Thursday, 31 January 2013

Hula Hoop with Wild Abandon Day!

I don't remember ever being able to do this as a kid and I sure can't do it as an adult!

Bernie came round and we gave it a good attempt with the hula hoops we bought last year - don't ask why we bought hula hoops last year as I have no idea whatsoever.  Maybe it was with the idea of converting it into a new fashion accessory...

The only thing I achieved was nausea until I decided that I could still technically achieve this...with my arm.  It's much easier to successfully hula hoop on your arm and I even graduated to tricks - this is where the wild abandon came in when in the middle of showing off by swapping arms mid hula I caught the edge of the hoop, sent it flying towards the ceiling where it hit the light fitting and came crashing back down over my coffee table and knocking my glass of wine all over the place.

And Bernie discovered she could hula - as long as the hoop was round her neck (and it wasn't a pretty sight trust me).

Some people are just too bloody good at it though - if there were classes locally I'd love to start this up as a new hobby!

LED hooping

Fire hooping

Cirque Du Soleil hooping

And who could forget (and who hasn't tried to) this staggering effort...

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

January Happy Mantra!

January came with a happy Mantra for the month...

I was supposed to be, come rain or shine or snow, the happiest person I know this month - FAIL.

Thinking about it though no-one else has been particularly happy this month either and there
have been some great highlights and moments of merriness so, maybe, I actually have been the happiest person I know albeit more as a result of good luck than good management.

I was supposed to be cosy and make the most of snuggling when it's freezing outside - RESULT. 

Yep, I made the most of my new snuggly thermal hot socks (2.3 tog), my handknitted sofa scarf (for use on the sofa not knitted from sofa material), my fabulous new odd fingerless hand
and arm warmers, my sofa hat (same principle as scarf) and my sofa duvet!

I was supposed to embrace comfort food and the sofa - RESULT.

In fact I literally didn't move from the sofa and the duvet on it (apart from bathroom breaks) for a good proportion of January and while I was there my food choices were pretty much based solely on the level of comfort they could provide!

I was supposed to do everything briskly and with a smile on my face and also do cheeky winks at people a lot - FAIL.

I didn't really do a lot at all so struggled to do anything briskly - and I didn't see many people to be able to wink at them. 
Will attempt some cheeky winking in February...when I'm not pretending to be a ghost or arrange a hit...

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

The Snowman!

On this date (28th Jan) in 1887 in a snowstorm at Fort Keogh, Montana, the world's largest snowflakes were reported, 15 inches (38 cm) wide and 8 inches (20 cm) thick.

Monday, 28 January 2013

Most Nail-Bitingly-Great Thing This Week!

Aha!  I was thinking I might struggle with this one as there's really nothing nail-bitingly-great about the week I've spent feeling pants (as in poorly not literally sat on my sofa feeling someone's pants - that would just be weird and the sort of thing I definitely (well maybe) wouldn't be telling you about).

Until...I heard from my good friend Kevin that he'd had some good news!  Finally he's been offered a well deserved and long overdue permanent contract :-)

So, Kevin, this here post's for you and your nail-bitingly-great news!

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Australia Day!

I thought I'd furnish you with a handy A-Z of Australian slang, I was going to pick just one for each letter but I struggled in places so it's just a random collection of the ones that amused me!
Aerial pingpong : Australian Rules football
Aussie salute : brushing away flies with the hand


Banana bender : a person from Queensland
Bastard : term of endearment
Bingle : motor vehicle accident
Bluey : pack, equipment, traffic ticket, redhead
Bluey : blue cattle dog (named after its subtle markings) which is an excellent working dog. Everyone's favourite all-Aussie dog.
Bluey : heavy wool or felt jacket worn by mining and construction workers.
Bluey : bluebottle jellyfish
Bodgy : of inferior quality
Bog in : commence eating, to attack food with enthusiasm
Bogan : person who takes little pride in his appearance, spends his days slacking and drinking beer
Bored shitless : very bored
Bottling, his blood's worth : he's an excellent, helpful bloke.


