The RSC Office closes at 2, so I was home by 2.30 on Christmas eve, which was lovely. I had a bit of final shopping for bread and milk at M&S—the shops weren’t that busy, which was a surprise. Michael got home at 7 o’clock and we had a few celebratory drinks and a nice easy meal. We went around from drinks to the Free Press: Craig and Jenna laid on some smoked salmon and roast potatoes, which was convivial. I was still feeling rough with my cough, so I headed back home after only one pint. I was really impressed by the support people at my new e-mail providers (Simply Mail Solutions) and at Michael’s (pobox.com), even on Christmas eve they managed to sort out my delivery problems between the two systems at amazing speed. The hosted Zimbra at Simply Mail Solutions is great with the iPhone (and I can now get e-mails through to Michael!). We opened half of our Christmas presents when MIchael got back from the pub.
We headed over to Bicester on Christmas day, picking up Elisabeth and then getting to Gemma’s at about midday. We had a lovely time opening a small mountain of presents.
Gemma and Tony made a super Christmas lunch: turkey and trimmings and MIchael supplied the wine (including a magnum of Marques de Riscal Reserva Rioja). The Christmas crackers were fun: with whistles in a a score and we had a few (mixed) attempts to play some Christmas carols, that mainly ended up sounding like the National Anthem.
After dinner we had more presents, and then settled down to play one of Hannah’s games: Alpha Animals which was pretty had (you name a a lizard, crustacean or reptile beginning with U!). Hannah and Tony won! Had more food (some lovely cheese) and then watched one of Gemma’s new presents (Mamma Mia). The film was a fun romp, with dreadful attempts by several well known actors to hammer out ABBA tracks: great fun!
On boxing day we had lunch with Elisabeth, and headed over to Rugby to visit Christine, Adam, Jessica and Lewis. We had a go at Wii Baseball (impossible) and also some electroshock game where you have to press a button on your handset when a red light goes green: Lewis loved it (and go the most shocks!), Christine got an iPod for Christmas and iTunes had messed up her laptop: Michael managed to roll the laptop back to before the installation, and then reinstalled iTunes, but again the laptop had lost all knowledge of the CD drive—very annoying. Back in Cambridge in 6.
I thought that Matt Damon was very good in The Good Shepherd, and it wasn’t an easy role. It was a reasonably long film, but held our attention, with the excellent acting from Angelina Jolie and Matt Damon.
Left work at 12 to get one of the four buses down to King’s College for Christmas lunch in their Hall. We managed to pretty much fill it, and had a lovely lunch, with plenty of wine. We played the traditional Heads or Tails for Milton Hospice (Carol won) and then had a quiz (Robert, Jan, Harp and I didn’t do to well at this!). The desert was fabulous: a chocolate fondant. One made of dark chocolate, baked, with a liquid chocolate centre and the other a tower of white chocolate shell, filled with white chocolate icecream flaboured with Grand Marnier. The Hall was a great setting. Jan and I had the afternoon off and we ended up the last in the massive hall, finishing of the wine, just the two of us! We wandered into John Lewis afterwards to send out Christmas Vouchers from work (although neither of us did!).
The gambling at the casino was fun (I managed to win one good hand at Poker!) and I ended up donating my large stash to Shari, who was already so up when I left that she was having to carry the chips in her handbag. Typical! The other boys from Brokeback Mountain wouldn’t say who was who… so we’ll need some script rewriting to accommodate the three parts.
I’ve been pursued relentlessly by gay-themed advertising on Facebook for months: gay sailing, gay skiing, gay cruising—I’ve lost track and feel well and truly set in my Facebook demographic. I was quite amused to see that Facebook don’t understand me 100%. I don’t think I’ll be frequenting SocialCigar, unless they are planning to tempt me in with a big, fat, gay corona.
The micromosaics were wonderful, and the general age of all the pieces was impressive. There was a lot of church art / icons, which left me a bit cold. Aside from a few highlights I didn’t find the exhibition that engaging or interesting: the feeling was more of a museum exhibit than a discussion about the art and culture, and there weren’t enough labels on individual pieces. In fact the labeling was pretty poor: often I could see the pieces very well and had to queue to read what they were.