I spent a couple of days in Ireland last week on business. In the evening I went to a pub, as one does, to sample a Guinness. I am not sure what it is about Guinness in Ireland, but it does taste better than over here in England. It used to be said that it was because the English pint was brewed at Park Royal in London and not in Dublin. It was therefore missing the magic ingredient of the water from the River Liffey (actually the water comes from the Wicklow Mountains, specifically, Lady's Well).The Park Royal brewery is now closed and it is all brewed in Dublin. So is it really different, is that it "doesn't travel" or is it psychological?
As always this proved to be a rather hectic time; but very enjoyable. It started on Wednesday 22nd December when we took our former Parish Priest, Father Pat to Westminster Cathedral for their "Christmas Celebration" which is a service of choir singing, reading and carols plus a reflection by Archbishop Vincent - a great evening. That evening Helena arrived home for Christmas, as always it is great to see her.
Then on the Thursday Phil, Julia's twin sister arrived with husband Peter, they were still celebrating their daughter's wedding the previous weekend. That evening Phil's other daughter, Natalie came over with boyfriend Pete for dinner. A most enjoyable evening.
Friday saw Peter and I go to join up with the a host of other Mellishs for a pre-dinner drink - mine was J2O as I was driving. Nevertheless it was a good to meet up although numbers were down, largely due to the cold and snow. Lawrie and Emma arrived in the early evening. Then later that evening we all went to the carol service followed by Midnight Mass at St. Joseph's Church. Then back home to a couple of bottles of bubbly to toast in Christmas. So we eventually got to bed around 4am; not a good idea.
Christmas day our good friend Father Peter ( a surfeit of Peter's this year) came over. We lunched late around 4 pm, but were amply fed with nibbles, smoked salmon etc whilst we waited (plus more bubbly).
After a great lunch there was the grand present opening - with 11 of us at home there were plenty of presents to say the least.
After the present opening it was party time which consisted of various games starting with a Christmas quiz and ending with charades with various activities in between, again a rather late night!
On Boxing Day Father Peter had to go "back to work" in his parish. Our friend Mike came over for lunch just to keep the numbers up. Again a great day this time finishing at the relatively early hour of 2am. The one sad thing was that Phil and Peter had to leave after dinner as they had commitments t'up North This was the first Christmas that we have spent with them and we certainly thoroughly enjoyed it. I just hope that they did.
On the Monday Father Pat came for lunch along with two other friends, Paddy and Veronica. Again we had a great time although this time they all left early although we stayed up with Helena, Lawrie and Emma playing more games - the TV had a good rest.
On Tuesday we went up to town around Covent Garden. Had a good Turkish lunch out; but dreadful service! As always the street entertainers were good.
Quite what he was doing juggling knives up a ladder in his underpants takes a lot of explaining - he started off in a kit and no he is not Scottish.
On the Wednesday Helena left to go back to work and Lawrie also left as he was on duty on Thursday (he returned Thursday night). New Year's Eve was sober for Julia and I as we went to evening prayers at 11:30 followed by Midnight Mass. We did go back to the presbytery for a drink with Father Tom when the service was over.
So the year has drawn to a close. I did manage to keep this Blog going - a minor miracle. We are not quite sure what 2011 will bring. There is repairs work to be done at the lodge as we suffered burst pipes in the extreme cold and for some reason the boiler tripped out. Julia and I celebrate our Ruby Wedding Anniversary and hopefully her leg will soon be cleared of the ulcer which has now been with her for nine months. I will continue the Diaconate Studies and hopefully my essays will pass muster. What else........?
Happy New Year one and all, may 2011 bring you peace, good health and prosperity.
I am a retired Consulting IT Specialist. I have been married to Julia for 45 years and we are blessed with four children; David, Andrew, Lawrie and Hélèna. Not forgetting the "other half's"; Gaew married to Andrew, Lawrie's partner Emma and Hélèna's husband Sam.
In addition we have a grandson - Henry Thomas, son of Lawrie and Emma. Henry was three in April - time flies
I am now ordained as a Permanent Deacon in the RC Church - date of ordination 8 June 2013 so am now in my third year of ministry.