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Christmas 2008 – Southport, Royal Clifton Hotel
by Yvonne Pearce and Stuart Oldenshaw
I arrived by taxi with Stuart and Derek at the hotel. I thought the hotel was rather nice and was shown to my own bedroom by Mary, the lovely lady who was to support me during the holiday. There was also David to support Stuart, John supporting Derek and Georgie even though struggling with a cold was to help us all enjoy our holiday. She also had her Daddy, who is 86 who had come to be with us all.

This was Christmas Eve and we got dressed in our best clothes for the Gala dinner in the Windsor Suite. We had five delicious courses for the meal and the room looked beautiful with lots of beautiful baubles. After the meal was finished the host, Steve organised fun and games and music and dancing, with some people winning bottles of wine for playing a silly game called heads or tails. You had to choose whether you put your hands on your head or your tail, and then Steve tossed a coin, and if it landed on ‘heads’ and you had your hands on your tail, you lost, and had to sit down. This continued until there was only one person left standing and they won the bottle of the wine.

Christmas 2008Then there was another stand up game, where we each had a bingo ticket and when your number was called you had to sit down. The person won who still had all their numbers left on their ticket.

We also enjoyed dancing to some great music, even Derek dancing to Macarena, and the birdie song and YMCA .

Christmas morning after breakfast, we played games with Steve in the lounge .We were nicely surprised to be given a lovely present each from Options after lunch. Yvonne and the ladies each had a lovely pashmini shawl and little silver piggy bank. Derek had a travel alarm clock and Stuart had a smart holder for his passport. Everyone was very pleased with their presents.

During the afternoon we had to guess the weight of a big Christmas cake which had snowmen and elves and reindeers and little presents on it. Stuart guessed 100lbs!!!!!!!, Yvonne guessed 32lbs , Derek guessed 16lbs but the correct weight was 8lb 12oz guessed by Georgie and John who were our group leaders for the holiday and they won a bottle of wine. And we all ate the cake for tea in the afternoon.

We had a little rest before we returned to the dining room for yet another Christmas meal and more dancing and games with Steve.

Next morning we had a quiz in the lounge before a buffet lunch and then on to see the pantomime, which was Cinderella. It was very good and had Sheri Hewson from Coronation St and Loose Women. who played Cinderella’s step mother and the Ugly sisters whose names were Paris and Nicole had lots of funny outfits and they made us laugh.

And then more foood !!!!!!!!!!!!

Then on Saturday we had to say Goodbye to Fred and Flo, Patrick, Keith, Pippa and Wilum who only stayed with us for the Christmas period. And then in the afternoon Roy and Gordon, Jennifer and Linda arrived, so we lost 6 and gained 4.

Sunday we had a lovely drive out to Blackpool going through Lytham St Anne's, and the sun was shining and it was really lovely. We went to Harry Ramsdens and had excellent fish and chips.

Monday we had a shopping day in the sales in Southport. Some of the group walked into Lord St, with David pushing Betty in the wheelchair. Stuart bought himself some Cd’s, Yvonne bought some magazines and word search books and Derek was delighted to get himself 100 stickers and some special stamps. Dora and Betty bought themselves new handbags, Leslie got an amazing poster of John Terry, the Chelsea player and Jenny was delighted to find the cash tin that she wanted and Gordon found some new earplugs for his new IPOD

That evening Georgie tried to organise a card game with us all, but it wasn’t very successful but we still enjoyed ourselves just sat around and talking.

Christmas 2008Tuesday we had to say goodbye to Jennifer and then we went for a drive to Churchtown, to the Botanical Gardens. It was bitter cold, but we wrapped up well and had a big laugh watching the ducks skating on the ice, just like in a Walt Disney film. We also fed the birds with bird seed. Then we went in to look around the museum and there was a delightful exhibition by the local school children. Then we went in the café and the service was very efficient compared to the day before in the Wayfarers Arcade.

We then all trooped into their Christmas shop next door and everyone spent lots of money on their reasonably priced goods, buying DVD’s, diabetic sweets, colouring books, word search books, calendars, diaries, etc., etc., Neville bought a singing Father Christmas, Brian bought some DVD’s on steam trains. The man in the shop was so happy with our custom that he gave us a singing reindeer, which we have named the Options Rudolf. This is a photo of Rudolf with Stuart and Yvonne, don’t we look happy?

When we got back Wendy and Geraint with Kirsten and her boys Luke and Jack had arrived with more guests for the New Year. There was Ivor, Andrew, Jo and then later that evening Jacqueline arrived, she had travelled by herself on the National Express coach all the way from Chelmsford via Victoria. It was also her first Options holiday, so we felt she was very brave to come on her own.

Stuart was having problems with the shower in his room as it was falling to pieces, the hotel were very obliging and he was offered another room opposite the one he was in. Stuart and Yvonne are now signing over the holiday diary to Jacqueline who is going to write the New Years diary.