Hi! We made it in last night mostly because the snows failed to materialize on Sunday. Did you know Britain shuts down for like 4" (that's inches) of snow? I'm just glad we didn't make the mistake of flying in and out of Gatwick, because that place was shut for like a week over a smattering of snow (okay at least three days, possibly more but I stopped watching the news coverage of "White Britain"). And funnier still, the country is having a "grit" shortage (as in what we Americans call sand for the roadways). All y'all Brits are so cute when confronted with the white stuff. My mother in law kept calling 4" of snow "masses and masses" of snow. Not sure what she would have made of our 20" just before Christmas, or indeed the continued contributions she received to those masses and masses. My FIL did ask how long the buses were shut down after we got all that snow. Shut down, she chuckles quietly. (The snow did prevent FIL's lady friend from joining us and I didn't have to see her at all. Yay, snow!)
Indeed, the snow was the talk of the trip, but our journeys were never delayed by it, even though we took trains all over the country: from London to Durham to Surrey to Bedford to Reading and back to London. I know, a lot for 13 days. The only time the snow threatened to stop our movements was between Bedford and Reading, but we did get up and go a little earlier to stay ahead of it. I think some folks may have helped me convince the dude that the next trip should involve us staying in London and everyone coming to visit. We'll see.
I am happy to report that our accommodations were much better than the last trip. No living rooms and blow up mattresses or fold-out couches. Children and adults all over London were displaced. We got the comfy beds. (Except, and you may not have realized this, children's mattresses weren't really made to accommodate adult weight. I sank smack down to the bottom on the kids' bed, but I still can't complain.)
Gifts were on the whole well-received. The HP boxes were in use already when we arrived. The Batman shirts--I'll let my nephew speak about those. When his father told him they were going to have to be washed, he rebelled, "We've only been wearing them for two days!" In fact, the shirts were put on as soon as they were opened, and the jeans I had added were considered part of the Batman costume for some reason. My sisters-in-law appeared to like their jewelry but my BIL didn't know what the eyeglass case was. His wife did, and when I told him to turn it sideways (and he got the right sideways) he did think it was funny. My poor mother-in-law, however, was not to receive her Amy Butler bags. I was 5 seams away from completing them when the sewing machine clattered to a stop. I think it's something wrong with either the tension or the feed dogs, but since we were leaving for the airport, I had to abandon it. The dude assured me his mum had a machine I could use to finish them, and she did. However, it was a hand crank Singer. When she saw the all-purpose thread I had brought, she commented on how fine a sewing thread it was. And then she mentioned having trouble with the tension. So I decided it was better not to risk it. My SIL, I was told, had an electric machine. Of course, we forgot about it completely while we were there. I brought them home unsewn, and my MIL remains ungifted but not, I hope, for long.
I got a lot of stitching done because on some of our visits, notably with my FIL, we spent a lot of time indoors. In fact, at my FIL's we spent 24 hours in his front room, and we were only their for 48 hours. He was gleefully anticipating the snow would mean we would have to stay with him and not move on to my BIL's in London. He underestimated my will, however. I'll show you stitching updates of those pieces over the next week.
Traveling over the holidays has meant that I haven't had a chance to do a year in review or resolutions post. Have I missed my opportunity there?
Anyway, I have over 1000 posts to read. And two weeks' worth of laundry to do. Bear with me.