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November's Journal
January's Journal

[11:45] And here we are in December. Nearly Christmas, in fact. There's a few things to tell you about, so I'll get right on with that as I'm only a short time away from knocking off for the year, work-wise.

I decided to have a social night out with a friend, and ended up with a stinking cold for a week or so. It wasn't the evening I was expecting, but still nice to get out and about with someone different. After that it was best that I was on my own so I didn't pass the germs on to anyone else. Rel and her mum took a trip to Cornwall, combined with taking Rel's guest from east Africa along to share her experiences with donors there. Once she was safely dispatched home again there was time for some relaxation and unwindin, although I think Rel was more looking forward to not being around anyone after such a full-on week or so taking care of her guest. As we hadn't seen each other in a few weeks I hopped on a train or two to meet her and her mum in Doncaster the second weekend of this month and then we made our way back to their homes. I had the Monday off so I was able to relax a bit myself, which was nice. Train strikes and work kept us apart until the following weekend, the Sunday of which we (Rel) drove north with her new (second hand) car. It's first long-distance journey in a very long time we think. Other than some weirdness getting in and out of a service station on the A1(M) all went well and it now sits happily in Rel's back lane for when she needs to be a bit more mobile, go further afield, carry a bit more, or the weather's just a bit too poor to run or cycle somewhere. I came home on the Monday again and this Tuesday had my last dental appointment for my first/longest Invisalign work. That's now twenty full weeks of wearing top and bottom appliances 23 hours a day and I have to say, other than the scraping of my cheeks, and feeling like my teeth don't fit together like they felt they always had, I'm very pleased with the results. I'm just not sure what I'm going to do long-term as the recommended final 'fix' is a single train track on the inside of the top and bottom middle six teeth to keep them in the desired position. Either that or wearing retainers every night for the rest of my life. To be decided, I think. For now I've got the 'buttons' off the fronts of my teeth and I just have to wear these last appliances until the new year when I'll have four to five more weeks of new ones to do some last moving around of things. Expensive, but I think worth it.

And now it's now. The Friday before Christmas and I'm making sure I don't do anything important at work other than making sure nothing goes too badly wrong whilest I'm on vacation. The plan is to get trains up to Rel this afternoon, be driven to the Lake District (Rel's brother's family) with mum, aunt and uncle (recently civil partnered for tax/pension/will reasons after decades together) and spend Christmas there in some very posh apartments (no room in the inn (brother's family home) for everyone). Post Christmas in that weird time when the day of the week has no meaning Rel and I will then head to Manchester to see my family for a few days (crossing over with my brother and his son for one meal as the house is too small for all of us to stay) and then, after my mother's birthday, Rel is taking me (for my Christmas present) to Dublin for four days to stay in a very nice hotel, celebrate the new year in Ireland, do a New Year's Day parkrun, and see a few sights. We'll also be relaxing as much as possible, using the hotel's facilities, eating some nice food and generally spending a lot of time together reconnecting after an extremely busy few months (much more so for Rel than I). That brings us back to the UK right in the middle of the new year train strikes, so I'm not entirely sure how we'll get to our respective homes... which is why I'm bringing my work laptop with me (but leaving it at my parents' for the Dublin leg).

That's basically everything, I think. Nothing to report work-wise, really. Maybe there'll be something interesting to tell you in the new year, eventually. Merry Christmas, and a happy New Year.