Sunday, 24 December 2017

Christmas in the UK!

Peaches, Nicci & myself crossing the Thames.

I arrived pre-dawn on 19th December to a frosty & cold Heathrow Airport. I quickly jumped in a cab to Nicci's house in Ewell. Everyone was there apart from Justin, who was at work. Nicci, Peaches & I traveled into central London & we enjoyed a wander around Covent Garden, before a lovely lunch at a local restaurant.

Covent Garden.

Lunch at a Covent Garden restaurant.

A Christmas Tree made
 of ballet shoes!

The stage is ready!

The magnificent surroundings.

River Thames at night.

On the South Bank.

Then it was time for the main event, the afternoon performance of The Nutcracker Suite at The Colosseum Theater. It did not disappoint, the performance was magnificent. We spilled out into the dark London streets & walked slowly across the bridge to Waterloo Station. The place was a hive of activity & Christmas lights were out in force.

A hybrid Santa & Jedi Knight!

A more sedate Peaches.

Nicci with her glitter ball!

In a galaxy, far, far away!

On 21st December we all went to Epsom to see the latest Star Wars movie: The Last Jedi. Everyone had a great time, although it was very late getting the kids to bed.

In the park.

The next day I took Peaches & Gabe to the local park, where we enjoyed a bike ride & playing around. 
Travelling Santas!
No Reindeers, just a train!

Ceggy, myself & Rowan in Ilkley.

Karen in Doha Airport.

Traveled up to Ilkley on 23rd in company with these likely lads! Getting across London was mad as was the packed train journey. Rowan was there to meet me & we enjoyed a quiet night in catching up on each others news. Meanwhile Karen was flying from Doha to Manchester. She is looking a little tired as only got two hours sleep!


A nice little town.

Jacqui, Tom, Ceggy & Morag.

Jacqui, Tom & Rowan.


The next day I met up with Tom in a local pub, & we had a great time catching up & planning our forthcoming trip to Namibia.

Merry Christmas everyone.

Ceggy & Rowan

Guess what I got
 for Christmas!

Look carefully to spot
 the difference!

Look again!

Last time!

A view across the town.

Morag & Rowan

Father & daughter

Yorkshire Christmas lunch.

It is Christmas Day! It is presents time! Everyone up early & we sat around the lounge together.

Meanwhile over in Abu Dhabi!

Raha, Reem & Ahmed.

Clare's house, complete with
Ahmed's feet!

Christmas past: my late wife Carol 
on the beach in Abu Dhabi.

It is amazing how time flies by. I remember this photo very well indeed. I still can't believe how my life has changed over the last few years. I came across this poem which sums up my feelings very well:
And if I go, while you're still here... Know that I live on, vibrating to a different measure, behind a thin veil you cannot see through. You will not see me, so you must have faith. I wait for the time when we can soar together again, both aware of each other. Until then, live your life to the fullest. And when you need me, just whisper my name in your heart... I will be there

Colleen Hitchcok 1989.


Ryan & Angie on the beach.

Also in Abu Dhabi, Ryan & Angie have just returned from their honeymoon in Thailand. It is Christmas Dinner of the beach for these guys!

A very early morning in 
South Golden Beach!

Presents on Christmas morning.


Johnny & Toni, relaxing!

I did say it was relaxed
 down under didn't I?

Meanwhile in Toni's house down under!

Gabe & Peaches on Christmas morning.

Look what I got for Christmas!



The Manly's at Christmas!

Some people just don't make
 an effort do they?

Sue & Bertie.

Peter & Bertie

Getting ready for the main event!

Getting a bit quieter now!

Petty chilled!

Back in Ewell at Nicci & Justin's house!


River Wharfe

This river almost goes through 
the centre of the town.

As you walk higher the views get better.

It was late afternoon.

It was so cold I was wearing two jackets!

Boxing Day is traditionally my favorite day of the holidays. When I was a child in Yorkshire, it was the day I could escape the house & going walking/birding on Thorne Moors in South Yorkshire. Whatever the weather I was always out there! In more recent years I have usually been in the desert but today I was back in Yorkshire! Rowan still wasn't feeling well, so she stayed home but the rest of us had a short walk up to the moors. It was a very cold day but we all enjoyed the outing.

Steve, Two jackets James!

Ilkley Moor

My face was frozen into this grin!

On 27th December Rowan was still feeling poorly, so I left her indoors & headed for the moors. It was a bitterly cold day, but great light in the early afternoon. I walked to the top of the hills & then back via the Wishing Well Cafe which was open & I had my first mug of Oxo for twenty five years! It was delicious!

Heavy snow fall just after I left!

I left mid morning on 28th December & had an uneventful train ride back to Ewell. The very next day this happened in Ilkley!

The gathering!

Nicci & myself.

Justin had his hair done 
specially for the day!

Meanwhile back in Abu Dhabi 
Clare was at a winter festival!

The afternoon of 31st December was spent having a lovely dinner with Nicci & Justin's friends in a gastro-pub on the edge of Epsom Downs. The New Year was seen in at home. Welcome 2018.