Saturday, 10 January 2009

Holiday #3: We all go home

Frosty red berries
It was a great holiday, even though I didn't do enough walking outdoors stuff. Unlike our home, it was warm enough inside to study comfortably despite the subzero temperatures outside, although there wasn't a convenient table in a quiet corner. The crowd, as always, was kind, thoughtful, zany, and fun to be with. We did the usual amount of reminiscing about when we were at university and previous New Year holidays with various personnel changes over the years, and talked about setting up a Facebook group. How times have changed.

Cameron on a high tree stumpAll of us have certainly aged, as you would expect, but for most of the time we don't notice. On occasional events such as this, the changes seem to show up with more clarity. Earlier bedtimes, much less alcohol consumption, fewer snacks, and we used up the leftovers from previous meals rather than starting afresh each day and having to throw away a lot of old food at the end of the week. I made a couple of cracking soups simply by sweeping the contents of the fridge into a saucepan and adding water. I was particularly pleased with the potato, Brussels sprouts, peas, greens and Stilton soup. One of the later meals consisted of soup, salad, a baked Camembert, fruit, malt loaf, chocolate and apricot pudding, and cheese and biscuits.

Clumps of grass and frozen bog with mistAnother characteristic of aging we found is a tendency to talk about the ailments we are currently nursing. Mr A was onto a winner with his high liver enzyme, although he stuck to his alcohol-free regime with surprising ease. Lola II obviously had potential tetanus and a virulent hair disease, Nick had his gate-related injury, I was using my exercise ball seat because of back/leg trouble (it's working a treat, hardly hurts at all now), and Pippa recently had an emergency appendectomy. When we got talking about blood pressure, everyone had a story to tell - Julia's on medication, and Jim wasn't allowed to join a squash club because of his.

In years gone by, in the wild carefree days of our youth, would we ever have imagined sitting around an enormous table on New Year's Eve passing around a blood pressure monitor, comparing readings between individuals and before and after dinner?

Numbers dwindled towards the end of the week. Mr A needed to get back to the office, Joseph had trials for a football team, Mark and Nick were off to visit Mark's mum, the Wells-Bells were also visiting family. By the last night there were only four of us left. After a movie, more cheese and biscuits and a game of Pictionary, we all turned in, and that was the end of our holiday.

The last few holidaymakers

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