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Suddenly it's New Year
02 January 2018 21:59


So that’s the Christmas break over; back to work today, and pretty much back to normal. Here’s a random sample of some of the things I’ve been getting up to over the last couple of weeks.


We watched a few films worthy of note:

We went to the cinema to see Paddington 2. Great feel-good film. Go and see it if you haven’t – don’t worry about it being a children’s story.

Gnomeo and Juliet – another fun film. A parody of Romeo and Juliet with gnomes and actually a lot better than it might sound from that description. It has numerous references to Shakespeare (a few of which I spotted) – “out, out damn spot” was particularly clever. You’re going to have to watch the movie now, just to see that quote. It also has a different (happier) ending. Not that I’ve seen Romeo and Juliet, but I’ve seen West Side Story which is basically the same thing. Incidentally, did you know that Lion King is basically the same as Hamlet?

Sully – we’re coming up to date now. Yeah, we went to HMV and bought a stack of DVDs to watch – temporarily ignoring the drive to reduce the number of DVDs in the cupboard. This is one we’d (by which I probably mean I’d) wanted to see at the cinema but never got a round tuit.

A United Kingdom – this is a film I’d seen when flying to NZ in the autumn (Sully wasn’t available on the plane, unsurprisingly), and thought it was the sort of film that The Future Mrs Barefoot would like. I was correct – she did. It’s a true story about a British girl marrying the heir to the throne of what became Botswana.


We spent Christmas Day in Eastleigh, then drove to Yorkshire on Boxing Day to spend a couple of nights with The Future Mrs Bareroot’s brother, then one night with The Aged in Leicestershire on the way back. It is on the way back too – less than five miles off the motorway. A bit more of the detour on the way home from Leicestershire though. CS1 left her wallet (containing bank card, driving licence, student id, etc.) in Yorkshire, so we had to detour there to retrieve. Look at a map. By no stretch of the imagination could Yorkshire be described as “on the way” between Leicestershire and Hampshire. At least traffic was light.


Future Brother-in-law was trying to extol the virtues of a skiing holiday to me. I know I’m probably in the minority here, but the idea of a skiing holiday just doesn’t appeal to me – and never has. For one thing, it strikes me as a lot of money to spend on what is basically a one-activity holiday. And for another – I’ve been on ski-slopes in the summer. I’ve seen the huge boulders that would really hurt if you ran into one – even if it were covered with a layer of snow.

“it’s not just skiing; you can go for hikes through the snow” he said
“that sounds OK”
“or dog-sledding
“hmm, not so sure about that”
“or swimming pools – you can go swimming”
“you’re really not selling this to me”


We decided to go shopping on the Wednesday after Christmas. By which I mean, The Future Mrs Barefoot and future BiL decided we should go shopping on the Wednesday after Christmas.

Despite my misgivings, the trip was a success. One thing made it a success – we found a bridesmaid’s dress for CS3. CS3 doesn’t do dresses. Getting her into a dress shop in the first place was a minor achievement, never mind actually trying on a dress. OK, so she left her T-shirt on under the dress. That wasn’t really the look we were going for.

In the end we wheeled in the big guns, and sent CS1 in to the fitting rooms to say how good the dress suited CS3, and we were done - once I’d steered The Future Mrs Barefoot away from the other dresses and towards the pay desk: “for goodness sake, buy it now before CS3 changes her mind”.

After that, the women headed off to find something for CS1 to wear. I’d had enough and headed off in the opposite direction. Twenty minutes later they noticed I’d gone.


I found a Costa Coffee shop, which was warm and had food and drink, so settled there. I texted the Future Mrs Barefoot to tell her where I was, but when she came looking for me she went to Starbucks, as that was the coffee shop they saw first.

CS1 and niece were more on the ball: “I’m sure if Ruby said Costa, he meant Costa”, they said, and found me first.


The mall we went to was an outlet site, so lots of end-of-season lines. In a sports store, The Future Mrs Barefoot remarked that it was a pity the store didn’t have a fitting room so she could try on the clothes.

To relieve the boredom, I went for a wander round the store. And in a hidden corner I discovered ... the fitting room.

Now, a dilemma: do I tell The Future Mrs Barefoot that there are fitting rooms, knowing that that will keep her in the store even longer? Or just keep quiet? What would you do?

What did I do? I sought advice from CS3. She said “don’t tell”, so we didn’t.


While at the Aged’s, we went for a short walk.

“Why is this path raised up above the level of the surrounding countryside?” asked The Future Mrs Barefoot

“it’s the embankment of an old railway” I explained.

“Mum, Ruby thinks that everything is an old railway” interjected CS1.

Later, CS3 and I were discussing embankments and cuttings, and how canals would often follow contour lines to avoid both, and how canal surveyors would plan routes where the spoil from cuttings would provide the earth for embankments so no earth was left over or brought in.

CS1 suggested: “Mum, Ruby and CS3 are so alike. I’m sure you just looked for a male version of CS3 and decided to marry him”


And so to New Year. I think I may have already said that CS1 was holding a party (well, more of a small group of girlfriends round for a DVD evening) and suggested that we wouldn’t want to stay. We fled to a local hotel for the night.

Isn’t this the wrong way round? Isn’t is supposed to be that the parents go away for the night, and then the children arrange a party?

We could have gone up to Smalltown for the night, but wanted to stay in Eastleigh as we were running two parkruns on New Year’s Day. And, as it that wasn’t enough, a small group of us ran another 5km around the park just before midnight. Are we freaking crazy or what?

It turned out that the park was an excellent place to watch the fireworks going off all over the town. It’s right in the middle of the conurbation so a great view all round. At times, the displays from different gardens looked almost as good as London. OK, not really that good, but still a great view.

Then back to bed for a short sleep before getting up for the first parkrun of the New Year; then 45 minutes after finishing we did the second one. So, three 5 km runs inside 12 hours. We didn’t do much for the rest for the day. And my times for the two parkruns were only about 20 second different.

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