Did you have a merry Christmas and a Happy New Year? I hope so. We did. Ours was a lovely English Christmas, complete with succulent roast turkey and all the trimmings, celebrated at Brighton by the seaside with our daughter and friends where we felt very much at home and part of the family. We had a Skype date with our son in New Zealand at Christmas and today we kicked off the New Year with a Skype date with my Mum. Apparently we are “silver surfers”; part of the parent-brigade on Facebook that is turning off millions of teenagers. Luckily our kids are no longer teenagers and they are friends with us on Facebook and better still, real friends.
Guess what we did on Christmas afternoon…..here’s a clue
Yes, we took an afternoon stroll along the Brighton seafront. We did need sunglasses, but overcoats and scarves as well. It was wonderful to feel the fresh air, hear the seagulls squawking and watch the waves form and crash on and on, even if it was midwinter. We caught the good patch of weather between two storms that lashed Britain and Northern France, and provided us with a little travel adventure getting from London to Brighton and then back again.
Travelling back up to London on one leg of the three-leg modified journey we heard of other travellers’ tales of woe. Their experiences were truly awful, yet ours hadn’t been. Although our original plans had been derailed, the British Rail staff we encountered were great; directing us accurately to alternate services so that we made it to our destination, late but none the worse for wear. Post Christmas we stayed a couple of nights in London at the cheap and cheerful Balmoral House Hotel where we had a very good experience. Reading the reviews of other travellers, and thinking of our train companions, I thought how good, caring customer service has the power to make the difference between despair and delight. One person can make a difference.
London lived up to expectations; it was bright (the lights are on early its dark at 4.30pm) and alive, full of tourists and of course shoppers out grabbing bargains in the after-Christmas sales. We mostly avoided the shopping crowds and treated ourselves to a couple of great shows with reduced price tickets bought in the last moments before showtime. Since our hotel was near the Lancaster Gate entrance to Hyde Park we strolled across the park to the Victoria & Albert Museum and enjoyed the company en route of energetic dogs out for their morning walk. Small pleasures that gladden the heart…..
Another Christmas is over, 2014 is underway. This time last year I plucked up courage and pressed PUBLISH on my blog for the first time. I’m grateful for all the comments and “likes”, and once I got over the OMG scariness of writing in public I’ve really enjoyed writing the posts. I’m thinking now about the year ahead, things I’m looking forward to, challenges I’ll set for myself, things to strive for, to make a difference, even a small one.
What are you looking forward to in 2014?