We had, as usual, a very hectic, but superbly pleasant Christmas.
I say 'hectic' because for the past 40 years or so, on the Sunday before Christmas, we've always held a large family get together.
As myself and my wife Margaret were (up until recently) responsible for milking our herd of Guernsey cows it was always difficult for us to get away at Christmas. For that reason, these reunions have always been held at our home.
And my most capable wife copes with the extra work very happily. In the beginning it was just brothers, sisters and close friends. But over the years the number of guests has grown and grown. Children and later grandchildren, and their girl/boyfriends.
And of course, Father Christmas always pops in to give us all little presents!
Last year there were 40 people here altogether including the youngsters. We never send any invitations out - they just turn up!
We'll have moved house by next Christmas, and have been informed by our guests that they'll all be coming round to the new house for the get together as per usual!
The new house is going to have one very important adaptation: a stair lift for me and my wheelchair. I'm not steady enough to have an ordinary chair lift, so we will have to install an electric lift, which I can 'drive' my electric wheelchair into. This will take me up through the ceiling, and allow me, on my wheelchair, to get up to the first floor of the 3-storey house.
We have big plans for our new home. The ground floor is for our son Russ and his martial arts gym. The first floor will be inhabited by me and my wife. The top floor will will also belong to Russ, our ex-double world undisputed kick boxing champion! Russ no longer particpates in this sport. However, he keeps very busy teaching self-defence and keep fit classes.
Our move means we will no longer have a farm or a dairy herd to look after. While we're looking forward to moving into our new house, I was very sad to see the cows go.
We hope to move into our new place by March, giving myself and Margaret lots of time to think about how we're going to organise our next big family get together at Christmas 2003!