Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Christmas Letters – good thing or bad thing?

 6th December 2011
Writing Christmas cards today. Now, do I include a Christmas letter or not?

I think when you’ve got something interesting to say, then absolutely. But if it’s been a bit of a dull year – step away from the lap top. 

One of the benefits of writing a blog is that I don’t really need to write a Christmas letter this year, everyone knows what I’ve been up to. But just in case you've missed a bit....

After a bit of a rocky start, I have to say 2011 has been up there with the best of them.

In addition to lots of weekends away, positive health check-ups, trips to the beauty spa in preparation for the big day and new babies welcomed into the world:

March - Dad and I had our coach trip to the First World War battlefields.

April – We had our street party for the Royal Wedding (the second biggest wedding of the year).

May – Wedding season began with my hen and Tris’ stag weekend (where they dressed him up as a boy scout). I also left the Christie charity after taking redundancy.

Harthill Hall - hen weekend venue.
How rude!
Some of my girls.

The stag!

JuneTris and I got married at Chester Zoo in front of 170 family and friends. 

We then whizzed off to Paris for a four day mini-moon where we watched the sun set behind the Eiffel Tower and basked in the sunshine on the steps of Montmartre

JulyA trip to Oxford bought back some incredibly fond memories. Followed by a weekend in Llandudno (North Wales), where Tris was competing in his first Olympic distance triathlon. Unfortunately the weather was so wet and ferocious the sea swim was cancelled. As a good and dutiful wife, I waited patiently in the p*ssing rain to cheer him on as he either ran or cycled past me. 

Hot on the heels of Llandudno came the annual Coast to Coast bike ride. This year from Morcambe to Bridlington. Again I drove the 17 seat support minibus, only getting it stuck in a car park the once!

August – In addition to our Civil Wedding Ceremony at Chester Zoo, we decided have a church blessing at my Dad’s down in Lincolnshire. It was only a small ceremony this time, but it gave me the opportunity to leave my bouquet on mum’s grave which is in the church yard. It also gave me the opportunity to wear my beautiful wedding dress again.

September – Stringing ‘Wedding Season’ out for as long as possible, we set off on our main honeymoon to Boston, travelling around New England, finishing up in New York. 

The trip was amazing, with New York being particularly emotional as it was 10 years to the day since I’d been there last (I flew out on the morning of Tuesday 11th September 2011). I said a few words at Ground Zero to the people I remembered from my last trip and left feeling as though I’d fulfilled a promise.

At the end of the month I went to Berlin for the weekend with my sister to support friends taking part in the Berlin Marathon. My sister lived in West Berlin during her gap year in 1985 and clearly remembers the Berlin Wall and crossing though Check Point Charlie into the East. She’d not been back since. It was incredible to share that trip with her and see Berlin not just as it is now, but as it was 26 years ago. The buzz of the marathon made it especially special.

October - December – After being thwarted by the Welsh weather in July, in October Tris finally completed his first Olympic distance triathlon at Capesthorn Hall in Cheshire, finishing in just under three hours. 

Mid way through the month I started to feel a bit off colour. At first I thought it was just post wedding blues and took myself off jogging to give myself a boot up the bum. When I couldn’t seem to shake it I feared for the worse and was worried that my cancer had come back. When I found three little spots on my forehead I thought that the cat had given me fleas. I think I must have been the only person on the planet delighted to be told I had Shingles (a flare up of the Chicken Pox virus). 

Sorry about that - not a pretty sight!
While ‘the pox’ made me look like I’d been shot in the head, it didn’t slow me down for long. 

Until I got a chest infection. A reminder that while I’m still trying to get out there and get my life back on track, my immune system following my stem cell transplant last year, is still not quite where it should be. It’s nothing to worry about but is a bit of a bugger!

So – Christmas – lots of parties, a Duran Duran concert and cooking Christmas dinner for seven. I will be borrowing bigger pans!

In writing this round up, I’ve dug out the last two Christmas letters I wrote in December 2007 and 2008. The last one finished with “Have a brilliant Christmas and an amazing new year – who knows what it will bring or where it will take us. Either way it will be an adventure!”

Too bloody right as I spent 2009 brewing cancerous tumours and spent the latter part of 2009 and most of 2010 trying to get rid of them. It’s good job that we don’t know what’s waiting for us around the corner. Still, the 2007 and 2008 letters are quite cute and interesting to read a couple of years on.

And finally, what does 2012 hold? Well in January I shall be swapping Tris for 20 camels and a goat in the markets of Marrakesh. Followed by a trip of ‘cultural learnings’ to Barcelona. Until recently I thought that Gaudi was a Dutch cheese! 

Tris reaches the big four-0 in May so I’ve got some special treats up my sleeve (not literally).

Other than that, I’ve got plans to develop my blogging into a more sustainable career. I’m hoping to reveal all in February – watch this space.

So while still cautious, I’m upbeat and optimistic about the future.  In April it will be two years since my last cancer treatment, which is a massive milestone. None of us know what the future holds which is why I am so determined to enjoy every moment and get out there in 2012 and have a ‘Wonderful Life’.

PS. Whoops! I wasn't intending to write a Christmas letter - it's happened by accident. So I guess I've answered my own question. Christmas letters? Good thing!


  1. Phew, I'm safe to send out my letter!