Posted by: christinelaennec | December 30, 2011

Christmas 2011

I hope you have all had a truly joyous Christmas.  We’ve had a wonderful one – despite the Dafter taking ill again, and a few sleepless nights, we all decided we were not going to let that spoil our fun.  Let me show you some of the highlights:

The Dafter's present to me!

I couldn’t believe my eyes when I opened her present to me – she’d been so excited about giving it to me and I could see why.  And I love the fact that she finds such happiness in giving.  Her present for her father was equally fabulous:  a personalised cryptic crossword!  Some of the clues were really genius, and it took him two days to finally finish it.

Christmas present from the Dafter to her father: a custom-made cryptic crossword!

She also had the great idea of giving him a Rupert annual, which he was very excited about.  Below are some of the things I was lucky to receive.  You will notice a general theme of knitting!  The book My Grandmother’s Knitting (which Michael gave me) is very interesting – I may be inspired to do a post about that.   Michael also gave me the CD (“A Tender Light”) by Paul Mealor.   Until he shot to fame with Ubi Caritas at the Royal Wedding, and more recently “Wherever You Are,” sung by the Military Wives Choir, Paul Mealor was “just” a Professor of Music at our own University of Aberdeen.  I have really enjoyed his music – very beautiful choral compositions, and many of them deeply religious, which as you know is just the sort of thing I like!

Some of my presents!

One of my “best” (as they say here, meaning favourite) presents was the retro knitting needle bracelets given to me by the creative genius who is Roobeedoo:

Fab knitting needle bracelets from Roobeedoo!

Amongst the most delicious things in the holidays is Time to Knit!  Here is Ysolda Teague’s “Damson” on the needles, using the wool I bought at the Glasgow School of Yarn in October:

wip: "Damson"

On the 27th, I travelled down to Edinburgh to see our son.  In the past we’ve always gone as a family, but this year the Dafter was too unwell so I had a day out on my own.  The train journeys were both quite fraught with delays, a woman fainting, someone being thrown off for lack of a ticket… but what struck me was how patient, kind and helpful people were.  After both trips, people said, “It was nice to meet you” and “Happy New Year”!

I had a great visit with our son.  I’d received tickets to the Elizabeth Blackadder retrospective at the National Galleries, and he gladly came along with me.  In fact, I think he would have stayed longer if I hadn’t been starving for lunch.  Then he walked with me to visit the K1 knitting shop, where I’d never been before.  The afternoon light was very beautiful:

West Bow, Edinburgh, 27 December 2011

We had a really good visit together:

Yummy lunch at the National Gallery, Edinburgh.

And I enjoyed being in the Big City.  We also did some Christmas shopping for him, I should add!

The Scotsman Building, Edinburgh, 27 December 2011.

The next day, Michael and I had a surprise for the Dafter:  a trampoline!  We’d been secretly plotting, planning, and clearing a space in a corner of our garden when we found time during daylight hours.  The neighbours were sworn to secrecy, and we made sure the Dafter went out the front and not the back.  We had a few close calls, but managed to surprise her.  She was thrilled!

The Dafter on our new trampoline!

The trampoline isn’t a Christmas present, it’s a Recuperation Aid.  As you may know the Dafter has been unwell for nearly four months now, with recurring throat and sinus problems, and a great fatigue.  We’ve been trying to keep her fitness up and she’s well enough now to go out just about every day.  But when you’re 13, Going for a Walk is really not terrific fun.  She’d always wanted a trampoline, and enjoyed going on one when she had the chance – so we thought, perhaps this would be a fun way for her to get exercise and fresh air.  She really loves going on it.

The fourth member of our household, Tilly, has had a good Christmas too.  Not only can she ask for milk, but she has now begun to request that her hot water bottle be filled!  She does this by standing next to her bed, looking pointedly at the cold hot water bottle, and then looking pointedly at me.  And who can refuse such a modest request, especially when doing so results in such a blissful creature?

Tilly with her hot water bottle

Yesterday was our annual trip to the Christmas panto at His Majesty’s Theatre.  For years now we’ve gone with our downstairs neighbours.  This year, they joined us for lunch before we left.  Michael produced another one of his beautiful holiday meals:

All ready for lunch with our neighbours before the pantomime

And a great time was had by all!

At the panto (Jack and the Beanstalk), His Majesty's Theatre, Aberdeen, Dec 2011

Elaine C. Smith and Alan McHugh were both hilarious, as usual, and the whole production was quite magical.  They had us on our feet doing the Zumba, and singing silly songs made up of local place-names.  There were no Trump jokes this year, but a few swipes at local institutions (“What do you call a group of donkeys?” “Aberdeen F[ootball] C[lub]”) and mentions of local controversies such as the possibly-soon-to-be-begun-five-years-behind-schedule-Western-Peripheral-Bypass.

Oh it’s been great to feel so spoiled, not only by gifts but in terms of time.  It’s wonderful just to drink coffee, scoff panettone (called “panetonia” in our house), knit, and do jigsaws by the fire.  Every year I am so amazed by and grateful for all the thoughtful presents and cards that people send.  And I love the symbolism of light coming into the world at a time of darkness.  I hope you’ve all had good times with your family and friends this Christmas.  One day left of 2011, golly!  See you next year!



