Saturday 28 December 2013

Lazy festive days

Sharon served up a fine Christmas dinner, with a starter of parsnip and chestnut soup being lapped up by the boys some time in advance of the main course, a big chicken and the traditional glazed ham. Following on from last year's success, the dessert was a repeat - poached pears and an orange-flavoured creme brulee - eaten by candlelight in our big new space as the wind whipped ever stronger outside, testing the new windows to the limit. I had a very pleasant doze in the middle of the extended meal, sitting with the boys watching Tangled on the TV.

Angus played with his dinosaurs while his brothers get stuck into Rowan's Dungeon board game which kept them quiet upstairs for a good two hours before bedtime. Sean said it was the best Christmas he could remember and all the boys seemed to have a good day without any tears or tantrums. Sharon got a lovely pendant from Sean and I got a handwarmer. It's the first time he's really bought any presents, rather than made some, and I think he got a kick out of giving rather than receiving this year. He bought a few little gifts for his brothers too, which was nice to see.

Boxing Day (or St. Stephen;s Day, if you're Irish) was a very quiet affair. The weather calmed down outside but we did very little inside, enjoying a much-needed long lie and then some lazy lying about watching telly and, in Sharon's case, reading and dozing on the couch. In fairness to her, she never usually dozes during the day despite feeling tired and was feeling a bit poorly so she was due some rest and relaxation. I did the cooking - anything to take my mind off England's continued horror show in Australia. Having already surrendered the Ashes 3-0 in three tests, the Boxing Day Test was a snooze-fest of tight bowling and slow run-rates best watched on fast forward. But England managed to get into a commanding position only to self-destruct yet again in the third innings. It has been depressing viewing. At least a game of Dungeon took my mind off it for a while. It took me back to evenings playing Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) in Billy Pennie's bedroom over thirty years ago.

The St. Johns came over on the 27th as the wild weather returned. We went for a walk along the Hermitage of Braid, taking the high path and having to negotiate a fallen tree at one stage. Angus was the only one small enough to duck under it. The rest of us got pretty muddy clambering over it. The Braid Burn was in full spate as we crossed it and returned by the northern path. Angus did well keeping up with the older boys. It was back to ours for soup, sandwiches and a lazy afternoon listening to the rain lashing against the windows.

Sean has been the one who has taken to the piano most of all. Finn prefers mucking about with the microphone and creating a cacophony while he's supposed to be eating at the table, but Sean has been picking out a few tunes, aided by the play along function. Sharon took the big two to the cinema in the evening, to see Catching Fire which they all loved. A late night for Sean and Finn, who fell asleep very quickly.

Bobby came over this morning with a reckoning of what work remained on the build and what extra costs we had or may need to incur. It certainly looks like we'll be over our budget plus 10% contingency, and the coffers will be looking pretty bare come the springtime. It will be worth getting the work finished though, and now is the time to do it before the boys are bigger, to make sure we make the most of the space. We may not be able to afford to furnish it in as nice a fashion as we'd like, and we may have to look for more purchases like the £125 sofa Marie spotted and which Sharon picked up from a charity shop in Morningside on the Monday before Christmas.

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