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Ho Ho Ho Merry Christmas

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Christmas this year I felt very unprepared, but I was fine in the end . I only went shopping one day and brought everything. We stayed at one of Gwynfors brothers house ,they wanted us to stay there so they could see the kids open their presents.Their boys are now 16, 19 and 20. Christmas eve in tradition we had a fairly big night, it’s fun because all the nephews come out to the pub and party with us.They were fast asleep in the morning so the kids went in and body slammed them to wake them before they went down to see what santa had brought. They had such a thrill watching them open their presents. We had an amazingly huge Christmas lunch with 12 different types and styles  veg and the very traditional Turkey. We had a lovely day topped off with a little Nana nap in the arvo. Another brother and his family came in the evening, Iren and I had brought these sumo suits for a laugh , and it was it was hilarious. I think we all enjoyed our first Christmas in Wales, different but lovely. And as usual the kids were spoilt rotten.


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Where we Live

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I was thinking the other day that I must show you around where we live. We are living with Gwynfors Mum at the moment until something comes up in the village. But it’s working out fine .Gwynfors Mums house is over 400 years old and the suroundings up to the house is farm land , there aren’t any fences but stone walls. It really is a very beautiful part of the world. Something that when you live here you take for granted but I have been walking and stopping to admire how pretty it really is. Up the back ,one of our sis in laws has a horse that lives in one of the back fields. The kids have enjoyed taking Troy apples and carrots, I think Troy is enjoying their visits as well.When we walk to see him we pass some old Roman ruins so everything is very old.

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Christmas School Play 11th-12th Dec 2007

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3 days in and the kids were given parts in the school play, non speaking of course because it was all in Welsh .The poor things, they were given animal costumes and had a few practices. All the other children in true Welsh tradition were singing their little hearts out and the  James’  were standing there trying to catch some of the chorus bits that they had picked up during the practices. Everyone said good on them for having a go at the songs, I think they were glad that it was over. Although I didn’t understand much of it , it was really well done and the primary school kids can sing, and with commitment. Alot of the parents know Gwynfor but they have been very welcoming towards me as well, I have a chat to them while standing waiting to pick the kids up. They keep asking "why did you come here when it’s so cold?" The weather the first week was quite DSCF2221DSCF2216 

wet,but the next was very heavy frosts that don’t melt, and clear days. I like when it is clear at least you can rug up and still send the kids out doors. It is pitch black by 4:30 pm ,that’s weird,but getting used to it. The car has ice on windscreen that takes quite awhile to go, quite scarey when driving on winding narrow roads.The frosts do look like snow everything is covered in white, and it stays on the ground all day.

Santa’s Grotto December 9th

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Well I have had to tackle Christmas today, Irene (sis in law) and I went to shop in a town about the same distance away as Albury .Obviously I hadn’t done anything, because I couldn’t bring anything with us. Even when we arrived they said to the kids "so who’s coming soon then?" and they looked blankly because we just haven’t discussed it really. They have put Nainys (nana) tree up and decorated her house,(where we are living at the moment, hoping a house will come up in the village near the school) so the spirit is starting. You would have laughed if you saw the two of us driving home in her Land Rover with the back seat folded down and the back piled to the roof with bits and pieces. I think I am nearly done for the kids anyway. Rhys’s birthday on Tuesday. Tomorrow the kids start school properly and Gwynfor starts work, and I become a lady of leisure (he he he). While I was shopping Gwynfor took the kids to Santas grotto, and he is going to tell you all about it.

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No he hasn’t , so these are the pictures anyway.

Wales 3rd-6th Nov 2007

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We had a great flight from Johannesburg to Frankfurt, Germany. It was an overnight flight leaving 8:30 pm so the kids were awake for about an hour settling in ,then they slept for probably 7 hours, which made the 10 hours go very quickly .We had a 2 hour wait before flying to Manchester.We were in Manchester by 9 am. Dick and Irene,( Gwynfors brother and sister in law ) picked us up in  two vehicles ,I’m so glad we don’t have to lug around our 6 overweight cases anymore. We were lucky to only, having to pay excess luggage in Albury, I was preparing ourselves to have to pay quite a bit along the way ,but I think we struck nice people that booked our luggage through.

