At least it's not raining

The weather in England
is making the news over

I can’t believe that’s
a picture of Kent.

So how are all the
Habershons dealing with
it? Staying indoors?
Hot cocoa by the fire?
Sledging? Or is it
business as usual? Send
me pictures!

The forecast over here in
Houston for tomorrow is
76 degrees and sunny. I’ll
trade you two rays for a

5:10 a.m., 12/29/05: What service! Ricky sends this picture of The Stables taken at 11 a.m. GMT. He says there’s no snow in their area (near Glastonbury) but it’s very cold at minus 3 degrees C, and that the snow is east or north of Oxford. So when did Kent move?

Bedford Habs dethroned

From David:

Here are the results of the 2005 Quiz. Well done everyone who took part! First prize is awarded to Tim Mason who led the Emsworth Habs to an astonishing victory and wins the £5 Amazon token. I think perhaps the level of success was directly related to the number in the team. We had 14.

The full results were:

Mason/Emsworth 71.4%
Bedford 67.1%
The Stables 38.5%
Houston 25%

Here are the correct answers. I thought it was a good rule to ban internet and reference books. Would someone else like to volunteer to set the questions in 2006?

Clare's news

Clare has dug up a couple of photographs from a family reunion at Coleford in 1987. I’ve put them in the Family Gatherings album and have attempted to name everyone. Note that I had real difficulty naming my eight nephews and nieces in those days. They were all blond! So please let me know if I have any wrong.

Clare sent some news with her e-mail. She is back working for the RSPB after a two-week placement with a law firm in London (one week in Litigation and one week in Tax). On January 15th she and Allan begin their round-the-world trip. They’ll be returning on August 3rd. I hope we’ll be getting frequent updates from cyber-cafes, Clare. Like Charlie’s!

Christmas yoga

It’s official. I’m weird and addicted. I arranged my Christmas Day around a Bikram Yoga class.

It was just John and me this year. We usually spend it at his mum’s house. This year, however, she went to California to spend it with John’s brother’s family. So what did we do? Well, it was sunny and in the 70s, so we ate a late breakfast on the deck — cinnamon rolls and mimosas — and attempted the painfully difficult Habershon Christmas Quiz. Then we unwrapped presents. I got some good stuff. A Baseball card Price Guide, a huge book about Baseball parks, a cat calendar, smelly things, chocolates, etc. John gave me a 6 x 8 Wacom USB Pen Tablet — something I’ve wanted for a long time.

Oh, about the yoga class. This was the first time that my yoga studio had been open on Christmas Day. They were offering a 4:30 p.m. class. I was never really sure whether I’d go or not. For a start, don’t even try eating less than three hours before a Bikram Yoga class. Food and yoga do not go together. And neither does alcohol. I did, however, show up. I made it through the class, but about 70 minutes into it started feeling very icky from the mimosas (champagne and orange juice). There were about 25 people there. I wondered when they were planning to eat their Christmas turkey. Actually, looking around, most of them didn’t look as if they ever ate. It was definitely the diehards in attendance. I was in the third row, and in front of me was the most beautiful creature. She looked about 18 years old, beautiful body, etc. She sat in front left of me on the floor before the instructor arrived. I was already trying to get into a cross-legged position — something I couldn’t get close to two years ago. I watched her effortlessly cross her legs, lean her body forward, back straight, and touch her forehead to the floor. HISS! And for the next 90 minutes it was difficult not to watch her. I swear she got her back leg straight in the standing bow. And she had such perfect balance to go along with everything else.

After the class I went out to the car park and there was a blue Cooper “S” parked next to Wendy. There are a lot more Minis out on the roads now, but it’s always a thrill to see one, especially when it’s at work or yoga. I was just putting my yoga mat in the boot, and who should walk up to the “S” but the “18-year-old” from class. She exclaimed delightedly that we were next to each other in class and in the parking lot. We chatted for a bit. I congratulated her on her awesome yoga and asked her how long she’d been practicing Bikram. When she responded “five years” I told her she didn’t look old enough. She told me she was 32!

I guess a good part of the story is that it wasn’t her Cooper “S”. She’d borrowed it from her mother. SMIRK

So, that was a piece of my Christmas. And a jolly nice Christmas it was, too. We enjoyed a delicious organic chicken with Brussell sprouts and sugar snap peas from Wholefoods Market upon my return home. I think that I’d like next Christmas to be a bit noisier, though. Perhaps we could rent a castle in Scotland and invite all the Habershons.