Cactus : dead, not functioning ("this bloody washing machine is cactus")
Cat burying shit, as busy as a : busy
Cobber : friend
Cook (noun) : One's wife
Crack a fat : get an erection
Cut lunch : sandwiches
Cut lunch commando : army reservist
Cut snake, mad as a : very angry


Dag : a funny person, nerd, goof
Daks : trousers
Date : arse[hole] ("get off your fat date")
Dead dingo's donger, as dry as a : dry
Dead horse : Tomato sauce
Dill : an idiot
Dingo's breakfast : a yawn, a leak and a good look round (i.e. no breakfast)
Dinky-di : the real thing, genuine
Divvy van : Police vehicle used for transporting criminals. Named after the protective 'division' between the driver and the villains.
Donger : penis
Doodle : penis
Doovalacky : used whenever you can't remember what something is called. Thingummyjig, whatsit.

Esky : large insulated food/drink container for picnics, barbecues etc.
Exy : expensive

Fair suck of the sav! : exclamation of wonder, awe, disbelief (see also "sav")
Figjam : "F*ck I'm good; just ask me". Nickname for people who have a high opinion of themselves.
Fossick : search, rummage ("fossicking through the kitchen drawers")
Franger : condom
Freckle : anus
Furphy : false or unreliable rumour

GAFA (pron. gaffa) : the big nothingness of the Australian Outback. Great Australian F**k All.
Galah : fool, silly person. Named after the bird of the same name because of its antics and the noise it makes.


Holy dooley! : an exclamation of surprise = "Good heavens!", "My goodness!" "Good grief!" or similar
Hoon : hooligan
Hooroo : goodbye

Icy pole, ice block : popsicle, lollypop

Jackaroo : a male trainee station manager or station hand (a station is a big farm/grazing property)
Jillaroo : a female trainee station manager or station hand
Jumbuck : sheep

Kangaroos loose in the top paddock : Intellectually inadequate ("he's got kangaroos loose in the top paddock")


Larrikin : a bloke who is always enjoying himself, harmless prankster
Liquid laugh : vomit
Lunch, who opened their? : OK, who farted?

Mappa Tassie : map of Tasmania - a woman's pubic area
Milk bar : corner shop that sells takeaway food
Mystery bag : a sausage

Naughty, have a : have sex
Never Never : the Outback, centre of Australia
Nun's nasty, as dry as a : dry
Nut out : hammer out or work out (an agreement, say)

Ocker : an unsophisticated person


Piker : Someone who doesn't want to fit in with others socially, leaves parties early
Pom, pommy, pommie : an Englishman • See the complaint about "Pom" etc.
Pommy bastard : an Englishman (see also 'bastard')
Pommy shower : using deodorant instead of taking a shower
Pommy's towel, as dry as a : very dry - based on the canard that Poms bathe about once a month
Quid, make a : earn a living - "are you making a quid?"
Quid, not the full : of low IQ. [Historical note: 'quid' is slang for a pound. £1 became $2 when Australia converted to decimal currency]

Raw prawn, to come the : to bullshit, to be generally disagreeable
Ridgy-didge : original, genuine
Root (verb and noun) : synonym for f*ck in nearly all its senses: "I feel rooted"; "this washing machine is rooted"; "(s)he's a good root". A very useful word in fairly polite company.
Root rat : somebody who is constantly looking for sex.
Ropeable : very angry
Rort (verb or noun) : Cheating, fiddling, defrauding (expenses, the system etc.). Usually used of politicians

Shark biscuit : somebody new to surfing
Sheepshagger : A New Zealander
Sheila : a woman
Shit house (adj.) : of poor quality, unenjoyable ("this car is shit house", "the movie was shit house")
Shit house (noun) : toilet, lavatory
Shonky : dubious, underhanded. E.g. a shonky practice, shonky business etc.
Spunk : a good looking person (of either sex)
Squizz (noun) : look - "take a squizz at this"

