The holiday has been a mixed bag so far.

The band's gig on Christmas eve was tarnished by the landlord who tried to get away with not paying us. This is a long and dull story but the upshot is that we did get paid but we won't be playing the Chester Arms in Oxford again until the landlord leaves. I don't expect this to take too long after the way he treats people. I should add that the bar staff are all excellent people, as were the customers who enjoyed the live music.

Christmas day was spent (for the first time) with the inlaws, who treated us to a fabulous meal, complete with wine spillages, children shouting and general mayhem. What was particularly good was that, as the only vegetarian I wasn't made to feel out of place. Christmas evening was with my mum and dad. This was an altogether calmer, though no less enjoyable experience. My folks also know how to enjoy themselves. Calls to friends in Cornwall and Stoke, a roaring fire and maybe too many shots of whisky rounded off the day.

Since Christmas I have celebrated Richard Guitarist's birthday with other friends at a Chinese restaurant. This was a lovely night with excellent company. Something of a theme for this holiday period.

The beard, which I intend to shave off just before going back to work, has past the itchy stage and is covering up my new scars.


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