Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A White Christmas

I made it home to Leeds on my third attempt. Europe is covered in snow but there is not much in the city. About 20 hours after my arrival in Leeds, Will's family arrived on their first attempt and we had pizza and spaghetti for lunch before hoping on a train to Newcastle and Slaley Hall. The day was about to get a bit confusing as they had cancelled our train due to "adverse weather conditions" up north. Despite the extra transfer, we made it to Slaley Hall on time and were impressed by the grounds. 1,000 acres and many lodges surrounded a castle looking structure that was actually built in the early 1900s. We had time to unpack and rest a bit before our late dinner and midnight (Anglican) service which actually started at 11 - no wonder they wanted us on the bus at 10:15! The service seemed very close to a Catholic mass until the homily when the pastor talked about being in bed with his wife and woken up by kids at 6am. It was interesting to see and we also got a Catholic mass in on Sunday morning.

Christmas came very early and I got spoiled by my darling husband who got me many more gifts than I was expecting including a beautiful snow globe I had wanted. My parents were also quite generous and snuck some gifts into my suitcase that Will's family had brought for me so I didn't have to carry/roll anything heavy. His parents got us leather gloves from Italy and mine perfectly match the hat I bought before our Paris trip.

We went for a lovely walk around the grounds during the day and then got ready for the big meal at 3pm. I even got to video chat with my family before we sat down to eat. It was magical and white with snow, but it just didn't feel like Christmas. Jet lag and being in a different country really made it hard for me to remember what day it was. The fact that the English celebrate even more the next day didn't help.

On boxing day (26th of December), we went to mass and walked around Hexham. We walked into a few shops and I bought a couple postcards for my collection. Then we took a taxi back to the hall and I took a wonderful nap. Then I went to the pool which was more like a big bath. My belly really liked the weightless feeling and I just stood around for 40 minutes enjoying the comfort of standing up in water.

After fitting into a non-maternity dress, we walked down to reception where people enjoyed a buck fizz (their term for memosa) and I got a glass of OJ. We were walked to the ballroom and shown our table. We sat by a man originally from Leeds who moved to Romania and worked for Cadbury until they got bought by Kraft. He told us a few places we must go and was yet another person who did not believe me when I gave my due date - my belly is huge he said. That just means my baby is growing big and strong and it must be all in the belly :-D

The ball included some dancing and gambling with fun money. The top two winners got a prize, but no money was actually exchanged. I did awful at blackjack but got lucky a number of time with roulette - 22 is still my number! It was fun, especially since I didn't lose any real money.

The next day I got to sleep in a bit before breakfast and checkout. We then took a taxi to the station and found out a lot of the rail staff were on strike! After checking the schedules we saw that our route was not affected this time and we made it home in plenty of time for dinner and some relaxation.

Now my husband is out playing tour guide and I got a few hours to myself. This is the life!

No comments:

Post a Comment