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...it had to happen I suppose, we couldn't keep experiencing such great adventures every time we ventured up to Harley street and so it came to pass that on the day of Cycle 6, nothing much happened at all.
I feel bad at our lack of adventure, so here, this is a picture of Tash wrestling with two peices of wood
Got up, got dressed, got on the tube (not as busy as it normally is), got to 95 Harley street, sat down (in our normal chair), got plugged in, did nothing for 8 hours, unplugged, got a taxi and went home.
We saw no Dinosaurs, famous people or were aparty to any international incidents, even buying lunch, a usual cause for considerable stress on my part passed without incident (Organic Chicken, Pumpkin and Chili, if you must know, and no, it wasn't for me.)
I have a terrible feeling that we are becoming used to this (or that it's just taken us 6 cycles to finally work it out!!)
Speak to you Sunday
It took Tash most of this week to fully recover from last Wednesday's Cycle 6. Convienetly ABN hosted their Christmas party just up the road from where we live, so in a bid to escape the cabin-fever that had set in of late she ignored the most fundamental of all school rules, if you are too sick to be at work, you should also be too sick to go out to play. Nope not Tash.
She managed a couple of hours before the the old friend fatigue took hold and she texted me to come and pick her up. I was relaxing in my 'jimmi-jammies' on the sofa watching some god awful Sci-fi program, though the show was crap it was nice to have the TV up loud and so I missed the increasingly urgent bleeping messages on my phone until she phoned the house, starting the conversation with the ever helpful 'didn't you get my messages!' , umm no, that is why I am still sitting on the sofa.
When I met her I was regaled of stories form the party, which was themed on travel, the ticket was a boarding pass, that sort of thing. The oddest was that a 'Pride' of Transvestites (I believe that would be the most appropriate collective noun) had spied her Tur-ban and complementing party outfit and pronounced that it was 'Fierce' , we believe that this is a positive comment, though I have yet to understand how cross-dressers could possibly figure in the travel theme, well in a non debauched sense anyway.
Tash made it back to work for a half day, from what I could gather picking up speed, she had sloped off to SpaceNK to purchase her first eyebrow pencil when I phoned for a chat, so that was a good sign. She then had an evening scoping out possible venues for another team Christmas outing. I don't know if it is the same for you, but even in this multinational, non-denominational society that is London, any excuse for an evening out is taken seriously. I was woken up by a cold appendage pressing into my back at some ungodly hour of Friday morning, this would be the announcement that the wife was home.
We had a good night out with Marisa and Nathan, it was his birthday recently so we went to a Japanese restaurant. However, Tash and I were having a bit of an off 24 hours, so though it was not all out war or anything, there were some spiky moments. Fortunately for the evening Marisa and Nathan have known us for quite a while and expertly steered (should that be corralled) the pair of us around the tricky bits. The Dean's are very sorry.
Jason, my sister's partner, is turning 40 this week, so she arranged a 'kind-of-but-not-really-suprise' party. For my family it was the only chance for all of us to get together before Christmas (also read, this year), I haven't seen my brother for quite a while, so it was nice to see that he was still alive. For a change we got to Swanage in good time, most of our trips are horrendous 5 hour missions, so it was a pleasant surprise to get there on time for once. We did what we do best and all got fairly drunk and had many good conversations. There are some pictures below.
Now you didn't think that Tash was going to steam straight ahead and ruin her Christmas by having Cycle 7 the week before Christmas did you? She is just having a Herceptin treatment on 20th December and won't have any more chemo until the new year.
Sunday 18th December
As I sit here roasting my chestnuts over an open fire, I am reminded that our journey is six months old; In that time Summer partied itself into Autumn and then Autumn got bored, buggered off, and left Winter to it. Now the furry raisin and myself are turning our thoughts to the Christmas extravaganza that is about to hit us next week.
This Tuesday would have been the start of Cycle 7, but we are putting that off until January in favour of having a nearly awake, most of the time, and with a moderate amount or energy version of Tash rather than the Cat like, asleep for 18 hours a day, woman-kitty-cat-type-thing that she is becoming after the accumulative effects of 6 months of Chemo have taken their toll. We received no negative response from 'the Slev' when it was suggested, so we can only presume that by this stage of the proceedings an extra two weeks between cycles will not be the end of the world. She has the day off to have her usual dose of Herceptin and will get back to her social engagments without delay.
