The last time I managed to get any decent amount of work done was mid-December. This is not a good thing by any means. Well, at least, it doesn't seem such a good thing now with the amount of stuff I have to do to catch up! Anyway, an interesting few weeks ensued, which helpfully took my mind off of work.
This was going to be one long post, but it's taken me quite a while to type up, so I have split it into three parts, this first part covering the week leading up to Christmas.
Driving Home for Christmas
My mini-adventure started out with the drive down to Devon with my girlfriend for a week of Christmas-ness with family. It didn't really start out the way I meant it to go on. We decided to visit a couple of friends on the way south and having got “lost” trying to get to Banbury (we were meant to be on the M1, but the road signs disagreed), we then got flashed at by a speed camera when trying to make up some time.
We finally made it to Banbury an hour late. After an evening of catching up and an overnight stay, we sampled the delicious delights of Woodstock (no, this one's near Oxford), the ridiculous roundabouts of Swindon and the beautiful (if rather samey) buildings of Bath.
It was nice to get back to my home town of Barnstaple. It was time for my usual manic Christmas shop, as I hadn't yet sorted out any presents other than my girlfriend's. Other than that, our week in Devon was quite relaxing. A friend from Australia visited us for a couple of days before Christmas, so we took him for a few nights out and got to see a few more old friends who were back home for Christmas. And, of course, there was the obligatory carol service.
Christmas Day was quite busy for us. Our flight to Phoenix was on Boxing Day morning so we had to drive up to London straight after Christmas lunch. Christmas morning was opening presents and packing them up again soon after for the drive up to London. Father Christmas must have lost his sleigh while he was delivering presents – while we were packing, a yellow Sea King rescue helicopter flew over the house with him waving at everyone. I hoped he finished his rounds!
We had an early Christmas lunch with my family – the classic turkey with lots of stuffing, chestnuts, pigs-in-blankets… Of course, someone had to drive up to London – that was me. I was permitted to have one small glass. Oh, and we had a white Christmas – just as we sat down to eat, it started snowing.
After lunch, we set off for London to have another helping of family Christmas before flying out for eight days in the Arizona sun. As expected, the drive up to London was quiet and uneventful. It did give us the chance to listen to some of the CDs we got for Christmas though!