2005 Habershon Christmas Quiz

HERE IT IS! (.pdf format)

David‘s Announcement
Yes it’s Habershon Christmas Quiz time again! Here’s your opportunity to wrest the title from those sharp Bedford Habs who won in 2004.

The quiz comprises 35 questions divided into different sections. Submit your answers to the Webmistress (cat @ not later than 11pm GMT on Boxing Day. The team with the highest score will receive a £5 Amazon gift voucher (or $10 if they reside in the U.S.). Correct answers and the team results will be published on the website as soon as possible after Boxing Day.

As usual, no correspondence will be entered into, and the Quizmaster’s decision is final. Only one entry per household.

Good quizzing. Have a very Happy Christmas and successful New Year!

And I’m going to add a couple of things here:

1. No looking up answers on the internet or in reference books. All answers must come straight from your brains.

2. This quiz is open to any household that contains a Habershon, a née Habershon, a regular commenter, or anyone who resides on the Branch Office page.

Fa-la la-la laa …

Good morning, Habershons and loyal readers.

I am at work, and very aware that there has been nothing new on for over a week. I hope to remedy this soon. Please do not go away. The Christmas Quiz will be posted this evening or tomorrow.

Perhaps someone could sing a Christmas carol or leave a Santa joke to keep things going until I get my act together.

Merry Christmas!

(insert holly clipart here)

City Sewer Replacement Project – Day 270

Today we have owned our house for exactly eight years. It’s looking much better, except for the driveway.

The situation on the next door lot has become progressively worse. It’s noisy, and the contractor has continued to use our driveway. On Wednesday, John looked out of the window and saw this tanker truck parked in it. As you know, John’s quite easygoing (except when it comes to buying towels), but something flipped this time. He marched out there with the camera, took a picture, and got on the phone to the City of Houston. He was assured of a callback. There was no response until Friday, when we had an early morning visit from the inspector.

We have been promised that:

1. They’ll be out of there on January 15th, 2006;
2. They’ll clean up the lot;

(insert drum roll here)

3. They will give us a new driveway and apron. Asphalt!

Not as good as concrete, but we’ll take it.

I wonder if this will happen?

Towel shopping

John and I bought new towels in 1997. Six of them. All green. They’d just got to the point where they were nice and scratchy. A little frayed, but still nice and scratchy. Perfect.

Yesterday morning John announced that it was time to buy new towels. I reluctantly agreed, and suggested we bought them online. “Oh no,” he said, “we have to go shopping for them. I want to squeeze them first.” Now those of you who know John know that he’s the geeky type. But those of you who think you know him don’t know him that well. For instance, would you have guessed that when he goes to Kroger he prefers to stand in the line with a human cashier, rather than use the U-SCAN? Amazing!

Another thing that may surprise you is that he also likes everything to match. No. Not “likes” . . . he insists. Especially when it comes to towels. He also likes them fluffy. So I knew that it could be a trying day buying new ones. I knew we’d be at Bed Bath and Beyond for at least an hour finding the right ones. The first thing I look at is the price, and when you’re talking soft and fluffy you’re talking expensive.

He must have examined every towel in the shop at least three times. And he kept returning to the Egyptian Cotton while I tried to steer him towards the Crew Classic. “What do you think?”, he finally asked? “It doesn’t matter,” I responded. “Whatever I choose, you’ll decide on something different.” Now before you think I was being grumpy, I wasn’t. That’s standard in our household. John cares more about things like that. I’m indifferent.

In the end, though, I believe we compromised. We chose something called “Wamsutta Regency Pima”, neither fluffy nor scratchy, and medium priced. We bought six bath towels, two bath sheets, two hand towels, two washcloths, and two bathmats, all in hunter green. We had to get assistance as we couldn’t reach the sixth bath towel. A very helpful lady brought a ladder over and pulled it down for us.

Now I must wait another ten years for them to get nice and scratchy.

It’s fun shopping with John. Really. It is.

The old towels are now in the shed. They’ll come in useful for our next painting job. Perhaps I’ll go out there and squeeze one occasionally.