Day 1 of the christmas holidays proper so everyone had duties to perform. Jof had to go to work so she told us off for not getting her up. Bud had to go to the Jobcentre to sign on the dotted line to say he was trying to get a job, honest, but could he have some more money in the meantime.
Thus we drove into town and bought the minimum safe amount of time on the parking meter which was 1 hour. The Employment Assistance Outlet is in an old nightclub in town and inside we met 2 burly security guards. They are always there because sometimes customers of the Department for Work Facilitation get angry and throw stuff, like a few weeks ago when they threw smoothies up the front door. We presented the card and the nice lady said you're not on the list and it turned out the Office of Career Acquisition Case Officer had written the wrong day. We stood by the festive railing near her workbench and discussed the situation and the 2 guards came over and said please move away from the tinsel, sir, there might be confidential information on her desk. If only they could set up some kind of railing to separate the public and private areas.
We left, having used up possibly as much as 6 of our 60 paid parking minutes, and next on the list was my duty, a family one. From there, we reached Grandad 15 minutes early, which caused much consternation: this from the man who could not allocate a time of day to eat his Yakult bio-friendly yogurt preparation. On the way in, we saw a horse waving its head in a circle. Turned out, it was scratching his butt against a tree.
Grandad has a decent swimming pool in his leisure complex and funnily enough, I had my swimming bag. So we moseyed on down and met 4 llamas: not visiting dignitaries from the Chinese Borough of Tibet, but giant Andean goats known for their hatred of foxes. Nowadays it is all the rage in the countryside for sheepiers to borrow these vegetarian fox-killers from Llama Farmers to defend their woolly assets.
I bumbled around in the pool for 45 minutes or so while various elderly persons looked on admiringly but I couldn't go in the hot tub because of the over-18s policy and the fitness centre was full of grey gymnasts being led by Father Christmas, so I couldn't lift weights either.
Normally we would choose a decent country walk with added pub lunch but the weather was not helpful. We decided on a trip to Winchester which in retrospect, was a total fail and chronic decision lacking in any logic whatsoever. The motorway was clear. It took us to the beginning of the interminable christmas traffic jam with alacrity. But for a medieval town not known for its calm traffic, the closure of the Friarsgate car park added to our woes and by the time we'd tried our 5th pub for food (40 minute wait, sir) we really needed a piss.
Fortunately I found a table in the William Walker right opposite the cathedral, with prices to match. On the cathedral tower roof we could see humans and their guide admiring the view. Last year the 3 of us ascended the tower on the official tower tour: we won 2 awards, for the oldest AND the youngest visitors in one go. How many other people can say that? Well, none, of course.
The food was slow so Grandad taught me indices and algebra and volume of the table and area of an obtuse triangle and then I got my fish and chips. Outside, Mr 32 (they have tour guides that do walking tours of the city) plied his trade and by the time we'd finished it was pretty well time to ditch Grandad back at his mansion and we took the back roads out of Winchester, past the prison that needs new warders.
There were a lot of back roads. This, and the pedestrians and the jams and the medieval street pattern (up Silver Hill, past Parchment, onto Jewry, past Southgate, Westgate and Tower) did not help our cause. The motorway home was quite full but for those heading west, the large crash outside the Gosport junction created a tailback all the way to the Eastern Road and I was glad to get home.
Film night was 'Bruce Almighty' in which the nutter from the Truman Show teamed up against the voice of the white-bearded prophet in the Lego Movie to wreak havoc across the USA. That was when I truly realised how much those above me like me, and I went to bed bursting with patrilineal pride.