Monday, 17 December 2012

Home For Christmas!

Well if you have been thinking that our blog posts just recently have been very short, I can share now that there is a good reason why this weekend just gone they were especially so.

We were home for Christmas!

Well, not exactly ...
All year (and part of last year too) my wonderful Papa Bear has been saving very hard so that we might have a very special treat this Christmas.  I've known for a long time what the treat was, but haven't been able to say anything about it, because we decided not to tell the cubs until much closer to the big event. so that it would be a really special surprise for them!  It was so exciting!  On Thursday evening, we sat down to eat together as usual, and as we were finishing up our meal and generally talking and chatting, Papa Bear said he had a "little announcement" to make!  Then he produced a wee envelope, and handed it over to Cubby Bear to open.

The expression on his face when he saw the tickets and itinerary inside was wonderful!  For have you guessed what our special treat was?

A trip to see Andre Rieu in concert!!

(Andre Rieu is a famous concert violinist who is not only a brilliant musician, but a wonderful performer too.  You can find out more about him here).  Every year he presents a particularly lovely New Year's concert which is held in Vienna, which we have watched many times on TV, and very much enjoyed the elegant opulence and lovely festive atmosphere.  It's long been a dream of all of us that we might actually see him perform live - and on Saturday night, we did!

We travelled to our own home town up North to see him, and it was wonderful!  We stayed with Papa Bear's brother and his wife and 5 children and it was great fun!  We played games outside and while the menfolk went on rides around my brother-in-law's land on trial and quad bikes (Papa Bear has his own bike, which stays there all year round as we have no where here for him to ride it), us ladies stayed in the warm indoors and baked "Christmas tree buns" and my sweet sister in law showed me how to do "double knitting" and make a cute dishcloth with a heart on it!  We didn't spend all our time cooking and crafting though - the gentlemen treated us to a wonderful meal in a restaurant before our concert!   A proper holiday - but the great highlight of course really was the wonderful concert, which was almost like a party!  Many of our favourite Andre Rieu classics like The Blue Danube, and we were all invited to dance in the aisles, although we didn't - it was too crowded!  Of course when you see him on the TV it is hard to get an idea of just how enormous the venues are where he performs, and when we saw him, there were thousands of people there with us, and a big screen so that you could see him more closely - it was by far the largest musical performance I have ever attended, but Andre Rieu and his orchestra managed to make us all feel as if we were joining in with him, and the atmosphere was wonderful - really festive and Christmassy, just like the trailer above.  There were lots of funny moments, of course, with Andre Rieu being such a brilliant performer, and being so comical with his orchestra, although the music was always perfectly executed and the singing was amazing - especially the solos.  I loved the costumes that the musicians and choir wore, especially the female performers who looked so beautiful in their elegant evening gowns, like the dresses of the Victorian or Edwardian times, so pretty and ornate.  Not that I felt under-dressed, because Papa Bear spoiled us all dreadfully and bought Little Bear and I the most gorgeous red velvet dresses to wear to the concert.  Little Bear had a beautiful patterned velvet shawl with tassels to wear over hers, and I had the sweetest shrug that tied with a bow at the front - of white "fur"!  I really did feel like a Queen - and of course, my King and Prince looked just as well too in their dashing evening wear!  It was so wonderful.  We even had a box of chocolates to share - though we were too excited to eat any!  Just as we hoped there were lots of lovely Christmas decorations, and although it wasn't quite as opulent as the Vienna concert hall where the New Year's Eve concert is held, we still felt like Royalty!  The scenery was beautiful - the stage was mocked up to look like a snowy landscape, and in the background a colourful glowing sunset.  At one point it even snowed on some of the audience!  Everything was perfect.  It was a fantastic night out!  We travelled home yesterday and today are still recovering from the excitement of the weekend.  I think the best part was when we came out of the concert arena to wait for our lift home and all the town was lit with fairy lights, and Little Bear turned to us and said "I know I'm dreaming now!"  But she wasn't - it was true - a dream come true - and a perfect Christmas present for us all.

Thank you SO MUCH my sweet Papa Bear!  We love you and think you are the best husband and papa the world could ever find!

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