Tall poppies : successful people
Tall poppy syndrome : the tendency to criticize successful people
Technicolor yawn : vomit
Tinny : can of beer
Tinny : small aluminium boat
Tinny, tin-arsed : lucky
Troppo, gone : to have escaped to a state of tropical madness; to have lost the veneer of civilisation after spending too long in the tropics.
Trough lolly : the solid piece of perfumed disinfectant in a men's urinal

Ugg boots : Australian sheepskin boots worn by surfers since at least the 1960s to keep warm while out of the water. Also worn by airmen during WW1 and WW2 because of the need to maintain warmth in non-pressurized planes at high altitudes.
Ugh : ugly. hence Ugg boots
Useful as an ashtray on a motorbike / tits on a bull : unhelpful or incompetent person or thing - "he, she or it is about as useful as tits on a bull" etc. etc.

Vinnie's : St. Vincent De Paul's (charity thrift stores and hostels)

Whacker, whacka : Idiot; somebody who talks drivel; somebody with whom you have little patience; a dickhead
Wog : flu or trivial illness
Woop Woop : invented name for any small unimportant town - "he lives in Woop Woop"

XXXX : pronounced Four X, brand of beer made in Queensland

Yakka : work (noun)

Zack : sixpence (5 cents) - "it isn't worth a zack", "he hasn't got a zack"

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Burns Night

I really wanted to do a 'Burn's Supper' for this one but after being with one thing after another since Christmas I'm woefullly unprepared for any type of 'day' that requires ingredients/decorations/fancy dress/ or a combination of all!

However, according to Wikipedia in principle the supper can be held at any time throughout the year - or I may wait til next year and do it properly!

But here's a little something from a traditional Burn's Supper...

Address To a Haggis
Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o' the puddin-race!
Aboon them a' ye tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye wordy o' a grace
As lang's my arm.
(sonsie = jolly/cheerful)

(aboon = above)
(painch = paunch/stomach, thairm = intestine)
The groaning trencher there ye fill,
Your hurdies like a distant hill,
Your pin wad help to mend a mill
In time o' need,
While thro' your pores the dews distil
Like amber bead.

(hurdies = buttocks)
His knife see rustic Labour dicht,
An' cut you up wi' ready slicht,
Trenching your gushing entrails bricht,
Like ony ditch;
And then, O what a glorious sicht,
Warm-reekin, rich!
(dicht = wipe, here with the idea of sharpening)
(slicht = skill)

(reeking = steaming)
Then, horn for horn, they stretch an' strive:
Deil tak the hindmaist! on they drive,
Till a' their weel-swall'd kytes belyve,
Are bent like drums;
Then auld Guidman, maist like to rive,
"Bethankit" hums.

(deil = devil)
(swall'd = swollen, kytes = bellies, belyve = soon)
(bent like = tight as)
(auld Guidman = the man of the house, rive = tear, i.e. burst)
Is there that o're his French ragout
Or olio that wad staw a sow,
Or fricassee wad mak her spew
Wi' perfect scunner,
Looks down wi' sneering, scornfu' view
On sic a dinner?

(olio = stew, from Spanish olla'/stew pot, staw = make sick)
(scunner = disgust)
Poor devil! see him ower his trash,
As feckless as a wither'd rash,
His spindle shank, a guid whip-lash,
His nieve a nit;
Thro' bloody flood or field to dash,
O how unfit!

(nieve = fist, nit = louse's egg, i.e. tiny)
But mark the Rustic, haggis fed,
The trembling earth resounds his tread.
Clap in his wallie nieve a blade,
He'll mak it whistle;
An' legs an' arms, an' heads will sned,
Like taps o' thristle.

(wallie = mighty, nieve = fist)

(sned = cut off)
(thristle = thistle)
Ye Pow'rs wha mak mankind your care,
And dish them out their bill o' fare,
Auld Scotland wants nae skinkin ware
That jaups in luggies;
But, if ye wish her gratefu' prayer,
Gie her a haggis!

