The trip up only took three and a half hours and we were soon settled into our room at the hotel. Needless to say I was soon in trouble. I always look out of the window on Christmas Eve before I go to bed. I don't care if people scoff...it's what I do. All I will say is this, "If I should see a sleigh pulled by reindeer and driven by himself hurtling across the sky...then how jealous others who didn't look, are going to be. I rest my case."
In fairness I've got to admit I've not seen anything in 57 years of wistful looking; but one day you never know. Stranger things have happened.
Anyway, I wasn't in trouble for this; I got into trouble for staying awake until 0230 Christmas morning. The problem was I had the telly on while I was reading my book. The 'Noddy Holder Top 50 Christmas Records Show' was on. It was brilliant with all the best of Christmas records for the last million years or so. I listened to them and watched bits as I read my book. Sadly all this kept waking her up. She would pull the cover over her head and go back to sleep but she kept being disturbed.
Honours were proved even when I eventually switched the telly off and put the book away. I was asleep by 0231 and remained in a coma until I was rudely awakened at 0630 by Linda wishing me Happy Christmas and putting the kettle on.
Honours were further restored when it was discovered that a Xmas stocking full of small gifts was on Linda's side of the bed and alas; nothing on my side. It is ever thus.
Breakfast consisted of the continental variety as the hotel was doing no cooked food for breakfast for two days. We each had the smallest portion of cereal in human history in front of us; followed by a cold and solid croissant; and a rock hard muffin. The bottle of fresh orange was nice though.
It really was the most wonderful Christmas; even if the most tiring.
Christmas day was all we could have wished for and it set the pattern for the next few days. In fact it was like having five Christmas days in a row.
Looking like two 'Santa's little helpers', we left each day with a fresh batch of presents in our arms. We would then visit were we would give and receive presents. A huge Christmas meal would then follow. Surrounding all this was much talking and laughing plus loads of catching up. It was a very busy time but also very rewarding.
We also popped into the cemetery. Fiona had been brilliant as usual and had visited and placed wreaths for my dad, Brian, and for my sister, Susan. The two of them are so central to our family for Christmas so it was good to go there.
I managed to get into work at Farnham for a couple of hours and catch up with everyone. It was good to share in a bit of banter and swap stories with them. Everyone looked great although you could still see signs of the old "Christmas strain" in various eyes. I know they had another busy Christmas up there...they always do.
I always tell people..."Christmas at Farnham Royal Mail is great. The system never breaks; but it does buckle; and everyone works flat out. We were doing the 'extra mile' long before Head Office decided to make it a policy buzz word."
Needless to say, the 'poisoned dwarf' chose to ignore me once again and rushed off as soon as he saw me. I have to say I got a certain comfort from that as I suppose we really have nothing to say to each other. It was so great seeing my old pals again though and that will always make up for it. They were my reason for working there; they are my reason for popping back in when I can.
All to soon the trip was over and we headed back home.
We call it 'The Road to Ruan'. Really its the M3, A303, then the A30, before we turn off to 'Ruan', but it has a certain ring to it. We like the idea of being on the 'Road to Ruan' so whenever we are coming home...that's what its called.
We stopped in Exeter for a meal at 'The Barn Owl' and it was superb. I would recommend going there if you can. Good food; good beer; brilliant. We were home just over an hour later.
The following day became another Christmas day for us. Not only did we have presents to each other under the tree to look at but also all the presents we had brought back with us. Linda bought me a really nice Hybrid pushbike. No excuse now. It looks like I shall have to join her on her trips around the local countryside. More on that in the future.