A Fairy Story for Christmas

The Ice Queen arrives for her party with her brood of drug-addicted gun-toting bootleggers. Only they’re not. It is only her magic that makes them appear fiendish. Really they are gentle fawns and that is how everyone else, who is immune to the Ice Queen’s magic,  sees them.

As the party gets underway, the Ice Queen demands attention and entertainment and one of the fawns is made to perform. She does so trembling and with tears in her eyes and her siblings look on with anguish. “What is the fuss about!” shrieks the Ice Queen as the fawn rushes off sobbing after her performance is over.


christmas at home

It is our turn to host Christmas and all the family are invited. This was the event that Clare wanted to host but couldn’t because of clashing dates. Roger and Jan, Danae and Louisa and their families are also here. All in all there are 19 of us gathered.

It was all quite pleasant and friendly and I was pleased that Jo came. Clare’s kids are quite extra-ordinarily well-adjusted considering. Theo was very polite and well-behaved and the younger kids got on well together.

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christmas with Danae and Nathan

Nathan pulls out all the stops again with a delicious turkey and all the trimmings. I contribute a ham and a cake – both of which are edible. The cake is diabetically friendly and I don’t have a high glucose reading the next day.

Louisa and Julian join us after visiting Diane and Thom and Tara come a bit later after having an earlier lunch with Tara’s parents. This in no way inhibits Thom from a further xmas dinner.

We seem to spend the whole day around the table eating and drinking and talking. The rest of the time is swapping presents and playing with the children.

See Flickr for more pix and Day One for more the diary.

Nathan brings out last years xmas pudding

Nathan brings out last years xmas pudding

Harper and Me wearing our West Ham clobber

Harper and Me wearing our West Ham clobber


christmas with Louisa and Julian

The family get together at Louisa and Julian’s house where Nathan shows us the email that Santa sent Rocco. Father Christmas asks how he’s been at school and to our relief there is a positive report.

The kids are entertained with a game of charades whilst the adults have to draw pictures of newsworthy events that have occurred during the last year. Julian makes his famous curried eggs and Louisa has made lots of food including a cheese fondue.

Before we leave Santa appears and there is a snow shower. Harper, particularly is very excited and manages to eat a whole choclolate father christmas and a gingerbread man in an amazingly short time.

Santa says you can fool some of the people some of the time....

Santa says you can fool some of the people some of the time….

Christmas 2012 with Roger and Jan

All the Leamans except Thom and Tara came to Romans to see Kiri, Dave and Lily and Roger and Janet. We had a relaxing time eating, drinking, talking, playing with the children and giving out early Christmas presents.

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Tove’s Official Birthday

Like the royalty that she is, Tove has two birthdays. One is some time before Christmas so that it is special and not over-shadowed by some religious event. And the other, today, is her official birthday. She was born at 10 am four years ago.

we start with birthday brunch in Belgique

we start with birthday brunch in Belgique


present time

present time


the birthday cake!

the birthday cake!

the day the world didn’t end!

end of the Mayan calendar

end of the Mayan calendar

All the news, including the more reputable outlets, have been pushing stories about the Mayan Long Count calendar and how it ends at 11.13 am today – heralding the end of the world. Well, I’m writing this at 3.36 pm so it didn’t happen.


Haven’t really looked into it but it strikes me that if you use a cyclical calendar, as we do, then it repeats endlessly forever. But it is bound to become inaccurate because of entropy and the world slowing down over the eons (we already have to take this into account with our leap years).

On the other hand, if you use a linear calendar, which I think is what the Mayans were doing, you have a very accurate way of tracking time but you would need to keep updating it as each calendar came to it’s end. Unfortunately the Mayans are not around at the moment to create another calendar to take over from this last one.

It is, of course, the Winter Solstice – at 11.12 am – and the shortest day of the year.  From now on the world is moving into summer. It is also the day that John Donne describes as St. Lucie’s day in his nocturnal, although I gather that officially now St. Lucy’s Day is the 13th. December.

…..and yet MORE babies!

Only this time they are the babies Jesus in the Nativity plays and Carol services  we’ve recently been to. On Sunday it was the service at St. James’s church where we took Graham and met with the Burkes, Crockers and Foreman-Pecks.

st james nativity

St James’s had it’s Nativity figures cut from a 90 year old tree in it’s garden

On Monday it was Rocco’s nativity play (we also saw the other Reception class’s show as a bonus) and on Tuesday it was Esme’s nativity play (with the Ist year infants show thrown in). Well, there’s no doubt Christmas is coming.

Apple must be proud

Apple must be proud


Rocco is the Inn-keeper


Esme is the shepherd

Not everyone is ecstatically happy about Christmas…..

Ho Ho Ho!

Ho Ho Ho!

I am hoping my contribution will be reasonably edible

But this Santa looks alright and I hope the cake is edible.

…and more babies!

This afternoon I have a go at setting up the Raspberry Pi. I connect it via the hdmi to DVI cable to the LG flatiron and make all the other connections and lo and behold another baby is born!!! My Raspberry Pi!

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But everyone is getting in on the act. Even royalty. Charlie will soon be a grandfather as Wills and Kate seem set to have a baby (or two) as well.

Miro’s 65th birthday

Miro is 65 and we celebrate with champage at his house and then a meal at Loch Fyne. Michael and Margi couldn’t make it as they were double-booked but the rest of us were there. Pete got inebriated!