Every year for christmas we visit both our families ... one set before and one set after. This dates back to the first christmas we were together when neither side would back down "Oh you must come home Margaret, but bring John if he wants to" "Oh you must come home John, but bring Margaret if she wants to". Since then we have christmas day at least by ourselves, in our own house ... which is nice :) I'm glad (now) that they were all so stubborn.
So we've just got back today from visiting my parents, we went on Thursday and managed to catch the rail journey from hell - normally it's about 4 hours door to door, but this was 6 ... there had been a broken rail at Marks Tey so everything was delayed, then once we got to Shenfield (eventually) they decided to cancel our train and put us on another equally overcrowded and delayed train. Thankfully once in London everything got easier - although due to the delays we managed to hit rush hour traffic on our way out of London and the coach trip to Headington took 2 hours instead of the more usual 1-1.5.
Still, once there we were greeted with a glass of wine and some nice dinner, so all was well :)
It was a good visit foodwise (for me - not everything was quite what J would've liked :/) ... we ate out on Friday night - went to Fishers which is a seafood restuarant. I had grilled scallops for my starter, swordfish steak with roasted vegetables for my main course and followed it with sorbet and a double espresso for dessert :) Saturday night my parents cooked pigeons, and we had mince pie with brandy butter for dessert.
We went to see the Pitt Rivers Museum (and the University Museum of Natural History) on Saturday afternoon. I'd forgotten how overwhelming the Pitt Rivers is - it's an anthropological museum, and seems to have one of everything (or at least does its best ;) ) ... so we looked at the 'ways of treating dead enemies' (skulls with stuff stuck in them generally) ... and the egyptian mummy ... and the lace making apparatus ... and the horns ... and polished sections of all the various sorts of ivory (including mammoth) ... and the totem poles ... etc etc etc. The University museum has a nice collection of dinosaur bones (the T. rex is cool :) ) and similar (J got freaked out by the Japanese Giant Spider Crab), but we didn't have time to visit the collections of insects and shells.
We also went to see Lord of the Rings (on Friday). It was fantastic :) I felt that even though everything wasn't exactly the way it was in the book it conveyed the 'feel' of the book incredibly well even in the differences. The hobbits were good, and the actor who plays Frodo is spectacularly good at looking terrified out of his mind. The special effects were brilliant - I particularly liked the representation of how Frodo sees the world when he has the ring on. It's also the only film I've ever been to where there was applause from the audience. And not just once at the end of it - but also when Aragorn defeats the last of the Uruk-Hai troop that's just killed Boromir. And we didn't stop talking about it for most of the rest of the day! Wish we'd taken my mother, she would probably have enjoyed it even though she said she'd probably not, and Dad certainly won't take her (he's not keen on the book). Ooh, and I liked the way the orcs came boiling out of the ceiling in the mines of Moria ... and the cave troll was fantastic! And the balrog too ... and ... and ... and .... ;)
Today we came back to Ipswich, and the journey was much better. But then we went to Tescos. Next year we must try and do our shopping some other way. Tescos is hell on earth 2 days before christmas - there're too many people, and all of them seem to be buying enough food to feed the five hundred :/ But we got everything we wanted, pretty much - we just have to get some more wine and some chocolates tomorrow.