A very merry Christmas to one and all! This will be my last post until after Christmas, so that we can have more time to scoff even more mince pies and prosecco (hic).
I hope that December has treated you well. For us, this December has been enjoyable; the children are six and three, and just about old enough to be left to their own devices for ten minutes without badgering us for snacks, breaking each other’s toys, or asking for help with bottom-wiping. I was even able to sit down and write Christmas cards with them this year. And they still believe in Father Christmas (unless big-boy Austin’s just humouring us, and laughing at his poor deluded parents for thinking there really is a man who manages to deliver the right presents to every child, even though he’s drunk billions of whisky tots along the way).
We’ve been feeling lucky to live in London this festive season. As well as being asked to review several top-notch Christmas performances at theatres across the city, we also managed to have an impromptu drop-in to one of the capital’s festive markets, on the Southbank, while waiting for our delayed train at Blackfriars.
The Christmas highlight for me so far has been going to Leeds Castle. Again. One of my friends said I seem to have an obsessive crush on the place, and she’s probably right: since our first trip there last February, I’ve tried to visit each school holiday. It’s only a 40 minute drive for us, and it’s such a far cry from London’s busy streets that it feel like stepping into another country. Plus, they always have stacks of activities to keep the kids happy. This time, we paid £13 each for our children to visit Santa, and it was a very civilized experience. The grotto was inside a Christmas market, with a funfair as well as the usual stalls selling high-quality gifts and mulled wine. We didn’t have to queue to see the main man; instead, we were ushered into a waiting room, with Christmas decorations, tables where the children could sit and colour, and friendly elves. Friendly and honest: D left his iphone behind on a table when it was our turn to see Father Christmas, but one of the elves popped his head into Santa’s living room to return it.
The tree’s up, wine has been bought and we’ve already had one faux Christmas dinner, when Granny and Grandad came to stay last weekend. And – dare I say it – I think I might have bought almost all my presents. I even managed to start my sales shopping early, when I spotted these boots at half price in Debenhams.
So – bar any last-minute hiccups – we’re all set for the break. We do hope you all have a fantastic time this holiday. See you in a few days’ time.