…all night he dreamed of his own house and wandered in his sleep into all his different rooms looking for something that he could not find nor remember what it looked like. -J.R.R. Tolkien “The Hobbit”
My mother having sold the old family home in November, and relocated to Solihull, our annual family gathering was at my sister’s house this Christmas.
My sister’s house in Solihull
How lovely it was to see my family again, after another year apart.
Bernadette & my mother pretending to drink Guinness
Nice too, to stuff my face on my sister’s fine cooking.
Risotto with spinach & sea bass
Can’t quit remember what this was, but it looks nice doesn’t it? Maybe a potato & spinach gratin…
Christina’s world famous nut roast with all the trimmings!
It was lovely to see them. As we have so often done before, the Mulrys, my mother and myself made a little day trip to that lovely North Yorkshire seaside town Whitby… Click through to the individual pictures on flickr if you would like a little more information.
And finally Saltburn with Mr. Potter… Here’s Mike Potter and his girlfriend Lisa who I met for the first time.And a charming lady she is too.
This is the place we had lunch at, Virgo’s in Saltburn. Saltburn is a lovely old Victorian seaside town on the wild north-east coast and Virgo’s is a very nice bistro/cafe with a great menu that includes several vegetarian dishes.
I had pasta with pesto and pine nuts. All the ps.
These two had some other stuff… We were all really satisfied anyway.
It was too cold and windy for walking so we retreated to the Ship – an old smugglers pub for pints and pirate impressions.
It’s always good to see Mr. Potter. Here’s a little Teesside moon from the journey back…
Come hell or high snowdrifts I was determined to get back home for Christmas this year and in the end my journey home was pretty smooth. As I travelled via Amsterdam and Teeside Airport I managed to avoid all the trouble down south. My return journey on the other hand turned into a bit of a nightmare. Just as I was arriving at the airport I heard on the taxi’s radio that my flight had been cancelled (presumably due to fog). My trip was rescheduled and I was put into a taxi to Manchester from where I flew to Qatar and from there on to Japan. This added 7 hours to my journey time and almost added more as my plane into Qatar was late and I had to literally run to catch my next plane. On arrival at Kansai airport though I dicovered my luggage hadn’t made it though and was still in Qatar! Hilarious eh? Well I got my suitcase back again today, thankfully, and have been happily munching on the British chocolate and sipping the Yorkshire tea that I’d packed.
Here are some pictures from the old homestead in the Boro. Here is the view from our house on Christmas morning. Notice the For Sale sign by our hedge in the foreground. This may well be the last time I spend Christmas in the house I grew up in. Sometimes though, you just have to let go…
Sycamore Road in the snow Christmas morning 2010.
Here’s our back garden:
Christmas morning at Sycamore Road
Lovely, isn’t it?
Christmas morning at Sycamore Road
This is only the second time in 40 years I’ve seen snow like this in Middlesbrough at this time of year. It’s not just due to freak weather conditions either. Things are changing…
Christmas morning at Sycamore Road
Every year my dad would put those lights up in the garden. This time my mom had to do it on her own…
As I don’t eat meat my sister makes me a special nut roast every year. It’s gorgeous!
Tucking in. Left to right, my sister Christina, her husband John and a little bit of my niece Charlotte.
Left to right, my sister Bernadette and my mom
Boxing Day. A view from the Avenue of the Holy Name of Mary church.
Munchkins: my nephew Joseph and niece Catherine.
My family December 27th.
The reason we are all scrunched in like that is that I made the mistake of saying "little ones at the front" forgetting completely that we are all quite little in my family.
When he was young they said he looked like John Wayne...
My father, who passed away last spring, would have been 93 today. Every year on his birthday all five of his children would call him up (if they weren’t at home) to wish him well. He was a quiet, shy sort of man and hated answering the phone. On any normal occasion he would go to great lengths to avoid answering it, and if he did have to answer it the conversation that ensued tended to be awkward. So I guess he must have had mixed feelings about getting all those phone calls and having to answer the calls himself. On the one hand he was secretly pleased – it was his special day. On the other hand he was secretly stressed – he really hated talking on the phone. One year, I was home for his birthday. He must have been in his late 80’s at the time. As everyone was calling in the early evening, they kept interrupting his dinner. Exasperated at having to get up out his chair yet again he said, “Next time I get married, I’m having less children!” My mom thought that was hilarious.
Well, as I don’t have the extension number for the great beyond, I’ll say it here. Happy birthday, Daddy. I bet you’re glad you don’t have to answer that phone anymore!
Some family photos from Britain and Ireland… My dad had two funerals, one in the church he attended for 43 years in Middlesbrough and one back in his home parish of Skerries before being buried in the family grave at Lusk. As you can see from the photos from the reception – I have a lot of cousins (and that’s only half of them!).
Here are some pictures from Skerries, Ireland:
After we got back to the UK, I stuck around for a bit to keep my mother company. We were due to go to Whitby for a day out one day, but the bus that goes there continues on to Scarborough. “Shall we go to Scarborough?” says my mom with a little twinkle in her eye. So we did. My mom loves Scarborough.
On Friday the 5th of March we finally did go to Whitby. “Not as good as Scarborough,” says my mom.
My father, Richard Joseph Lambe, passed away peacefully on Tuesday February 16th. He was a quiet, hard-working man, a keen gardener and his greatest achievement remains his family; five children and three grandchildren. All of his children were able to say goodbye to him before he went and at 92 years old he had a good long life – but as my mother says “It’s never long enough”.
Happy New Year! I got back to Japan on the 30th with the nastiest dose of jetlag I’ve had yet but managed to pull myself out of bed in order to replace my demolished phone and then see in 2008. Problem was when the old phone got smashed to pieces all my contact numbers and mail addresses went with it and although I called STT several times, there was no answer, so I assumed it was shut. I was facing a billy-no-mates New Year’s Eve it seemed but it turned out STT was open – just the phone wasn’t working, so I managed to toast the New Year in with Masuda, Non-chan, Kei-kun and Kageyama-san afterall. After that we went to Wellers where I danced like a pillock and drank too much. And now my head hurts. Hurrah!
Here are the obligatory pictures from England. First of my dad’s 90th birthday. Everyone was there but my niece Charlotte who made her appearance the following day and didn’t stop talking till she left 6 days later. BubbleShare: Share photos – Cheap Vegas Hotels
One fine day we went to Whitby, a lovely little fishing port (and one time whaling town) in Yorkshire. There are some nice night shots at the end there if you have the patience (or you could just push that dial along hare-wards to speed it up).
Just a quick post from Grove Hill public library to wish you all, wherever you may be a most felicitous Christmas and a joyous (yes – joyous!) New Year! I’m off to see Middlesbrough thrash the pants off of West Ham today. Byeeeeeeeeee!
Right well, Masaya has added his piece to my attempt at a translation in yesterday’s post… And after that I’m wondering if this might not be better:
At Year’s End
Wrap things up well
And what you unwrap
Won’t be broken
But you could go on ad infinitum with that sort of thing, couldn’t you? Nah, the first version was better. Well, today is young Joseph Reader (poet of the trees) ‘s birthday – Happy Birthday to him. Tomorrow is my dad’s 90th – Felicitations his way (not that either of them will ever read this) and I’m off up to Middlesbrough tomorrow for the annual family argument get-together. Here’s something I found on Boingboing that made me laugh: