A tramp called me beautiful: My Christmas Holiday!

Moin moin my dearest ones,

I am coming to you live from Hamburg! I arrived back in my flat on Sunday evening after a rather awkward taxi journey from the airport, where the driver played a somewhat suggestive R Kelly CD for the duration of the drive. I eventually collapsed in a tired heap on my bed after lugging my 29kg suitcase up to the 4th floor (many thanks to the wonderful BA employee who didn’t charge me for the overweight bag!), but not before popping to the petrol station down the road to grab some milk. It would appear that the man who works the late shift now recognises me, as he wished me a happy new year since we hadn’t seen each other yet in 2014. That’s what happens when you’re a frequent late-night milk buyer!

I’ve had a fairly quiet few days back at work, but I have learnt one thing since Monday: if, like me, you often check your phone while you’re lying in bed before you go to sleep or once you wake up, then you may, like me, have dropped your phone on your face once or twice. This, dear Reader, hurts. In the last few days however, I have realised that doing this with a mini iPad in fact hurts more. Think getting a hard slap in the face from a flat-fisted child.

Anyway, I’d like to rewind a few weeks at this stage and tell you about my holiday back in England over Christmas and New Year! I hadn’t been home since mid-October and for the first time in years, I had no work to do for school or uni over the festive period, which added to the reason why I was feeling so much more Christmassy than usual!

The first weekend at home was a busy one, including getting my beloved car fixed (he (Roland) was a little poorly) as well as buying the Christmas tree (better late than never!). It was also a weekend full of celebrations! On the Saturday evening a group of 15 of us headed over to Liphook for a brilliant Christmas dinner cooked by some of the boys. The evening was full of laughter, good food and games, and it was so lovely to be reunited with lots of old friends!

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One of the games was the cereal box game, which was a new one to me. The idea is fairly simple: you get an empty cereal box and take it in turns to pick it up using only your mouth, with only your feet allowed on the floor. Sounds somewhat unhygienic and quite easy, but it’s very difficult and just as unhygienic in reality! Once everyone in the circle has had a go, one inch or so is trimmed off the top, until only the flat bottom of the box remains on the floor after a few rounds. I’m delighted to say that I won it (well, I tied with two others, but you don’t really need to know that), but less delighted to tell you that I was in mild pain for days afterwards. I like to think it was worth it for the minimal glory.

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So that was Saturday evening, and Sunday was pretty busy, too! You may remember that I turned 21 back in October, and that my lovely parents came over to celebrate with me, but I also had a celebration at home with a few friends. We started with afternoon tea at the Radisson Hotel in Guildford, before moving across to Spectrum for two games of bowling.

The afternoon tea was perfect: endless teapots of your brew of choice, as well as scones with clotted cream and jam, little sandwiches and heart-shaped biscuits.

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Bowling, on the other hand, while still hilarious, was less of a successful thing for me! I’m not very good, which is unfortunate when you’re quite a competitive person. But it seemed like everyone enjoyed themselves, I certainly did, so all in all it was a brilliant evening!

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The rest of the days before Christmas included getting our little family of 4 back together, a cinema visit (Anchorman 2) and finishing the last bits of shopping. Christmas Day itself was a busy one, too. We drove up to Surbiton to spend the day with the extended Barnard family, and my garish Christmas jumper got another outing! A delicious dinner and hours of chatting and festive games later, we eventually headed home, and met most of the family again on Boxing Day, this time in Guildford for a walk in Stoke Park and then a few hours at Granny’s.

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My brother, Dad and I also headed to Guildford town centre to see the new Hobbit film- I might as well say at this point that this was cinema visit 2 of 4 during the holiday. The other two were Walter Mitty and Last Vegas– all definitely worth a watch!

Anyway, the next big event was Sophie’s 21st! We celebrated at Shaka Zulu in Camden, which was the perfect venue, and again it was so lovely to spend time with some of my oldest friends. As I described in my last post, my lasting memory of the evening will be sitting round with my girls in our pyjamas the following morning, all looking somewhat frazzled and drinking tea. As far as I’m concerned it doesn’t get too much better than that!

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The following day I also went for dinner in a pub in Swindon with my family to meet up with my brother’s girlfriend and her parents, which continued the theme of good food and great company running through this post!

The next thing was, of course, New Year’s Eve! I’ve developed a little bit of a dislike for NYE over the last few years. Rarely is it as good as you expect, there’s always some drama, and more often than not, also some vomit somewhere along the line (not mine, I’d like to add). This year was a little quieter than last, which was good! We did the same as usual in Grayshott: played games, both drinking and family-friendly, and sang our own incorrect lyrics to Auld Lang Syne at midnight.

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Various costumes were also on display!

After I had a very filling lone Ferrero Rocher for breakfast the following day, I was glad that we were heading back to an extended family gathering where there was something somewhat more substantial to eat! It was lovely to see so much of the family over the holidays; it doesn’t tend to happen too often because of work/uni, which makes it all the more special when we all get together!

The next few days before I came back here were, again, full of perfect company and food! I met Charlotte for brunch at Bill’s in the Angel Hotel in Guildford, and the following day also saw her and Sophie for lunch at Prezzo in Godalming, where we decided that, one year, when hopefully all of our schedules will align, we’re going to organise a girly skiing holiday with a few more of the KES girls. I’m looking forward to it already!

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This, my dear Reader, is where I address the title of my post. A tramp did indeed call me beautiful. I was in Guildford to get a new international student card and walked past the Radisson, where I had my belated birthday afternoon tea, when a man saw me approaching and called out for ‘any money from the…beautiful lady!’ Unfortunately I only had Euros on me at the time, otherwise I definitely would’ve given him some change for the compliment. I’ll take it, doesn’t matter who says it!

That, dear Reader, is where I shall leave it for now. I had such a lovely time at home, for once without the burden of coursework/essays and exams hanging over me, and I look forward to heading home again in what will probably be a few months time.

I hope you all had some downtime over the break, and that you’re raring to go in this new year! I thought I was until my twitching left eye returned (it comes by when I’m sleep deprived). I could do with another holiday right about now!

Mach’s gut!

Charlotte xxx

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