Screwy spent Christmas in Sweden (!) visiting an ex-carer he made friends with. He came back through Stansted, which made it sensible to overnight at the parents'. The timing worked out really well, as we were able to travel to Brighton with him. That was fortunate from a practical point of view, as his carer was deathly ill and probably couldn't have managed on her own to transport my brother and all his equipment across country. Also, it's great fun travelling with Screwy and getting a rare chance to have interesting philosophical debates with him. It was very cold, and there was some fuss with trains and taxis, (one driver was too lazy to get out of his taxi in the cold to fetch his wheelchair ramps!) but we made it in the end.
P'tite Soeur's new place is a bit tiny, but very cosy and she had made lots of effort to create a good party atmosphere. She has lots of cool friends, too; several of the people she was at uni with were present at the party, as well as assorted housemates and Brighton connections. And there was interesting and fun conversation, and tasty nibbles, and it was generally yayful. She even made us do a pretend countdown and let off party poppers and champagne corks at midnight, very sweet.
cartesiandaemon and I stayed over at Screwy's, so in the morning we woke up to a leisurely breakfast of porridge and more philosophy, and then headed out to the Evening Star pub which Screwy recommended. It is indeed a very good pub, unpretentious but definitely traditional, and they have Pembury levels of interesting beers (they had Kriek on tap!), many of which come from a little independent brewery, Dark Star, that the pub are closely affiliated with. Also I bought two rounds and got change from a tenner, yay affordable alcohol! OK, we were a small group and mostly drinking halves, but still.
We made it back to Cambridge without significant incident, though too late to have a celebratory coffee in Clowns to mark the anniversary of our first date. And cartesiandaemon fed me pizza and chips and beans, the most satisfying junk food meal ever (we hadn't really had time to eat proper meals in between all the parties and geography). Then I got changed into my shiny black dress, and we went out to Relativity, one of the Cambridge geek households, for the real NYE.
That was just about my ideal NYE; last time I had so much fun was at shreena's quite a number of years ago. There was lots of good conversation, including Ian WINOLJ explaining a fascinating detail of how a hard drive reading head works. fivemack brought tasty Hungarian dessert wine, and someone else brought mead. There were lots of people in delightfully shiny outfits, but it didn't feel competitive at all. My dress was admired some, despite the exalted company. Particularly lovely to see atreic who is usually in an inconvenient city, and sonicdrift who arrived as a first-footer with mobbsy. I also talked to simont and emperor a little, as well as some people whose LJ names I don't know, and failed to talk to naath. And, um, there might have been some kissing when the radio was broadcasting Big Ben's chimes; I've never followed that New Year tradition before, and it was rather nice, especially as there was no mistletoe to make me feel uncomfortably pagan.
Then I was ill again on New Year's Day, not in the way that people expect to be ill, but with a really nasty cough and some more minor coldy symptoms. cartesiandaemon looked after me yet again, and we watched Wimbledon and played some Wii Sports and spodded a bit. It's the first time we've had long enough together to be comfortable just hanging out and not necessarily paying attention to eachother directly, and that worked well too.
I got in a muddle with dates and ended up with Mum expecting me home Friday evening when I'd intended to go home Saturday afternoon. cartesiandaemon was really nice about arranging a compromise, persuading all his friends to meet up a little earlier than planned so I could join them for a drink before I had to head home while they went out for curry. He didn't complain about being deprived of my company either, but that's possibly because my company was not actually very enjoyable due to lurgy. So I had a nice quiet weekend with parents, and some good conversations, and we killed a couple of Times Jumbo crosswords and Mum fed me lots of tasty and restorative food. We went to shul on Saturday, which was pleasant and homey as ever, and lots of people were touchingly glad to see me.
Finally the parents took me and cartesiandaemon out to lunch at Alimentum. I was very impressed with the place; it's doing the grand restaurant thing well, with stylish decor, attentive waiters and a decidedly classy atmosphere, but it manages to avoid being pretentious. And the food is actually markedly tasty as well as being artfully arranged on the plate; they don't have a vast choice for veggies but what they do have is good. I had some very interesting carrot soup (with strange confections of raisins rolled up in carrot slices in it), and some pleasant risotto, and the most intensely chocolatey profiteroles for dessert. It cost about £30 a head, which felt like good value for food that was easily twice as good as affordable restaurant food, and three courses plus some very nice wine and tea and coffee. Mum also helped me pack so that I was able to fit my vast pile of Christmas presents into my suitcase. My parents are great, really.