comes to this house. But he can't really wash down the biscuit with a fine single malt, can he? Really?

And what did Santa leave us? Messy footprints! And a thank-you for his nibbles.

A certain volume of excitement was building on Christmas Eve. It didn't stop the boys from sleeping, they both like their sleep too much. Which meant we had a good lie-in, not bad for Christmas morning, 08:30. Even when up there was something amiss. We got up, headed downstairs, took at right and into the kitchen, had breakfast, cleared up. Are we sure we have got the right day here?

And there it is, a bursting into the lounge, eyes agog, and....

Who left those footprints?

Never mind the big stash under the tree, there are footprints on the carpet don't you know? And they need clearing up. Eventually, and before the hoover came out, the stash was spotted. The dawning of realisation, yes, he's been , we have presents, it's..... CHRISTMAS

And queue frenzy!

As an older brother #1 was very helpful. He was so keen to help show his little bruv what to do that he repeated the help over and over. Never sure whether it was getting through, he was so keen to demonstrate time and again. Even to the point of showing the little one how to play with his toys. You don't want to play with them yourself when I can, that's too much effort, here let me. Selfless that #1 boy, selfless.

So there we had it. Our first Christmas morning with just our immediate family. The usual lunch though, my request for fish fingers and sprouts didn't go down well, so we had the usual spread.

Just one question left at the end of the day:

Are we buying shares in Duracell?

22 December 2010

What a journey. Or several.

Looking back at how long it is (again) since the last post it's clear there's a lot happened, and mostly in the transport, or lack of, arena. From giving up, to pure determination, to feeling bad to feeling absolutely shit scared. Yes, we've had the lot.

It's no joke any more. When will this snow be a good boy and just fuck off? Had enough, even the big fella said towards the end of the first drop that he was fed up and wanted it to be sunny again. There's only so much mileage you can get with a snowman with an apple for a nose (clearly carrots weren't "in-season").

The wee fella has suffered too, stuck in the house more than usual. Don't know if they are related but his cold of x number of weeks and counting just isn't shifting. That's him had one now since about a week before his first tooth arrived. At least we can see when he's feeling better, the smiles just get bigger!

It's amazing how steep our road becomes with a few millimetres of snow on it. It goes from this hardly noticeable 1:1000 incline to the north face of the Eiger. Which is why, for almost a fortnight, the ultimate driving machine sat on the drive and never budged. When it started clearing it was taken out just for the sheer enjoyment of getting it off the drive again. But, before the last few piles of snow vanished, another drop. Today we've seen the fastest and heaviest drop we've ever seen here, so the only transport was those things that normally get put up in front of the fire (alas, that's broken so can't help us now).

4th December: Things looked pretty bleak out there. But nothing had fallen overnight, our street was passable (just) and as the importance of the roads increased so the amount of snow went in inverse proportions. Bravely, or stupidly, we set off for our booked trip to see Santa.

It was a journey I will never want to repeat. Just 4 miles from home on the dual carriageway we nearly had a spelling mistake. We were going to see Santa, we nearly ended up with Satan. With 2 lanes clear and 2 slow moving trucks on the inside, two faster moving trucks, plus us, plus a pickup were in the outside overtaking the aforementioned slower ones. A truck in front, then us, then the pickup, then another truck. The truck up front hit the side of the snow, or a bank of snow had fallen in front of him. Whatever happened, the first we saw was MOTS noticed the crash tension cables in the central reservation twanging in the air. I saw the left hand side of the cab unit from an angle you only want to see when it's parked up. The most common last words spoken on a black box voice recorder just before a Beoing 747 crashes into the sea went through my mind as fast as a fly's arse does when it's just been swatted.

Seconds passed.

They felt like hours.


That was the suspension on the truck as it had bounced back off the cables. And that was it, no more metal on metal contact. How we got back into the inside lane and not hit the pickup that had got there before us I'll never know. How he didn't jack-knife I'll never know. How the two trucks on the inside got past I do know, they kept on going when lane 2 hit the brakes. I don't know what make of truck was behind us as I lost the logo when he got too close to see it in the mirror.

The only thing going at any speed for the next few miles was the heartbeat. That is the closest to a pile-up I've ever been, and thank Nissan for building us a car that I could use effectively to get us out of it. Let's face it, there's no other explanation!

Made it, just!
We made it! First train of the day, and it showed. Late starting off as they had a few points problems, and ploughed snow falling back on the track. And I don't think we made it the full length, but nobody cared. Most people had made it, and we did get to go. After all, a few inches of snow helps the sleigh, not stop it, right? A hard frost last year made it look magical, this year's snow made that look like a summer's day in comparison. Stunning to look at. Almost as stunning as watching the young prick in a Mini belt into the car park all cocky then get stuck, needing a push. And doing it again on the way out. What a fud, but at least he provided much needed light entertainment. Hats off to all the volunteers that made it happen, a lot of happy kids despite the weather.

With the more recent school closures, in particular this afternoon's, transport has been more primitive. And can I say the big pram is fantastic in the snow. Obviously better in compacted stuff, but even this dust we got today has been a poor adversary. Silver Cross 1, million tons of frozen water crystals nil.

I've given up all hope of a train service tomorrow, so will be double you eff aitching until the big fella comes. That's the BIG fella, sorry for the typo!

So, in anticipation of Saturday morning, Merry Christmas!

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