  1. Beautiful gifts you received, and the ‘My Grandmothers knitting’ book is wonderful. I do love the ‘Dafter’s’ painting and those bracelets are fun.
    Isn’t Edinburgh a fab place? Anna-Maria is thinking of going to study Journalism there which would be fun for us as we could visit often.
    Wishing you all a very happy 2012 and fingers crossed that ‘The Dafter’ gets better soon.
    Hugs, Heike xx

  2. Wonderful to read your account of Christmas and your beautiful and thoughtful gifts, the trampoline looks good fun asn should soon have her back to robust good health


  3. Love your post, Christine. I really felt part of your Christmas. Sending you all love and blessings for the NEw Year. xx

  4. I think you had a very happy Christmas with your family! I had a quiet Christmas with my family, too and this is something to be grateful for!
    Many wishes for a Happy New Year!


  5. What a lovely post. So nice you had such a lovely Christmas, all of you, including the cat!I do think the females are more clever than the males of the cat species. Our female also ‘points’ quite clearly what she wants. And the Dafter getting that trampoline. Hope you dont get the winds the same in the city, the last one I saw was in the middle of a field!

  6. what a wonderful post, Christine. so many good things, I don’t know where to start. thanks for sharing your Christmas holidays with us. peace and quiet and rest and spending time with loved ones refreshes our spirits. i also received some very thoughtful gifts this year and it really is the thought that counts. many blessings and much health to you and yours for the New Year. xx Alison

  7. You sound as if you had a wonderful Christmas, and your daughter looks so happy on her trampoline. We plan to come down to Edinburgh next week and hope to make it to the National Gallery. I’m just discovering contemporary Scottish Artists – simply brilliant. I love the plates on your lunch table.
    Happy New Year – hope all goes well for the ‘Dafter’

  8. Sounds like a lovely family time. And how talented the Dafter is!
    Yet again you’ve been in Edinburgh and I’ve missed you – we’re still in Speyside. Well, my husband and I are. We put the ‘children’ (at nearly 18 and 21 they’re hardly infants) onto the train at Elgin this morning and they arrived in Edinburgh via Inverness after a trying run-up-to-Hogmanay journey. Seat reservations double booked, no heating in their carriage on the Inverness train, scenes of ‘fleeing the homeland’ (remember Robin Williams in Mrs Doubtfire) overcrowding.
    The Dafter looks extremely happy with her trampoline – what a fun present to get. But see my next post for a warning….
    And His Majesty’s looks magical. Like the toy theatre at the start of Bergman’s ‘Fanny and Alexander’.

  9. Well didn’t you do well from Santa! 😀
    Our “tramapoline”(as it’s called by the kids) has been a great way to get reluctant YPs out of the house when a dog-walk just won’t do. Ours has withstood 4 plus years of wild weather and is still going strong, though it doesn’t see as much action since The Boy left home. It is good for grown ups to let off steam too – you should try it!
    Glad you liked the bracelets! ; )
    And what amazing hand-crafted ness from The Dafter!
    Great pattern presents too!

  10. Thanks for sharing your Christmas with us Christine, I hope The Dafter will recover soon, have a wonderful Hogmanay…..

  11. I really enjoyed ‘sharing’ your Christmas with you, and a lovely one it was! So many blessings and I love your photos. Isn’t it nice that your sweet hubby cooks…the meal looked delish. I love your gifts from the Dafter, what a talented girl she is. She looks so happy on her trampoline. We had one for our 4 and it was a big hit throughout their teen years. Your day with your son sounded wonderful and I love the picture of you looking so happy. I do hope this is just a small setback for the Dafter in her continuing recovery. My best wishes to you and your family for the New Year. xx

  12. A Happy New Year to you and your family, Christine.

  13. I wish you a Happy New Year! I hope your daughter gets better (can’t believe she made that crossword!) in 2012. Have a nice celebration!

  14. So pleased that you and your son enjoyed the Blackadder exhibition. I saw it in the autumn and loved it. I had had no idea her work was so varied.
    And I think the trampoline id a brilliant idea. And just think, there’ll be more daylight soon for the Dafter to spend trampolining.

  15. Dear all,

    As always thank you for leaving a comment! I get so much pleasure out of each one. Thanks for your good wishes for 2012, and particularly for the Dafter’s good health. And thank you for appreciating her talents, I have passed that on to her. I’m glad also that trampolining has been good for other families with teenagers!

    Heike – yes, Edinburgh is a lovely city. What a great thing if you had an excuse to visit regularly! Do let me know –

    Emanuela – there is a lot to be said for a quiet Christmas spent with family!

    Jill – the trampoline is well-tethered, and we intend to keep it that way. Linda of ‘Occasional Scotland’ has posted a photo of a crumpled trampoline in a field, and also the hilarious video of a trampoline going past someone’s flat in the recent gales…

    ann – I hope you made it to Edinburgh and the exhibition. There is SO much going on in the Scottish contemporary art scene, in all corners of the country, it amazes me.

    Linda – We must try to converge IRL at some point! Your Christmas on Speyside looks as if it’s been wonderful. I hope your children survived the train journey. Yes, mine were both a bit ‘fleeing the homeland’-like! Even having reservations is no guarantee of a seat sometimes.

    Roobeedoo – I will definitely be giving the “tramapoline” a go myself!

    Karen – Oh my goodness it certainly is a blessing to have a hubby who cooks! In fact I can hardly remember how to cook myself after all these years of being catered for.

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