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Some months ago, Bridget's best friend Sue said she'd be celebrating a significant birthday in December, and asked if we'd all like to come. "Why tell us so early?" we asked. "It's on Lundy Island" said Sue, "so we need to book now ". Aha.

So come early December, Sue's family, us and another of Sue's best friends and her daughter assembled on the north Devon coast for the trip to Lundy. During winter the only way to get to the island is... by helicopter.

Matthew was particularly excited by the helicopter ride, and wore his helicopter t-shirt especially. The aircraft can only take seven passengers at a time, so it goes back and forth carrying people and baggage until everything is transferred.

Sue booked Millcombe House, the largest accommodation on the island. Built in 1836 by the then owner of the island as a summer retreat, it's a seven bedroom, three bathroom (five toilet) Georgian style house, located in a sheltered valley looking straight out to sea. Once we got the central heating working and the sitting room fire lit, it proved to be quite snug. The kitchen was huge and featured a long wooden table for informal eating.

The children were initially confused by all the rooms, so were keen to make signs for all the doors. James and Matthew brought their signs home to use on their own bedrooms.

Lundy is only three miles long by a mile wide, but even Bridget and Sue found that the short days meant they were not able to get to the far end. We did have some lovely walks, and James got to see deer as well as the local variety of black rabbit (a medieval species). We also had a brief glimpse of a peregrine falcon.
December means nativity shows, and this year James and Matthew performed the "Donkey's Christmas Story" at a children's concert at Prestwood Methodist Church, and took the parts of the donkey and an innkeeper in the Chesham nativity play. They enjoyed both, and held up well at the Chesham event even though it was an evening service that followed a long afternoon of rehearsals.

Before Christmas Bridget and the boys went to visit Grandma Marie and Grandad Andrew in Ipswich for a few days, to pick up the presents, see the Ipswich Father Christmas, and to drop in on friend Katharine and her newly-born daughter Susan.

We all had a great Christmas. James and Matthew have been playing with all the new toys, and craft activities have filled the time when the weather has been less favourable. In between eating, we had several trips out, to the Grand Union Canal at Marsworth, to Marlow (to feed the ducks), to World's End Garden Centre (to see the fabulous Santa's Groto), to the panto at Aylesbury, and to see friends. Grandma Brenda was with us for the Christmas period, and then went to stay with Malcolm's brother for New Year. That's it for another year; here's to a great 2006.