Boxing Day Anniversary

It’s Boxing Day here in the UK. I gather from my step children that this is not celebrated in USA.

Boxing Day is traditionally the day following Christmas Day, when servants and tradesmen would receive gifts, known as a “Christmas box”, from their bosses[1] or employers. Today, Boxing Day is the bank holiday that generally takes place on 26 December. It is observed in the United Kingdom, Canada, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, Kenya, South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago and other Commonwealth nations.

In South Africa, Boxing Day was renamed Day of Goodwill in 1994. In Ireland and Italy, the day is known as St. Stephen’s Day (Irish: Lá Fhéile Stiofáin) or the Day of the Wren (IrishLá an Dreoilín). In many European countries, including notably Germany, Poland, the Netherlands and those in Scandinavia, 26 December is celebrated as the Second Christmas Day.[2]

However my reason for this post has nothing to do with Boxing Day Holiday except that it was a year ago today that I first began this blog. In other words I am celebrating one whole year of this blog.

During this year I have made new blogging friends. Renewed other online friendships and shared my world with people in my every day life who have learnt more about me and my life than they would do normally.

I have married my Owl.

We had our honeymoon in California which I was then able to share with you through this blog.

I have celebrated my sons’ achievements.

I made a start at serious writing (on hold at the moment but watch this space)

We have shared the extremes in weather from the harsh cold long winter complete with unusual amounts of snow to the unexpected un British heat in the summer months.

We have also mourned the passing of our faithful cat.

Ending the year with various preparations for Christmas.

2013 has been a year of extremes, extreme happiness as well as extreme despair.

In a few days we will be celebrating the start of 2014 which I hope will bring with it a more relaxed year.

Maybe I will even manage to write something that I can do something with.

How would you describe 2013 for you and what are your hopes for 2014?

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The Gig

Friday night equals music night, we don’t go every week but it is nice to get out and enjoy some live music in our favourite pub now and again. It was about 8 o’clock when we arrived and the band (all 3 of them) were just setting up. By that I mean the drummer in his short blue sports shorts and red t-shirt was setting up all the while chatting to the guys at the nearest table. It is a small bar so his conversation carried to all there. He began by opening up his bass drum to stuff pillows and cushions inside to muffle the sound a little. I did wonder why he hadn’t done this at home. He then proceeded to put his kit together making a big thing of having to guess exactly how high to set each drum etc. Surely if you have been playing for years (he has had his snare drum since he was 12 he is now late 50s) it would be second nature by now.

I was beginning to feel uneasy. The lead guitarist and his daughter (the ‘goth’ bass guitarist ) were now setting up around the drummer, speaking to each other in hushed tones. Finally at a minute to 9pm it appeared that the band were ready to begin. But no, first the drummer stripped off his red t-shirt swapping it for a round necked yellow t-shirt then added sweat bands to his head and wrists. Now in my mind he shouldn’t have done this in front of his audience. He should have gone to the gents or even out to his car, certainly not sitting behind his drum kit.

The music began to resonate through the small room (loudly). By the time the first song was over the Landlord told the band to turn the volume down a bit. The drummer complained to his guitarist that he wasn’t able to hear himself over the guitar sound. A minute or so later the band resumed playing. During the next hour they played some Who, Free, Nicky Moore, Thin Lizzy and various others. The Lead guitar was well played, the bass guitar was well played, even the drums were good. The singing was not so good.

But the worst thing that occurred was when the drummer……………………….

………..decided that he was too hot and took off his yellow shirt. I was wondering what he was going to replace it with. It soon dawned on me that the answer was………..nothing. He played the remainder of the set bare chested. From where I was sitting I couldn’t see the guitarist’s face as it was blocked from my line of vision by a speaker. I could see the drummer but directly in my line of vision was the bass guitarist. I have never seen a musician looking less like they were enjoying themselves. There was one moment when I thought she almost cracked a smile but not quite.

Anyway the band stopped for a break and the Landlord told the drummer that he would pay them up but they wouldn’t be playing a second set. Most of the small gathering of people in the pub had either left or were preparing to leave so there was no point in continuing.

This afternoon we popped into the pub for a quiet drink and guess what the main topic of conversation was. Yes you got it…..the weather, in particular the snow that has descended once again in various parts of the country considerably late in the year. Oh and also the dreadful band from last night.

Snow

Sitting here on a sunny Saturday morning basking in the blue sky it is hard to believe that we have had such different weather in the last few weeks.

This is only the 2nd of February and already this is looking like it is going to be a year of extreme weather. In this part of England we don’t often exprience so much weather, we have our own ‘micro climate’ sheltered as we are by the hills behind us and the island before us. Yet we had more snow a few weeks ago than we usually have in a decade. Back in January 2010 they told us we would have heavy snow which would start during the evening rush hour. Of course nobody believed what we were told. During the afternoon we looked through the office windows to see rain. It might be snowing elsewhere but not here.

5pm on the dot I left the office as I was going to visit my mother in the local hospital. As I started the engine so the first few snow flakes crossed my vision. By the time I reached the other side of the town the snow was getting heavier and had already begun to lay thickly on the roads and it had only been 5 minutes or so. I decided not to visit the hospital but go straight home, a journey that usually takes about half an hour, this time took me 7 long cold hours. This snow stayed around for about two or three days .

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Then in December of the same year we woke to find several inches of snow everywhere.78061_10150133239009115_3265012_oAgain this lasted for two or three days before everything was back to normal. We don’t cope well with snow in these parts as we don’t see it often enough for there to be contingency plans.

Since December 2010 we have seen the odd snow flurries and maybe a light dusting of snow or three but nothing heavier. Not that is until January 2013. All week they had been predicting snow. Of course opinions on whether we get it were divided. There were those who went into panic mode and those who poo poo’d the whole idea of us getting snow. Myself I just figured I would wait and see….what else could we do.

I woke at 4.30am, checked outside nothing. 5.30am it was starting to snow. By 6am we had a light dusting on the car but it wasn’t laying on the roads yet. By 7am it was now on the roads and pavements. Although we have a 4 x 4 truck I decided not to risk driving into work and not being able to drive back. I took the bus to work for the first time, it was only a 10 minute ride, but apparently it was one of the last buses to run past our house. Those of us who live closest to the office made it in. But by 9am it was looking quite bad out there so we were ordered to leave. My Manager dropped me off at the main road and I walk from there. still walking It continued to snow for the remainder of the day. I have never known so much snow to fall in one day (I don’t remember the snow in 1963). Our cat had a shock when she went out through her cat flap…she only managed a few steps before turning tail and heading back inside.  We had snow on and off for several days…..that was a new experience for us here. On the Sunday afternoon it took us 20 minutes to get our truck off the drive.where is my car 10.20am It was a full week before the rain washed away the snow.

Then the rains began. We had days when it didn’t stop. Nothing unusual in that really after all this is UK. But with the melted snow and the rain together rivers flooded, fields and roads were left looking more like lakes and still there is more to come.

So looking at this bright blue sky on this early February morning is a welcome relief.