I always enjoy the end of the year. I make it a rule to stop working by 23rd at the latest and not to start again till at least the 3rd Jan. There's something about the ritual I like, the mid-winter break to refresh, refuel and go back to base.
This year's Christmas has been enhanced by the final purchase of a car, something about which, with my mild OCD tendencies, I was taking too much time and energy in the research. I located target vehicle up in Leeds so popped in after a very pleasant lunch with superblogger/Tweeter Rob Greenland. After a protracted but friendly negotiation I emerged ten grand poorer but with a three year old Ford people-carrier that down south would have cost a grand more.
With its blacked-out rear windows and 'panther black' metallic paint, it looks kind of like a bullet-proof taxi, designed perhaps for a developing world politician. But I love it - and love the fact that I didn't pay over the odds for it. Three years business and family motoring for me then I will palm it off to my missus as a the local runaround till 2020.
That out of the way, I am settling down to the peace of pastoral Suffolk. I live in a quiet village just south of Bury St Edmunds but it feels well out of the way. I can go running for ten miles round here without seeing anything except hedgerows and fields.
My peace today was disrupted a bit when my boy, Wilf, woke up with breathing difficulties. He's had a bad cough for days but this was something else. The GP's first words were "He may have pneumonia and I might need to admit him to hospital'. My face dropped. Within an hour we were on the Xray machine at the West Suffolk and wondering which of us would be doing the bedside duty on Christmas Eve. It turned out that the lad has a very nasty chest infection which could turn to pneumonia very easily but he's been given super-strength antibiotics - and sent home with us - with strict instructions to take him straight to hospital if he takes a turn for the worse. Poor little lad doesn't know what's going on - but he's comfortable and, I think, improving a little.
Couldn't fault the NHS today. We got an appointment super-quick on the electronic system run by the Swan Surgery - one of these large GP practices you get these days - and from there we got booked straight into Xray and I got a call from my GP early afternoon telling me what was happening. My wife used to babysit for our doctor when his kids were small. Bury St Edmunds is like that. People tend to stick around. This is one reason, I venture, why the place feels like it works. Had we been living in parts of London or inner city Birmingham, I doubt we'd have had such an easy time of it.
My son is feeling well enough now to be demanding my attention so its goodbye from me till...probably 2011. Thanks for reading this year. Hope it's been worth your time.