Friday 2 January 2009


Our few days away have been glorious...and just as a New Year should be. We took the long way round for our drive up to Peterchurch, going through the New Forest, and deciding to cross the Severn by the old bridge so we could head up the Wye Valley. We took the opportunity of stopping at Tintern Abbey - somewhere I'd wanted to go to for years. The boy was as awe-struck as me - there was a real atmosphere there, and if it hadn't been for temperatures that would make the Arctic seem tropical we would have stopped for longer. But I did buy the T-shirt for posterity.

Our gathering was at our wonderful friend's place The Barn, which manages to be both highly contemporary on the inside, yet warm and welcoming at the same time. It is a favourite place to come and relax several times a year. The house was crowdered [sic] with our friend's two lovely daughters, his ex-ish girlfriend and her poppet, Gym instructor, his wife and sons - one currently studying to be a vet in Edinburgh. Gym instructor is an amazingly gentle, fun guy...and his current claim to fame is he is the model for a new range of action dolls to be launched by the MoD. So look out in the shops. His other claim to fame is the need for furnace-like heat. So the house was kept at a constant 35C...oh yes we could all walk around in our bikinis sweating away the pounds whilst outside the frost got thicker and thicker and thicker.

We nearly had the opportunity to go off to the Point to Point in Ledbury, but seriously frozen ground meant that the horse part was cancelled. The human race was still on though (human ankles more disposbale than horse ones?). I thought I might have a crack, but ducked out when I was told it was seven and a half miles and I had no kit. The cold had nothing to do with it. Our host still went, and found himself racing against a very diminutive Richard Hammond, complete with jodhpurs. He was evidently a jolly nice chap.

For NYE, we had added friends from just up the lane, so a very full house indeed and a fine Jamie Oliver designed meal was rounded off by the boy entertaining us on the guitar. I remember thinking whilst listening and watching that I could think of no better place to be in the whole world to be spending my start to 2009. We rounded off with a good toast to to all friends, and some fireworks as near as dammit as good as London's. So no doubt there were a good few shaken sheep around.

As you can see the frost was deep, and the place took on the most magical air. Just what the doctor ordered!

Happy New Year to you all


  1. It looks amazing, jealousy thy name is auntie

    I was at a very boring tennis club do full of very drunk people (I was driving) not brilliant !

    Hope 2009 brings you and the boy much much joy x

  2. Super pictures. My parents house is at 35 degrees C as well. Not so wonderful! Happy New Year to you NB! (Richard Hammond...hmmm...I do so try to and can never quite manage it. Maybe that would change if I met him in the flesh!)

  3. parents'house...Gordon Bennett!...I've got a thing about apostrophes and if I cannot do it........ho hum!


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