After all my exams had finished, I took the train down to Guisborough to stay with Chris. I arrived at lunchtime on the 19th; my last exam being the day before.
In the evening we went to choir practise, for 9 lessons and carols on the Sunday night. I really enjoyed the singing, and learnt some nice new carols as well, including Dixit Maria, which Chris wants me to come down the aisle to at our wedding (although I think it's a bit too long really).
On Saturday morning, we got up really early and went to deliver Christmas cards for Chris' Scout Group's Scout Christmas post. It was nice to be out in the fresh air and we got the job done twice as fast because there were two of us. After lunch we went to the local supermarket to join the rest of the Scouts bagpacking, to raise money for camps and things the following year. I had a really good time, although it was hard work! In the evening we went out to the pub with Chris' friends for a few drinks and a chat. It was nice because I haven't seen them since October!
Sunday morning brought church, as always. Peter(Chris' Dad) and Debbie(Step-mum) brought Ella, Debbie's granddaughter, and Chris, Nick(younger brother) and I sang in the choir. Peter made a lovely roast dinner for lunch and I wrapped some of Debbie's Christmas presents for her while Chris and his brothers went to deliver some more Christmas cards for the Scout Christmas Post.
In the evening was the Nine Lessons and Carols service. It began in darkness with one of the sopranos singing Once in Royal David's City, then the rest of the choir joined in on the second verse and we processed up the aisle from the back of the church and into the choir stalls. All the readings were well done, and all the carols were good. I had a couple of moments where my mind went blank, and at one point I sang during a men's verse but nobody except the choirmaster seemed to notice! At the end of the service we sang Hark the Herald and the choir processed back up the aisle and out the door of the church (then we ran back round and in through the vestry door because it was freezing cold outside!) After the service, a lot of the choir and other folks had been invited for drinks and nibbles at Bill and Kath's (a couple from the congregation)
We spent the next few days before Christmas visiting all Chris's family. We went to see Nanna, at the cafe she works at, and we got scones and drinks for free. Afterwards, Chris took me out to the the little layby which doubles as an overflow for the carpark, and started teaching me how to drive forward and back really slowly, just on the clutch. It was probably the scariest thing I have like ever done, which I know is silly because there was no other cars, and there were only bushes to crash in to, not exactly life threatening!! One evening we went to see his Grandma and Grandad for a cup of tea and a chat, and then went on to see his Aunt and his cousins. We also visited his brother and his girlfriend at their house to exchange Christmas presents with them. We took Lewis and Adam, the kids of the brother's girlfriend, to visit Chris's mum Helen, and Barry, and we played with trucks and cranes and diggers and things all afternoon! We didn't do much else though. We spent a lot of time eating and watching TV, and doing some present wrapping, and we generally just relaxed.
On Christmas Eve we went to Midnight Mass, which started off the same as Nine Lessons and Carols, but was a full length Communion service, so I was really sleepy by the end. There was plenty to sing though, all my favourite carols so I managed to stay awake.
Christmas Day was really good fun. We got up to go to church again, another communion service, although this one was a bit shorter. After that we opened all our presents!! I got slippers and socks and a dressing gown and blankets, some Baileys liquor and truffles, perfume and jewellery and some moisturiser and stuff. Peter(Chris's Dad) made the dinner - we had turkey and roast beef and stuffing and Pigs in Blankets and all the trimmings, it was really great. And we had a proper flaming Christmas pudding with brandy butter! It was quite a treat! Debbie's (Chris's stepmum) family were there too - her son, and her eldest daughter and son-in-law, and her step dad all came for dinner, as well as me and Chris and Peter and Matt (Chris's twin) it was quite a crowd. After dinner Debbie's younger daughter came with her grandaughter Ella and her partner, Ella's dad. When they arrived Ella opened all her presents and made a mess everywhere with the wrapping paper - I wish I'd had my camera!! In the evening, Chris and I went over to see his friends Chris and Ruth, and our other friend Ste(phen) came as well. We had drinks and a midnight feast and we swapped presents and we just had a lot of fun. Chris (not my one, the other one) had got a labyrinth game for Christmas - you roll a ball bearing around a wooden board which has walls to go round and holes to avoid falling down. It was really good fun but totally frustrating!!
On Boxing Day, we went carol singing in the hospital and nursing homes in Guisborough, with the choir, and I really enjoyed it, although it was SO warm in there! We also went shopping in Middlesbrough and Chris bought an iTouch (really fancy iPod thing) for himself with all his Christmas money. I got a jumper and a pretty top in the sales, so I guess I did quite well. It wasn't nearly as busy as we were expecting, but that was definitely a good thing, and we had a really good day as well. In the evening we went to the pub with a Peter and Nick (one of their pubbing friends, not Chris's little brother called Nick!)
The 27th was a Saturday, but we didn't do much really. We hung around at home most of the day and then in the evening we went out again, Nick and all the others who weren't there on Boxing Day.
Sunday bought more church and more singing, and a gorgeous turkey and leek pie, with the last of the Christmas turkey. And a trip to the pub in the evening. It was really all very civilised and normal after the excitement of Christmas!!
On Monday we went to visit Helen and Barry again, and we had a lovely dinner of stew and dumplings, with a selection of puddings left over from the festivities to finish up. In the evening, I had to get the train back home. Marsailidh, Megan, Gale and Andy Phil came and met me at the station and helped my carry all my bags home, which was nice, because I would totally not have managed on my own!
I spent all Tuesday tidying up and Chris arrived in the evening, too late to do much except go right to bed! On Wednesday morning, we did a little shopping, for a sporran and a ghillie shirt for Chris to wear with his kilt, and we met up with Peter and Debbie for a while, who were also in Edinburgh for New Year. In the afternoon we headed over to the house to see my family and to stay a couple of nights. Wednesday was also Hogmanay, so Princes Street and the Mound and the Royal Mile were all cut off from traffic to set up for the street party, and there were barriers all along the pavements making it jam packed and noisy, but the atmosphere was so exciting!! In the evening, my parents and brothers, Chris and I and Peter and Debbie all went to a ceilidh at my church to dance in the New Year. We had a really good time, and everybody got on well, which was a bit of a relief, seeing as our parents had never met before! Afterwards, we all came back to the house for a couple of drinks, and then took Peter and Debbie back to their hotel. Christ and I and Peter went along to our friend James's house to First-Foot and wish them all a Happy New Year! We didn't stay too long, and headed back to the house about 3 to crash into bed for like 10 hours!!
On New Year's Day, we had a relaxing day at the house, playing on the WiiFit that Peter and Andrew got for Christmas. We had a nice beef casserole for dinner, and a lovely red wine, and afterwards we played the game Chronology, which Chris excelled at, even though he'd never played before.
On the 2nd, a Friday, Chris and I went shopping in town, to exchange his sporran for one which wasn't rusty and broken, and to see if we could find anything in the sales (although we didn't). In the evening we went to the pub, Jekly and Hyde, for a few drinks, with a whole group of my friends and on the way home we found loads of temporary "No Parking" signs left over from Hogmanay, and did the city a favour and cleared them up :)
He had to go home on Saturday morning, which was dissappointing because we'd been together for so long. His term started on the 5th, but I had another week, so I did lots of shifts at work, and spent the rest of my time lazing around and feeling holiday-ish. I'm back at uni now, but that's a whole other post.
Hope you all had a great Christmas, and best wishes for the New Year!