It's suddenly hit us that Christmas is less than two weeks away, so this weekend we had a bit of a panic trying to do everything at once. Dave's parents came to stay on Friday as part of their 'Santa sleigh-run' taking presents round the family, so Friday morning we cleaned, dusted, and put up the Christmas tree. On Saturday all four of us hit the German Christmas market here in Brum, which this year is bigger than ever, and apparently only 20 stalls short of overtaking the main market in Frankfurt. We bought all sorts of bits and bobs and Dave and his dad had a German sausage each while mother-in-law and I headed for the rather more genteel (and warmer) Edwardian Tea Rooms at the museum for a hot drink. After that we got hopelessly sidetracked looking round the museum at some of the treasures of the industrial age - beautiful Morgan and Ruskin ceramics, Burne Jones stained glass, Royal Worcester porcelain, Black Country crystal and wrought iron work, and of course, lots and lots of silver from all the foundries and electro-plating works in the Jewellery Quarter. The inlaws hadn't seen any of it before and were bowled over. We must take them in again some time and show them the rest of the collections, especially all the Pre-Raphaelite art.
Saturday evening Dave and I crouched over the coffee table scribbling endless messages in endless Christmas cards; then yesterday we dashed up to Ikea to buy a couple of bedside cabinets ready for our friends spending New Year with us. Needless to say, they'd stopped doing the ones I saw in their current catalogue which would have been ideal, but we got something similar which will do almost as well, plus a car load of other rubbish that we didn't realise we needed until we saw it. And after that, we dashed out again to find a new duvet for Dave as he's shivering under a particularly thin one. We couldn't find what we wanted, but came home with four scatter cushions, two rolls of gift wrap, a box of crackers and a thermos flask. Don't ask!