10th January 2001

It’s the new millennium, or it’s just another snowy January, whichever you prefer. I have flying, xmas and expensive purchasing stories to tell, so I’ll get on with it.

Flying is still going well, although I had to miss a couple of lessons because of bad weather. We did practice stalls, slowing the plane down to the point of stalling and then recovering from it straight away. The next lesson was to be slow flight, but the weather wasn’t good enough for that, so we did circuits instead. This is the busiest part of flying a plane, there is a lot to do when you’re preparing to land and I didn’t manage to cope with all of it. I’m sure with practice it will start to come naturally though. A few bumpy landings, and one nice smooth one later and the lesson was over.

I’ve also started the ground school sessions. The introductory session involved short introductions from everybody, and a lesson about the licencing requirements for the four types of Canadian aviation licences (Recreational, Private, Commercial, and Airline Transport). For the next 3 months I have two sessions of 2.5 hours each per week, and a lot to learn.

Shortly before Christmas, I discovered (thanks DT!) the BBC America website, where you can buy British food items for delivery in North America. I couldn’t resist that, and bought lots of goodies, including Mr Kipling’s exceedingly good mince pies, some Branston pickle, and some chocolate digestives and hobnobs. It was a tad expensive, but worth it.

Christmas was a lot of fun, even though it was just the two of us. After a breakfast of pancakes with maple syrup, strawberries and whipped cream, with coffee and bucks fizz (ok, mimosa for the North Americans) to drink, it was time to open gifts. We had done stockings, so we did those first. Mine was full of chocolate, which I’ll probably be enjoying for months to come, as well as two DVDs, Fight Club, and 12 Monkeys. Jen’s favourite present was her tiara, because she’s a princess. I also got her a princess mug, some smellies and some newcastle brown ale!

After that we opened our main presents. Jen gave me a steering wheel and pedals for the computer, and a funkly lofty-style toaster (because our old one broke), and a harry potter mug which holds about a gallon of tea. I gave Jen a book, some Pikachu slippers which don’t quite fit, and a small bottle of Baileys.

My Dad (and family) sent us a lovely Harrod’s gift basket of goodies, filled with tea, jams, chocolate (yes, more chocolate), snacks, a Harrod’s teddy bear and a jigsaw.

Mum sent me some Lynx (Canadians don’t seem to have grasped the shower gel concept yet), and more chocolate (Cadbury’s Whole Nut, my favourite!), and a very warm fleecy jumper thingy. Jen got a subscription to the BBC Good Homes magazine.

With present opening over, it was time to make some phone calls. I was just about to call Mum, when she called me. She seemed very happy with her present (2 tickets to see Eric Clapton at the Royal Albert Hall). After chatting there for a bit, I called Dad and interrupted their game of Who Wants to be a Millionaire? on their new laptop. Jen had a call from her Mum and Richard from Ireland, then she chatted to Dan in Vancouver for a while.

The rest of the day was spent relaxing. We had an untraditional Christmas meal of Mussels in white wine and garlic, then watched Fight Club (a surprisingly good Movie, and completely different from what I expected).

On Boxing Day, Jen’s Dad and family came to visit. We had a small buffet lunch, some nice wine and a pleasant afternoon. Jen got a very special present of a poem written about her by her Dad.

The last Christmas extravagance was a trip to the Nissan car dealership. We had intended just to look, but because of a special deal they had going, we came away with a Nissan Pathfinder! It’s a great big thing, but nice to drive. It also has a CD player, which meant Jen had to go buy a CD burner to make CDs for the car.

We decided not to do anything for New Year’s Eve. We watched the spectacularly awful ‘Rockin New Years’ on TV, spent some time in Chatgames, and celebrated the midnight hour with beer and pizza.

Jen’s parents are home from Ireland now, so we’re having a belated Christmas meal this weekend. I have to learn how to cook a turkey!

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