(skinkin ware = watery soup)
(jaups = slops about, luggies = two-"eared" (handled)
continental bowls)
At the line His knife see rustic Labour dicht the speaker normally draws and cleans a knife, and at the line An' cut you up wi' ready slicht, plunges it into the haggis and cuts it open from end to end. When done properly this "ceremony" is a highlight of the evening.

As it's also Australia day the following day I was planning to somehow introduce Australian elements to the evening although I hadn't actually got as far as planning how on earth I'd manage this - thankfully I now have a year to plan it!

Friday, 25 January 2013

Start a New Hobby Day!

I think I could conceivably call work a new hobby this week having finally returned today!  Sucking menthol sweets to help relieve the ongoing pressure behind my eardrums has also become a new favourite pastime.

Other than that I have nothing to declare!

I am hoping to (this is the second year running I've said this) get around to the new hobby which Catherine thoughtfully provided on the first ever 'Start A New Hobby Day' back in 2011 within the next few months and will post any progress!

I'm also considering taking up tap dancing later in the year - perhaps there'll be something for 'Showcase a New Dance Move' there!

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Pamper Yourself Day!

Does the fact that I finally felt able to have a shower today (after 4 days of wallowing in my pjs on the sofa - disgusting I know) count as pampering myself?  It certainly felt good to be clean and fresh again and hopefully it's a sign that I'm on the mend.

Today's 'day' also reminded me that I have a gift voucher for a 60 minute Thai massage which I still need to book and that Bernie and I also need to sort out the Spa experience Pops and Olive got her for Christmas (I'm going as her guest).

So, looks like there'll be a 'Pamper Yourself Day' 2 and 3 to look forward to at some point this year!

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Snow Day!

Apart from the fact that I'd rather be sick to my stomach than have earache (and having someone breaking up concrete with a pneumatic drill opposite your front door while you're trying to rest and ignore the fact that you want to reach in and gouge your eardrum out with your fingers doesn't help) my throat and ear infection have also prevented me from making the most of the proper snow we've had :-(

I did stick my head out of the bedroom window briefly, after 3 days without any fresh air it was lovely but it also made my earache worse so it seemed wiser to just look at it from the warmth and safety of inside.

It also meant I couldn't get any photos, and I love taking photos of the snow - usually on my way to and from work.  So I'm re-posting some photos from previous occassions in the hope that I'll get the opportunity to take some more when I'm better!

These 3 were taken from the garden at Pops and Olive's
This is the attempt Bernie and I made at a snowman!
And this is one of my favourites from the walk to work a couple of years ago - always reminds of the back of the wardrobe where Narnia is lit in the snow by a lampost! 
And then I heard about this...For Sale - 12' x 8' Igloo on The Stray In Harrogate, current bid (as I write) is £92!

Monday, 21 January 2013

DVD Marathon Weekend

Totally unplanned but, as the nasty ear infection and throat virus I have made me feel like someone had shoved an ice pick through my ear and down into my throat all weekend and the antibiotics made me feel dizzy and sick, I spent the majority of my time on the sofa watching films.

1) Dorian Gray (while it was still light and I wouldn't scare myself)
2) The Book of Eli

(at this point I decided to switch to films that didn't require an awful lot of concentration - so I could divide my focus between the tv and the desire to bang my head against the wall to stop the burning pain in my ear...)

3) Rush Hour (love these films)
4) Rush Hour 2
5) Rush Hour 3
6) The Mummy
7) The Mummy Returns
8) The Scorpion King
9) National Treasure
10) National Treasure 2
11) Four Weddings and a Funeral
12) The Tourist

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Most Happy Thing This Week!

Right now as I write this...this would definitely not be me.

