Monday, December 28, 2009

...and breathe

Well, that wasn't so bad after all. Almost entirely uneventful, in fact. Which comes as a major relief.

The run-up to the Christmas hostilities had been punctuated with so many family rides in ambulances I was worried we were going to make a habit of it. After everyone's finally getting sorted out (or as good as) I was concerned that the sudden onset of proper Winter was going to give one, or more, of the walking wounded the opportunity to do themselves some more damage. Which is where Winter itself made the decisions for us.

The first casualty was a family Sunday dinner at a picturesque restaurant in the middle of nowhere, Lancashire. This was always going to be a tad ambitious as it's a bit of a hike out from our neck of the woods and we take a bit of organising but it's a lovely location and we're assured the food is good. I was a bit worried about the length of the trip out given some of the medical conditions involved. Then it snowed for certain. The (relatively) younger elements of the Pennine Fringe contingent were gung-ho and up for it. For once the elders of the tribe prevailed: in no uncertain terms "have a bit of sense" was the order of the day. Especially as one of those younger elements was only a couple of days out of hospital after cracking her head open in a fall. The trembly bottom lips were assuaged when the restaurant said they were snowed in and couldn't receieve trade. As a consolation, us Southlanders nipped over to the local carvery for what turned out to be quite a nice meal, nothing flash but tasty nonetheless. The state of the roads, and the drivers, even down our way confirmed the sensibility of not trying to go much further.

The week running up to Christmas was characterised by snow. Locally we've had it fairly light, just an inch or two. Up north just slightly, my sister had a scary drive from work in the deeper snow and had to leave her car at the bottom of the hill and walk home. It became very clear that the plan to have Christmas dinner up at her mother-in-law's on the edge of Winter Hill was going to be a no-no. (The original plan had been that my sister would be hosting the meal, but she lives above the garage and my mum's not so good on stairs at the moment. Her mother-in-law suggested the change of venue, with my sister still doing the cooking.) My parents had bought a turkey and the trimmings anyway for Sunday dinner (as my sister was planning on cooking a goose that the cat had caught) so that became Christmas dinner. My sister and her partner stayed put and ate the goose. And my sister's brother-in-law got his skis on and went to his mum's for Christmas.

Ironically, my brother's family travelled up to North Yorkshire to see my sister-in-law's folks without any incident on Christmas Day. On the way back on Boxing Day they had a dead easy ride of it right up to the top of their road where the car slid sideways into a badly-parked Mercedes and scratched both their paintworks slightly.

On the evening of Christmas Day it started pouring down. We'd already had a few days' worth of thaw-and-freeze. On Boxing Day morning the streets and pavements were a single sheet of dead smooth ice with a thin layer of water on top. Even my dad, who'll walk out to the market in a blizzard despite promising to stay at home and use up the stuff in the freezer (we had that conversation last week), took one step out said something rude and decided not to go out for a newspaper after all. Even with my best walking boots, steel grips and a stick it was a scary walk round for dinner. I had earlier rehearsed all my excuses for not going over and they were all a bit too thin to be acceptable.

So nothing went as planned; nearly all the presents are in the wrong place (or so the little boy that Santa Claus forgot imagines); Yuletide celebrations have been muted though still quietly jolly. But the key thing is that nobody got hurt, nobody took any unnecessary risks (pace my Boxing Day stroll) and everyone is in decent health.

Hope you and yours had a good, and safe Christmas. And ditto for New Year.


savannah said...

we're almost to the new year, sugar! glad that everything went relatively well for all y'all!
cheers and all the best for 2010! xoxoxoxoxox

Kevin Musgrove said...

Ta Savannah!

ChickPea said...

A Christmas To Remember, methinks !

Hope you all continue to stay well and whole - and have a GREAT New Year (each and all holed up safe and warm and cosy !)

Raising a toast to 2010...... without butter and in a glass, that is.......


Scarlet Blue said...

In 'The Great Escape' they managed to dispose of tunnel soil down their trousers... how about using the same method but with salt instead of soil? Could make walking on ice easier.
I'm full of bright ideas.

worm said...

the rest of the year, everybody hates me for having a gas guzzling 4x4, and now suddenly everybody keeps telling me how great it is! you can't win. regarding slippery footwear - some del boy somewhere should sell off a job lot of cheap golf spikes as 'ice shoes'

KAZ said...

Phew - the logistics of that have made me feel exhausted.
I just fell out of bed, lazed about a bit and ate.
I like the sound of your dad.

Kevin Musgrove said...

Ta Chickpea!

Scarlet: this is a splendid idea, but a bit too much like being back at work (where we have high hopes of Tunnel Oggie)

worm: you need to carry a bit of pack ice around with you, just to remind people what the 4x4 is for.

Kaz: in truth, I'm knackered. My dad's OK but needs reminding that he's not Just William.

Gadjo Dilo said...

Phew, Mary and Joseph never had this kind of trouble.

Kevin Musgrove said...

Gadjo: you just can't get the stables these days!