Category Archives: Xmas

Xmas Eve

As Xmas Day itself draws ever near, the Cumbrian weather has been all the more soggy and gusty. However, it’s nothing that can’t be endured by wearing an extra layer or two. The big grocery shop went well, with no instances of trolley rage to be reported – although I’m sure if I was in the shops today I might not be able to withstand the crowds and lack of orderly queues.

I’ve managed to resist the traditional panic buying brought on by supermarkets closing for a whole 24 hours. As I’ve got older I don’t suffer the need to test the limits of my body’s ability to consume food/drink anymore, and I reckon I’ll feel all the better for it by Boxing Day. Even with a dash of portion control, I’ll still need to take a brisk walk in the afternoon to aid the digestion. Luckily the scenery is fantastic, so I won’t find it hard motivating myself to step outside.

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Posted by on December 24, 2013 in Clothes, Food, Health, Holidays, Outdoors, Shopping, Travel, Xmas


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Grey Xmas

I’m already resigned to it being a rainy Xmas this year rather than a snowy one, though brief bursts of hail have whitened to hill tops of Cumbria. With enough warm and waterproof clothing, none of this is a problem at all.

Whilst some people might enjoy activity filled holidays, I prefer to wind things back a notch and slow down when taking a break. Laying in bed each morning is allowed, breakfasts last longer and lunches take place whenever they can be comfortably slotted in. Rushing is never allowed and everywhere is explored at a steady pace. Plans for the week are loose, with only a big Xmas grocery shop being the immovable object in the calendar.

It seems that every time I pay for something in a shop the person at the checkout asks me if I’m ready for Xmas yet. I think I’ve been ready for it for some time – I have no worries about last minute travel plans and frantic trolley dashes round the stores. So I’ll be ambling around the Lakes, taking the occasional photo and making sure I meet my daily quota of mince pies.

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Posted by on December 23, 2013 in Clothes, Food, Holidays, Outdoors, Shopping, Travel, Xmas


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Holiday Time

With Xmas just around the corner, the Sock Mistress and I have decided to be our usual antisocial selves and go hide in the Lake District for a week. We’ll be shacked up in a little cottage, with the heating turned up high and the fridge groaning at the seams from all the food we’ll be stockpiling.

The journey across the country has been a pleasant one – first class rail as usual. Totally worth the extra money for the extra leg room and unlimited tea/biscuits. Plus, since it’s still an ordinary working day, the trains aren’t busy. The weather may be its usual fickle self, but it’s December – it’s not as if it was going to be hot and sunny.

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Posted by on December 20, 2013 in Food, Holidays, Travel, Xmas


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507 Regenerations +1

The present series of Doctor Who has come to an end, leaving the audience hanging on until the 50th anniversary special in November. I’ve just about enjoyed the second half of this current run, but the 45 minute stand-alone episodes haven’t felt very… epic. Setting that right, The Name of the Doctor was the first episode to explicitly show previous Doctors interacting with the current cast (if you don’t count the Children in Need special with the 5th and 10th Doctors).

The story itself was just a prelude to the dramatic final scene when The Doctor and Clara wade into The Big Blue Squiggle of Doom and meet John Hurt, the long lost incarnation of our favourite timelord. I’m really looking forward to the conclusion of this story, even if it will be the Who equivalent of a STTNG Holodeck episode.

Whatever happens, whatever is revealed, after an hour(ish) of thrills and Time War flashbacks, the end of the story will conclude with The Doctor and Clara stepping out of The Big Blue Squiggle and everything will be in place for the Xmas special. Doctor Who always works better during those dark, Winter evenings anyway, so I can’t wait!

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Posted by on May 21, 2013 in Sci Fi, Xmas


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Let The Festivities Begin!

With Christmas just around the corner, the Sock Mistress and I have escaped from our usual habitat to a cottage in the Lake District for the week. I’ve been looking forward to this tremendously over the last month or so and now it’s finally arrived I’ve got that ‘big kid’ feeling that only Christmas can really bring.

During the past week at work there’s been the usual round-the-watercooler type of conversations with colleagues about everyone’s plans for the festive season and (rather pleasingly) I’ve been able to trump them all every time. Most people were bracing themselves for marathon drinking sessions, marathon child-wrestling bouts or just wanted a few days relief from the office. Telling them I’ll be in a small cottage by a lake beneath snow capped hillsides just caused people to turn glassy eyed as they drifted away with the thought of it.

Even in the most remote corners of England, you’re never too far from a decent WiFi signal or a Co Op with reasonable opening times. As such I don’t feel as though civilisation has been abandoned, it’s just been put to one side for now. I have a fridge filled with full-fat milk, local eggs and butter. I have underfloor heating and a bathtub I can stretch out in. I have a Christmas tree in the corner of the room and no particular plans to stick to. That all feels very civilised indeed if you ask me.

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Posted by on December 22, 2012 in Food, Holidays, Outdoors, Travel, Xmas


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Christmas Reading

As Christmas rolls ever nearer and the holiday break readies itself to kick in, I need to set myself a reading list to fill out my down-time (in between all that mince pie eating and merry making). At the moment I’m about 80% of the way through Lee Child’s third Jack Reacher book ‘Tripwire.’ It’s a good story, but brute force and vigilante justice don’t really shout out ‘festive spirit’ to me.

I could re-visit ‘The Silmarillion.’ which I go back to every few years, but having only just seen the ‘Lord of the Rings’ movies I don’t really feel a strong urge to retread the path to Middle Earth just yet. A good biography might be enjoyable and people as different as Sir Roger Moore and Sammy Hagar have life stories that appeal to me. I’ve also had my eye on David Law’s ’22 Days in May’ for a while as well.

I will probably make my third visit to Hogworts this year and download ‘Prisoner of Azkaban.’ I’m also rereading Stephen King’s Dark Tower series for the squillionth time and ‘Song of Suzannah’ is calling to me from some distant level of The Tower. If I go back enough times, one day I believe that final chapter of the final book will end differently…

However, all these rich and fabulous fantasy worlds may end up waiting in line behind some good gruesome fun like Tonia Brown’s ‘Badass Zombie Roadtrip,’ so you never know… What is most unlikely is that I’ll end up reading a book about Christmas at Christmas, although saying that, last year I really enjoyed reading through a Kindle compilation of The Queen’s Christmas speeches. They’re a fascinating thermometer reading of British history across the years.

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Posted by on December 14, 2012 in Books, Xmas


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Surprisingly, to me anyway, I’ve recently been reading the Harry Potter books. I’ve seen all eight movies and enjoyed them, they’re a bit of fantasy fluff to pass the time on a Bank Holiday afternoon. The only exception being the first part of Deathly Hallows, in which nothing happens to progress the story and everything in it is just preamble leading up to the last film.

The books however, have never really appealed to me. As an adult, I can still enjoy children’s books (Moomins, The Hobbit, The Adventures of Major Tom and Oddball) but only in short doses. When the page count clocks in at four digits then I lose interest. As it happens though, the Potter books are free to download to Kindle via the Amazon Prime lending library. This has made it easier for me to justify to myself spending a bit more time in Hogwarts.

I zipped through Philosopher’s Stone in no time and although the imagery in my head is coloured by the movies, I still found it a good read. Now that I’m halfway through Chamber of Secrets I’m finding my reading rate slowing a little. I think I can probably manage another book of this length, but then I’ll need to dip into something totally different in style. Just to add some variety to my reading. It’ll be getting close to Xmas by then, so maybe something festive.

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Posted by on November 28, 2012 in Books, Movies, Sci Fi, Xmas


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