Well, here we are, a mere two weeks from Christmas. Are we all ready for it, dear readers? Have we got the mulled wine on a low simmer, the Christmas pudding clamped into the workbench ready to be chiselled into, the turkey nervously fingering its collar out in the garden?
Although, to be fair, Mr WithaY and I have already made more festive effort than we did over the entire holiday season last year. We have written and posted our cards, bought a Lidl pannetone, discussed what we want for Christmas lunch - we're hovering on "duck" at the moment, but it may well change - and we plan to put the tree up this weekend.
Last Christmas we did almost none of that. No tree, as we weren't in the mood to put it up, very few cards and a festive season spent mostly sniffling and coughing at each other. The aftermath of the SSFH* went on for a very long time, but now we both feel in the appropriate frame of mind to celebrate stuff again. So that's nice.
All it needs this year is the annual Dinotopia-fest and I will feel as though we are back to normal.
Anyway. Hasn't it been cold? I'm well aware that we soft south-western pansies get very little in the way of severe weather compared to those in the frozen wastes up North, but what we do get we make the most of. We had about a week with real snow on the ground, which was very pretty, and then another week or so of ice on top of that, turning the roads into glass. GLASS.
Last Sunday, we thought we might pop over to Salisbury, as I was getting stir crazy from a month of housebound coughing due to the ongoing boring chest infection. The sun was shining, and the snow was melting, and the roads looked fine. Traffic was moving normally on the main road past the house.
Mr WithaY's Landrover has been in fine fettle**, so we hopped in and headed off. As you drive out of our village on the non-main road, there is a sharp bend before you get to the junction with the slightly bigger road. We went into that bend doing about 20mph, maybe less. We started to turn the corner, then we lost it and went sideways on a sheet of black ice, sliding gracefully towards the wall.
Fortunately, there was nothing coming in the opposite direction, and we came to a halt before we hit anything, but it was quite unsettling. We reached the junction, made an executive decision and turned in the opposite direction to Salisbury, opting instead to pay a visit to father in law WithaY at the nursing home.
Our trip to the local hospital was less slidey, but it was still pretty cold and icy out there. I'm glad that they keep X-ray departments so warm. Having to strip down into a saucy open-backed hospital gown for a chest X-ray would have been miserable otherwise. I get the results next week sometime, something nice to look forward to.
The doctor referred me for an X-ray because he was a bit concerned that this is the fourth significant chest infection in two years. He asked me lots of questions about foreign travel. Had I been anywhere exotic recently? Did I do much air travel? Do I have any close friends who have come back from the Far East lately?
Other than the flights to and from Boston this summer, I haven't been on a plane for ages. None of my friends have been anywhere exotic as far as I know. The closest thing to foreign travel is the bus from Waterloo to the office, which sounds like a lively debate at the UN most mornings, I suppose.
Apparently it's my lower right lung that was "rattling" - the same one that was badly infected last time, so I have a feeling it never went away properly. Anyone would think I smoked 60 a day. I have NEVER smoked. Ever. Gah.
So anyway. As my car died, and the roads were too icy anyway, I went for a short stroll the other morning. I took my camera, because the hoar frost was incredible. I wore the hat with ear flaps, in case you were wondering.
It was bloody freezing though, so I didn't go very far before realising I couldn't feel my fingers.
How Christmassy is this, eh? Very, that's how.
I saw some herons and egrets in the river, but by the time my frozen sausage fingers got my camera out, they had buggered off.
Look, there he goes, buggering off.
Now I need a cup of tea. And possibly a crumpet. With butter and jam.
Which reminds me, the ongoing weight loss has stalled a little, probably due to 4 weeks of chest infection and 2 courses of antibiotics. And shitloads of crumpets.
The last lot of antibiotics I was on apparently cause "spontaneous tendon rupture" so I am still half expecting my arms and legs to fall off.
I'll let you know.
*Shit storm from Hades. Yes, I am stilll going on about it.
**Unlike my car which died after three days of the cold, and had to have its battery recharged. I know how it felt, to be honest