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So, arrangements for getting back to (one of.. we're rather a spread out bunch) the familial lair for Christmas more or less sorted, and I've done my bit for the big dinner with placing a delivery order for much good cider, wine, vodka, and about 14lb of Gressingham duck. Now time to kick back at my new haunt, safe in the twin knowledge of some delicious food ahead, and ponies waiting back home. ^_^

As you probably know, I'm not a religious sort by any stretch of the imagination, but it's a time to enjoy good company and the spirit of the season regardless of exactly why. ^_^ For whatever reasons, I'm feeling happier about this Yule than in several years. I dare say the locale hardly hurts - wandering past Georgian architecture as a matter of routine, which may as well have sprung from a period drama of class vs circumstance, where you half-expect a big blue 1950s Police Box around the corner.. it does add sparkle to life.

Where will you be for the season? Travelling some distance, maybe?
 
 
 
 
 
 
Don't know! We'll just have to see. :) With luck, I might get taken in by some Baku expat friends for libations. I can't afford to fly back home for the holidays, and Christmas certainly isn't much in evidence here, Azerbaijan being a Muslim country. Nor are Christmas vacations, for that matter... I'm almost disappointed that I can't skip work for the holiday, given that it's on a Sunday.
That's a damn good point. ^_^; How is the Muslim calendar for holidays? I know India does particularly well on that front. =:) Though I suppose it's not necessarily how many holidays, but how enthusiastically they're spent - much as with all of life, ne? (Case in point: Spain. The Hispanic way of life seems perfectly in tune with celebrating life at the drop of a hat)

Ah, so your days off are based on the host nation? Makes sense, though it would be rather good of them to accept both the host and visitor's customs. So there's little "osmosis" going on via Western media? That's an aspect of Japan I've always admired - the willingness (no, enthusiasm!) to add new experiences to the gestalt of the culture. Of course, they're hardly unique - Singapore is essentially a manufactured state, and quite a fascinating melding it is, much as its former partner on the peninsula, but even moreso.

Agh, writing all those names reminds me I really need to get back out there.. ah well. If the coming month or two work out well, I might well be able to roam freely. Really hope so - this is an unparalleled opportunity. ^_^

However your plans do work out over the weekend, do try to post, so we can offer appropriate wishes. ^_^
I'm ashamed to say that I know almost nothing about Muslim holidays, despite having been in this part of the world for months. (This has sometimes been a problem - for example, when I failed to roll out of bed early enough to pick up my Azerbaijan visa and said to myself "No problem, I'll just come again tomorrow," not realizing that the next day was Eid al-Adha and the embassy would be closed for nearly a week.) I think the next religious holiday of consequence might be Nawruz, near the vernal equinox - I might not be here that long, but the month-long leadup seems fascinating in itself. I wish I could see Nawruz back in Tajikistan - apparently the biggest attractions there are huge tournaments of buzkashi, which if you're not familiar, is, um. A cultural experience.

I'm a volunteer, so I can take off whatever days I want! Not to mention travel when I want, within reason. It doesn't really feel right, though, to take off extra days around Christmas for no reason... I wouldn't be visiting family or celebrating anything, I'd just be hanging out and not doing what I came here to do. Although perhaps the solution is to make a vacation out of it. Take a trip up to the mountains. Hm. =:)

Have your travels ever brought you to this part of the world? If they do, by all means, come and drop by! =:)
As far back as I can remember, my family's always stayed at home on the day itself, any family visits and the like being on Boxing Day or just after. Travelling on Christmas Day itself is almost impossible without a car in any case -- if only we were more like Germany, where a reasonable train service runs even then.

wandering past Georgian architecture as a matter of routine

Not a problem in Bewdley, of course -- though in fact a lot of the houses are older than they look, with Georgian brick frontages added on to older timber-framed buildings. (The first street scene in The Box of Delights, just after Kay gets off the train, was filmed in our High Street. =:) )
Oof, indeed.. not that I'm in any special hurry, but it's a little odd to see the website declare that "some" of my journeys lie outside the requested date, when they all do. >chuckle< Absolutely nothing on the 25th or 26th?

Still, it'll be a great chance to just feel completely unobligated to get more done on the project, and see what I can do to help my mother with sorting out the situation of the previous year, without the time pressures of a simple day visit. (The nephews, meanwhile, I shall predict will glom onto the iPad immediately =:)

So, I'll be heading down on Friday or Saturday, then back up probably on Tuesday, though the ticket'll permit flexibility.

Ha! Brick frontages for older buildings? I've known of making buildings look older, but that's a new angle on home improvements to me. =:D Really, that's the locality? Egad.. perhaps I otter see for myself sometime, particularly once I've sorted out the lens situation, given the Tamron's given up on AF and stabilisation. I'm not overly keen on spending loads on fixing it, given the optics are just fair at best - if it'd cost £200 to get it perfect, I'd sooner put that toward an ultrawide which would let me capture the vistas I now have the wonderful good fortune to survey.

(I wonder what became of that proposed BoD film from 2009 or so? But Patrick Troughton did do so very well)
Ponies!

Gosh, it's been decades since I've ridden.
Similarly. ^_^ I was spooked at an early age, regrettably - I wish I'd known that enjoyment further, a little time on.

These ponies are more of this ilk. (As you see, there's quite an astonishingly vibrant remix community at work. The creativeness never ceases to amaze me)
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Ah, yes.. snow can be much fun, but Ohio snow perhaps a little less so. ^_^; (Minneapolis, on the other paw, has very well behaved snow - I spent a couple winters there, and absolutely loved it! The thing is, whilst it's cold, there's usually almost no wind, and that makes a huge difference at -10F =:)

What brought you down south in those earlier times?
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Fingers crossed I'll have a functioning bike for Christmas. Half day at work on Friday (for which I get a full day's pay), then down to my mum's. Christmas Eve my best friend and I will go to the children's service at the Minster, as we've done pretty much every year all our lives. Christmas Day just me and my mum. Boxing Day the aforementioned best friend organises a curry and pub outing so we can unwind after 48 hours facing nothing but family. At some point in the next day or so, over to Howard's for motorcycling adventures and New Year.

Oh man, I can't wait! I hope you and yours have a lovely Christmas!
Oh, nice touch with the full day's pay. ^_^

A merry festive curry outing. Genius! Maybe I'll spring that on the family. =:D And this year, I should be able to get online without any magic incantations.. ^_^; (The place was in a compact cellular black hole - step outside, and it was fine, at least for voice, but inside, I was right on the borderline of "No Service" and being able to fetch email)

Quite a calm time on Crimbo itself, then? Sounds like a superb opportunity to catch up with life. ^_^
somerset for 9 days , via train, booked temporary gym for while i'm down there
Heh! Definitely not a bad part of the world. ^_^ (And home of the bunny beer folks! Whose pubs also seem to serve particularly good food. A dangerous combination =:) Only big problem with Somerset, I'd say, is the lack of a fast transit corridor from north to south - if you want to get to Bristol or Bath, from somewhere like Wells, it's pretty tedious going, although not quite as bad as just about anywhere in Cornwall, especially on bank holidays.. !)