I'd almost forgotten what it's like in the UK at this time of year. On the rare occasions I've been here for Christmas I have arrived just before the big event and missed the run-up to it.
I don't really like all the commercialism that goes with Christmas. The shops full of things that people feel they must buy but can't really afford. I'm no exception..I've been caught up in the spending frenzy too. I can't really tell you where all the money has gone, but it's disappearing rapidly like water down a drain.
I have had to buy certain things for myself. I threw away my 37 year old boots and replaced them with some decent leather ones. The only other footwear I had with me were ankle length walking boots, and having been caught in several downpours during the past week, these have suffered the same fate. Not wanting to allow the rain to ruin my new leather boots, yesterday I bought some short nylon fabric boots, which were very cheap. They will of course get wet, but they will dry out very quickly.
The old ankle boots were 12 years old. It made me stop and think about how rarely I buy clothes and shoes these days. I never wear dresses. There's not much call for dressing up in our village! The last coat I bought was also 12 years ago. I found a coat in Sainsbury's of all places which was originally £45 but had been reduced to half price. I also had a £6 voucher so I now have a new coat. No doubt this will last for another 12 years or so.
There have been some memorable moments over the past couple of weeks. We visited Billy's nursery school one afternoon, on a day when it was very cold and the frost looked like a gentle sprinkling of snow. We all gathered around the Christmas tree outside and the children sang christmas songs. It was just beautiful.
Billy and I had a day out in Windsor on Wednesday. We caught the bus and browsed the shops so that he could choose presents for his mummy, daddy and Jimi. He absolutely loved it and he chose very well. He particularly liked the fact that every shop we visited gave him a chocolate or sweet! He chose where we should have lunch....not surprisingly Pizza Hut...his favourite. And he slept on the bus all the way home. He is such good company and it was a real pleasure to spend this day with him.
Jimi is sleeping a little better at night these days, but he is a bundle of frantic energy. I really don't know how my daughter copes with him. He can be so naughty at times, but has such a cute smile that it's impossible to get cross with him.
I have my first "free" day today to re-charge my batteries in preparation for the hectic time ahead!