This has been our first Christmas in Town Yetholm and so I now feel as if we have made the ‘move’. All the family came from far and wide: Laurie and Nicole from Singapore, Gwilym and Fi from Taiwan, Xian from Manchester, Matthew and Maureen from London and Verity from Bath. The only person who wasn’t with us was my mother but she had at least visited a few months back. Everyone had a travel adventure to tell at some point, either coming or going.
I was fearful of snow preventing any of my children reaching me but in fact in the fortnight before Christmas we had unseasonably mild weather which continued for the all arrivals. What we could not foresee was that Verity, who would be last to arrive, would find her journey cancelled due to an aircraft from Frankfurt leaving the runway at Bristol. Fortunately no-one was injured but it left Verity on a bus, getting a text to tell her the flight was cancelled. There were a few hours of panic, a few hundred pounds expended, but eventually she made her way here, via an early morning flit to London. All were safely arrived.
We had rented the house next door so everyone was well accommodated and all had space to escape to when needed. Cooking was something of a challenge but I soon became used to travelling between the house and the cottage, where we ate, and it was no different from times of yore when the kitchen was separate from the main house, or even cooking in a big hotel. There was one night when I didn’t have to cook and we went over to the Plough for a meal, kindly paid for by my mother and Hywel. It was a splendid occasion to see all of my children together and their partners around one table.
The snow really made Christmas, and there were plenty of walks in it as well as walks beforehand, in the milder weather. Footwear was a bit of a problem but all in all they managed ok.
Marks cottage had suffered in the cold weather leading up to Christmas. We had been along and moved the paintings out of harms way but Hyw went along with the boys to cut up the downstairs carpet, which was sodden, and removed it, in the hope that it would give the house a chance to dry out. We have been back since and it is drying out but will need a lot of money spent on restoring the fabric of the building.
Everyone enjoyed themselves but all too soon it was time for some to depart. The snow caused a lot of worry but eventually Mo made it to her family in Ireland, Lol and Nic made it by the skin of their teeth to Singapore, having left baggage at Gatwick, which was subsequently restored to them. Xian had a hellish journey to Manchester, arriving home at 2 am and Matt and Verity went home via London. Fi and Gwilym went home after everyone else but their journey was far from ideal, the train was cancelled from Tweedbank, the flight from Edinburgh was an hour and a half late and they missed their connection at Schipol. They did have an extra day in Amsterdam though, so not all bad and everyone is home, some later than expected, and safe.
Happy New Year to you all!