Well as ever I'm late to the party. I have been meaning to blog before but, well, you've all heard that one before!
I have now excuse really in that I actually had 2 full weeks off over the Christmas break for the first time ever, at Christmas or anytime actually. I never usually take that long off in one go but the chancellor of the university gave all the staff an extra 2 days off in recognition of all the hard work we have been doing. We had a virtual team bake and a zoom quiz on Friday 18th and shut up shop so to speak. Which was very nice but meant that last week was absolutely manic and I did a couple of very late evenings (8am to 11pm anyone?)
Which may well have been a contributing factor in me sleeping until pretty much lunchtime the next few days! I could have felt guilt for sleeping half the day away but frankly I was exhausted, and it's not like we had anything planned. Not only has work been very busy, the night sweats have been soundly kicking my arse these last couple of months. One night my internal inferno woke me up 12 times!?!
I have spent the whole of this week drastically cutting the caffeine and it has seemed to have made a difference. Alcohol is another trigger but if I fancy a drink I'll have one and deal with the consequence.
I popped into Oxford a couple of times before we were locked down again. I have what seems to be another middle aged woman's curse, a frozen shoulder which is not only extremely debilitating it's ridiculously painful too, so off to the osteopath I went. I am the triple threat apparently, female, over 40 and with a thyroid condition. The clinic I use is in Oxford just across the road from work, handy when you are in work, not so much so when you aren't.
The first week I went I caught an earlier train and popped into Debenhams. Sadly another historic high street name that has gone into receivership. I have so many wonderful memories from the Oxford branch which is/was an old rambling Victorian building with the most amazing cafe back in the day. I had some vouchers to spend and at that point they were still accepting them. As you can see I ended up buying myself a load of sparkles (magpie by name magpie by nature.) I'm a sucker for a jewellery sale and ALWAYS found something in theirs, I shall miss it sorely.
From there I went and got pulled about by the Osteopath, it was bloody painful but I left with an appointment for the following week and a couple of new exercises to do daily. Apparently my shoulder could have been a lot worse than it is, so I guess that is something.
The next week I had to pop into work to collect a hamper they were giving out in lieu of a Christmas party any time between 10am - 2pm and the osteopath couldn't fit me in until 3.45pm so I arranged to meet Charlotte, have a lovely catch up, lunch and a browse round the Ashmolean and the latest exhibition at the Bodleian.
It is called The Art of Advertising and though tiny, was fascinating. We were the only people in there so distancing wasn't an issue. It was just so wonderful to be able to go to an exhibition again I felt quite emotional. I have missed them so much.
There was the added bonus of another free exhibition on at the same time called Helen Muspratt Photographer. I have never heard of her before but her photographs were just gorgeous and some of the techniques she used frankly extraordinary.
I gather it's a travelling exhibition so if it comes your way I'd highly recommend it, and certainly google her if you love photography.
We had delicious pizza at Franco Manca where they had cleverly divided the restaurant up with perspex sheeting so it felt perfectly safe,. Again the chance to do something as simple as have pizza with a friend felt wonderful. We had booked timed tickets for the Ashmolean and had a lovely amble about in our allotted slot before I headed of to get mangled again. It was just as painful as the week before and he booked be straight in for a session on the 23rd Dec which ended up being cancelled due to the new restrictions.
The next evening Himself and I took ourselves over to visit Nephew Number One and his girlfriend who have just bought themselves their first home, having finally moved in a couple of weeks before. It's about a 30 minute walk from our house so we combined it with getting some exercise and dropping off their Christmas presents. We were a bit naughty and did nip in for a quick inspection because I was dying to see the place. We did take off our shoes, sanitize our hands and keep our masks on whilst we did so. It's a wonderful house and I'm so happy for them.
On the 22nd Soo popped over to exchange presents and go for a socially distanced walk. It was so lovely to see her, it's been an age since we had seen each other so there was a lot to catch up on. We bought lunch in a cafe in town then meandered back home.
Himself and I were meant to be going to my Mum for Christmas and staying over with her for a few days but it was becoming clear another lockdown was looming and that wasn't going to happen. Once we knew that was the case on the 24th Dec we walked down to Dad's care home to meet her outside and give her her presents and drop Dad's off too. They have *finally* built a perspex booth at the home so Mum is able to visit Dad again. She only get's one 20 minute appointment a week but at least it's something. I'm glad she got on on Christmas Eve. It was frustrating for the rest of us because the phone on Dad's floor broke that week and they didn't fix it until the new year so none of us got to speak to him until then. Poor Dad was quite upset as was my Aunt as she had been trying to ring. I was more annoyed because they didn't bother to report it as broken for 5 days!?!
Luckily I had spoken to him on the 23rd. We also walked down to my brother's in the evening of the 23rd to wish them a Happy Christmas from the doorstep and drop some stuff off.
There was a gorgeous sunset. We walked home via the chip shop for a cheeky chip shop chips dinner, as we weren't sure if they would close during lockdown again or not.
Christmas eve watched 3 different versions of A Christmas Carol going out for a walk in between to stretch our legs and walk off our huge dinner. So many more people have decorated their houses this year it was fun to walk around the streets seeing them all but dear lord it was bitterly cold!
So we ended up having our first ever full Christmas of just the 2 of us in 23 years of being together!
We had a lazy morning with buck's fizz opening presents in our bedroom where we have my Nan's old tinsel Christmas tree in the corner of the room.
I took a picture of these two kites from our bedroom window because I loved the way the sun was catching them.
We went out for a long walk
the weather was gorgeous, very cold but sunny. I fell in love with this tree. If I had a tree on my front lawn I would do this for sure, it looked so pretty.
When we got home my Brother, Sister in law & Mum (they are Mum's bubble so she went there for lunch) called round and wished us a Happy Christmas from the gate.
All in all a lovely quiet day. I shall leave you with some of my new Christmas decorations. I saw these old fashioned wooden designs in a Home and Antiques magazine and had to invest in some.
I bought a ship, a whale, an elephant, a tiger and a lion. The felt squirrel in the first picture is also new, I couldn't resist him to remind me of the ones I saw on Brownsea.