Tuesday, 3 January 2006

Back to Work

Finally back to normal following the Christmas break. This year I'd told the clients that I wouldn't be available, which meant relaxing days at home, although I did spend about a day sorting through paperwork. Still need to find another day from somewhere to finish things off.

So, where were we? Well, Christmas was on a Sunday this year, which meant that rather than finishing work on Christmas Eve, I finished on the 23rd. Good to have Christmas Eve at home, and in fact we wandered into Salisbury for a burger, followed by a visit to the cathedral for the Family carol service. Alice seemed to like it and, like last year, it basically just heralded christmas. Off home, complete of course with the excitement of Santa's impending visit. Of course, we tried to get Alice to go to sleep, but....

Eventually, of course, she dropped off and Santa duly arrived with her presents. One of the best aspects of being a parent is when they wake up on Christmas morning - "Hey, you two, Father Christmas has been!" This year Alice got a variety of presents including an MP3 player, a Karaoke game for the Playstation, and a fairy castle of some description. Oh, and a Cinderella dress (more below!). Jacqueline received some headphones for her MP3, plus the Civilization IV game, and I got my weather station (which of course I got back in October).

First time out of the house was the Tuesday, when I took Alice over to Basingstoke to go ice skating. She'd never been before, I hadn't been for fifteen years (and I was only mediocre back then), so all in all a recipe for disaster. But quite enjoyable - I got around the rink once, while Alice was "resting", and Alice overcame her fears sufficiently to at least go half a lap around the rink. holding onto the side all the time. Will we go back there? Well, I would like to but it will all depend on Alice.

Wednesday, Jacqueline was back at work and Alice was booked into the play scheme, so I had the day to catch up on paperwork. Same again on Thursday, my birthday, except that Jacqueline was only working until 2pm. Jacqueline and Alice had only an hour or so at home before we left for Salisbury once again - Jacqueline took us out for a lovely Thai meal (birthday treat), and we went on to Salisbury Playhouse to see the panto - Cinderella.

Excellent time, we all enjoyed it - Alice, of course, was in her dress so loved it. Also, we were close to the front so when they threw sweets etc. we caught a couple. Last year we had seats at the Mayflower, Southampton, and although they offered the best view in the house, Alice was disappointed because we were too far away from the "action". I guess for a play it doesn't matter too much, but for something interactive such as a panto... Still, we learned our lesson this year.

Friday we headed over to West Quay in Southampton. What is normally a half-hour journey took 90 minutes. Did not buy anything in the sales either. Nuff said.

Saturday into Salisbury again, to catch the midday post (VAT return!). Also needed to renew my car tax, a whopping £170 now. A brief trip to nearby Waitrose simply to replenish some stocks, and away home. Stopped off at a DIY place on the way home to get a six-inch-square garden tile, and as a result I finally have a "strategic" fix for the problem with the Rain Collector on the weather station (which kept on blowing over in high winds) - it is now tethered to a brick!!

Quiet day again on New Year's Day - Jacqueline took Alice into Southampton to see The Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe, while I cooked dinner (a maginficent leg of lamb) and played Jacqueline's new Civ IV on the computer. Then yesterday, met up with Simon and co for an exchange of presents and for a nice long walk in the forest, followed by lunch at the High Corner inn.

On the office front, the batteries for both of the UPS units are showing as needing replacing. Not surprising that they have given out at the same time since they were bought at the same time. Plus, the units themselves insist on bleeping periodically just to remind me - very annoying. Have ordered some new batteries, let's hope they arrive sooner rather than later.

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