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        view from Dick and Irens                   Mum,Dad,Jenny ,Alan and us           Gwynfor with all his brothers and Mum

So lovely to see everyone, we have caught up with most of the family, some of the nephews are away studying and working so we’ll catch up with them once they return. Mum and Dad have also been here since we arrived they are with some very good family friends. They have just finished an amazing trip through France, they did London and Cornwell then up to see us in Wales.They are looking really relaxed and enjoying all that they have seen. Dick has organised for Dad and Alan to see alot of old machinery, mines and all the things boys love, so much history.

We went to visit the local school yesterday with the kids, and they were having a big Christmas sit down lunch today, they invited them join them. So the kids decided that they wanted to, they ended up staying for the rest of the day. So they had their first half day school and have all made friends and quite happy. Didn’t know how Ais would go, but she stayed with Ella for quite awhile then went off to her room.

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                           The kids as they go into school                   Christmas dinner at school ,in their cafeteria

The school only has 55 children but good facilities, Rhys is in a year 5-6, and there is only 11 kids so I am really happy with that. Ella and Jack are in the same class year 3- 4, 14 including Jack and Ella. Aislin’s class is called reception not sure how many in that one. The school is very bright with loads of art work around. They have hot dinners everyday which is weird to get my head around. So I really should only have to give them soup or a sandwich at night???? They are off swimming tomorrow with the school (weekly event), heated pool of course! Christmas pantomime next week, so they are going to find some little non talking parts, so they feel involved. They school and teachers have been very welcoming.

Well do I breach the subject of the weather? I must say it isn’t as cold as what I thought it would be, but it’s unusually mild ,they say. The thing that is hard to get used to is that it is dark by 4pm. I think once we settle we will be organised early in the evening and off to bed. Monday is D day, the holiday is officially over, Gwynfor starts work, kids start school and routine begins……

More goodbyes tonight or in the morning, worst bit……. Wasn’t nice having to say goodbye to Pete and Zett, Evan and Tan either. Mum and Dad leave early in the morning.

Any way out for dinner again tonight……..

Celeste and W.P ’s Wedding 30th Nov 2007

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             Celeste(Zetts sister)             WP & Celeste                               The James’

The wedding was in a lovely country estate, it was just beautiful. I did Celestes hair for her, she looked stunning. There were about 15 kids that went so that kept the kids occupied and they had 2 maids to look after the kids and they were in a room just near us.I had to laugh, one of the maids in there had a little girl who was 9 and her name was Cinderella.(alot of the blacks have the most bizarre names eg.promise, loveliness,trust,hope) You can imagine Ellas face when she said it was Cinderella.Anyway Ella and her hung out all night El learnt about cornrowing and hair extentions,which they all do.The younger three fell asleep but Rhys was still partying with us at 3:30 am. Fun ,Fun Fun! The South Africans are shockers for having shooters. When people were leaving they would buy you a round of shooters to have with us, Gwynfor learnt a few more new drinking games, I think he has a bruise on his fore head thismorning!!!


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       Jill with Peter and Evan        Rhys and Jack with uncles burning up the dance floor.

This tent like structure is what we stayed in, near the wedding venue. Pretty cool really, it had real beds in it a shower and little kitchen. We had a lovely view.

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These were taken on our way home today from the wedding. I have been trying to capture the shanty towns which are everywhere. these vary a little but usually huge amounts of people living in a small area. The houses(if thats what you call them) are made out of scrap tin,cardboard , or what ever they can find ,they weigh the roofs down with tyres,or rocks. The ladies still carry alot of heavy things on their heads quite fascinating how they do it. Also something that is interesting is that they don’t have prams they tie them on their backs like a sling. Tan was telling me that the babies eyesight aren’t very good because all they focus in on when babies to toddlers is their Mums backs.They all seem happy enough.You don’t like to be seen with the camera out in places like this.. I was saying to Gwynfor how much of a contrast it is to the house that we are staying in(Celeste and WPs)

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