In July this year it was suggested by Mum that Ruth was thinking of having Christmas with us in Shetland. So I invited Ruth to make it formal and encourage her in her bravery - sharing the holiday and all that.
In August (once the kids were back at school) Mum came to visit again. During that trip I fell in love with the idea of a Bengal kitten which we sourced in Durham. Rod & Tori kindly escorted my kitten North and a good time was had by all. Thus was hatched the idea of extending the family at Christmas to all of Mums kids families. Bex was phoned and formally invited.
Much thinking about it was done.
By Tims B'day Christmas was 'in the bag' - everyone here 23-29th Dec. Ferry was booked.
I would go to sleep planning sleeping arrangements, linen, menus etc. This eased off with my families holiday to Lanzarote which was fantastic the 7 of us larking about. It had its dramas - missed flight home, extra ferry crossings etc...
November passed in a flash - Matts B'day then South with him & Zach for Ruperts Christening then North for Bens B'day. The whole family had meant to be South for the Christening but the weather was so wild for their planned trip (to minimise school absence) that the ferry was canceled.
December - surely time to catch up on the mental plans? Nope. The month started with the Island pantomime - which was brilliant! The following week brought present sorting for the many parties, the concert at school by Ben and prepping for the Johns forks visit.
That weekend (10th - 13th) was great fun! We bought the tree and dressed the house with Johns folks - much amusement. The Saturday saw the kids going to the church party and having a great time. Santa gave his first present. We had a beer roasted chicken with trimmings followed by early Christmas present for all that Saturday. Sunday saw another round of parties - this time the Gulberwick hall ones - split into pre-school and school age. Again much fun had. The remaining week saw me plan and buy the added linens etc we would need.
The weekend of the 18th saw the snow come back. John brought home extra chairs and tables that we would need for hosting all 17 folk for the big day. The kitchen became very full and my ecitement really started building as the first plans came into fruition. We prepared the guest room for the Chumbleys - moving Zachs cot down stairs and moving Zach into our bed at night.
We moved the 2 matresses from the garage roof and put them into our bed room and moved Matt & Ben into our room. This allowed us to prep their bedroom for the Bentleys. Moving the sofa bed from the kitchen & setting out more matresses and making beds - more excitement!
Monday 20th I had my highlights touched up (vanity I know!) with Zach keeping me company. Bought some lovely South African wines.
Tuesday (21st) - mince pie making day. On the evening we hosted the Gray family and had an excellent games night postponed from the weekend by the weather. They cooked us Thai Green curry - yum.
Wednesday - tidied up Cesca and Tims bedrooms ungraciously - they had had months to keep their rooms in a better state. Then Matt, Zach & I went out and bought pretty much all the rest of the shopping that we would need that we hadn't done at the weekend. So I bought the turkey, chippolaters, sausage mince from the butchers. Then onto the vets for the cats needs. Then to coop - cream, icecream etc. At the specialist shop bought panatoni, vanilla extract and glace fruit. Then leaving the boys in the car dashed into town and bought more SA wine.
Home and tired boys dispersed to bed while I finished off what would be Rods room and Grannies room. Looking good. Texting the family as they made their hazardous journey North.
The snow that had arrived on the 17th was still very much with us and the rest of the UK.
Very excited. 2 more matresses in our bedroom meant Cesca and Tim joined us for the rest of the Christmas break.
Mum & co had made it onto the ferry which was running smoothly on a flat sea. We were all set!