Probably the less said about Christmas 2019, the better. We were due to visit my parents in France for about a week staggering Christmas and the New Year. However, having arrived very late (about midnight French time), we were fine but looking forward to a well-deserved sleep … and that’s where the problems started. I (Debra) woke up in the morning of Christmas Eve stiff as a board and my back was ‘killing me’. I spent the day intermittently moping around either sitting in a chair watching TV or lying down on my side in bed. I was dreading waking up the next day, but hoping that by rearranging pillows etc, that my back would be much better – it wasn’t!
Kevin managed to get me downstairs for breakfast using the stair climber and we had the ‘usual’ breakfast of scrambled eggs, smoked salmon, toast and bucks fizz (or in my case predominantly orange juice with just a little ‘champagne’ to provide the fizz). We then all decanted to the living room upstairs, so stair climber again for me and opened cards and the few presents that Kevin and I had brought with us, my parents having announced at the end of November that they weren’t proposing to ‘do presents’ this year as there was nothing that they wanted (despite having asked for something in October/early November that they had seen on eBay) and saying “we didn’t mind, did we?”. As it happened, there was nothing particularly affordable (i.e. only big things that we were buying ourselves anyway) that we wanted either, BUT we had bought them a book about 60 years of the BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that we had bought them at the Cheltenham Literature Festival in October! I had also pestered Kevin to take me to a couple of local ‘Christmas fairs’ at which we had bought a couple of items. We got each other a single book from Amazon but that was it. Merry Christmas everyone …
You’d have thought that nothing else could go wrong, but unfortunately Kevin managed to mis-judge the number of steps between the upper ground floor (our bedroom + lounge) and lower ground floor (main living area + kitchen) of my parents house and sprain his ankle meaning that he was hobbling around and not too sure of his lifting and balance, which is kind of important when he is having to transfer me around. Fortunately, the pharmacy was open on the 26th December and as my mother was going up there, she managed to get a foot brace, which at least helped stabilise Kevin’s foot although the transfers were still caused a bit of consternation for both of us. At this point, we agreed to see if there was a way to shorten our stay and find a suitable ferry sailing to return to the UK early.
Despite the rather muted Christmas day, Boxing Day was much more jolly because an English couple that my parents have known for a few years now (and despite the fact that they had stayed up very late the previous evening) were coming over for late lunch / early dinner and they had got much more into the Christmas spirit – Pixie come Santa outfit for the lady included ! I’m afraid that I got a bit tired over lunch / dinner and departed quite early thereafter to go and have a lie down. This meant that I ended up asleep and didn’t say goodbye to our guests. However, once much revived after my sleep in the evening I logged in to my computer and confirmed that there was an alternative sailing that we could take back to the UK on 27th December. So in the morning of the 27th, Kevin contacted the ferry company and managed to move our booking to the sailing that afternoon (at about 4.30 p.m.) with only a small cost penalty. We contacted the people who were coming in to look after Charlie and let them know that we would be home early and so their services would be foreshortened. I have to admit that I was looking forward to sleeping in our adjustable bed to see if I could sort out my back quickly and Kevin assured me that his ankle had improved enough to drive and so at about 3 p.m. we set off to the port with picnic of various foodstuffs that we had not finished from previous meals. The weather in France for our journey back to the port was horrible – very windy, wet and foggy. However, when we got back to Portsmouth much later that evening the weather was good and we had a clear journey back home to be greeted by Charlie, who had had a wonderful time (judging by the photo evidence below).
Kevin’s family (Mum, Dad & Sister) visited us just after New Year and that was really quite enjoyable and much more usual. We all had lots of presents to exchange with one another and although the dinner was not up to Kevin’s usual high standard (not his fault – the stuffed Goose was rubbish!) I’m afraid I had a quick kip after the early afternoon meal, but managed to make it down for ‘Tea’ where I like almost everyone else wasn’t really up to eating much more. Charlie decided to be a real “star” and made himself very noticeable throughout the day, even rubbing around Kevin’s father (who really doesn’t like cats very much!)