Santa’s on his way

In a couple of hours, I shall bundle up and brave the roads to attend Midnight Mass. For me, that’s when Christmas starts and it doesn’t feel right to celebrate without remembering the events we’re celebrating. Tomorrow morning we’ll pop down to church for a family service, starting Christmas “right” and then we’ll move onto the portion of the day where we eat food, open presents and watch Doctor Who.

Which is all a way of saying that I possibly won’t be on line again until Boxing Day and I want to wish everyone reading this a very happy Christmas.

{{{hugs}}} to you all.

Sunday must mean more snow…

Well, only another inch or snow and it was the light powdery stuff that fell. Nothing is expected tomorrow so my shopping trip to Oxford may now happen. That’s good because I have to buy my Dad another present – someone at his workplace bought things from his Amazon wishlist but not at Amazon! So I’ve duplicated, damn. He’s got no ideas (grrr) so it’s time to get creative.

The roads are pretty nasty in places. Sadly, they’re particularly bad up near my church and the church is too far to walk. So Mum and I aren’t going to our carol concert, instead we’re going to the church up the road for a “Hogroast and Carols”, whatever that is. Sounds kind of weird. But we want carols, damnit, even if I seem to be getting my cold back so my throat is kinda scratchy. It’ll be fine when it’s limbered up a bit with a good, rousing “Oh Come All Ye Faithful”.

I am so glad that I brought my snow boots with me. They’re definitely needed.

I’m doing a Flickr photoset of my trip and you can see the first few pictures here.

A taster:


I’m appreciating Canadian snow-clearing so much right now

I’m in England! Ra ra!

Mum was not exaggerating about the snow. Wow. The last time I saw this much was in February 2007 and it melted a day later (photos here. This much snow before Christmas is almost unheard of. The clearance is about what I expected (none) and even the motorway had a bit of slush on it. My road is packed snow. The pavements (sidewalks) are choked. Mum didn’t take much convincing to use her walking poles whenever she goes out to make sure that she doesn’t fall.

I’m so pleased to get here, though. Boston was heaving. I assumed that it was just because it was Friday, the last weekend before Christmas, and only found out after I was waiting at my gate about the storm going through the Eastern USA. They were already announcing that Reagan and Dulles were closing at midnight so I understand now why several people were panicking about Washington flights. I think Boston was scheduled to close some time this morning. I’m so glad that I decided to fly yesterday rather than today (it was an option) because I probably wouldn’t have got there.

No wonder the Customs guy in Halifax wanted to know what I’d do if I got stuck in Boston airport πŸ™‚

Logan is fun to fly into. I had no idea that it was so close to the ocean – the runway starts practically on the shore. We made a different approach to Heathrow, which was fun because we went over one of the large London parks and a large stadium that I suspect might be Twickenham. Hee.

It feels both weird and lovely to be at home with the family. My sister came in for a flying visit so we decorated the tree and now I’m just sitting on the familiar old sofa, waiting for Strictly Come Dancing. Mum is promising me award-winning sausages for supper. I’ve missed really good sausages.

I’ll post some photos tomorrow. The neighbours are building an igloo on the green area in front of my house and it looks amazing. We’re promised more snow tonight, but Monday should be clear so Mum and I are hopeful of getting our trip to Oxford. I need to buy Dad a pressie!

I feel really bad for all the people stuck in the Channel Tunnel. South-east England doesn’t normally need ploughs etc, so it’s understandable that things are bad here. The Tunnel problems sound like they could have been prevented. Grr.

And now to watch dancing and eat fine food. This Christmas is going to be fantastic!

Loving the free wi-fi!

I’m doing that thing other people do that always make me jealous: I am posting from my gate at the airport.

It’s the little things that make me happy.

But anyway. I’m at my gate! I’m going to the UK! Via Boston! And US Customs are scary! And I got selected for extra security screening!

I got here insanely early, due to my over preparation habits. My car is staying at a hotel while I’m away, partially so that I can stay there the night I get back (I hate driving the airport highway in the dark and don’t want to risk the weather) and partially so that my drive can be ploughed while I’m gone. So I had to drop the car off and get hotel transport to take me to the airport. It went far smoother than expected, which is why I’m here so early. Ah, well. I know for the future πŸ™‚

Although I’m safely checked in and waiting, I don’t think that I’ll feel happy and relaxed until I’m on my flight to London, mid-Atlantic, and there is no chance that I’ll get stuck in Boston. The Customs guy wanted to know whether I was OK financially to get stuck in the airport there. Comforting.

So, I’m going to work on editing a story and wait for my gate to be called. Eee!

