On the road at Christmas

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I’m behind on the blog so this post is a catch-all for our activities over the festive period. Having taken the weeks off before and after Christmas we’ve had plenty of time for visiting friends and family and also had a chance to spend a bit of time at home. On the Tuesday before Christmas we set off to visit Christine’s parents in Monmouth (it’s her Dad’s birthday on the 23rd). We failed to check the road conditions before starting out but were intending to stick to the M4 rather than going via Gloucester and through the Forest of Dean. However, we hadn’t been on the M4 for long before we were informed of the closure of the Severn Crossing. We mistakenly decided to continue on in the hope that the old Severn bridge (which we normally use) would still be open, or at least that it would have reopened by the time we got there.

When we stopped at services we discovered that both bridges had been closed but the old bridge was now open at least westbound. We ignored the warning signs directing us up the M5 to reach South Wales and consequently joined a very long queue on the M48. We eventually arrived having taken about 1.5 hours longer than normal. At least Duncan slept the whole time in the car and Emma was very well behaved and, given the reports of the ice on Hampshire roads the following day, perhaps it was the right time to travel after all.

The next few days were taken up with visits from various friends and relatives and the all-important birthday. There was still snow around which entertained Emma, at least until she got cold. When Christmas Eve came, Emma went to bed much as usual but sadly woke at five the following morning. I don’t think this had anything to do with the excitement of the day – she just woke early and was then a bit afraid of the dark. She did eventually go back to sleep in our bed otherwise would probably have been grumpy for the rest of the day!

Emma at Christmas

Thankfully Emma had not changed her mind since we asked her what she would like for Christmas and the scooter (pink) and wooden train set (shared with Duncan) were well received. Duncan was just happy to have all these people to hold him! As you can see from the photos on Flickr, it was a lovely morning and stayed that way for the rest of the day.

The next day, we went to the Caldicot Boxing Day Run. I had been sold this as a fun run and, indeed, some of the limited number of entrants were in fancy dress. It seemed to be a pretty hard 2.8 mile race round the roads to me but I did manage to come second! From there, we moved on to my parents in Hertfordshire. Again, the plan was to stick to the motorways and this worked well until we started to receive warnings of long delays on the M25 around the roadworks. We cut across to the M40 but still hit queues when we joined the M25.

We had one relatively sunny day in Harpenden but generally the weather wasn’t all that kind to us. Emma is generally happy to play inside but she does start to go a bit manic if not given some fresh air once in a while. When the time finally came to return to Southampton we did check the traffic conditions: the M25 was once again in dire straights. A mad dash cross-country then ensued so that we could try and make a doctor’s appointment Christine had booked. Thankfully, when it was clear we weren’t going to be able to make it and were phoning to cancel, a slot had magically opened up half an hour later.

Elevation Profile
Speed Profile
20090926 Caldicot Boxing Day Race

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