I want to wish you and your families a very, Happy and Healthy New Year! I hope that you all had a nice, relaxing time over the winter break and that you manged to do some enjoyable things.
I went home to England for 2 weeks and saw my family and a lot of friends.
I arrived on Christmas Eve at around noon and went immediately with my Mam and older brother, Simon, to the nearby UNESCO World Heritage site, Durham Cathedral, for their annual Christmas Eve carol concert. It`s a magical event, perhaps the hightlight of every Christmas for me. This 900-year old church is full of people, candles and the gorgeous choir and it`s a truly wonderful experience to listen to the Christmas music.
Other Christmas hightlights included a two-day trip to the Lake District with my Mum. We stayed near the place where Peter Rabbit comes from and were so lucky with the weather. We had 2 very still, sunny days but, when we were travelling home, we almost got flooded in, the roads were like rivers, it was raining so hard!
I also finally got to eat at the famous, national award-winning fish and chips restaurant at the seaside, about 20 kilometres from my house. It`s called `Coleman`s` and has been on TV and in newspapers and magazines many times. It was well worth the journey. I ate a huge plate of delicious, freshly cooked fried cod (tara) and fried potatoes (`chips`, in British English). In fact, I had such a lot of great food over the holidays, the standard of cooking in my country has gone up a lot in recent years. I must have put on 2 or 3 kilos over the Christmas break!
I did some shopping too, especially for clothes, as I can never find my size here in Japan and so need to buy everything at home.
Finally, it was so good to spend time with my Mum, brother, and to see some of my friends for the first time in a number of years. The older I get, the more I realise that spending time with the people you love is the most important thing in life.
I felt sad to leave my Mum and brother at home. I love living in Japan but sometimes miss home. Life is a complicated, crazy, thing!