Well, this Christmas story – Hornsea 2013 – was very different to Christmas 2012. Last year Erik and I sat amongst packed cardboard boxes on our own, house stripped bare with only one twiggy Christmas tree type decoration and ate our reduced Christmas dinner on our own. This year, what a difference. This is more a pictorial post than a written one, and the pictures say it all. The picture above shows our new Christmas Tree, decorated and surrounded in copper and brown wrapping paper-wrapped presents for family and friends.
Family No 1 arrived on Christmas Eve, along with 2 children and a ton of their presents. Now take a look at our new little tree, surrounded by a sea of wrapping paper and presents of every shape and size!
Presents strategically deposited around the Christmas Tree, we all settled down for Roast Rib of Beef and Yorkshire Pudding for our evening meal (voted for by the children and courtesy of their parents, Paddy and Nicola). Then when the children went to bed, us older folk prepared for Father Christmas and Rudolf to partake of his treat after he slid down our chimney with his sack of toys. The next morning, look what we found ……
Emily and Archie loved the fact that Santa had left them a replica of himself! A Christmas Breakfast was served, then it was down to the nitty-gritty – the present opening. Apologies to the lady at the Hornsea tip for all our re-cycled wrapping paper and cardboard.
What an array of wonderful presents we all received. It took a couple of hours to really open everyone’s presents – I always enjoy watching everyone else open theirs – I just love the look on their faces as they anticipate and then realise what the present is. But suddenly I find that I am the only one who has a pile of unopened presents at my side, and they all watch me!
But Emily is so busy opening and looking at presents that she is unaware that the Gruffalo is peering over her shoulder!
More and more presents are unwrapped – Nicola loved her hand-knitted scarf, and the ribbon from her parcel ended up decorating her hair. Now that’s recycling! And Archie swapped his commando PJs for his new ‘Santa’s Little Helper’ Jumper.
Meanwhile, preparations for ‘the big meal’ dragged me into the kitchen, so the family tidied up the colourful rubbish into sacks and relaxed, rung family and friends to share Christmas wishes and at 2.45 our Christmas Lunch was ready.
Just in case you wonder why we have two dressers in our dining area, it’s because we hope to build our new garden room in Spring 2014, and the old oak dresser will be transported to the new room, and mixed with modern furniture to create a relaxed dining and sitting room. I’m not sure what Erik and Paddy where doing, but we are all ready to begin eating our starter.
I love this next picture, taken on Boxing Day morning. Archie and Emily sneaked into our bedroom and clambered up on our bed, then Fizzi the dog arrived and all three had a snuggle. Fizz was in heaven, having her favourite little people to play with.
After a hearty breakfast (Cheerios, Yoghurts and Tangerines for the children, Fresh Orange Juice and Bacon and Tomato sandwiches in big, floury bread buns for us adults), we put on our new Christmas clothes and gloves, (Archie’s Emerald and Blue stripey jumper and Emily’s new Pink Furry coat), attached Fizzi to her lead and all headed off for a bracing walk in the sunshine to the beach at Hornsea.
Heavens, I nearly forgot to show you my Christmas Cake. I’m not brilliant at cake decorating, but I must admit I was quite pleased with this one. I had just received my pack of very cheap Snowflake cutters which could also be used as stamps, and when I realised that it was Christmas Eve and I hadn’t iced my cake, I decided to see what I could create quickly with my new purchase. I covered the cake with fondant icing and decided that instead of trimming the edge, I would give it folds, to look like material, then use the Snowflake stamps. I was not unhappy with the result – see for yourself!
Sadly Family No 1 left to head back to Barnsley, and didn’t the house suddenly seem very empty and quiet.
But the next day there had to be a quick turnaround – sheets changed, beds moved, bathrooms wiped and polished, new towels to put out etc, and before we knew it, my sister Gina and husband Peter had joined us and we all waited for Family No 2 to arrive.
Designer Son Ant, wife Amelia and the Twinnies, Bella and Tilly rolled up in their car at about 2.00 pm. But guess who had just fallen asleep in their car seats as they passed Hornsea Mere, entering Hornsea? Well, obviously not Ant and Amelia. So they crept out of the car, and bought in the suitcases, travel cots and presents, but left one phone turned on in the car so that they could here if the girls woke up. We hugged and chatted in the kitchen, all the while peaking out of the small window at the car on our forecourt. Before too long, we heard little voices murmuring, and Mum and Dad ventured outside to unclip their carseat harnesses and brought them into our house.
Half-asleep, the Twins peered around at their strange surroundings, and what to them must have looked very strange people then snuggled their heads back into Mum and Dad’s shoulders. It took them about half-an hour to relax, but when they suddenly realised there was yet another Christmas Tree with what looked like more ‘Presents?’, they emerged from their chrysalis state and just took over the room as only little people can. Before long they were calling for ‘Aunty Gina’ and ‘Uncle Peter’ to help them tear open their chocolates and reindeers and gorgeous rag dolls. They are at that lovely stage of chattering and experimenting with words, so we adults were in stitches, laughing at their antics. It was a lovely afternoon. Gina and Peter had to go home, and by then it was time to put the girls to bed in their travel cots – bless them, they didn’t take long to get to sleep, so Erik and myself cooked a meal for Ant and Amelia and sat round the table catching up with each others’ news.
The next morning was real fun. Ant and Amelia wanted Bacon and Tomato sandwiches, and assured us that the twins would have the same.
So here is a great picture of Tilly on the left and Bella on the right enjoying their Bacon and Tomato sandwiches. I think they finished off with a yoghurt and a tangerine each. They are so cute, and just getting to that really interesting stage, and kept asking where their new friends, Aunty Gina and Uncle Peter were. I was thrilled because this was the first time they had all actually stayed at our Hornsea house, so it was very special. After Breakfast, Ant and Amelia also asked to go for a walk to the beach, so warm clothes were buttoned and zipped up, the giant twin pushchair emerged from the car and we all set off for our walk. It was breezy, but luckily it was sunny yet again, so we enjoyed the fresh air.
The beach was not too crowded, as you can see. The girls made Mum and Dad work very hard swinging them backwards and forwards, but the pebbles made it difficult for little feet to walk over the sand. The air was bracing, and before long the girls were back in the pushchair and we wandered back through the streets to our house. Then it was time for Family No 2 to pack up and go home. Once again, the house seemed so empty and quiet, but Erik and I lit the log-burner, warmed up a mince pie, and collapsed on the settee.
Tiredness apart, now that’s what I call a good Christmas.