Happy New Year!

“And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so?
It came without ribbons.
It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags.
And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before.
What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store.
What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.” Dr Seuss

So, here I am sat at home writing the last blog before 2016. Its been quite a year.
Looking back its been pretty extreme for many reasons, least of all the loss of my darling mum.
I was looking through some photo’s on the laptop on Boxing Day, photos from 2015, and for all of the sad times, there
has been many happy times. The photos are of fun family days out + Prides + Hanging out at home + Being with our friends = lots of smiles!

December has been fun but relaxed, despite me coming down with a shocker of a cold (which has left me with a cough)

5th December the extended family took a trip to Chessington World of Adventures for our annual date with Father Christmas
(who looked remarkably like Richard Attenborough?) where Miss Dean Junior asked him for a toy turtle, a toy elephant and a bracelet made out of horse hair.
She does like to set the big guy a challenge.
And to date, he has never let her down……….but a horse hair bracelet???? HELP!!!

On the 6th, co-pilot and I took Miss Dean Junior and 5 of her mates into London for and early birthday treat and a visit to “Shreks Adventure” on the South Bank.
I didn’t know quite know what to expect, but it is a LOT of fun, and highly recommended if you like Shrek, Kung Fu Panda and How To Train Your Dragon.
After that, we wandered along the Embankment, stopping for rides on the carousel and hot chocolate before a noisy lunch at Pizza Express.

It has been really nice spending the whole of Christmas at home this year, as so often, I am up and down the country doing shows, but this December has been just what I needed,
sticking close to home with my friends and family close by. My friends have been amazing this year, and I am lucky to have them.

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Co Pilot and Miss Dean Junior decorated the church Christmas tree. This has been their tradition from baby days, and has always signified the start of our festivities.
These are the things that I hope will create wonderful, happy memories. I know that it makes them both happy to leave the tree glistening and ready for the Christmas services.
Sadly, due to the nasty coughs & colds afflicting Dean Towers, we couldn’t go to the Nativity service to see it in al its glory on Christmas Eve, but stayed home, keeping our germs to ourselves, not wanting to ruin anyone else’s festivities by sneezing on them.

20th December, and a planned theatre visit had to be scrapped, at least for me (I stayed home dosed up & coughing on the sofa) but co-pilot, Miss Dean Junior and a friend (who took my place)
went to The Royal Festival Hall to “Slava’s Snow Show” which sounds weird, but they had a great time. I think this photo sums up the pure joy of my little girl as the snow blasted the audience.
Not sure if it would have been my thing, but they had a ball…….and of course had a couple more rides on the Embankment carousel too.
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We did have plans for Ice Skating at Hampton Court, but considering Miss Dean Junior has already has a fractured wrist this year, and one of her school pals in now in plaster with a broken elbow
after taking a tumble on the ice, we decided to give it a swerve this year. I know, Boo Hiss and Bah Humbug, but seriously, I couldn’t take another trip to A& E this year!

So as you now know, Stevie caught my cold, and by Christmas Eve, was absolutely full of it. Not that it dampened her enthusiasm. Mince pies were baked, reindeer food was scattered in the garden.
Fairy lights were left on to give the reindeer a point of reference when landing. Thankfully, they are very skilled, and didn’t leave so much as a mark on the lawn!

Christmas Morning……wake up call at 7am, which I guess isn’t too bad under the circumstances.
As she has such a nasty cold, she was snuggled in with me, and guess what Santa had delivered the toy elephant (and a scattering of glitter stars) direct to the bed – and we
never heard a thing!!
Downstairs, the mince pie had been eaten. Rudolph had demolished his carrot and an enormous pile of gifts had arrived under the tree. On top of the pile of packages sat a toy turtle
and a bracelet made out of horsehair. Like I said, he NEVER lets her down, but she is being taught that Its not what you find under the tree that is important – its the people who have gathered around it that really matter.

Christmas day was a wonderful day. Again surrounded by family (and snoozing dogs!) A happy & joyous day. Buddy got quite possessive of the toy Scorpion Santa brought for him.
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A delicious dinner, with some wonderful red wines (thanks to Fortnum & Mason) co-pilot was particularly impressed with an Australian Shiraz from “The Four Growers”.
Like most families, after dinner (just before falling asleep) we watched The Queens speech, which for me was quite emotional.
This year she talked about the people who we have lost, and how the “first” of everything, especially Christmas, is particularly difficult, and yes, I cried.
Although it is painful, the ones we love who are no longer here never really leave. They are part of our Christmas traditions. They are forever in the stories we tell, and the
laughter we share.They are a part of our Christmas tree, sparkling and twinkling and as much part of our family festivities as they always were.
It is true – love NEVER dies.
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Boxing Day, and another lazy one…..food, drink and movies, and for that I am extremely grateful for those simple pleasure, so easy to take for granted.

28th December and its Miss Dean Juniors 11th Birthday.
11 years old! How did that happen? Where has the time gone?
She is now the proud owner of a guitar, and I am teaching her the basics before she starts lessons. Watch this space………..
The annual happy family outing to the Richmond Theatre rounded off the day, and as always it was brilliant. Hayley Mills played the Fairy Godmother (Oh yes she did!)
Now this may surprise you, but I LOVE Hayley Mills.
I have 2 framed autographs here at Dean Towers: one is Barbra Streisand, the other,Hayley Mills.
Co-pilot and I was saw her in our local garden centre a few years ago, and it is a standing joke that I stalked her around the herbaceous borders (not true, although I was very star struck!)
Anyway, back to the panto. We laughed. We got tearful – no idea why 2 ponies, Cinderalla’s carriage, and a flurry of snow can cause ones heart to melt, and bring a tear to the eye, but it never fails.
Stevie was on fine form, heckling like the pro that she is after 10 years of panto visits.
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29th December “The `Force Awakens” and off trotted Miss Dean Junior & co-pilot to get their much anticipated Star Wars fix, in IMAX 3D.
Well, they seemed to enjoy it. I have no idea what they were talking about on their return, but apparently the light sabre fight between Ren & Rey was epic!!!!
They came home and chatted animatedly over dinner. I am totally baffled by their chat, as wouldn’t know an X Wing fighter from a VW Beetle, but I love
that they are so happy in there shared love of Jedi-ness. I won’t spoil it for those of you who haven’t seen it yet, but as my daughter has loved Han Solo since she was a toddler,
this film came as quite a shock!

And here we are, at the end of the year. Next stop for me KAOS in Blackpool.
2016 is already looking busy for me, and there are some more great Summer shows to be announced mid/end Jan.

I started this blog with a quote, so I will end it the same way:

“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language. And next year’s words await another voice. And to make an end is to make a beginning.” – T.S. Eliot

I wish you all a Very Happy, Healthy and Peaceful 2016.

Always Hazell
xxx

PS. At the last count 140 Christmas cards landed on my welcome mat this year, the final one to arrive on Christmas Eve was from Toyah, and guess what – NO CARD FROM JAKI GRAHAM – but I still love her!

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