Christmas and we have returned to the UK, albeit hopefully only briefly. A few medical issues (god bless the poor old NHS) to resolve before we continue on our way. Next stop Holland, and then India.
What a great time of year to catch up with family and friends. We started in London, well East Dulwich to be more precise. We still haven't made it into the actual centre of London yet. For anyone not familiar with the UK capital, it is undeniably massive but made manageable by being split up into a multitude of small almost separate towns, each with a high street and a character all of its own. Well, most are peppered with the same big American chains but they still have some individuality
Seeing friends has reminded us how little life changes in the time we spend away. Everyone's children have grown (yeah, I know I shouldn't be surprised at this) and some are now bigger than me (again, I should not find this a shock, being a minute individual). Some technology has advanced: saw a man buying a round of drinks with his phone! But otherwise, life is pretty much as it was when we left two Septembers ago. Traffic is horrendous, the trains are frustrating and it's difficult to get an appointment at the doctor's. Oh yes, and it's very, very busy.
We've so far taken in magnificent Manningtree, fab Farnham and naughty Knutsford, and of course Yarm.
There were 19 of us in Yarm for Christmas dinner, and despite the usual nervous moments on Christmas Eve, the big day was a great success. The Mexican wrestling masks coupled with the latest nerf guns meant it was a little dangerous but lots of fun.
More revelry was had at our annual dinner two days later with some awesome dad dancing and mum moves on the flashing dancefloor of the Cross Keys. We survived the speeches and awards relatively unscathed and it was humbling to remember how lucky we are to have such funny and caring friends, many of whom we've known for over 30 years now! Ouch...
Much of our UK December nights were filled with boozy antics and our days were anything but restful, with lots of friends to catch up with and lots of kids to entertain we were kept busy. It was freezing cold, we’re still trying to acclimatise, but we had lots of sunshine and some good new winter clothes so the crisp and frosty days were filled with fun too. We spent many days at the play park with all the cousins and the Aunties and Uncles.
We had some indoor fun at a great climbing centre at Billingham Forum - of all places - which Jess enjoyed with her biggest cousin Oscar (one of the kids who has outgrown me already) showing her the ropes.
After leaving Yarm, we headed for Cheshire and the lovely town of Knutsford, which is where we plan to settle on our permanent return to the UK. We caught up with all the Dans and the Charlottes and enjoyed some exuberant dancing and table tennis in the basement of the newest of their beautiful homes. All this was packed into two weeks, which by the end of we were pretty much ready for Dry January, but before that we had New Year's Eve and Razor's 40th Birthday to enjoy. And what better a place to celebrate than Holland. After an evacuation at Manchester Airport we hit country number 15 on our trip as we landed in Amsterdam.
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Kelly and Mikey (but mostly Kelly). We sold up in the UK to travel with our two littluns for a year or so. If you want to know more click the about us!