Once again John and I headed up to Casa Coxon in Peterborough to spend the holidays with his parents. It was a smaller affair this year, his grandfather wasn’t able to come down from Halifax and of his brothers only George was about – but it was still nice, with good food and good company.

Things kicked off for me with my office Xmas dinner on the Friday before Xmas, which was four of us eating a heroic amount of Mexican food at La Baronia, and no one telling me they didn’t like tequila until after the pitcher of margaritas I ordered arrived. Saturday we just relaxed, did a couple of chores, and packed for the trip. We took the train up on Sunday. Monday night Xmas Eve, which meant carols on the green, a lovely tradition that was very well attended this year and ended with a mini “snow” storm provided by the Blue Bell pub, which adjoins the green. We each opened a small present in deference to my family traditions and then got to sleep early to be ready for crack-o-dawn stockings! Sanity prevailed this year and it was a much more civilized 7:30am wake up call… positively decadent. Everyone got too much chocolate and just enough toys, I snagged some really great socks to boot.

John’s grandmother came over a little later in the day and we had smoked salmon and champagne to tide us over to teatime, which was the traditional Xmas dinner, excellent as always. George and Kathryn were there in the morning but headed out to do presents and dinner with her parents this year. John and I had received our big present, a Dyson vaccuum, early – but there was still an abundance of great gifts. John got me a pendant to replace a previous one I was crushed at having lost, it’s even nicer than the original. Plus a Virgil Finlay wall calendar, something I did not know existed. George and Catehrine got me The Strange Case of the Alchemists’ Daughter, by Theodora Goss – which is good stuff so far.

The panto this year was Peter Pan, which had good sets and costuming, and generally a very good cast, but a middling dame unfortunately. Also I wonder if Pan is a good fit for a pantomime really. Still, it was a nice outing and all the yelling is always fun.

On the Friday we went up to Nottingham to visit Dave at the pub he manages there. It didn’t really make sent to bring two cars so John and I headed up on the train earlier and made a day of it, John by meeting a friend and a boardgame cafe and myself by visiting literally every charity shop in the city. It was great. The pub was very nice and located by a lovely old church, and we ended the night with dinner at Belgo – conveniently near the train station.

Then on the Saturday it was up to Halifax for lunch with John’s grandfather, at – you guessed it – a pub! This was more of your standard family friendly, food-serving sort of pub and the food was very nice, I had a extremely tasty bit of crispy pork belly.

Sunday was pretty relaxed, with the highlight a trip into town to have lunch with Laura and Julie, plus a quick jaunt to TK Maxx for me where I finally found the missing component to my NYE costume.

And then, just like that, it was the 31st. In the morning met G&K at the cinema to see Ralph Breaks the Internet, which I liked even better than the first one. In the afternoon we had coffee with Andrew and Katie, and little baby Sophie. And then it was basically time to get ready for the evening, which was a NYE shindig at the pub on the village green – basically right around the corner from the house. There was a very gently suggested costume theme of ‘rock n roll’, so I did a basic greaser outfit, made my hair as close to a pompadour as I could manage, and practiced my Fonz thumbs. There was a small smattering of people in the theme, and one awesome family decked out in full KISS makeup and outfits, with inflatable guitars. I felt a bit abashed as one of three entries we all received a prize (drink tickets!) when they had done such a great job, but it was very fun.

And then it was today, and time to take the train home. We made good time, even with a detour to Forbidden Planet on our way to Waterloo Station, and now all the presents are unpacked and put away. Still, the decorations will stay up until Friday, and the stocking chocolate will no down last well into next month.

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