26 December 2009

A White Christmas

The last snow fell on the 23rd as Marilyn made her way home from work. The bus journey took longer than normal as the drivers negotiated the slippery roads. We saw cars having trouble negotiating the gradual climb on our street. It had been a short heavy fall that seemed to catch a lot of people. At this point, it looked as though we were in for a disruptive white Christmas.

Christmas eve was cold and misty. Little of the snow melted during the morning as we prepared for our journey to Heathrow to pick up our son. The road reports suggested that once we got on the M40, we should have few problems although there were advisory notices especially for Scotland and the South East advising essential travel only. Once we left our street, the journey to Heathrow was without problems. The roads were clear. The flight arrived on time and it rained as we approached Oxford on the return journey and the roads were fairly clear by the time we arrived home.

We discovered that the Birmingham mall that we frequently visit doesn't have late nights on Christmas eve. Quite a change from the rush and bustle of midnight closing that we were used to in New Zealand. We find it amusing as the New Zealand argument was that tourists would expect the 24x7 trading hours but so far we have found the UK has civilised trading hours shutting down early on Sundays and not bothering with extended hours for Christmas.

Christmas day dawned clear with still a reasonable snow cover but by the end of the day most of the snow had melted. The family celebration was enjoyable with our granddaughter enjoying dressing up as Snow White. The day was relaxing and enjoyable. It was nice to be able to celebrate Christmas with both of our children, our daughter's husband, and our grandchildren. The first such celebration since our daughter married.

Now on Boxing day, with only a few signs of the snow that lay on the ground, the 4ÂșC temperature seems warm and refreshing. Now our attention is turning to helping our son find some accommodation in Milton Keynes so he can start his teaching job on the 4th January.

20 December 2009

Experiencing an English Winter

This week has seen us experience something of what a white Christmas might be like. Errol had an interview to attend in Hatfield but as we prepared to leave on Thursday, it began to snow. It didn't last long and although we had another flurry while driving, we never really expected any problems.

However, overnight, a fairly heavy fall occurred in Hatfield and the surrounding areas. This didn't concern us too much as we were safely in a hotel not far from where Errol's interview was to occur. Errol set off walking at 9am through the solid snow cover not really thinking that it would have caused many problems. On arrival, the place looked deserted but he was directed to the appropriate place and others slowly began to arrive. Thirty minutes after the scheduled start and with only one other candidate present, Errol was informed that most of the panel weren't able to make it. Could Errol come back on Tuesday?

The main roads weren't a problem so we safely made the journey back to Birmingham and now are preparing for a return journey on Tuesday. This time, Errol will use the trains.

Having spent the last few months organising the house and working on family history and stitching, Marilyn has a change tomorrow when she returns to the work force. This will see changes to our schedule as we get into a new routine and adjust to the shift work that Marilyn will have.

We look forward to our son arriving on Christmas eve and a family Christmas in Birmingham. The question is whether it will be a white Christmas. Some of the snow may be lying around but we will have to wait and see whether more falls.