HAPPY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE.  Hope you all have a great Christmas and our very best wishes for 2010.

We had a great time seeing family & friends at the beginning of December when we flew back to the UK for 4 days and enjoyed our stay at the Swan Inn in Mountsorrel – especially as it is our old stomping ground where we used to drink regularly when we lived in the next village.  Hubby made sure he consumed plenty of Theakstons Old Peculiar to make up for a lack of real ale available here in Spain!!!  We also sampled some excellent Christmas ales & Old Rosie cider at Weatherspoons in Loughborough!!!  It was lovely catching up with friends and generally having a chill out time away from the work on the house and the satellite work.

This December has been much busier with satellite tv work than previous years in the run up to Christmas and has kept us busy since our return from the UK.  Today (23rd) we have nothing booked in and so I am due to make my batch of 70 mince pies to distribute between our Spanish neighbors.  In the meantime hubby is carrying on with the work on the new guest bathroom which is virtually finished now and after Christmas I need to put a second coat of paint on the guest bedroom walls and then tidy it up and move the bedroom furniture in there from upstairs.  At least by the start of the new year we’ll have a new guest bedroom & bathroom finished ready for family & friends who want to visit.  The next job after that will be to remove the floor to the azotea (top floor of the house) and replace with a solid concrete & beam construction with new staircase.  The last really big messy job to do.  There is still lots to do but not quite so big as replacing a whole floor area.

As I type I can report that after a VERY dry autumn the rain has arrived with gusto – we’ve had nearly a week of solid rain and so far Xmas Day is looking dry (possibly) before more rain arrives.  The farmers are all sighing with relief and we are hoping that with all this recent rain the snowboarding conditions on the Sierra Nevada will be good for Xmas Day (if we can get up there – hopefully the roads will be cleared but we have snow chains ready if needed – not that we’ve used them before – not the easiest of things to fit, especially with cold hands).  We bought our Xmas Day steak back with us from the UK and went to our favorite family run butchers in Syston – Gamble & Hollis.  We panicked when we saw that their old butchers shop had closed but after walking through Syston we saw they’d moved to new, larger premises on the main road near the brook, and felt a waive of relief that they were still around (they are always busy and their meat is very good, the shop is always busy and so we were sure they hadn’t closed down).  We also have some parsnips now for our Xmas Dinner thanks to one of our regular customers who we went to do some work for yesterday – they visit Gibraltar on a regular basis and had some parsnips that they bought back from Morrisons and kindly gave us some.  We bought a Xmas pudding back with us as well as the steak and so now have everything we need for our perfect Xmas Dinner (you can get frozen brussels here so no problem there)!!!

Fred & Ginger are still with us and our neighbor Louis fed them for us when we were away and made a shelter for them to use.  They weren’t far away when we got back and were soon up the stairs to their comfy dog beds near the fire!  Since Ginger had her op (to prevent more puppies!) she’s put on weight and is looking good.  Fred unfortunately has been diagnosed with Leishmania (a parasitic blood infection which cannot be cured, infection carried by sandflies) and struggles to put weight on but he does eat so he’s keeping him self nourished.  He gets tired very quickly now and if he goes out running in the campo with Ginger for the day the following few days he spends sleeping and regaining his strength.  However despite his illness he’s doing well and we are making sure he is looked after well.  We know he won’t have a long life now but at least he’ll have a comfortable one compared to this time last year when they were sleeping rough in the campo.

Well that’s about all for now.  Hope you have a great Christmas and I’ll update the blog again in the new year.

Lots of love