Anyway, on with the rest of the story:
We spent the time, between Christmas Day and New Year's Eve, looking forward to my husband's family coming to stay and share in our New Year celebrations.
Husband was at work on the 29th and 30th December, so he wasn't around much to help with the preparations. My usually helpful student son became suddenly rebellious and refused to give me any extra help, even though I was still suffering from the after effects of flu.
I had to work hard in the house, for 3 full days, so that our visitors wouldn't run the risk of strangulation by cobwebs, or sustain a compound fracture as a result of tripping over piles of stuff, littering the hall and landing. I developed eczema between my fingers and a throbbing whitlow on my left thumb, which proved difficult to keep covered with a plaster.
Our visitors were arriving in time for lunch on 31 December, so Husband and I sprang out of bed that morning, bright eyed and bushy tailed, heading for the shops at an early hour, so that we could stock up on the necessary provisions to feed 10 people over a 3 day stay.
Husband and I dragged ourselves out of bed and were late leaving for the shops, on the day that our visitors were arriving, as we realised that our tom cat had sprayed somewhere in the newly cleaned dining room and we couldn't find out exactly where.
We returned home, with everything we needed, plus some little extras, arriving in plenty of time to prepare a delicious lunch for our visitors.
Husband's family arrived before we got back (although student son was at home) and we realised much later, that we had forgotten to buy crackers, fireworks and eggs for cooked breakfasts.
Husband and brother-in-law cooked us a wonderful barbecue in the evening and we toasted in the New Year, using our new, expensive, lead crystal wine glasses, one of the many Christmas presents showered upon us by my sister-in-law.
The barbecue wasn't ready until 10.30pm, by which time we were all self digesting. It wasn't necessary for any of us to toast in the New Year out of mugs, like last year, when Husband and I forgot to buy new wine glasses. My glass only contained water, because anything else was still making me cough incessantly.
We celebrated into the early hours, before we all retired to bed to catch up with our sleep.
I was up until 4am, clearing away and washing up the stuff that wouldn't fit into the dishwasher.
Husband and I had no problem waking early enough to cook a substantial breakfast for our guests on New Year's Day.
We crawled downstairs, half awake, mid morning, to start cooking breakfast. I poured oil into the frying pan, ready to fry the eggs, which my sister-in-law had managed to obtain from the local Esso garage. I was annoyed to discover that a small piece of ham had strayed into my pan, the second I turned my back. This was very puzzling, as I wasn't cooking ham and I couldn't imagine where it had come from. Husband, who enjoys the benefits of contact lenses, finally managed to explain, between bouts of uncontrollable laughter, that it was the plaster which had fallen off my left thumb.
After breakfast, everyone set off for a healthy walk and lots of fresh air, leaving my mother-in-law and I to relax and watch Mamma Mia, undisturbed, on DVD. We then met up, later, at my son's new house, which our visitors had not yet seen, for another delicious family meal.
We were all supposed to meet up at my son's house, after the walk, so that my husband's family could have a look around and then return to our house, for our evening meal. (We ate breakfast so late, that it turned into brunch, so lunch became unnecessary.) The walk took such a long time, however, that, in order to avoid a very late evening meal, I had to load up all of the food, plus extra crockery, into the car, so that I could cook and prepare everything at my son's house. Trying to prepare a buffet, which included some hot food, in my son's small kitchen was quite challenging. I was short of space, plates and help. My son's girlfriend, a wonderful girl, did her best to help, but it was still incredibly hard work.
After tea, the men decided to light the wood burning stove in my son's living room. (The central heating wasn't enough for them, apparently) The atmosphere became so dry, that I couldn't stop coughing and had to sit in the dining room.
The next day husband and I cooked a tasty brunch for our guests, before bidding them a fond farewell, in the middle of the afternoon. We were all in total agreement that a jolly good time had been had by all!
Husband and I had to get up incredibly early, as we had booked an appointment, a few days before, to take our 3 cats to the vet for their boosters, assuming that our visitors would be leaving after tea, on New Year's Day, as usual. By the time we had paid for 2 months' flea treatment, as well as their injections, the total bill came to £190.00.
I really did enjoy spending time with my husband's family over New Year, but it was still an immense relief to collapse on the sofa, with a nice cup of tea, when they had finally left for home. Oddly enough, a few minutes after their departure, when Husband bounced into the living room, in a very lively manner, suggesting that we should go for a nice country walk, I was already fast asleep and snoring. Yes, OK, I may even have been dribbling - just a little.