Claudia arrives

Up early, and after a porridge breakfast I bused into town with John, who was setting off back to London. A morning's shopping, but I paused briefly to have five minutes standing by the rough sea. This being the first day I could walk unhobbled for several weeks. Felt very free and happy. Then plunged back into the shopping melee to snap up a few items. Ended up in the M&S food hall, which was very busy, buying chocolate coins, Christmas Pudding, & extremely chocolately muffins. These latter items for Claudia who arrived from Finland today, and is the pebble who starts the Christmas landslide.

When I got home, Claudia sleeping off the rigours of the journey. Lorraine and I had a spot of lunch and I slept for an hour, then the devoted the next 10 hours or so moving boxes about, unpacking, dragging things, hammering and so on. Despite Lorraine and I looking in every conceivable place for the last couple of days, the bolts for the double bed in the spare room remain lost, so Claudia will have to sleep on the mattress on the floor. Claudia being extremely helpful all day, and also helped Lorraine cook a large fisherman's pie which we broke off from working to consume.

FaceTime with Mum and Toby. Mas is okay and not in any pain, and is likely to be sent home before Christmas with any luck. She's tired from the journey to the hospital, but friends are rallying round. Toby, Romy, Joan and Dick returned after an epic three flights from South America to Toronto. Toby heading to Blighty and Mum's place on the 24th, arriving in the morning, and Romy travelling to Japan.

The last couple of hours of the day spent wrapping presents. Claudia off to bed, having been worked hard, and Beth appeared after two successful performances of the show in Eastbourne. Her part there is now done -- as she was covering for one of the cast members who had to go on a job to the middle east.

Lorraine and I dog tired to bed, at just after midnight.

Below, a glimpse of the grey and squally sea, cats untroubled among the debris of moving, and my pirate box now is filled with chocolate doubloons a sure sign of Christmas.