Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Buon Natale tutti!
That means “Merry Christmas all” in, yes you’ve guessed it, Italian.

Round Britain Trip

We arrived back from our family visit trip last week. It was great seeing everyone again but also quite fatiguing whizzing about in our little Noddy car. If we were able to afford to hire an Audi A4 or other good long distance tourer, it would have been less tiring. But there you go. The Noddy car got us to where we wanted to be.
It felt a little strange being backing England, driving on the other side of the road, and then, it all came back in a rush. We pulled in behind a gi-normous traffic jam on the M25. Oh, to be in England. That is something we do not miss.

We met our new niece, Phoebe Rose, who was utterly delightful - shame you can’t choose your parents (joke).We saw Southern rellies, North Western ones and the North Eastern and Eastern clans. And managed to visit some very good friends as well. We saw all the progeny and the grandchildren. The eldest one was getting very excited about Christmas and Santa. I really wanted to disabuse him about Santa Claus but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it, although at 19 (well OK he is only 8) I really do think their parents should tell them themselves. They don’t even have a chimney for goodness sake.
So all in all, a good time.

There was however one stand-out time which I thought worthwhile recounting as it also involves a form of ennoblement.
After watching one son stuff Stockport U19s in rugby, ooh, it was good, we motored over the Pennines to see little Miss Sunshine and her parents plus another son - I do seem to have rather an excessive number of them.
The next day we decided to go for a walk in the afternoon. Bearing in mind it was getting dark about 4ish, we didn’t start the walk until about three and we were going to go about 3 plus miles. Anyway, we parked up in pub car park put our footwear on and off we set.
It was great, nice and chilly and but we were all wrapped up cosy and warm. Little Miss Sunshine was tucked up in a backpack and the dogs were roaring about the fields and into the woods.
You know when you go for a walk with someone who has a map. It usually starts out with him (or her) never looking at it and really it eis there in case of emergency. You notice when things are a going a little off-plan when the map keeps going up and down in front of the face of the map reader with increasing regularity until it looks like he is using it as a fan to keep someone cool. There maybe also a slight twitching at the edge of the eyes.
Well, there may have been a bit of eye twitching but it was not detectable due to the fact that twilight had descended and we were no where near the end of the walk and had yet to enter the woods – or enchanted forest if you are a romantic, and we were not at this stage. However, we could have gone across a couple of fields to the road that was clearly visible with lots of traffic going up and down – civilisation. But no.
Fortunately, although you may not think so, Little Miss Sunshine’s mum had one of those torches that you squeeze to generate a bit of power to use it, a bit like a wrist exerciser. They are OK, you just have to get used to the fact that the beam of light generated is so weak, it actually bends downwards. The map was consulted. Words were muttered. Time to move on.
Not to be wimpish, and as Little Miss Sunshine was by this time as quiet as a mouse, we stumbled on into the woods. Then we stopped while
more map consultation was undertaken. Hands were waved in various directions. Steps taken and then retraced. The gloom was by now severe, bordering on jet.
A decision was made. We tripped our way back to where we could see the road. There was a stile, which yours truly hopped over and immediately went up to his knees in very cold sloppy mud. I thought it was mud but as I couldn’t see anything I couldn’t be sure.
It was nice to get home and have a beer or two and a good laugh at our escapade in the warmth of their house.

So where does the ennoblement come in? Well as the founder (and only member up to this time) of the Ministry of Misleading and Mystified Map-readers or “MMMM, I think it’s this way”, I have enormous pleasure in granting full membership to my son and conferring the title, Member of the Ministry of Misleading and Mystified Map-readers, Prima Classe. A most noble title.
It must be in the genes.
Good on yer mate (he likes Australia).

By the way, after our trip we are thinking of renaming Great Britain, Gray Britain.

Home again, home again, jiggedy jig

It is good to be home. We collected Bertie the afternoon we got back. He is a big boy. We had to take him for his last jab last Friday and the vet weighed him at 10 kilos. He will not be three months until the beginning of January.
He was really pleased to see us and I think he didn’t understand why his sister wasn’t coming with us too. He will see her again on 30th as we are looking after her because her people are going to Austria for New Year.
It will be fun to have two of them for a little while – I think.

La Duchessa had this great idea of making him a couple of beds to lie on out of an old feather duvet we had. I just wish she would lavish some attention on her L'uomo qui fa. Sob, sob.

A Christmas Message

La Duchessa and I wish all our family, friends and everyone who reads this a very Merry Christmas and New Year – Buon Natale e Nuovo Anno
Let us hope 2009 will be a positive year on all fronts for everybody.

Ciao, mantenere de fede

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