The boiler I've been raising concerns about with my landlord (for the last 2 years) packed in yesterday and I'm sat in my painfully cold flat waiting to see if my landlord's plumber turns up at all today.  Oh, and I have a virus in my throat and an infection in my ear and have just been put on antibiotics and told to keep warm!

However, there have been happy things this week :-)

Monday was happy when Nikki and Bernie came round for the unveiling of our 'Sister Shoot' photos. Here are just a couple of my favourites (I don't know whether it's the cold or just a glitch of some sort but Blogger is definitely not cooperating when it comes to uploading photos, there are only so many hours in the day so I've gone for a maximum of 4 photos!).

In the process of trying to get the disk of photos to work we had to try a dvd in the disk drive, the one Bernie picked up happened to be my wedding video (which I haven't watched for years!).  Anyway much to my cringing horror they insisted on watching it, in my defense I pointed out to Nikki that the only reason I have a copy is because people die in it.  She was rather taken aback by this until Bernie pointed out that people don't actually die during my wedding while I tried to explain that what I meant was that people in the video have since passed away and it's good to have them captured on video!


In other happy news...

One of this week's word of the day made me giggle (largely because it was good to have a name for the state I frequently feel I'm in)...

adj - Of or relating to the partially conscious state that precedes complete awakening from sleep.

Seeing Les Miserables at the cinema was also a happy thing - despite the fact that I cried most of the way through it!  Absolutely fantastic and thoroughly enjoyed it :-)

And now, several hours after starting this post, my boiler is fixed!!

So, right now as I write this...this may well be me, lurgy and all!


Saturday, 19 January 2013

Look on the Bright Side Day!

look on the bright side
          Fig. consider the positive aspects of a negative situation. Look on the bright side. Things could have been much worse than they are.
I thought I'd stay away from the usual 'Always Look on the Bright Side of Life' post (although you may regret it)!

Instead I found this, a band called 'The Bright Side Band' performing 'There's a Bright Side Somewhere'. 

And this (which I much prefer!), The Brightside Band promo video.  This is a totally different Brightside Band (previously known as The Geoff Lai Special) , they're a hugely popular party band consisting of four fun loving, young, skilled, musicians with a vast wealth of experience behind them.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Start Your Best-Selling Novel Day!

(if possible reclined on a chaise-longue dictacting to assistant)

Here it is!

Last year's wasn't exactly a sell-out success but I'm hopeful that this years will at least have more pages!

Unfortunately, having neither chaise-longue or assistant, I'll be writing it all myself - of course I'll be calling on (dragging kicking and screaming) various 'lucky' people to assist with many of my 'adventures'!

Um, happy reading?

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Send a Letter Day!

Ok, it wasn't a letter (it was a card)...

...and I didn't send it (Bernie dropped it off at the post box due to my incapacitation (no, not self inflicted!))

So I'm not really sure whether I've achieved this one or not!

Writing this post has just reminded me of this though...

(I'm sorry.)

It's also reminded me of the film The Postman (which I actually quite enjoyed)...

The year is 2013, there is no order, no peace, those who survive are few, all that connects them is a memory from the past, and a man, who will keep it alive...

Then of course there's 'Going Postal' which in American English slang, means becoming extremely and uncontrollably angry, often to the point of violence, and usually in a post office or other workplace environment. The expression derives from a series of incidents from 1983 onward in which United States Postal Service (USPS) workers shot and killed managers, fellow workers, and members of the police or general public in acts of mass murder. Between 1986 and 1997, more than forty people were gunned down by spree killers in at least twenty incidents of workplace rage.

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Most 'Don't-Make-Me-Do-That' Thing This Week!

That's definitely an easy one this week!

The return to work after a couple of weeks (19 days to be precise) off was always going to be traumatic, the fact that Boss was visiting helped though.  As did the victoria sponge I made to ease the transition :-)

Friday, 11 January 2013

Break a Resolution Day!

Ha! I didn't make one, I've only ever kept one (to give blood) and I agree with John and Anais!

