So the hard work was done and the fun started - I love the build up to Christmas - probably more than the day itself, I love the selecting and purchasing of special presents, seeking out unusual and lovely things for my nearest and dearest and then (tragically) spending hours wrapping them. I even enjoy the food shopping, which I normally loathe and genuinely revel in decorating the house. Ivan (Mr Bicknell) is not a great Christmas fan but I really do appreciate the effort that he makes for me, he always chooses lovely gifts and does his best to be sociable, which is a big deal when all you want to do is disappear and climb something big! This year he had to share his space with lots of people and even gave up his bed Christmas night so that his Mum could have a comfortable nights sleep whilst we slept on thermorests in the oven which is our top room! The build up of Christmas joy at work also warms my heart, the A2 students were all asked by Deborah and Liz to make a Christmas decoration, said items were placed on some tasteful seasonal branches suspended from the ceiling in the main studio - they were all lovely, but what I particularly liked was the shadow they cast on the whiteboard behind - pretty huh?
In a last minute bid of end of term Christmas cheer, Ivan (Mr Bicknell) decided it would be a fine idea to demand some blogging activity from his boys and girls - well, you know what they mean when they say that you can lead a horse to water but you can't make them drink - students will be students won't they, and no matter how much you try to tell them that they will thank you later for building up and being a part of a great living history, they won't believe you until they are long gone! What they will do however, with an astonishing amount of energy is take every opportunity to ridicule and embarrass you if you are daft enough to give them the chance, and oh blimey - he was daft by insisting that I take this pic of him and then posting it on his blog in a kind of we want you bid to blog - you'd think he might have anticipated what was to come wouldn't you........!
The photocopies were everywhere and I mean everywhere!
Next up was our Christmas party which this year happened at the Trooper near Petersfield - we ate pigeon and steak and lashings of ice cream, there was a secret Santa and crackers and everything! http://www.trooperinn.com/
I don't think this is my bad photography, I think it's down to the drunken swaying of the subjects - Paul and Georgie certainly had a fine time! Who needs real Christmas presents when you have comedy eye patches put of your crackers?!
My secret Santa present - mine was Paul who is well-known for being a miserable looking git! He is actually really quite fabulous and I love the fact that he has immortalised himself so wonderfully in a snow globe just for me! Happy holidays Paul. x
And so it was the end of term - HOOOORRRRAAAAYYYY! And straight off to Glastonbury we went. I LOVE Glastonbury Christmases - it is really lovely to spend it with little ones - both of Ivan's (Mr Bicknell's) step sisters have two children and they get so wonderfully excited about the whole occasion. It makes me even more hopeful that the adoption panel say yes to us in May, so that we can start all of our own brilliant family Christmas traditions, the trouble will be though, that Rench and Ness will need to get a bigger house in order to accommodate us all!
Getting stuck into all the unwrapping....
Renchi in disgrace - he got so over-excited (worse than the kids) that he managed to open a whole load of gifts that weren't even for him!
He did get a rather splendid hand painted mug from Lily and Raffy though!
My fab presents - get me - all ethical, cultured and spiritually balanced!
A big event this year was heading over to the Somerset Levels to see the thousands of starlings coming in to roost for the night - my pics don't really do the experience justice, but it was breathtaking seeing the skies fill with the birds and to hear the whoosh of their wings as they travelled over-head.
And so, after feast after feast, we headed back to Worldham, in excited anticipation of meeting our Social worker, Happiness for the first time, yes it was Happiness, but that really is actually her name! The meeting itself seemed to go well and we covered a great deal of ground in the two hours that she was here, goodness it is going to be pretty full-on, but we are ready for the challenge! The biggest challenge so far has been having to get up for an 8 O'clock medical just after Christmas - so not fair - WHY after Christmas - Ivan (Mr Bicknell) got to have his before! Needless to say I didn't look at the scales!