Hip hurray I’m finally sitting down and writing part 2. John arrived in England on Wednesday 15 and I think it was the next day that everything ground to a halt because of the excessive snow. We didn’t do as much out and about as we had thought we might as we just couldn’t get anywhere but it did mean we got to spend far more time with friends and family locally. The last Saturday before Christmas, December 18, we went to the Designer Outlet Village in Swindon. This should have been the busiest shopping day of the year and we arrived at about 4pm. Within 30 minutes of us arriving they announced that due to the weather conditions they were closing at 5pm (3 hours early). It didn’t really affect the customers are there just weren’t any!!! On the Sunday morning we took a short walk from my parents house to Highworth Public Golf Course. Although John and I have been together 10 years and it is a 2 minute walk from my parents’ house I had never taken John there before. The scenery in the snow was spectacular. It looked as though we were miles from anyone and anywhere which of course was not the case. Kirsten was not happy having to walk with all the extra clothing on and because she was cold. This was the case during much of our visit. After 5 weeks I would say she was just about used to it. At least now back in AZ where we have had some unusually low temperatures she has not fought with me over having to wear more clothing than normal.
Back to our visit. The remainder of our stay in Highworth continued much as the first half with catching up with friends and spending a vast amount of time with my sister who had finished work and was on maternity leave. Christmas Eve morning we all headed across to the small Cotswold town of Burford. When I first met John this was where he lived and we lived there together for almost a year before moving out to Arizona. Burford High Street is on a hill and we, or rather I, decided to park in the public car park at the bottom of the hill. This was covered in snow and ice, and yes, when it came time to leave, we needed a little push in order to get out. We were rather surprised that no effort had been made by the town to keep the car park or the road to it clear. What we also found quite funny was that there was a sign in the car park asking patrons to park in marked bays only…what marked bays all we could see was snow. For those of you who have never been to the Cotswolds go. Burford is one of many small beautiful towns and is only a 20 minute drive from my parents, not that most of you would be visiting them.
I was extremely worried about my sister as we walked around Burford so was constantly holding onto her. She was 7.5 months pregnant and I most certainly didn’t need her falling!! Kirsten was happy though to have Aunty Nora along.
We went back to my parents in Highworth for lunch where we continued with one of many traditions I was raised with. My mother is Norwegian so we typically have rice porridge. My mother hides an almond in the main dish and whoever discovers the almond in their bowl of porridge wins a marzipan pig. We eat our porridge with cinnamon and lingonberry juice on it. Many others eat it with sugar and butter. It is down to preference but it is a warm and filling dish. My Mum had actually forgotten to buy a marzipan pig this year on our trip to Norway so my Dad found the almond and was given a selection box of chocolates which were shared around everyone at the dinner table.
We had a relatively relaxing afternoon of my parents, my grandmother, Kirsten, my niece Chloe, John and myself, and not forgetting my sister, Nora. At about 4pm the girls (minus my grandmother) headed off to the nativity service at Highworth Church. I have to admit we’re not church goers but growing up Christmas and Easter we always went. The bonus was that when we got to the church they asked Chloe and Kirsten if they wanted to borrow Angel costumes so that they could participate in the nativity story. Both of them were thrilled. Highworth Church was beautiful with the snow and winter lights. It definitely felt more like Christmas than if we had been here at home in Arizona, and I loved having the opportunity to spend it with my family.