A lot like winter. Yes, I know Christmas is on the horizon, but before we get to that we’ve had Halloween (we gave away half a dozen mini lollipops), Guy Fawkes night (a huge fire at the bottom of the street where we met some new friends), and Remembrance Sunday. Of course the shops started putting up their decorations even before Halloween (you’d think they’d realise the sense of concentrating all their marketing on one thing at a time) and this Thursday the lights go on in Newcastle (being switched on by a local celebrity we’ve never heard of). Fenwick’s window (a longstanding Newcastle tradition) has been unveiled and this year has a traditional theme (apparently the aliens from a few years ago were not popular). It is typical of the British – or perhaps only the English – that when we went to have a look on Saturday, there was an orderly queue, and no six deep crowd in front of the windows. We just walked up and were able to view most of the windows without a problem. It was a very mild day – hardly even needed a coat – but that has all changed. Winter has been late arriving but today is raining, and eight degrees. There’s a possibility of snow in the Wirral on Saturday, and certainly frost here on Saturday night and snow over all high ground in Scotland.
Michael has been on day shift this week, which means he goes out in daylight (Kevin, who goes out earlier, is not quite going out in the dark). But it is dark by the time he gets home (4 pm), and positively black when Kevin gets home at 5.45. I am sitting up here in the spare room at 2.30 pm and the light is on, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to see the keyboard. But as Michael’s boss happily reminded him, the days start getting longer again in a month!
Michael’s new shop is supposed to open in ten days’ time. From the outside it looks as though it’s nowhere near, but the training is starting next week. They all have new uniform (laid out on the spare bed), so we’ll go in on the first day and take some photos. From being in a tiny shop with no seating they are going into a two storey edifice with tables and chairs, table service – and VAT on everything you eat sitting down. The tax system here is very odd.
We don’t have a Christmas tree yet, and don’t have room for a real one like we had in Crawley, but we might start earlier this year than we did last year – we waited for Glynis to finish at school last year, and then promptly flew out to Morocco! This year we have nothing to wait for and we aren’t going anywhere, so we might as well be festive for three weeks instead of two. We’ll have Grandma on Christmas Day, and that is Michael’s only day off (apart from the normal rostered ones) but Kevin has the week off between Christmas and New Year, so apart from visiting the sales, and having some yummy food, it will be a quiet Christmas, quite different from the last couple!
Watch this space – Kevin’s going to find me some photos to put in the next one!