Driving Home For Christmas & A Case Of Tinsel-litis

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A cheeky wee bit of Scotland on our English tree! (One of my favourite purchases from Tippecanoe in Portree)

I’m not exactly sure what happened towards the end of 2014 but suddenly my quiet new life on Skye got all busy and I found myself a bit short on time (which hopefully explains the absence of new blog posts).

The run up to Christmas is always busy but it’s especially so for an artist when there’s a number of gift commissions with a very definite Dec 25th deadline. On top of this I had visitors to stay, a weekend on the mainland and various evening work events.
Whilst it was all lovely stuff, and I enjoyed each activity immensely, I came up to Skye to slow down a little and this was begining to feel a bit more like London life.
So, 2015 shall be a year when I’m consciously giving myself time and it’ll start with me getting back to this blog…

Should I be worried about that mileage number..?!

Plus a couple of hours for deer-peppered dark roads. Should I be worried about that mileage number..?!

Home! (Chiddingfold Village Green)

Home – Chiddingfold Village Green on the Surrey/West Sussex border

I had a lovely Christmas, despite the fact it didn’t exactly go to plan…

I ended up doing the journey back to Surrey all in one go… 14 and a half hours. It’s the first time I’ve done it in a one-er but the excitement of seeing family meant I didn’t want to stop for the night (well, that and an extortionate amount of caffeine). It was worth it to arrive at 5am and surprise Mum before she left for the office in the morning. The worst thing about the journey was that for the entire time I sat in the car they didn’t play Driving Home For Christmas on the radio. Not once. I’ve been looking forward to singing that on the route home since November.
(Yes, I did download it on my phone especially for this occasion but my phone was involved in a little incident the week before, I’ll explain another time…)

It

It was lovely to see our dogs again, though they didn’t seem that fussed to see me!

My first couple of days at home were lovely.
On my first night back I drove down to Winchester to catch up with my newly-married friends, Alex and Rick, and our friend Alex M-H. These guys are the ultimate proof that getting hitched isn’t the end of the party. We spent the evening foolishly mixing German beer, espresso martinis, pina coladas and even a couple of WKD Blues (don’t judge). It was oodles of fun and when we all woke up in one great, hungover heap in the spare room in the morning we deserved every ounce of hangover we’d earned. Brilliant.

Cramming into a nightclub photobooth at around 2am

Cramming into a nightclub photobooth at around 2am. We definitely looked a lot less enthusiastic the following morning.

The next night Mum and I went up to London to watch the ballet at Sadler’s Wells. Going to see one of Matthew Bourne’s fantastically vibrant productions has become a little tradition for us now. Swan Lake with the iconic all-male troupe of swans was wonderful last year and this year’s version of Edward Scissorhands was equally captivating.
If you ever get a chance to see one of his shows you must take it, I think he even appeals to people who don’t usually like ballet as his choreography and staging is so colourful. I see him as the Baz Luhrmann or Danny Boyle of the ballet world.

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Having fun during the interval

All far so good. But then I begin to feel a bit groggy and my throat seems raw. I open my mouth and look in the mirror to find white spots all over my tonsils. I don’t remember putting tonsillitis on my Christmas list.

So I’m stuck in bed for a few days. A course of antibiotics kicks the tonsillitis fairly swiftly yet I’m still feeling rough. It sounds like I’m underwater and my limbs feel leaden. In place of a sore throat there arrives a runny nose, headache and all-round yucky cold symptoms.

It’s Christmas Eve and I’ve just got back from a trip to the ice rink at Hampton Court with my father (a valiant defiance of being sick, I think) … but now I’m curled up on the sofa feeling sorry for myself whilst the rest of the family are wrapping themselves up to go to Midnight Mass.  It looks like I’m totally out of action for Christmas.

A medicinal whisky!

A medicinal whisky!

Despite being poorly I enjoyed Christmas day.

We do what we always do… Open presents round the fire in the morning with my grandparents, go out to a local place for Christmas lunch, come back and relax whilst we wait for the rest of the family to join us (uncles, aunts, cousins etc), play games in the evening, and so on.

On Boxing Day I’ll cook a turkey roast and we’ll push all the tables together to have a big family lunch. We’ll sabrage the tops off champagne and prosecco bottles with glee and, once we’ve filled ourselves with their bubbles, I’ll run upstairs and dig out some of my fancy dress boxes as the kitchen transforms into one big, silly, Tunn Family disco.

Nan rocking out in the kitchen with Abbie and Sophie

Nan rocking out in the kitchen with my cousins, Abbie and Sophie

This year wasn’t much different apart from my Aunty Sharon very kindly taking over my cooking duties (for which I am forever grateful!).

Whilst I did spend most of it watching from my armchair-come-sick-bed, a few restorative whiskies did give me the strength to join in for the most fun bits, even if I did collapse in snotty sniffles an hour or so later.
So worth it.

A little bit of dressing up with my half-sisters. What an elegant trio...!

A little bit of dressing up with my half-sisters, Jess and Emma. What an elegant trio…!

There were so many friends I’d planned to see and so much I’d wanted to do whilst at home but all plans were scuppered. I spent a few more days in bed after Boxing Day and then, when I finally felt a little brighter, it was time to hop in the car and head North for Hogmanay.

Travelling back up was strange; even though I had something fun to go to I wasn’t excited to be making the journey North again. I’d gone home, got ill, got well, then had to leave. It was so short. Did I really want to come back to a place so far away from all the people I love?

Once I’d got back up to Skye and seen the crashing waves of Neist Point and the craggy hills of Trotternish I lost all doubt that I’d made the right choice to come back. I’m slightly unnerved that I’d had that doubt at all but I think it’d be quite weird if I hadn’t felt the wrench of leaving everyone.

Maybe I should just try to persuade them to stay up here too..?!

My wonderful, silly family. I love every single one of them to bits.

My wonderful, silly family… and I love every single one of them to bits.

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