Happy New Year

Christmas holidays are traditionally a busy time and if the spiritual meaning has become somewhat convoluted over the years, it can at least be appreciated as an opportunity to meet friends and family one might not usually be able to make time for in our busy lives. After four months WWOOFing, we were looking forward to spending some time with loved ones and to a very special event.

Our Christmas holiday started on Friday the 20th in the early afternoon. With the car loaded up to the brim, Stuart, Imogen, Oliver, K and R , as well as luggage galore, pulled out of Maddocks Farm and began the trip to Bristol. Stuart and the children were heading to London for some shopping and family visiting, so their luggage and presents accompanied us and our many bags. A short hour later, we met K’s Dad at ASDA and were soon speeding towards his house where we would spend much of the holiday season.

The next few days were filled with shopping trips into Bristol center and several errands of our own. We had decided it would be special to create homemade gifts for K’s family to be shared on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in the celebrations. Jan from Maddocks had allowed us to gather several herbs before our departure from the farm and so we spent an entire day in the kitchen preparing herbal oils with sage, rosemary and lavender along with a double batch of extra fudgey chocolate brownies and later in the evening, creating specially crafted body sprays and bath oils.

The bath oils were made using a base of sunflower oil. Chopped herbs were added and heated for an hour, strained and then the herbs removed and refreshed with a second batch, which heated for another hour before being strained again. The double-infused oils in sage, rosemary and lavender were mixed to create herbal blend bath oils and bottled in hand-labeled jars. The body sprays were made with a base of distilled water and a couple of tablespoons of witch hazel to which we added special blends of essential oils based on the recipient. These were also bottled and hand labeled with the mixture identified. Some of the blends included: cinnamon, vanilla & lavender; sage & vanilla; and lavender & lemon.

In early afternoon on Christmas Eve, we made our way through the flooded Wiltshire countryside to Trowbridge with K’s Dad and Jan, meeting up with K’s sister, Jessica, and her boyfriend, Ian, at a pub in town before departing to K’s Nan’s for the family gathering there in early evening. As we sat with K’s Nan, others started to arrive and eventually everyone was there: K’s aunt Teresa and uncle Nick, K’s uncle Ray, aunt Elena and cousin Natasha, K’s sister Jessica and boyfriend Ian, K’s brother Alan and girlfriend Caroline and K’s Mum and husband David. A traditional Polish meal followed but all too soon it was time to leave for the train station to make our way back to Kingswood.

Christmas Day, Jan prepared a large dinner for the four of us, complete with seven different veggies and a wonderful nut roast! YUM! After our ice cream sundaes, we were all certainly sufficiently stuffed.

Following Christmas, we had to move into high gear on the rest of our errands to prepare for our special event. We were able to spend a weekend with K’s aunt Teresa and uncle Nick in Frome, which included a day visit to Glastonbury for a special purchase there. It was lovely to spend time with them in their home where we were shown so much consideration and warmth. They even took us on an afternoon visit to the quaint little village of Lacock, a very old and beautifully preserved village now often used as a film set for period pieces.

Before we knew it, the New Year was upon us and on the 2nd, R’s Mom and brother Brian arrived for their visit. We met them at Bristol airport in the rental car we’d picked up for the several days of their stay. After spending a restful evening at a hotel not far from the airport, the next day we traveled to Bowlish House and checked in for the weekend. That afternoon, we all headed into Wells for some Cornish pasties and a visit to the cathedral before some afternoon downtime and our evening meal with the four of us and K’s Dad and Jan and Mum and David at the Camelot Inn.

On Saturday the 4th, our families gathered together at Bowlish House in celebration of our marriage. Early that afternoon, in the company of K’s family and R’s mother and brother Brian, we became husband and wife. Following the ceremony and a reception/photo session, we all sat down to a candlelit meal as the sun set. After our dessert, cake and coffee, K’s Dad set up his speaker and sat down with his guitar to sing us a few songs as the evening drifted away. The next morning, after sharing a breakfast with our closest family, we all headed our separate ways again.

We went to the West side of Bristol, near Ashton Court, with R’s Mom and brother, Brian. Sunday was a quiet afternoon and evening, though. After the excitement of the past few days, we all felt we needed it. Monday we ventured into Clifton village across the suspension bridge and then on to Bath, before returning for a restful evening once more. Tuesday was a day of travel, making our way to Glastonbury for a walk along the High Street before hiking up The Tor with Brian and then driving all the way to Stonehenge for a peek before the sun set.

Early Wednesday morning it was time already to head back to the airport for R’s Mom and Brian to return to the States. It was a sad day after having been able to spend several days in their company. But, our holidays were drawing to a close and everyone needed to get back to their normal day to day. After returning the rental car, it was time for our WWOOFing adventures to begin again, now as husband and wife.

Loving Simplicity