Jan 13 01
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… with a very quiet bit in the middle.

This year we had the whole family around. I’d planned well in advance, letting people know way back in August. Saskia and Nick quickly booked a B&B, and Pete’s mum agreed that she would like to just do a day trip, which meant there would be space enough for everyone else to stay over.

For months I’d been thinking and planning… what to eat (feeding 16/17 people from Christmas Eve lunch to Boxing Day lunch), catering for a recently converted vegetarian (who thankfully decided she couldn’t bare to not have traditional Christmas lunch after-all), how to entertain people with ages ranging from 3 to 81 (I knew it would rain), making sure we had enough bed linen, chairs, crockery, cutlery, etc. Finally, lists in hand I spent a busy afternoon in the supermarket on Friday and a marathon weekend of cooking to get ahead, and by Christmas Eve morning all we had to do was pick up the beautifully prepared turkey from the local butcher, clean the house and make the beds…. just in time before the first guests arrived.

Sisters in the kitchen.

Sisters in the kitchen.

The Christmas table - as is tradition, children were relegated to a smaller table in the conservatory.

The Christmas table – as is tradition, children were relegated to a smaller table in the conservatory.

The whole family.

The whole family.

It was just fantastic to have everyone together. It did rain just about the whole time, so we stayed indoors, but luckily I’d prepared some quizzes and group activities to keep us entertained for the next couple of days. And of course, once Santa had been, we had lots of toys to play with.

I will definitely do it again, but maybe not next year.

The next couple of days were very quiet. We slept, read, watched tv, did a night-time mountain bike ride with our new super bright bike torches, drank lots, and ate lots of left-overs. Rachel and Richard visited on the way up to Scotland, and brought the fantastic chocolate cake Richard had made for Rachel’s birthday…. we only took a small slice each to make sure there was plenty enough left for R&R to take up to Scotland.

Then there was a bit more rest and then in the 3 hour window of no rain we took the opportunity to get out for a walk.

As it was so windy, and it really looked like it would rain any second, we decided to stay low and look for a couple of letterboxes on High Rigg. We parked at St John’s in the Vale church and wondered up the hillside. There were a few other walkers about, but no letter boxes to be found. It didn’t matter. It was great to be out and let the wind blow the cobwebs out.

Very windy on High Rigg.

Very windy on High Rigg.

For New Years Eve I had taken advantage of Marriott Reward points and booked us into the Hogmanay Gala at the Dalmahoy hotel near Edinburgh. Pete had stayed there for over 9 months a few years ago and it’s a lovely hotel, so I thought they were bound to see the new year in in style. On the way across we took in a quick visit to Ratho climbing wall which is amazing.

The Hogmanay Gala was great, starting with lots of fizz, a fantastic dinner, a ceilidh and of course bag pipes.

I was really trying not to put him off.

I was really trying not to put him off.


One of the many dances.

One of the many dances.

The pipe band seeing in the new year.

The pipe band seeing in the new year.

It’s been a great week, and I’m still very tired.

Think I need a holiday….

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