So, we’ve been back in the UK for just over two weeks. It’s cold. I know you might be thinking this is a travel blog, but I started it to keep track of the whole period we were taking time away from “real” life, and we have travelled a bit over those two week; albeit not as extensively as the two weeks before them. But at least we’ve added yet more vehicles to our count!
The first week back was spent in London, trying to jumpstart our Christmas spirit, it did feel as if we’d skipped time a little. But with the festive period well and truly upon us we had no time to sit around moping! The first port of call was a cross country race around Wormwood Scrubs. It was along way from the glamour of our last race: no pre race press conference or pasta party to attend, no cheuffer driven transport and certainly no post race party with beer and dancing. Just good old fashioned English cross country, it was no fun. Zan didn’t even make the start line, the cold getting the better of her knee that’s been playing up for the last few weeks and completely seizing it up. I dragged myself round to a pretty poor finish to which a team mate suggested might have been down to too much holiday. Perhaps. We decided to leave the running to more exotic places ahead and concentrate on Christmas. We ventured “up west” to attack the London shops, taking advantage of the ability to wander freely on a Monday morning without work, it was surprisingly busy but that didn’t take away from the beauty of this town at Christmas time. Lights everywhere. I said it was cold as if I were complaining, but really I’m not, the nip on the nose and the smell of roast chestnuts brings it all to life, I literally wouldn’t want to be anywhere else at this time of year! The majority of our presents bought and even managed time for a few Christmas coffees. That left us nicely with some time to catch up with friends before disappearing for 6 months, a couple of meals out (one in Shepards bush and one in Stratford – literally making sure we see all of London), lots of food, mince pies and some mulled wine. The Christmas spirit was coming slowly.
At the end of our week in London we set off for Suzanne’s home county of Herefordshire, taking the long route via Cardiff. For a festive weekend with old friends, more mulled wine, mince pies, lots of Christmas cookies, fry ups, roast dinners and some board games. Add a little more to buddy the elfs Christmas cheer meter. And then to Herefordshire, on the train, more bags than we had fingers, filled with clothes, presents, food (you can’t beat Christmas food! Everything just tastes better!) and Ethiopia coffee! Yarpole, a small Herefordshire village, is a world apart from London (and Nairobi and Addis for that matter!) but it’s perfect to relax, watch Christmas films, dink more mulled wine, eat more mince pies and finish my first book of this adventure. Suzanne’s knee is still sore but we were able to go for some nice walks around the country side to spy the Christmas flora. The Herefordshire apple trees host some of the most amazing mistletoe and, as they are growing on Zan’s Gran’s farm, much cheaper than the price you might expect to pay in some gentrified florist in east London. Secateurs out, once we’d done what you’re supposed to do under mistletoe, we harvested a black bag full for me to take back to London to bring a bit of Herefordshire country to the urban London Christmas. Feeling more than suitably Christmassy and extremely well rested, I’m back to London.
Glad Tidings, to you and your kin! Obviously.