04.01.23 — Journal

Our Lancastrian Christmas

I mentioned in my last post that I was back home to England to celebrate, as I have done since moving out to live in Spain, Christmas back with my family in Burnley. After a near Christmas catastrophe during the flight over, I was then able to enjoy some lovely and relaxed time with my family.

My first full day in Burnley was Christmas Eve itself, the 24th of December. After a lazy morning, the four of us headed out for a family walk over the moors as we usually do. This took us up to the reservoir, where we stopped and chatted for a while. There’s no better place to catch up than with views over the water and the countryside beyond!

The three of us had unwittingly come dressed as the three primary colours…

The house and tree looked festive as we arrived back home in the early evening.

We then relaxed for the evening with some lovely veggie lasagne cooked by Ellie, after which we headed off to the pub for our traditional Christmas Eve drink. We ran into some familiar faces in the pub and had a great laugh over a gin and tonic, even if I was complaining about how small it was…

After this, it was time to head home and wait for the big man to arrive!

Our Christmas Days are always a little odd, as my mum usually works in the morning. This means that we open our presents in the middle of the afternoon and leave the Christmas dinner until Boxing Day, but we made the most of the morning by heading off to Bradford to visit my grandparents. Despite having to set an alarm for an ungodly hour on Christmas Day itself, it was lovely to see them and catch up with my uncle in passing.

The four of us were later reunited back at home when my mum arrived back from work. This meant the bulk of the festive activities could begin, including the unwrapping of some fun presents and the general laziness borne of binge-eating chocolate that usually occurs on Christmas Day. We ended the day as we always do, with a selection of curries from our local Indian takeaway!

The next day was Boxing Day, and thus time for us to enjoy our Christmas dinner. This began – as it always does – at lunchtime, when my mum expertly prepared some cream of cauliflower soup to a family friend’s delicious recipe. This was followed by another lovely turkey dinner prepared by my mum and expertly plated by yours truly. After so many years, my mum and I have fully perfected the delicate dance of plating up the various components in order to serve them as my family like to eat them – piping hot!

We then sat down in the living room to partake in another Briggs Christmas tradition that I managed to start, the Briggs Family Christmas Quiz. Besides some disagreement over the definition of mainland Europe, the quiz went without a hitch and ended in a tie between my mum and sister!

A couple of days after this, I was up and out of the house again relatively early. Well, at 10am, but I do think that that is early for the Christmas period. This was to meet up with Abi and Danni and head over to Blackpool, our favourite silly seaside haunt!

Under the typical grey skies of winter, Abi was super excited to be in Blackpool!

We’d a busy day planned around the main activity: an escape room that the two of them had invited me to as my birthday gift earlier in the year. I’d never been to one and was thus quite apprehensive to see what it’d be like. After fretting and emailing them to see if they would leave the door unlocked for me – I can get very claustrophobic – I had an absolute blast! Danni’s analytical skills, Abi’s maths prowess, and my domination of language meant the three of us joined forces to create quite the team!

After escaping the room, we headed for some lunch and a spot of shopping. We then wound up paying a visit to one of my favourite attractions in Blackpool that I’ve been visiting since I was little – Coral Island. There, we relived our childhoods by spending a good while on the 2p coin pushers trying to bag ourselves some silly prizes!

Abi and I were very excited to be spending our 2ps.

On our way out of Blackpool, I picked up some rock to bring back to Spain and we took a detour to ride the Blackpool Illuminations, a series of illuminations about 10km long which adorn the seafront. This was another blast from the past for me, as I remember many a December spent with my family with my head out of the sunroof of our car gazing in awe at the thousands of bulbs along the route.

We also exchanged our Christmas presents, a hilarious anual activity which involves the three of us buying each other the funniest gifts for under a £10. In the excitement, I left the rock I’d bought in the back of Danni’s car when she dropped me back off at home. Damnit!

That meant that my plans for the next day were predetermined: I’d to get myself up to Abi’s house to pick up my stranded bag of Blackpool rock. The journey was a bit of a pain thanks to Burnley’s bus service, but it led me on some interesting walks around areas of the town previously unknown to me.

The tree that had fallen on me at the garden centre had turned out rather nice.

I then spent my last night with my family in Burnley in the living room, where we had a good chat and one last drink before I headed off the next day. Where would I go though? Where would I be spending the New Year? Well, that’s for my next blog post!