After her extended bout of illness Tash sprung back into life in time to take advantage of this 'non-denominational holiday season' to quote the emails I have been receiving at work, incidentally, I have noticed that with every email wishing such inoffensive greetings, more Christmas decorations have appeared around the office. Tash has been out quite a bit recently so I asked her to fill in the blanks a bit, for both you, our avid readership and me, the dutiful, but doesn't go out quite so much, husband.
This year I have found myself getting right into the Christmas spirit. It's odd as the last few years I have been rather bah humbug about it all and given the choice, would have opted to go abroad and get away from it all. Maybe my sudden enthusiasm has been triggered by the fact that we are hosting Christmas lunch for other people this year, or perhaps because it's the first one we've had at home for a while, I'm not sure.
So, for the last week and a half I have certainly made up for lost time, having been out quite a lot not only to Christmas parties, get-togethers and birthday celebrations (Fe and Nathan..) but also making preparations for the big day. We now have a fully decorated and loaded Christmas tree, several new Christmas CD's (thank goodness we only have to listen to these once a year!!! - there's only so much Christmas Crooner-ing Mark and I can take!) and several new recipe books which I have acquired in a bid to find the perfect Christmas feast to suit all our guests without letting Mark feel left out. I've opted for seafood, (of course) and am quite looking forward to a lighter stomach by 3.00pm Christmas Day.
The main event of the week was my team's Christmas outing and I am pleased to report it went off quite well. The last couple of years have been something of a disaster so I was feeling a little pressured to find the right venue.. I could have left this job up to someone else in the team but with a boss who frequents *'The White Horse' more than most people care to imagine, I didn't think that was a safe option....! I managed to get about 4.5 hrs sleep before having to get back to work for the early shift the next day and although it was good to get it done and leave early, I soon realised I wasn't going to make it out again that night as planned. I ended up staying home and getting an early night, waking up all refreshed for Friday night out with the girls. Come Friday afternoon however, some of them were feeling just as knackered and that got canned as well... "I can't be doing this out 4 nights in a row lark..." one of my friends wrote in her email on Friday afternoon and that made me wonder... are we all getting old????
Anyway, it was probably for the best as I was due in at work for 7.30am Saturday and had quite a long day there. Mark and I went out for dinner on Saturday night and we've had something of a rest day today. So, I guess our next update will be after Christmas.... Some of you may have noticed there has been no home made Hayes-Dean Christmas card in your letterboxes this year. This is mainly due to lack of time, on Mark's part, however I felt that he's done so much work on the Tao of Tash over the last 6 months that I didn't want him to have another task on his plate. That being the case, he has made the site look very festive for you all and
We both wish you all a really wonderful Christmas wherever you may be and all the best for the year ahead.
*The White Horse is a less than well known "gentleman's bar" near my work....
Christmas day started well, Santa had sneaked in, as he does every year and placed a little present on my pillow whilst I was having a morning tinkle. I didn't, on this occasion, open every cupboard in the bedroom shouting 'come on you fat bastard, you must be in here somewhere' whilst accusing Tash of having a man, albeit a large happy present giving one, in the room when I was not there. Interestingly the bearded shit had also kicked my Tash present further under the bed than where I had put it the night before, probably I surmised, when he had been smooching the girl. Tash has strange tastes, he must of stunk after all those mince pies and milk and port drinks, but there can be no denying the wanton attraction of a man who can give a girl every present she could ever possibly desire.
We had elected to host Christmas dinner this year, returning the hospitality offered last year by Karen and Alan and including some other waifs and strays.
My rule for cooking is that the more people you have, the simpler the food should be. Christmas day further proved this point; though the food was good, it was mostly cold, all wonderfully accepted by our guests I point out, but one must have standards. My extra Christmas present to myself was a blinding migraine that appeared from nowhere about 10 minutes after Marisa, Nathan and Paul arrived. Paul was our charity case for the year, as he was sans-a-plan for Christmas Day. Usually we worry when Marisa starts a conversation with 'I have this friend who wants to come along...' as she follows the quantity over quality rule of friendships, and well it is Xmas dinner, so no loonies are allowed. We were heartened when she quickly followed her inverse invite for Paul by telling us that Nathan gets on well with him. This in itself is like receiving the royal crest and we were not disappointed as he was the perfect guest, or 'potential burglar' as they are occasionally known around here.