Never tell your resolution beforehand, or it's twice as onerous a duty. ~John Selden

I made no resolutions for the New Year. The habit of making plans, of criticizing, sanctioning and molding my life, is too much of a daily event for me. ~Anaïs Nin

So, instead of telling you all about the resolutions I would have already broken had I made them I thought I'd share some of the other quotes I found (Mr Twain in particular seems to have had quite a bit to say on the subject!)

Many people look forward to the new year for a new start on old habits. ~Author Unknown

A New Year's resolution is something that goes in one year and out the other. ~Author Unknown

New Year's Day: Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual. ~Mark Twain

Yesterday, everybody smoked his last cigar, took his last drink and swore his last oath. Today, we are a pious and exemplary community. Thirty days from now, we shall have cast our reformation to the winds and gone to cutting our ancient shortcomings considerably shorter than ever. ~Mark Twain

A new oath holds pretty well; but... when it is become old, and frayed out, and damaged by a dozen annual retryings of its remains, it ceases to be serviceable; any little strain will snap it. ~Mark Twain, speech in New York City, 31 March 1885
Good resolutions are simply checks that men draw on a bank where they have no account. ~Oscar Wilde

I do think New Year's resolutions can't technically be expected to begin on New Year's Day, don't you? Since, because it's an extension of New Year's Eve, smokers are already on a smoking roll and cannot be expected to stop abruptly on the stroke of midnight with so much nicotine in the system. Also dieting on New Year's Day isn't a good idea as you can't eat rationally but really need to be free to consume whatever is necessary, moment by moment, in order to ease your hangover. I think it would be much more sensible if resolutions began generally on January the second. ~Helen Fielding, Bridget Jones's Diary

New Year's Eve, where auld acquaintance be forgot. Unless, of course, those tests come back positive. ~Jay Leno

May all your troubles last as long as your New Year's resolutions. ~Joey Adams

He who breaks a resolution is a weakling;
He who makes one is a fool.
~F.M. Knowles

The only way to spend New Year's Eve is either quietly with friends or in a brothel. Otherwise when the evening ends and people pair off, someone is bound to be left in tears. ~W.H. Auden

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Pootle About Day!

Verb: pootle poo-t(u)l
Usage: Brit

1.Move in a leisurely unhurried way
"I don't often get the chance to pootle around country lanes on a Sunday morning"

Derived forms: pootled, pootling, pootles
Encyclopedia: Pootle

Pootle was also the youngest member of the Flump family. He often got things confused and he sometimes wore a white hat (both of which can also be said about me).

Well I suppose you could say I pootled to work in the morning, it was certainly more leisurely than the previous morning when I was attempting the 25 minute walk balancing my bag, laptop, towels, various post holiday bits and pieces for the office and a large cake!

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Powerballad Day!

It was my first day back at work so wasn't the best timing, I did my best though and played plenty of powerballads (every Richard Marx song on my ipod) in my office.

Just be grateful it wasn't also karaoke day.

Today would have been a good day to have watched 'Rock of Ages' though (I really don't know why but I did find Mr Cruise disturbingly attractive in this film).

Monday, 7 January 2013

Resurrect an Old Joke Day!

As it's a resurrection I'm including some favourites from previous posts...

Mine (from the 50 funniest jokes website)
I went down the local supermarket, I said, ''I want to make a complaint, this vinegar's got lumps in it'', they said, "Those are pickled onions Sir'' 
Sophie's (a bit of classic Tommy Cooper)
"Apparently, 1 in 5 people in the world are Chinese. And there are 5 people in my family, so it must be one of them. It's either my mum or my dad. Or my older brother Colin. Or my younger brother Ho-Chan-Chu. But I think it's Colin."
Q. Why are all dumb blond jokes oneliners?
A. So men can understand them.
Webby's (obviously a firm favourite as it's the same one he suggested for this year!)
A horse walks in to a bar.......................(he didn't finish it so here's the ending for anyone not familiar with it - and the barman asks "Why the long face?")
This year's selection includes..

The offering from my New Year's Eve cracker

          Q. What do you get if you cross a pig and a centipede?
          A. Bacon and legs

One of my favourites

         Q. What's pink and fluffy?
         A. Pink fluff

And I liked Jess's offering

         2 fish in a said to the other I hope you know how to drive this thing

How good is this though?!  I thought I'd do some research and I came across the world's oldest joke book which was resurrected by Jim Bowen (of Bullseye fame) in 2008!

The 1,500 year old book was translated from Greek by William Berg, an American professor of classics.  The 265 jokes (attributed to a pair of Greek jokers called Hierocles and Philagrius) have been published as an e-book and even contain an ancient version of the Monty Python’s famous dead parrot sketch.

If you'd like to see an example of 1,500 year old humour see below!

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Must Remember Stuff for This Week!


'The spreadsheet which runs my life' is in disarray, I just transferred everything that remained outstanding from last year into this years and haven't got around to sorting through or prioritising it.

As a result it's entirely likely that most, if not all, of the things I should have remembered to do this week have remained undone and are currently sitting in the 'copy and paste' wasteland of late February!

I did remember to get theatre tickets for Pops and Olive, go for a 'sisters' photo shoot (with Bernie obviously) by Nikki, lunch with Keith, coffee with Anna, mulled wine with Rachel, do my shopping (although that was more through good luck than good management), cook dinner for Kevin and Ray and take my Christmas decorations down so I guess I am capable (in a fashion) of functioning without having to commit everything to Excel! 

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Happy New Year!

Despite the fact that it was only the 3rd year I've spent the New Year with Kevin, Ray and Ken it feels so enshrined in tradition that I can't believe I ever spent a New Year's Eve anywhere else!

Kevin did a fantastic job of the table again, with full place settings, festive decorations and crackers, centrepiece, (made by my own fair hand last year!) menus, hats and fancily folded napkins!

And there was an extra surprise as we went to take our seats, Kevin had snuck in some festive treats for each place setting after I'd taken my photos!
The food was absolutely superb as usual, the gravy deserves a special mention in its own right (hours and hours and hours in the making - and worth it!) and I must remember to get Ray's pate recipe from him!
I was actually rather pleased that I couldn't get hold of the usual toppings to decorate the top of my Cointreau Layer Cake dessert - I used tiny soft orange flavoured balls and white chocolate shavings instead.
The Chef!
Dinner started with our little Royal challenge, we all got a prize for guessing our characters correctly (even Ray who actually got it wrong!), luckily there was also a prize for the runner up of the Christmas quiz later in the evening - I came a very close second!
Highlights of the quiz for me were...
Quizmaster Kevin - "What led the wise men to the stable?"
Ray - "Hunger"
Ken (almost simultaneously) - "The golden arches"
Quizmaster Kevin - "Which direction did the 3 wise men come from?"
Ray - "One Direction" (I think he's a secret fan)
And Ray's answer to which reindeer names were missing from the list Kevin read out...
"Knickers and Knackers"
I kid you not!
In addition to all these surprises Ken and I also recieved New Year's gifts, I was thrilled when I opened mine, I haven't introduced the cats to Sir Harvey yet as I've promised Ray that I'll wait til he's here on Saturday!
And Ken's gift?
Awesome! (although I don't think he was quite so thrilled!)
I did the reading of The Passing of the Year by Robert Service just before midnight and then we all linked hands and sang Auld Lang Syne (well Kevin and I sang it, Ray and Ken managed the first verse (I think) and then made the rest up!) after which Kevin and I proved exactly why intoxicated adults shouldn't attempt the Macarena!
A fantastic night and the perfect place to be and people to be with to say goodbye to the old year and welcome the new!
(Thankfully the diary days this week are few and simple allowing for plenty of recovery time before launching into any strenuous activities)
Oh, and I forgot to include these in yesterday's year end blog facts...
Most Used Search Keywords
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