Blog 29 Dec 19To steal a few words from a famous song at this time of year – so this is Christmas and what have you done…..?

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas Day and Boxing Day and that everyone was spoiled rotten, especially the kids.

A special thank you to our emergency services once again, and for those individuals having to work over the Christmas period to keep us safe and well.

Unfortunately a simple thank you is never enough, but I think we all appreciate the work that continues throughout the Christmas period on our behalf.

Stepping back to last weekend for a moment, which seems such a long time ago now….

Ellen and I were very fortunate to attend two wonderful Christmas events last Sunday. The first one was held in the beautiful little Chapel just a short walk up from our house in Abbeylands, Onchan.

It was a very simple carol service with readings and Christmas favourites, but a massive thank you to Marion for leading a truly wonderful service, and also to everyone who provided the light refreshments at the end of the service, including tea, mince pies, shortbread and fudge.

At teatime on Sunday Ellen and I attended the Nine Lessons and Carols being held at St Peter’s Church, Onchan. I know I am about to upset the previous vicar of St Peter’s, but that particular service on Sunday was definitely one of the best services I have attended over the past few years.

The lights were turned out and candles were lit around the choir stalls, which created a beautiful Christmas setting and although most people are familiar with the readings and songs from the Nine Lessons and Carols, the St Peter’s choir and organist should certainly take bow as they were absolutely fantastic.

I was very fortunate to give the first reading, but this also enabled me to simply sit back and enjoy the rest of the service, which really was an excellent event.

Definitely one of my highlights from this year’s Christmas activities.

Like so many people on Monday, I was able to take the day off other than drafting a few emails and answering a couple of calls. I was planning to do some shopping in Tesco early on Monday morning, but I took one look at the queue of cars in Athol Street and changed my mind.

Tuesday was Christmas Eve and again I was originally planning to take the day off, but then I received a very kind message from a Constituent a few weeks ago asking a favour.

Basically, the Constituent had a friend from Hong Kong joining him and his family over the Christmas holiday and asked if I could show him around the Legislative Buildings, which I was more than happy to do.

The only time that I could schedule a tour was on Christmas Eve, so I went into the office just before 8am to catch up with a few things before they arrived at 9.30am.

It was a genuine privilege to show Sam and Sam around the Legislative Buildings, including our Chambers, and the tour lasted over an hour.

I went home towards lunchtime and just before 17.00 Ellen and I headed to St Peter’s for their Crib Service.

We finally got home for around 18.15.

Wednesday was Christmas Day, which is a relatively quiet day in the Callister household, but we were still up at 6.30am to feed the cat and open presents….

Mid morning we headed up the Mountain to climb to the top of Snaefell, which was certainly a brisk walk on a cold, misty and damp morning. We parked the car at the Bungalow so the actual walk was around 35 minutes to the top.

Unfortunately, Manannan’s Cloak was firmly down so we didn’t actually see anything, but we were joined at the top of Snaefell by a family of four also doing the walk.

The rest of Christmas was spent at home in front of the fire and the TV….

I hope everyone else had a wonderful Christmas Day in their own special way.

Not much to add for Boxing Day other than hiding away from the horrible damp weather, but we did venture out to M & S in the afternoon to look at the sale etc.

Up early on Friday morning to sort out various things before heading down to Ronaldsway Airport for a flight to Manchester at 10.10am.

Poor Oscar (our cat) was left at home looking after Pam (my mum) as we headed off to Sheffield and Leeds to see family for a few days.

We finally arrived in Sheffield for around 14.00 for a two night stay.

Great to catch up with family members from Ellen’s side of the family, especially little Isaac who has now reached the grand old age of one…

He looks brilliant in his new jumper knitted by Auntie Ellen, along with his new TT jacket – you are never too young to help promote the island’s tourism sector!

A lovely evening of good food and great company in Sheffield and as for the weekend we will continue to see family in the UK.