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Endings & Beginnings

December 31, 2014

I found the rendezvous for the clay shooting on the Sunday and met all the participants who are a friendly bunch of retired & semi-retired Norfolk country folk. They run a small private shoot on farmland, surprisingly for Norfolk it is set in a small wooded valley. They set up the traps and it was quickly obvious that this was not going to be easy. Each pair of clays was only visible fairly late and very close – basically I couldn’t hit a barn door at 10 yards. Not a good intro after so long since I did any shooting. I must find a simpler layout with some instruction/guidance. This little interlude in a Sunday morning meant we had a very late Sunday roast – June could not remember how to turn the oven on so we started after I got home. It was all very enjoyable though but I need to find a shoot during the week.

Next up the garden shed was delivered and as expected a couple of the panels were too large to go through the garage door or the single door at the side. So when the garden workers arrived a few days later we prevailed on the neighbours and went through their gate and over the fence into our garden. I also had the greenhouse delivered at the same time but that was easy as it is flat-packed. They needed the greenhouse base but I’ll be putting it up later when all else is done & ready.

They set about clearing the space for both shed & greenhouse and laying granite mix to level it all off. This meant several large bags of granite, gravel, sand etc in the driveway and a skip on the front lawn. Our neighbours will really start to wonder about us soon if they haven’t already. It seems overly complex to me to lay a granite mix, then sand, then slabs and then a wooden shed floor – I would have thought a poured concrete slab with the shed bolted to it would have been much simpler. However, it seems that’s the way they do it here.

sheds 007sheds 012

While all this is going on outside June & I started on the Christmas decorations. We spent some time on selecting those we no longer wanted or needed and sent them off to the charity shop along with things like the Christmas tree stand and the automatic tree watering device. We have an artificial tree these days and I have no intention of going back to a real one. This is the first house we have lived in since 1976 that does not have any form of fireplace and it is amazing how many ornaments, stockings, cards etc we used to put round the fireplace. Anyway we coped and the place really started to look like Christmas.

Xmas 005Xmas 006

Christmas Eve was complete anarchy as I have already mentioned with all the deliveries and activity outside completing the shed & greenhouse. We collected the turkey – this time only 5.2 kg but it seemed much smaller so it’s fine. June & I spent much of Christmas Eve baking as usual, making stuffings, sausage rolls, mince pies, brandy butter etc and finally sat down about 7:00pm. We started our Christmas Day in the usual fashion, ham & eggs for breakfast and a bottle of champagne to wash it down and open presents (didn’t take long!). Then our neighbours joined us for hot mince pies and sausage rolls – this event seems to get smaller each year. Anyway the turkey & trimmings were all cooking away nicely and we finally sat down to lunch around 3:00pm in our new dining room – then retired to the lounge totally stuffed.

Boxing Day was equally relaxing with the usual cold turkey dinner, an event that is destined to be repeated a few times before New Year. Unfortunately we have eaten all the Christmas Pudding and we are not buying another one! They use up too much brandy for one thing what with all that flaming performance.

There followed a brief interlude when I had to go to Norwich Hospital on Monday for the follow-up internal examination. Preparation for this meant starvation on Sunday and I must have been the only one starving hungry after three days of Christmas food. The appointment was set for 8:30 am and knowing Norwich traffic and the icy weather forecast, we set off at 7:00 – got there at 7:45. All done and dusted by 10:00 and nothing nasty was discovered, just a couple of tiny polyps sent for biopsy and all else is fine. I do have diverticular disease but it is not serious and probably controllable – there will be a follow-up with the GP when the lab results are in so for now I’m just getting on with it.

One of the pieces of furniture that we wanted was an old-fashioned cocktail cabinet mainly to get the stuff out of the kitchen to make way for food and other luxuries. I searched on eBay and Gumtree and eventually found one I quite liked the look of. It was solid teak from Thailand, hand carved but a bit big. Anyway, long story short we bought it and it was delivered very late(!) on Monday evening. The delivery berks were useless but we got it in eventually (weighs a ton) but June didn’t like it saying it was way too big. I must admit she has a point as we cannot open the doors completely or fold the top back. However, on Tuesday morning I repositioned it a bit, put the dining room back to rights and it’s definitely growing on me. We still can’t open the top fully but the doors work, all the storage is useable and June is starting to like it. Now to fill it up 🙂

cocktail_01

So the year ends and we have done about 50% of the jobs needed on the house, the rest will follow in due course and as finances permit. Our plan is to complete the internal work by March and then we can start on the garden.

Happy New Year to everyone

David & June

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One Comment leave one →
  1. jo Anne permalink
    January 1, 2015 17:05

    A very traditional Christmas I see. We are in Portugal for a month or so then heading to Spain – following in the sun! Happy New Year to you both!

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