So that was Christmas

Jo's blogging the whole Christmas over at her blog – – so you can read all the gory details there.  I'm just going to pick out my favourite moments:

Catering for 17 was a real fun challenge.  Somehow, certainly more luck that judgement, our logistics were almost perfect.  We didn't run out of anything, we had minimal left-overs.  And it proved that the dishes we do day-to-day for the family can scale up perfectly.  Christmas dinner was a team affair that involved all of the adults in the house and the timings were spot on.
Home brew, drinking, for the use of.  Now I've brewed beer for years and we've always drunk it slowly.  However, I started this Christmas with a full cupboard and ended it with 1 pint of cider and the mead left.  Since the mead won't be ready for drinking until my birthday, I think that's pretty good.  Adam brought up 4 bottles of his own brew – very impressive it was, too.
Full house.  17 in one house worked surprisingly well.  Thanks to a few tables and chairs loaned from the works restaurant there was no trouble seating everyone for meals.  And thanks to the rather remote location of our house the bedrooms are large enough that we can put entire families in each room.  Including ours!
The presents! Always the high-point of Christmas, I now have a number of things I never knew I needed.  Secret Centre Table Santa kindly provided me with a Yorkshire Bitter kit, so I can replenish some of the stocks we drank in time for Zach's Christening in June.  Once the shops are open and I can buy some sugar, it's game on.  I have a bluetooth adaptor for the other laptop so just need a suitable gaming keyboard and mouse so we can hook said laptop up to the TV and play Risen in comfort (thanks, Rhu!  Grave moths are a challenge and we're only a few minutes into the game)
The food.  Did I mention we ate rather well?  Huge pots of full-strength curry, pakoras, salmon (both smoked and en croute), jerk chicken, the list goes on.  Yum.  Looking forward to the next excuse to cook on a grand scale.
Gaming.  Card games, board games, playstation games.  Sing Star is so much more fun when you're drunk and someone else is picking the songs for you.  Thanks to the medleys I've sung stuff I never knew we had.  Dr Lucky had his traditional Christmas outing, both Kill and Save variations being played.  Fluxx confused a few to start with but soon got going.  The favourite, though, has to be The Great Game of Britain.  Challenging geography and allowing your vindictive streak to come to the fore, it's fantastic.  Over the next year I'll be adding Dungeon Quest, Carcassonne and Settlers of Catan into the mix.

All told, it was a fantastic Christmas, definitely one of the best of my adult life.  Having the house full and everyone enjoying themselves was the best present we could have hoped for.

New Year's Eve saw more gaming, this time with the Grays, Dungeon Quest, Labyrinth and The Great Game coming out again.  Hopefully this is setting the tone for 2011 as the year of family gaming.  Now I've just got to start up the Dr Who RPG I'm playing with the older kids again…

Happy New Year to everyone who reads this.  And everyone who doesn't, for that matter.  Not bothered either way.

Posted via email from Claytons in the Far, Far North


Christmas is coming

Well, that’s 2010 almost done with.  A new year beckons and here’s hoping that 2011 will be as good as the last one.

Today on the Shetland Islands we were blessed with clear skies for the lunar eclipse and now I’m watching arctic smoke through my office window – you’ll have to go to my twitter account to see the pics (@dogbombs).  Works Christmas party tomorrow, relatives all arriving the day after (roads and ferries permitting).  If the weather holds, we’re going to have a fantastic Christmas.

The Grand Plan for 2011.  Spend less time on the computer at home but do more with that time.  The old “work smarter, not harder” style of thing.  Who knows.  It might even work this time.

Had a real blast last night dressing the church for Christmas.  Who knew we had so many strings of lights?

Merry Christmas to all!  I hope Santa brings you what you never knew you wanted.

Posted via email from Claytons in the Far, Far North


OK, so how’s he getting out of it this time?

The big finish. We’ve been building up to this since they first started laying it on with a trowel back in episode 1.  The Pandorica Opens and silence will fall.  Or words to that effect.  And having seen part 1 of the season finale for this year’s Dr Who, it swings wildly between astonishingly good and astoundingly bad.

Before I go any further, consider this your spoilers warning.

Still here?  Good.

Right.  Let’s go back a few years.  Christopher Ecclestone coming to the end of his run as the Doctor.  The whole Bad Wolf thing.  Yes, it’s been there in the background but no-one’s been paying too much attention to it until the big reveal and the Daleks try and take over the world.  Bit of a deus-ex-machina with Rose getting rid of them, but hey! It was good Who.  We get a swift regeneration into David Tennant and before the memory of the 9th Doctor is cold, they’re laying Torchwood on with a trowel.  So by the end of the series, once we finally get to Torchwood HQ in London we’ve known a lot about the arc-story for this season.  And the climax can’t just have Daleks, this time we’ve Daleks and Cybermen.  So far, so good.  And not one but two worlds in danger.  Right.  Moving on, end of Tennant’s next season sees the return of the Master and the return of Russel T Davies’ favourite trick – the big, red, reset button.

Okay, so the button might not be red, but it certainly resets everything.  Daleks? Erased from history, never happened.  Reset 1.  Daleks & Cybermen sucked back into the void. Nothing left lying around (well, nothing of significance). Reset 2.  A whole horrible year of what the Master did to Earth undone, never happened.  I’m seeing a pattern here.

DT’s third season sees him facing the Daleks.  Again.  Unfortunately, the Dr Who publicity machine didn’t do a very good job of hiding the fact that either (1) Rose was coming back or (2) Davros and the Daleks were returning.  Prize for most under-used Dalek threat goes to the Red leader Dalek who’s sole purpose was to descend into Davros’ vault and be blasted by Cap’n Jack’s enormous weapon.  Fnar Fnar.  And then the planets get returned, the Daleks erased from existence (again, this is getting somewhat repetitive) and the Earth towed back into place.  Not exactly a reset but the way the Daleks were dealt with is definitely a repeat of the S1 climax.  However, this is definitely my favourite season finale to date and there are moments in it that are just perfect.

Moving on to DT’s final season and we have a collection of not-do-special extended episodes followed by my least favourite season finale.  Too long, too self-indulgent. A good send-off but not the best. The Time Lords were under-used, the Master nowhere near as evil as he is usually (he ends up saving the world!). And the trip round visiting all the past companions had ne reaching for the sick bag. Best thing was playing spot the Being Human cast.

And each time the threat has got bigger and harder.  This time they’ve killed the companion, the TARDIS is about to explode and the Doctor is locked away for the safety of the universe.  The second part of this one has got to be spectacular.  And if it lives up to the writing of the first, we’re in for a real treat.  Just don’t use the reset button so obviously.

Posted via email from Claytons in the Far, Far North