Christmas in England – the truth

So, in a little over a week I fly to England for Christmas, weather permitting. (No storms between here, Boston, and England, please)

The funniest thing about this process is everyone’s impression of Christmas in England. I’m quite happy to say that I lived in the south of England and things are different up north and in Scotland. Everyone that I talk to (even people who have visited the UK) have this strange impression that Christmas where I lived is cold and snowy and pretty, rather like one of the Victorian paintings.


A hundred years ago, probably even sixty years ago, this wasn’t too far from the truth. Now?

Not so much.

Christmas in my little corner of England is usually warm (5C+ – sometimes low teens) and the precipitation we get is in the form of rain. Bright, sunny Christmases aren’t something that I really remember, although I’m sure we’ve had them. They’re usually damp or raining. There’s a lot of mud. Winter in my corner of England might get snow for one day in February, but that’s it. Last year’s snow was such a big deal purely because we don’t normally get weather like that and the country isn’t prepared.

I blame Hollywood.

Seriously, when is the last time you saw a festive movie set in London (it’s always London or the surrounds – never Bognor or Cardiff or York or some other non-South East location) that didn’t have convenient snow on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day? As much as I enjoyed watching the move Holiday at the weekend, I kept cringing from all the exceedingly unlikely snow in Sussex. If it’s a location that people where people can commute to London for work, there is unlikely to be snow on the ground in December.

I am not saying that Christmas isn’t lovely over there. A crisp, cold, bright winter’s morning can’t be beaten and there are a lot of absolutely beautiful places that I’ll be visiting. That Victorian Christmas that everyone is imagining me having, though, is about as probable as a Labour win in the next general election.

I’m thinking that, to counter-act all this crazy talk about beautiful snowy London, I’m going to take a photo journal while I’m away and try to upload to Flickr each evening. Sound good?

I’ve just jinxed it to snow from the moment I land, haven’t I?

Everyone survive New Year?

The good news is that I survived a storm without losing my power. Score!

I thought it was a moderately nasty blizzard, but everyone at work has been remarking on the sheer badness of the blizzard so I’m guessing that it was a monster. Apparently work would definitely have been cancelled yesterday if it hadn’t been a holiday – couldn’t the blizzard have come today instead?

The snow is the light, powdery stuff that the wind keeps picking up and blowing into other places so the roads aren’t particularly clear despite the best efforts of the ploughs. I got to work safely and feel quite impressed with myself because the highway was a monument to insanity, snow and ice. There was this moment as I passed an exit that was particularly snow where the wind picked up and my car was getting slid around all over the place. Yuck! I’d been considering going out at lunch today to buy a new carrier for my cats (they’re too big for the original) but the roads are definitely not good enough to be doing unnecessary driving, especially out here where it doesn’t look like the ploughs even tried.

Tomorrow’s plans to drive down to Mahone Bay are definitely subject to weather and road condition πŸ™‚

New Year was fun. We sat around and watched DVDs. Little Dorrit and Wallander were both excellent. Mum and I got my sister started on knitting yesterday. So far, she’s knitting and purling happily on a test square, although there are a few holes and the square is looking rather triangular. Aw. She just needs some practise. She’s still determined, which is good.

I’m trying to ignore the fact that the parents and my sister go back England on Monday. It’s been great having them here for a while.

Doctor Who review: The Other Doctor


Frantic Christmas, but mostly good

When we finally got there, Christmas was great. The massive power outage on Christmas Eve made things rather tricky (we usually have a fair bit of the meal constructed before Christmas morning) and my uncle turning up three hours early didn’t help, but we got there and it was a fun day. Phew!

We finally got to open presents, and found time to sit down and watch Doctor Who, at around 10pm on Boxing Day. Yes, it was rather busy. The airline was lovely and delivered my sister’s luggage that afternoon despite assuring us that they couldn’t, so we’re currently feeling very grateful to Continental.

Saturday was spent with my aunt and cousin visiting us, which was actually really good fun and possibly the first time that any of us really relaxed for about a week. It’s been a stressful holiday season!

Yesterday started off with a bang – literally! The power transformer outside our house blew up at around 7.45am. So no power, again.

I am *so* over power cuts now.

The guys who came to fix it then blew it up even better at around 9am, creating a bigger bang and a big flash of fire. They then went away to get some more people and some equipment. Power was finally restored at noon so we were able to turn on some heat (because the heat had been turned down for the night) and get showers and hot drinks. Phew! The afternoon was spent in front of the TV with DVDs because we really needed a rest from our holiday.

Work today is insane – can I go home now?

