December 2015 Christmas & New Year in Oxford

We arrived back on the Camping & Caravanning Club (CCC) site in Oxford on the 21st and once we got ourselves set up Angela & I walked up to my sisters (Manda) to collect our car. We went straight to Sainsbury’s (other supermarkets are available!) as we needed to get some food shopping. We could not believe the amount of shopping some people had in their trolleys. I know it is coming up to Christmas but some people were cramming large amounts of shopping into their trolleys as if there was going to be food shortage. Some people had two trolleys! I think the shops are only closed for one day.

We forgot how manic a time of year this was as for the last two years we have been in Spain for the winter. We eventually got out of the store and headed back to the van to unpack and have a nice brew.

Tomorrow morning Angela is having her hair done at Brothers  and in the evening going to a friends house (Sheila)  for a meal and a catch up with some of her old work colleagues. I am taking the opportunity to go and see an old friend I grew up with at Mansfield College and having a curry for one in the eveningSmile

As I have mentioned in a previous post one of the good things about the CCC site here in Oxford is how accessible the City is by foot. On the 23rd Dec Angela and I went for a very pleasant walk along the River Thames/Isis and onto the Oxford Canal before returning back along the river. A total of 15 miles taking us past some of our old haunts we used to visit a children with our parents and friends.

Christmas Eve was a great day. Angela and I made our way down to All Bar One in the afternoon as a few of the family gather there for a drink and a catch up before the big day. My mum was already there along with my sister and her husband. My my niece Hollie and her partner Tom were on there way from Suffolk which was exciting as we have not seen her for a few years. Angela missed them as she had to leave early, she was going to see her mother and aunt who were all helping out at the church in Abingdon where we were married. Before she left we both had a meal.

That evening and we were staying at my mums because since dad passed away in 2004 she hasn’t had anyone with her to open her presents. Also we had not been at home for Christmas since 2008. Angela didn’t get back from Abingdon until gone eleven but we waited up for her to have a brew.

Christmas day we were all at Manda’s and had a brilliant day. Everything went well. Good food, drinks, atmosphere and great company. Angela got to meet Hollie and Tom and we all had a really good catch-up.

I was in charge of handing out the presents to everyone and we all cheered when they were opened.

In the evening we all played Scattergories which was great fun. Mum bless her lost the plot a bit which we thought funny.

Manda had not been drinking so kindly drove us back to mum’s.

Boxing day we were all back at Manda’s for round 2! I love a boxing day buffet and my sister does a good one. We spent most of the time chatting and eating which is what Boxing Day is all about.

As we had the car at Manda’s I drove mum home then came back for Angela before going back to the van for a night in front of the TV.

On the 27th were invited over to Ros’s (my sister in law) at Eynsham.

This was another great day. We had not seen Ros, Josie (niece), Thomas (nephew) and later in the evening my brother Joffe for a few years so it was great to catch up on what has been going on in their lives. My mum was also there and Thomas kindly picked her up and took her home.

We had an unexpected buffet which was nice. Josie, who is an excellent cook made some tasty treats and they were well received.

After all this eating we decided on the 28th to go for another nice walk along the River Thames into Oxford town centre. We went into Debenhams to buy a few kitchen utensils for the van and to have another look at the new Tefal Ingenio saucepans. For motorhomers they are great. Both lightweight and stackable. Also they can go from hob to oven.

We went to Waterstones bookshop cafe for a pot of tea before getting the bus back home.

30th December

We had a table booked at Browns for 1pm as it was Angela’s mother Josephine’s special birthday today. She came with her partner Bob and we had a pleasant afternoon. The food was lovely as was the service.

A nice little touch was when Josephine’s desert came out it had the words Happy Birthday piped onto the serving plate.

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New years day we arranged to get a Chinese takeaway to eat with my mum early evening. We got it from the Top Shops in Blackbird Leys and it was lovely. We all enjoyed it very much.

We left not long after as we wanted to be back on the campsite in our van in case anyone decided to light a Chinese Lantern. These can and have caused problems with caravans and motorhomes. Fortunately we survived the night without any drama!

Happy New YearWinking smile

About Dean

Angela and I decided that there was more to life than working hard to keep up the payments on the mortgage, to pay the gas, electric, phone bills etc. etc. SO............ In 2008 we sold our house, I initially took a year off (Unpaid) and Angela handed in her notice! We bought a motorhome and set off for a year of travelling! This was the best thing we had done in our lives (Apart from getting married) and we have no regrets. During the year I managed to secure a redundancy package which felt very strange. Almost sad as I had worked for the same company for 19 years (BT). It was always our plan to have a whole year off before thinking about the 'W' word. We began applying to the Camping and Caravanning Club (CCC) for the position of Holiday site assistants in August 2009. After the interview, work experience and induction we were finally given a contract at the CCC site in Inverewe (Scotland). Our plan is to work through the summer in the UK then head to Europe to overwinter before coming back to work the following summer season. Hopefully these few words and our blog will inspire others to get off the hamsters wheel and see that there is more to live than having a house and material things. A cliche I know but this is not a rehearsal, life is too short!!! Since our first contract in Scotland we have worked a winter contract in Oxford (never again!) not Oxford but a winter contract. Hereford for two years, living in a yurt for one! And Cornwall. In between our working we have also travelled a bit. Hopefully this website will give you an insight into our alternative lifestyle. Get out there and live the dream!
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