J's had a week & a half off work, but it doesn't really feel like it - mostly because it's been a few days here & a few days there for the whole of it. We spent Christmas itself in Ipswich, just the two of us - which in my head is the default, but it's only happened a handful of times over the last 6 or 7 years. Survived Tescos on the 23rd, then didn't leave the house again till we started the travelling. Much much much computer game was played - on the pre-Christmas days my game of choice was mostly Left 4 Dead (as always) while J played Beatles Rockband drums all day. Then Christmas day itself was all about our new games - I gave J Assassin's Creed II and he gave me Dragon Age: Origins. Somewhere in there I managed to find time to cook a proper Christmas dinner too, and drink (rather a lot) of nice wine to go with it. And Boxing Day was more of the same (with less food, didn't need it ;) ) - well I was back on the L4D mostly as I have access to the ps3 when J's at work so not fair to hog it while he's here and besides ... there was going to be zombie withdrawal for a week!
The 27th was the start of the family visiting - drove off to Oxford in the afternoon having packed Far Too Much stuff into the car. A fairly quiet couple of days there - we spent a lot of time in the Ashmolean Museum, which has just re-opened. And not just the Egyptian stuff (which hasn't been refurbished yet), I also got to go look at the medieval England display & a few other bits & pieces. It was all curiously unfinished though - I guess they didn't quite get it sorted out before the re-opening date. Things like display cases with no labels, just the space where it should go, or a label and all the objects but no numbers to show which is being talked about.
We also met up with Gill (my brother's godmother) who I hadn't seen in ages, years in fact. She (and her late husband) were always part of the Christmas day tradition when I was little - the format of the day was first breakfast, presents, church, second breakfast, David & Gill (and sometimes Gill's mother) visit for teatime (sans tea, wine normally for the adults), christmas dinner. So, nice to see her and catch up a bit.
And my folks seem to be doing well - settling into Dad's retirement, particularly now the polymyalgia rheumatica he has was caught & treated (it seems it goes away very quickly with the start of the course of steroids, then you just have to tail down the dose over the next year(!)). He was in charge of the food for our visit, so the theme was Spanish to fit his interest in that country.
And after a couple of days there we headed up to the frozen north to visit J's folks - the snow had meant we had some doubts about whether we'd be able to travel, but on the morning of the 30th it seemed like it would be OK so we went as planned. It did start snowing (again) as we got closer & closer to Blanchland, but the roads were still passable if a little slushy & slippy. As well we travelled then tho - more & more snow came down over the next 2 days and I reckon they had about 8 inches of snow overall. We almost didn't think we were gonna get out on the 2nd when we planned to leave, but apart from a bit of difficulty getting out of the lane the roads were OK (not great, but OK). And although it snowed on the A1 the problems there were mostly because of people driving like morons rather than anything else (yes, it's snowing, so DON'T SLAM THE BRAKES ON WHEN YOU SEE A SNOWFLAKE! oh, and pull over if you're going slower than the traffic in the left lane, no really, even if it's snowing.)
Inbetween the slightly hair-raising drives we had a very pleasant couple of days with J's family. Jo & Chris had managed to coincide their visit with ours so everyone was there. We'd brought the PS3 with us so much computer game was played there too - with a particular emphasis on Beatles Rockband, partly because J's parents like The Beatles so they were more inclined to sit through it going on in their living room ;)
We had the second Christmas dinner of the season on New Year's Eve before settling in for the night. Anne's just recovering from a hip replacement op (and doing very well, too), so we weren't going to go out as the snow on the ground made it treacherous enough for those of us not using sticks let alone her. Instead we played Beatles Rockband, watched the countdown to midnight on Jools Holland, played more Beatles Rockband (with J's Dad joining in with the singing!) till 3am, then Lego Rockband (pressie from my parents) till 5am!! And drank Far Far Far more beer than was wise ... and then some more beer ;) New Year's Day was quiet ... I suffered most, but everyone seemed a bit fragile even if only from lack of sleep!
Back home we had a spare turkey, so to stop yesterday feeling like an anti-climax at the end of the holiday I cooked our third Christmas dinner of the season. And Sat night & most of yesterday we played even more games - Lego Rockband for both of us (working through the story mode - a tad silly, but fun), J played Assassin's Creed 2 & I went back to hunting zombies (of course!).
And now, back to reality again. With loud, bouncy music, a cracked-out kittycat and some chores I should really get off my backside & go and DO already damnit ;)