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Monday, December 18, 2006

Slow train to Santa's Grotto

On Saturday we went down to Audley End, a very large country house in Essex, to see one of Santa's helpers, handing out gifts to all the good kids. Now, many of us may admit to having had a train set in the distant past, but if you are Lord of one of the largest manors in England, your train set is something different too.

Lord Beaverbrooke's private 10-inch guage railway opens to the public most weekends, and runs Santa Specials in December.

The line winds through a mile and a half of beautiful woodland complete with little bridges and tunnels. Rounding a corner, we caught a glimpse of a bearded chap in red, waving at the train. And there he was again, and again until we slowed to a stop by a grotto where he, and his assistants came to say hello and give out a present or two. Despite the cold, Issie and Max had a lovely time and we survived with cups of hot chocolate.

There were two trains running, with many little boys and girls enjoying the ride, and the other train was a steam one. Whooo whooo, off we go.... Posted by Picasa

We went to the panto (oh no you didn't....)

oh yes we did. Anyway, he's beeeehind you....

The kids are now really old enough to enjoy a panto - as opposed to last year when Issie was bemused and Max was bored! This year is also our last chance to go to a proper British Pantomime, so we grabbed that chance in style with a trip to Aladdin at the Cambridge Arts Theatre. When Gesa went to buy tickets, only the full price seats were left, but the ticket agent suggested we got a box - in the end it was only 10 quid more, so we felt like royalty - it was great. I wanted to be like the old gits in the muppets but apparently I'm enough of a muppet without proving it to the rest of the theatre.

We enjoyed the show, and although Max still got a bit bored about halfway through Act 2, it didn't matter as we had the box all to ourselves. We'd spent breakfast practising the 'oh yes it is, oh no it isn't' and 'he's behind you' bits, so the kids were well up for that. Classic British Christmas fun and games. Posted by Picasa