Solstice

We were waiting in for the dishwasher repairman and for a phone call, so inevitably, both occurred within a few minutes of each other. A few days ago, Liesel asked what was that big crash? I’d heard no crash. We later discovered it was the dishwasher door opening violently, rather than gently as it’s meant to. After making and receiving nine phone calls, speaking to at least five different operatives at three separate but related companies, I made an appointment. A text message confirmed the appointment for one day. Later, an email confirmed an appointment for a different day. British customer service at its best.

Anyway, the bloke turned up, we think his nickname was Grumpy, but he fixed the door and disappeared.

Meanwhile, I received my phone call about which, more later. In between times, it was an administrative, busy kind of day: bins (taking out), blog (writing), bread (baking and eating), bills (paying), books (reading) and breastplate (polishing).

dan and lou treehouse
The Treehouse with Dan and Peps

Before I got out of bed the following morning, I listened to the latest Treehouse Podcast, presented by Danny Baker and Lou Pepper. The story I’d related on the phone yesterday didn’t end up on the cutting room floor, after all, but I still don’t really enjoy hearing my own voice on this sort of thing. It’s a very entertaining podcast, and we would recommend subscribing!

It’s a busy time of year, of course, the lead-up to Christmas, but that didn’t prevent Jenny and Liam from going out to a wedding party. Liesel and I looked after William and Martha, watching some TV, reading some stories and finally, taking them to bed. We kept the volume low while watching Casino Royale and listening out for noise from upstairs. But they were good as gold and, next morning, Martha asked for Oma rather than Mummy, which is nice, but of course, we wern’t there!

Liesel’s so clever. She has been putting the new sewing machine to good use, making bags for Christmas presents, so we don’t need single-use wrapping paper, and she’s made some fun items for William and Martha for Christmas. Shh, don’t tell them.

In the afternoon, we walked to the West Didsbury Makers Market, and what a pleasant walk it was, too. We stayed away from busy roads as much as possible, and walked by the river instead. It was the day of the Winter Solstice, so the Sun was low and weak but it didn’t feel cold outside.

Short day, long shadows

It was a bit disconcerting when, for a moment, we thought we’d teleported to Kent. Is the M20 a Kentish motorway or a motorway of Kent?

M20 West

But no, not really, we found the market easily. This is the market where Liesel bought an armchair last time. On this occasion, we confined our purchases to cheese, a Christmas cactus, coffee and samosas.

We saw more people by the river on the way back, some with dogs, some with out-of-control dogs that jumped in the water. I muttered at the mutts, don’t you dare shake over me! But here’s a nice picture of us by the Mersey.

Selfie of the day

We passed by the old Tatton Arms pub, in Northenden, which is still boarded up closing down in 2008. It’s a great location, right by the river, and probably was a nice looking building, but what a shame it’s not open for business.

The tatty Tatton Arms pub sign
It just needs a bit of TLC

We thought be might see a pretty sunset over the river, but that was not to be. Instead, the last glimpse of the Sun was behind some not very photogenic houses. But, after the Solstice, we can look forward to the days now getting longer again.

The biggest splashes of colour were to be found, of course, in John Lewis. We only went for some ribbon, for one of Liesel’s projects, but somehow we had breakfast there too.

Lots of colour in this corner of John Lewis

Jenny had taken the children out for some last-minute shopping too and we offered to look after them for a couple of hours if she needed some time to hereself. She did. While waiting for them to return, I went for a quick walk around Jenny’s neighbourhood and was delighted to see how seasonal the place was. Holly and ivy both trying to hide, but I found them.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas

We took Martha and William home where they played well, ate well and even bathed well. Most water stayed in the bath, always a bonus.

Martha watering William to help him grow

While they were here, our doorbell rang. We weren’t expecting anyone, but guess what? A second engineer had come to fix our dishwasher. We had to let him in to take a picture of the offending item, to prove that he’d been, but what a waste of his time. It was only three days since the other bloke fixed it and, so far, the repair’s still holding up. I wonder if I’ll be invited to take part in a customer satisfaction survey on this occasion?

Before taking them home, we showed the children the marquee over the road, with its snowmen and railway and snowglobes and reindeer. They both quickly fell asleep in the car on the way back home!

And here we are on Christmas Eve. Liesel’s been in the kitchen, baking, while I’ve been staying out of her way. I went to the shop to buy some last-minute ingredients, and unexpectedly, there were more staff members than shoppers. I opened the microphone on my device here, so, as you read this, you should be able to detect the gorgeous aroma of cinnamon.

Cinnamon rolls (pre-icing)

My soundtrack has been some delightful choral Christmas music which is on BBC Sounds for another 6 days only, but it’s very relaxing and Christmassy.
Liesel and I wish all our readers a very Merry Christmas, lots of love and best wishes. And a million thanks for coming by and sharing our antics!

Author: mickandlieselsantics

We are a married couple, one American, one Brit, one male, one female, neither of us as fit as we would like to be, well over 100 years old altogether.

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