Friday, December 28, 2007
Empty nest syndrome
We have just folded 6' 2" of Andrew into the back of Tanith's overloaded car and waved them off. Christmas is officially over for us and the house seems so quiet and empty. I could start on the laundry and clearing up, I could start on the thank you letters, there is a lot of USEFUL stuff I could be doing but it will still be there to be done tomorrow, so I'll catch up with my virtual friends instead.
Thank you for all the kind greetings. I hope you have all had as good a time as we have. I hope that journeys were trouble-free, family gatherings full of fun and good cheer, food delicious and beverages as intoxicating or refreshing as you desired and that everyone had lots of 'good swag'.
Our festive time always ends with a drive into the country on December 27th. Friend Keith lives in Plymouth, exactly 100 miles from our door to his and every year we meet up at a country inn for lunch and our 'traditional Christmas walk'. For a number of years, we've been meeting at the 11th century Church House Inn in Rattery. This meant a drive of 70 miles for us and 30 for Keith and eventually the cries of "not fair" worked and we started to look for an alternative, more equitable meeting place. It had to be a traditional inn with log fires and great food, with good walks and an interesting old church to visit. Google helped me find the perfect place: The Five Bells Inn at Clyst Hydon, exactly halfway between Keith's house and ours.
Yesterday, after a superb lunch, we walked through the lanes and spent some time exploring the village church of St Andrew. This is a far more modern building than the church at Rattery, being a mere 600+ years old, but it is still worth a visit. We particularly liked the box pews, dating from 1832. Our favourite feature of Rattery church was an ancient, yellowed poster depicting the 'Rules of the Church'. Written in beautiful Gothic script, they told worshippers exactly how to behave, starting with our favourite, oft quoted "Kneel on your knees".
And now it's all over: the festive meals, the carols, the visits and exchanging of gifts; our visitors have left and the house is so quiet. I suppose I could go and start on the chores but perhaps today would be better spent in reading some of my new books - I expect you are all doing that!