Happy New Year! And Merry Christmas! Here’s a badger to start you off!
Im sorry that it is a dead one, but it is the first real badger I have ever seen, and it made me realise that
a) the English countryside is quite wonderful, and
b) badgers are real, not just cooked-up magic animal/human hybrids who talk and frolic, like unicorns and fawns. So, all in all, even though he slowly got bloated and more rotten each day as we passed him on a narrow country lane in rural North Devon, it was good to meet him.
So, we rented a cottage for a week in Devon, and there was a big heated indoor pool and a spa pool and a tennis court and enchanted woods with ancient crumbling stone walls and quite possibly elves hiding in the pine trees. And this church for Christmas Day:
It was beautiful, and small, and filled with creaking pews and 14th century walls and stained glass and headstones covering the sloping floor. And my boys were a little reluctant to keep quiet during the service, and Ned started to climb over the pew in front to get closer to the Vicar and her tempting box of Quality Street, and a woman in front tried to stop him, and lifted him up and back over to us, and he was outraged by her interference and so he whacked her in the face with his Pillow Pet dog. They also shouted quite a bit, and sang loudly during the carols, but as two of them cannot read, they just kind of shouted in falsetto. It was all a bit embarrassing. So we made quite a quick exit, but not until the Vicar had said, very generously, that she had enjoyed our ‘contributions’ to the service. Very kind indeed.
Things I Belatedly Learnt This Week:
I think everyone else knows about podcasts, so I may be about seven years late in coming to the podcast party. But, aided by an excellent Vogue article on running, I downloaded via The New Yorker lots of short stories from the magazine, as read and chosen by authors I either have a crush on (Nicole Krauss, Jonathan Franzen, Monica Ali) or I have never heard of (Tessa Hadley, Hisham Matar) and while I ran 10k around and through Hyde Park this morning, I listened to the stories and hardly felt the HIDEOUS PAIN of running for an hour and five minutes. I didn’t notice my surroundings, either, or give any other runners the cheery half-smile, or pay much attention to the muddy bits, but the PAIN WAS LESSENED! I came back home from my run, and announced loudly to the assembled crowd of pyjama-clad boys and husbands that I was holding in my hand THE FUTURE. No one looked up from the couch or away from the TV but still. I have found a way to enrich my cultural life while getting smaller thighs and increasing my lung capacity! Amazing.
And here’s my new bag:
Self-gifted. Half-price in the Mulberry Christmas Eve sale. A Mini Taylor Satchel in Sycamore. I virtually high-five you all.
Here’s the most exciting thing of all though. On Saturday we drove to Nottingham to see the puppies, and to pick our first and second choice of boys. It was hard to decide because they were all like heavenly angel dogs with russet fluff and sweet breath. I nearly died. Here is our new dog. We just don’t know which one yet. FEAST YOUR EYES ON THE OUTRAGEOUS CUTENESS!
They do have bitey little teeth, but just LOOK AT THAT FACE! Sigh. Next weekend, we bring Magic home. I hope he will be ok.
Annnnnd it must be time for a Christmas Eve photo. Here’s all of us, mostly without clothes, about to pull our crackers and eat Gressingham duck (which was actually rather delicious, thanks to Hugh Fernley-Whittingstall and his giblet gravy).
And a wedding photo, because we had our 15th year anniversary last week. We were so sweet then, and we had so much time to do nothing, and no one annoyed us all day long. The Kids, I’m talking to you.
Sweet, though, right? And then this one, taken at The Lounge, just before we went in to watch The Life Of Pi for our anniversary date, while scoffing babaghanoush and lamb kebabs and an Alabama Slammer or two followed up with sticky toffee pudding and a bit of cheeky hand-holding:
Older, tireder, less hair on us both, a teensy bit fatter. But heyho, it’s been fun.
Anyway, that’s 2012/2013 for you. All good. How was yours?