We had gone to bed nice and early because we needed to be up nice and early on New Year's Day. I had remembered to set the alarms to ring nice and early. I had got into bed and almost immediately fallen into a deep and dreamless sleep.
Until suddenly I was jolted awake by mortar attacks and explosions and goodness only knows what was making that VERYLOUDSCREECHINGNOISE. The Builder and Marlo were equally jolted awake
It turned out to be Phil and Sarah having a New Year Fireworks party. Not unreasonably, at midnight! I've just never heard fireworks make that particular noise before. It really did sound like we were under attack. But fortunately we weren't. We settled down and went back to sleep. Or I did. The Builder reports that he was awake for the whole of the rest of the night. I don't think he was, but he certainly didn't have a very good night.
This was a bit unfortunate as we had to be up at our usual week day waking time, and had got out of practice over the previous week. Nevertheless, we were more or less ready to leave by 7:15 and took ourselves off in the calm, dry, windless darkness, heading south.
The rain started as the light began to dawn. By the time we had reached Birmingham it was light and raining steadily. The further south we went, the harder the rain got. By the time we got to Hampshire and Wiltshire it was raining very hard, the wind was very windy and the roads were very wet and in some places flooded.
Mercifully it was only drizzling by the time we got to Gwen's place and got her in the car. Even so, we still got quite damp.
We drove along the main roads to Waterlooville, avoiding the winding country roads we usually use. And it wasn't really raining at all by the time we got to Jeanette and Matthew's place so we didn't get particularly damp getting into their house.
Gathered for the New Year's luncheon party were us, Jeanette, Matthew, Rebecca and Evie, Gwen, Ian (The Builder's son), Pip (The Builder's first wife) and Tom, Mike and Rosie (Matthew's Mum and Dad). We ate a delicious banquet and drank delicious wine. We made merry, and caught up, and chatted and had a good time. It rained, very hard, from time to time. The wind roared, and whispered, and roared again. We didn't care much. We were all inside a nice, cosy house, with a nice cosy fire burning (and the central heating on for good measure :-) )
Then Matthew and The Builder took Gwen home in Matthew's range rover (better on flooded roads than The Vixen), and the rest of us played board games with Evie. And then there was more food (a smorgasbord of party food), more wine, more merriment, more chat. Then everyone went home, except for The Builder and I who made our way up to the spare room.
It was a lovely day, and began the New Year in good style.
Day 2 of 2014 dawned still and sunny and cloudless. We made a leisurely start to the day. Everyone gradually appeared downstairs. Matthew made us a mighty cooked brunch before we bade them all a fond farewell and came back up north. Apart from a detour around part of the M1 (which we had intended to join but which was at a standstill - we joined it a junction or so further up) we had a good run home. It was dry pretty much all the way and the roads were unflooded. We got home while it was still light.
Normal service has been restored today. I am back at work and it was dark, raining and windy when we left to head to the station. It's starting to clear now though. I bet it's raining when I head home though. It's forecast for heavy showers on and off throughout the day.
Thank you to Jeanette and Matthew, Rebecca and Evie for a lovely start to the year.
|Jeanette, The Builder and Ian|
|Evie giving us a post-lunch concert|
|The guitar is new. It was a Christmas present|