We hope you have all had the most delightful of Christmases – we certainly did. And, of course, someone celebrated a “significant” birthday in the week which was equally delightful.
The celebrations began on Sunday morning when our Ben walked through the door – undoubtedly the best birthday surprise anyone could have hoped for. He flew in to the UK on Saturday morning but because of the chaos caused by the weather, his flight was diverted from Heathrow to Manchester. Nick, who was in on the surprise, of course, had started his journey to Heathrow to collect him (we, of course, were up in London enjoying War Horse) but was forced back by the conditions on the motorway, fortunately, and didn’t struggle all the way to the airport. Instead, Ben made his way by train from Manchester to Leamington and then Nick brought him over on Sunday morning. Complete and utter surprise and a delightful one at that.
So, on Wednesday we celebrated Greg’s Gargantuan Birthday. There were many presents and a grand feast in the evening prepared by Byfield’s most famous and well-respected chef, Penny. The dining table was extended to its maximum and we managed to squeeze thirteen around the table; Pete and Sally from next door, Mary and Paul from across the road, Nick and Lucy and Ben, the Waltons (Dave and Sue) and Sue and Stuart from the south coast. Everyone made it through the weather and it was a fabulously delightful occasion.
The menu was extraordinary and even I made a couple of contributions. I choose the wines and made the sorbets and ice cream! The rest of the feast was lovingly prepared by Ms Playchute and we partied well past our bedtime. (Well, partying might be a bit of an exaggeration but the final guests did not leave until about noon the following day so, as far as I can remember, we sure had a wonderful time).
The great thing about my birthday is that it sets you up nicely for the festivities on Christmas Day. Sadly, Ben had to fly back to LA on Friday so we got him delivered to the airport on time and his flight was only delayed by about an hour and a half – luckily he wasn’t trying to fly earlier in the week when Heathrow simply was not coping.
After a leisurely start to Christmas Day, Nick and Lucy arrived (again) and we were joined soon thereafter by Penny’s folks, Beryl and Oz. Another fantastic meal once again, surprisingly, prepared by Ms Playchute (I don’t think I made any contribution to this feast; if so, I certainly can’t remember what it was – how bad is that?). We opened presents and had a lengthy Skype with Adam and Tang in China which was a real treat. A roaring fire in the lounge ensured that almost everyone was snoring contentedly away once we put a film on the television.
A great day and a great week.
All our love to you all,