Having been the only person I know to have actually made it back to their "home" country without hideous delays, here I am! In my flat (weird), with the cat (cute) and preparing for 9 days of Christmas socialising.
My flight from Barajas was only an hour late so I was back here just after midnight on Sunday night, or rather Monday morning. Having unpacked my very tiny amount of clothing, I set to work behaving exactly like I do in Madrid - ie I got a glass of red wine and spent til 3am on the internet!
On Monday, I stocked up with the necessities from my much-missed local greengrocer/deli, had an unexpected afternoon tea with Cathy and looked forward to an evening catching up with my ex over pizza and beer. But it was not to be. The vagaries of the British public transport system, combined with the half an inch of snow and a bit of ice, meant that he couldn't make it down to Brighton. Ah well.
Things fell into place more on Tuesday. I went to a meeting with the other volunteers that I'll be spending Christmas Day with (weird bunch, but I guess that's only to be expected!) then it was off to Cathy's for an evening of Christmas silliness! She'd laid on a really good spread, practically all homemade, and must have been slaving over the proverbial hot stove pretty much all day. There was homemade houmous, carrot and beetroot cakes, chickpea flour fairy cakes, steaming hot potato croquettes, fried cheese balls, spring rolls, crisps, cranberry Bellinis and most importantly, mulled wine and mince pies. Yum.
She'd gone all out on the games front too. A frustrating, and potentially argument-inducing "Christmas Number 1 in which year?" game which caused much scratching of heads and a lot of nostalgia, Family Fortunes and a quiz. Crackers, da-dos, stickers, paper hats and exploding streamers. And the obligatory Christmas CD playing in the background. All the requirements for a lovely, festive evening with friends.
It was really good to see everyone, and I haven't laughed so much in a while! Despite my pauper status having caused me to knock any chance of present buying on the head, I should know my friends better, and I came away with 3 bags of pressies. Naughty people, but THANK YOU! I'll have some serious catching up to do if I ever have any money!
I got home very full of food, and possibly slightly too much alcohol (so what's new?), ready to crash and prepare for the next round!
So thanks Cathy, Sid, Ed, Sarah, Carol, Anne, Andrea (and 2 unnamed friends!) for a fun evening!
The photos are here: http://picasaweb.google.co.uk/emsr2d2/Christmas2009AtCathyS?authkey=Gv1sRgCIDzm5mVv9zaDg&feat=directlink
Now if I could just get Stop the Cavalry out of my head.....