Silly season at home

Little CuzI just realised it’s been almost 10 days since my last post so I better play catch-up!

First off, I’m over my cold. I pretty much shifted it by Christmas Day which was a good thing. I helped my little cousin put down the magic oats that led from the street to the front door so that Santa‘s reindeer would know how to find it. Then we made sure he had some decent tuck and a drink of milk for when he delivered the copious number of presents she was bound to get.

Her “absolute latest” bedtime of 10pm slipped to 11 until finally my aunt ordered her upstairs. “Bed! Now! And no more coming out of your room!”

Then the crying started. “What’s up?”

“You said to go to my bed and I did, and I’m scared I’ll wet it because I need the toilet and I’m not allowed out of my room in case Santa doesn’t come.”

She was allowed a pottie break and settled back down a little more hapily after that!

I was awoken at 6:50 on Christmas morning to a chorus (and two verses) of We Wish You A Merry Christmas before we all headed downstairs to watch a 7 ¹/² year old tear apart a small deciduous forest in pursuit of the gifts held within.

Awesome.

PoppyI then had to take pictures of her with just about everything she’d god. I’m glad we have digital cameras now, as I’d have run out of film otherwise. While they went to church for Mass, I very generously set up their new Wii. Once they came back, I taught the little one how to play the bowling game which she had told me she was rubbish at. She then hammered me at it. Twice.

My parents arrived around lunchtime and we had another present-opening ceremony before I hopped in the care and drove from Glasgow to Dundee to visit Leah and her family where I was fed and watered (and beered) and got more presents. Seems Santa had decided to scatter my presents over a variety of households this year. Leah’s mum attempted to kill me by passing off “mouldy” cheddar as “mature”. She claims it was an honest mistake as she’d made up my stocking before the best before date, but I have my doubts.

On Boxing Day we had some visitors over and I spent the day nibbling on munchies and getting progressively drunker. Somehow I drank almost an entire bottle of Famous Grouse and woke up the next morning with no hangover. There’s probably some scientific reason for this, but I’m putting it down to the fact I’m a Geordie.

Cheese of DEATH!I’d arranged to go to the football with Malkie and some friends of his, so I set off down to Dundee at lunchtime. Just enough time to catch up on my email then run to the pub to see the tail end of the Old Firm game before we walked to Tannadice for the Dundee United v Falkirk game. My first live football match in almost three years.

I lost Malkie and co as they headed for their season ticket seats, but ended up “attached” to a local who pointed me in the direction of the better “pay on the day” ones. £21 is about half what you pay for an English Premiership game these days, and I was sat on the top tier behind one of the goals for the duration of the match.

The Tangerines won 1-0, though Falkirk gave them a run for their money and the majority of the crowd went home happy. I was on furniture-building duty (who gets flat-pack furniture for Christmas? Really?) so headed back to the flat rather than the pub.

On the 28th, I arranged to meet Adam in town to watch the annual seasonal towelling by Liverpool. Lo and behold, over a rather nice Sunday roast in the Trades, we got hammered 1-5. Ah well. At least it was expected. I also picked up Guitar Hero III for my PS2 while we walked around the sales afterwards. Only it didn’t work. Argh.

Dundee Utd v FalkirkThat evening, we visited my folks where my little cousin was being spoiled rotten (again). Dinner was great, but by mid-evening Leah was absolutely burning up so we left relatively early. By the time I got her home she was definitely running a bonkers temperature as well as feeling dizzy.

Fortunately, by the next morning, the fever had broken and she was back to just feeling crappy. A definite improvement. I walked into town and swapped out my Guitar Hero package. Thankfully, the replacement works but I’ve not been able to play it as Leah’s been lying on the sofa watching crappy Christmas telly all day. The benefits of being ill!

Over the course of the last 10 days I’ve had a mixed bag of emails from work as well. A few genuine problems, some where I’ve wondered “didn’t you think before you bothered me?” and one or two where I wish I was back in France so I could slap someone. Generally it’s going well over there with only one serious issue I can’t deal with right now. Well, if they will drop a PC onto the floor…

Right, that’s about it. Just watching Jurassic Park III before crashing out. And hopefully dragging Leah to the docs in the morning for a quick check over. She’s been ill for 5 weeks now. That can’t be normal. Mind… neither is she 😉

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Back in Blighty

Kicking off with a “thanks” to Janeice who spent a couple of hours of her day off driving me to Geneva Airport so that I didn’t have to get one of the transfer buses.

As ever the airport was heaving and expensive. I was starving, but after over 30 minutes in the queue at Burger King I had to give up and walk off otherwise I risked being late for my flight. I tried to pick up a drink from a shop, but the minimum spend was CHF5 and the bottle was only CHF2.80. No worries, I thought, I’ll get one on the other side of security.

I rattled through the long passport queue and breezed security and then shuddered to a halt at the convenience kiosk by gate 31. The self same bottle of juice was now CHF4.80. If anyone had any complaints before about the whole “no liquids through security” thing being an excuse to rip passengers off, I point the in the direction of Geneva Airport as proof of this. They should change the airport logo to a skull and crossbones.

Still, the flight was only 10 minutes late in departing and fairly smooth. I slept on and off until the high crosswinds at Edinburgh caused a few clenched butt-cheeks as we descended. Kudos to the pilot, though,who set the plan down as gently as I’ve ever had a landing despite the atmospheric conditions working against him.

My dad picked me up and we zoomed across the Forth Road Bridge as all the high-siders had been barred from crossing due to the winds. As a result we made it to Perth a lot sooner than we’d expected. Enough time to say “hello” to my mum, giggle at the two mad dogs, grab some stuff and head up to Leah’s in Dundee.

Now, I’ve spent the better part of 6 weeks in the French Alps. It’s been snowing, icy and generally sub-zero for most of it. I have not fallen once.

Within a dozen steps of the car as I walked out of the car park in Dundee, I was on my arse. Ouch. Somehow I also managed to pull a muscle in my shoulder when I went down. Don’t ask. As promised in another blog post elsewhere, Leah had hot juice and sympathy when I arrived loaded with slightly less cold than I had the day before. Still, I’m male – I can milk sympathy for all I’m worth.

Ah, back in Britain. High winds, lashing rain, and I’ve got a cold. Great stuff.

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