Thursday, December 27, 2007

Festive reflection

We all seem quite a lot better today – which is a huge relief. My dad and his wife came for lunch today. We did lazy supermarket quiches with salads (home made potato salad to make it a bit less lazy!) and other bits and bobs. I made a raspberry and peach trifle (with just a hint of rum) and we had meringues with fresh berries and cream for those who don’t trifle. We all ate lots of that and then lolled about chatting and consuming some of the chocolate mountain. One of my brothers popped in with cousin B (who is now eight!) and we drank tea while the kids played. My dad and his wife had to leave relatively early to get bus back to ‘the back of beyond’ (family joke about their choice to live in mid-Sussex rather than Brighton or Hove) but my brother and cousin B stayed for a while longer. B’s mum turned up once she had finished work, which was nice. We made a plan to take the kids to see Bee Movie together tomorrow. I do expect it to be rather dire but feel the need to get the kids out of the house and don’t feel energetic enough (still coughing) for much else. Dani is back to work in the morning.

I have been mulling over Christmas a bit. The ill health has certainly taken the shine off things somewhat but the kids have been wonderful in spite of all. Pearlie put loads of effort into making cards this year and bought me and Dani two presents each. Leo also made lots of cards and gave gifts. Pearlie has plans to save up more of her own money so she can buy more presents next year.

It was a real shame that Pearlie and I missed so much of the time with the visiting Watford and Leicestershire relatives. It isn’t easy to get that whole clan together, as everyone is so busy, but I think we’ll have to try to re-arrange something for the spring.

I think we did a better job with the kids’ presents than we have in previous years. We were helped by the fact that neither of the kids asked for anything huge. We picked a few things they’d asked for and bought a few surprises. I have to confess to relief that they didn’t ask for anything like DS Lites, or whatever they’re called, just because it is so much money for a single item – and they weren’t easy to find. My brother had to do a mad dash across town to get one for cousin B, after his mum had been given special permission to phone round all the shops from her work! We had a wonderful moment yesterday when Pearlie was building quietly with her miniature bricks and mortar set and Leo was deep into an imaginary game with his Doctor Who figures and a nice toy dragon I found for them to ride on – very peaceful and 1970s! I don’t think we bought them any single item that cost more than £20 – and spent less in total than last year – which felt better. Mind you, Pearlie needs a new bike this year and we’re thinking of getting her a Dahon folding bike, so her birthday could involve major expense. And, Leo wants a portable DVD player to make camping more Leo-friendly, so his birthday could be pricey too!

One of the things I didn’t mention before is that Pearlie and cousin S (Brighton based cousin S!) had been working for months to prepare a treasure hunt for Leo, cousin B and cousin D to do at the grandmothers’ Christmas Eve gathering. One of the things that was most worrying for P when she was feeling ill was that she would miss this. In the end she was ok to go and I was very relieved, as both the girls had put so much thought into it. They did rhyming clues and each clue contained a bit of a large map, which led the boys to the treasure (chocolate coins) at the end. One of the grandmothers got the boys to do three cheers for S and P, which was lovely.

Books are featuring largely here. I didn’t get many this year, which was odd, but am enjoying Unspeak by Stephen Poole, which was a gift from my dad. Dani’s reading that too, when she’s not knitting! Pearlie is reading The Secret of the Crocodiles and I’m looking forward to sharing Flight of the Silver Turtle with her as a bedtime book. Leo was given the first two Artemis Fowl books, and he is enjoying the first one. They don’t look like my cup of tea, so I’ll be pleased if he continues to read them alone!

Right, I’m off to watch Waking the Dead – we bought a boxed set for ourselves as we always seem to miss it.


'EF' said...

It sounds like you are all on the mend. Treasure hunt sounds lovely. Lots of honey and lemon drinks help with throat ailments, and as for the chesty coughs..all over Europe right now, our lot have just had it and it was a 'lingering' cough thing going on. Spring is just around the corner though! Well, that is what I am going with anyway (forced cheerfulness in face of sheer knackerdness - lol):)

Liza said...

Glad to hear you're feeling better. Treasure hunt sounds very cool. Bee movie was rubbish! Andrew liked it but I was very disappointed. and Yikes that's a long word verification thingy, wonder how many attempts it'll take me...

Gill said...

Very glad you're feeling better. Loved reading about your 1970s scene!