Due to all the craziness and power cuts, this is the first time that I’ve actually been on-line since Christmas Eve. That must be a record for me! I’ll have a DW review as soon as I’ve got ten minutes to actually write it and hopefully everything is going to be plain sailing from now on. I really hope.

And the lights came back!

Believe me, Christmas Eve is not the day that you want a nine hour power cut! Apparently a large part of the province was out, including most of the city, but that somehow doesn’t make it better…

Anyway, I’m still here and I now have lights and heat. The Christmas pud is being constructed ready to be cooked tomorrow, the veggies amongst us are getting up early to prepare their meal tomorrow (as that was one of the things we meant to do today and it had been postponed from an original day of Monday) and we are largely ready.

The one minor technical hitch is that my sister and I have hardly and presents to give. D’oh! They are all in my sister’s luggage (except for my present to her) which might be at the airport now but is unlikely to be reunited with her until after Christmas. Still, she’s here and my cousin is here and it’s nice to have pressies well spaced πŸ™‚

Hopefully tomorrow is going to be great whatever happens because we’ll all be together. I see that the Yuletide archive is due to open in two hours but I may not be awake then πŸ™‚ So I’ll look forward to fictionny presents when I can get a few minutes at the computer. With luck, I’ll be able to get the Doctor Who special tomorrow evening and I’ll be introducing a few family members to it. Heh.

I wish everyone out there a Happy Christmas. Whatever you are celebrating, have a lovely holiday and enjoy being with the people you’re with. That is my Christmas wish this year.

And then we lost the power again…

ETA: And then the power came back five minutes later…

Still here

I lost power yesterday just after lunch, but thankfully just after we established that my sister’s plane had indeed landed in Moncton. Phew! She spent the night safe and warm in my cousin’s house being spoiled rotten and then another cousin is driving down here for Christmas and has found her a seat in his van. So hopefully she’ll be here by the afternoon and her nightmare, fifty hour trip will be over.

The bad news is that her luggage didn’t get on the plane 😦 Apparently the airline has it, knows where it is, and will be trying to reunite her with it ASAP. For now, though, she needs to buy some necessities and we both need to purchase token gifts for the parents because the real gifts were in her suitcase. Da’s comment this morning was that he slept much better last night than he has since he arrived because it feels like things are finally going our way.

The window held, although it was leaking heat like a seive which wasn’t good once the power had gone. Around mid-afternoon the winds started to die down a bit, enough that my parents could get out of the house without being blown over, so they went to the hardware store to pick up some wood to secure the window better. They also went to the store to pick up some groceries including some hot chicken for supper. Yay! Miracle of miracles, just as we’d served up supper for Mum and I and were trying to work out what to do with Da’s cold tofu, the power came back. Hooray! It flickered a lot over the next couple of hours and then steadied. It’s amazing how much better one feels with hot food and hot tea inside and some actual lights.

The window has now been boarded on the inside so we’re not worried about flying glass if the inner pane gives way. Hopefully today we’ll be able to get out and secure it from the outside so that nothing can smash the inner pane. Boarding the window also insulated it better, which we decided was a good thing just in case the power went out again.

The glass that we picked up looks incredibly thin and we suspect that the window wasn’t quite as well-constructed as it should have been. Damn contractor who built the house. Our roof was not the one loosing shingles – it was my neighbour. We replaced our roof in the spring when we discovered that it was very poorly constructed. His house was built by the same contractor and he obviously didn’t replace the roof. Now we’re feeling very grateful for spending the money on a new roof because our neighbour is going to have a nighmare getting that fixed. Plus he’s trying to sell the house!

The adrenaline ran out not long after the power came back and we all kind of flumped. Once we’d got the window boarded and some of the mess cleared up, we decided that we needed a truely daft, escapist movie to unwind with. Cue Star Trek IV! Damn, that move is fun and it reminded me yet again why Bones is my favourite original Trek character πŸ™‚

I’m at work today and the good news is that the office was in fact closed all day yesterday rather than just until noon so I haven’t lost a day of pay. Apparently the power was out most of the day here. There has been ‘discussion’ over the late announcement of the closure on the emergency line – nothing was said about my office until well after most people had started to battle their way in. The window was the only reason that I didn’t come in first thing and a lot of people then had difficulty getting home again due to the storm. Methinks that the decision will be made a bit earlier next time!

To sum up, my sister is going to get here in a few hours, the window is semi-secure, my cousin will be on a flight here this afternoon, we have power and I’ve still got enough time to do the last bits of shopping that I need. Christmas is starting to look more hopeful than it was twenty-four hours ago πŸ™‚

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