Tash left me on Boxing Day for the bright lights and loud country accents of Cirencester and her chums the Crofts. I, never one to be upstaged, then proceeded to have very little sleep over the next 48 hour period as work completely went down the toilet. One of the benefits of working for a 'global bank' is that if some idiot in Singapore wants to ask you a really stupid question, he can, by simply getting the data centre to wake you up. I was not a very happy bunny by the time I drove into Swindon to pick the girl up, however she diligently phoned me every half hour to make sure I wasn't going to sleep at the wheel.
Tash's couple of days with the Croft's was by all accounts excellent and very Croft like - there was an announcement of an engagement within 5 minutes of her getting there (Steven and Bob, no not that sort of Bob, this is Wiltshire remember). Apart from that, Tash reports that it was slightly more subdued than usual. She did however enjoy a few drinks with 2 of the Croft boys down the village pub after a long walk in the countryside. After a few hours, the remaining 2 Croft brothers were sent down to retrieve them all... arriving 2 hours late for dinner she was forced to take the blame for the extended pub visit and told by Anne (Mother Croft) that this type of thing never happens when she's not there.... (yeah right!)
New Year's (pictures here)
After the success of last year's New Year holiday in the countryside, Tash and the girls decided to repeat the venture and book another cottage for us all to stay in. This time it was just down the road from Swindon, hence the Tash + Mark arrangement that I have just described.
Once there we met up with Donna and Franc, who had collected the keys earlier and settled in to some wine and cheese, as is the way. The next day after a hearty breakfast we took a trip to Devizes and then Marlborough to stock up on supplies...(along with more cheese). Friday was much the same, big breakfast, a small excursion and yet more wine and cheese as we waited for the rest of the gang to turn up. It was our night on cooking duty and Tash's Melanzane (Eggplant) Parmigiana went down well with the gang.
Sarah had brought a 'Pub Quiz' game with her and rather unwisely, as initial quiz-master, agreed to the suggestions of having teams made up of the traditional boy-girl split. Oh dear, and oh dear again as the same thing happened on New Year's Eve under the guise of a rematch. There is a reason why it is called a 'pub-quiz' and not an 'after dinner quiz' or a 'have some time free in the spa quiz' and that is because we men hold an awful lot of irrelevant crap in our heads. The Girls lost, twice, and we sung 'You're shit and you know you are' too them just to rub it in... In retrospect, considering that these were our spouses, this may not have been the most brilliant decision of the night.
This second game had to be interrupted by the reason for us all being there, the 147 multi-shot fireworks part buried somewhere in the garden sat waiting with it's super helpful one fuse fires all, primed ready to see in the New Year.
With minutes to spare, hats were donned, gloves were stuffed with hands and cups of mulled wine made their way into the garden where Franc, the most responsible member of the group and I, arguably one of the least, circumnavigated the garden in search of the firework bunker. We had forgotten the torch so at this point were thankful of only having to light one fuse.
Our first surprise of the year was just how quickly a 147 shot keg of fireworks could in fact go off... So quick, that had I not turned round to take pictures whilst walking back to the girls from the keg, I would have missed the display completely. The mulled wine was not hot, we were not prepared and to think, a game of pub quiz was interrupted for this fire-squeltching display.
The rest of the night and early morning was taken up playing with a rather rusty Scaletrix set and discovering that our Wine and Cheese diet was having disastrous effects on our bowels. Not the most traditional way to usher in a New Year, but we were all consenting adults. The evening finished with the boys congregating back in the living room where the women put on an authentic display of teenage girls dancing in front of the stereo.
This little adventure finished with a lunch time meal at The Pot Kiln near Reading, apparently the venue is famous on the UK Food channel over here. The Pot Kiln follows the current trend in British food of sourcing local produce, though their definition of local for my starter of Sardines is arguable. The main course made the table a sea of Pheasant but for the small island of Risotto at my place. I have been told to recommend this to all you foodies, so I am.
We are back home now, Tash is back to work tomorrow and I am having he rest of the week off. She is back in the saddle next Monday as Cycle 7 starts, our updates might be a bit erratic next week as Tash will have to do them as I am not going to be with her this time. I am sure that you will survive a post or two with out my wit. See you then, and Happy New Year. M&T