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FIRE Christmas


Cat #2 is somewhere under the tree

Christmas day has come and gone. I must have been good in 2020 to receive these lovely gifts:


  • A beautiful book called Hit the Road: Vans, Nomads and Roadside Adventures

  • Avalanche rescue set (for use when I'm ski touring)

  • Running gear: bone conductor headphones, leggings, socks, compression vests and calf sleeves, runderwear

  • A variety of delicious vegan food (really, such things do exist!)

  • Nutribullet blender

  • Another book: Donald Trump and his assault on the Truth

  • A tree decoration hand painted by my daughter - hand made gifts a extra special

  • An adventure map - a gift from our cats!

  • A bamboo lunchbox and a 3D campervan puzzle


I'm busy enjoying my gifts. Running gear got a workout this morning, both books are open beside me and I'm partly succeeding in not eating the food too quickly. The odd one out is the avalanche rescue set, something I'm very happy with but hopefully will never have to use.


While it's nice to receive gifts, giving is even more enjoyable, even if it's not always easy to think of the right gift. Hopefully there was a twinkling of excitement as my loved ones unwrapped their presents. I think there was. My main surprise for Sally was a family trip to see the Aurora Borealis/Northern Lights. It's on her bucket list and although the trip won't happen for a while, the dreaming and planning will be fun in the meantime. The question is where to head to: Finland, Norway, Sweden, Russia, Iceland, Greenland, Canada, Alaska?


Back to my gifts, my new Hit the Road book is re-awakening some ideas. I've had a vague plan to build a campervan for a few years now, and even wrote a post about it back in April - my way of trying to commit to it, to make it happen. Instead, the idea has waned somewhat, possibly because this Covid year seems to sap enthusiasm. But this book is whetting my appetite again, and these words leapt off the very first page - maybe it's a sign


"if you're even thinking of doing it, just go for it"

Being early retired gives us a little more time, so this year we tried to be environmentally friendly by making our own wrapping paper and crackers. The brown paper stuffed into Amazon deliveries was flattened out and Sally added festive prints. I was in charge of crackers. It's fair to say that Sally's paper looked a lot better than my crackers, and much better than the jokes I inserted into them! Instead of a useless cracker gift, ours included a donation to charity. I chose Kairos which is an organisation a friend is involved with, Sally split her pledge between Unicef in Yemen and WaterAid, Rebecca is donating to support needy families in Venezuela and Sam is focusing on local charities in his university town. While we're enjoying the Christmas festivities, it's sobering to remember how many people don't have safety or some of the barest of necessities that we take for granted. I'm glad we did our Christmas crackers this way.

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Grey is how I described winter in the UK too - Spain should be different though. It's taken me a long time to figure out that we can do things and if it doesn't work out, we can change it. I'm not an expert at it, but I am getting better.

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Glad you're keeping well and sure Morzine is a better place to be. Britain in the winter is a bit depressing, all mud and grey skies! Spain is our new pipe dream, but it will happen. Life is for living and if we don't like it we will do something different. You and Sally are an inspiration in that way. Just do what you feel is right and handle the consequences. Enjoy the touring and have a little swoosh for us! M&G


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Hi Michelle, I'm glad that our crackers were able to help some people, much better than getting some useless plastic gimmick from a shop bought version. I think we're remaining mostly sane, being back in Morzine is helping, the fresh air and the mountains are good for both physical and mental health. Exciting to hear about your plans for Spain, I want to know more. As you say, hopefully we can meet up in the not too distant future...we still owe you dinner of course!

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Hey David, I'm just catching up on my blog reading and read this post. 1) love that you made your own crackers, I now want to do that. 2) I am so touched that you remembered Kairos and donated to them. Thank you so much. As you know we support those in society that are forgotten and particularly at the moment rely on the generosity of our fellow human beings. It really means a lot to us (and to me) that you support us. Thank you!!! I hope you and Sally are remaining sane during lockdown. G and I are planning a new chapter (move to Spain) hopefully, whilst going quietly mad! No children, no work = lockdown bore…

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I think it was George Bernard Shaw who said Britain and the US are “two nations separated by a common language”. We've found another example.

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