Christmas at Mears Ashby

Mears Ashby Christmas

Each year we seem to be in a different part of the world to celebrate Christmas and this year was no different. Although there does appear to be a pattern in that it has been New Zealand, England, New Zealand, England over the past four. Not sure we have a lot of choice for 2019 do we?

Back in Northamptonshire

Let’s rewind a little first, we moved onto our next housesit back on the 14th December when we headed back to the tiny village of Mears Ashby near Wellingborough in the county of Northamptonshire. We were here nearly two years ago looking after Molly the basset hound and her lovely owners, and our friends, Susan and Tim kindly invited us back to cover their trip down under. They were off to visit their daughter in Australia and then on to our favourite place for a holiday (New Zealand of course).

Mears Ashby

Mears Ashby isn’t that big at all, just a quiet little village between Northampton and Wellingborough. Susan very generously added Jo to her car insurance so we have use of her very cool white Golf GTi soft-top whilst we are here. We don’t need to go far but a weekly shop and the odd trip out to a local park for a walk have been great. The house is lovely too, it’s a very modern barn conversion with all mod-cons and very comfortable for a five week stay.

Princess Molly 

Now Molly is a lovely natured 12 year old basset hound who is very easy to look after and likes nothing more than curling up at your feet in front of the TV. She can be easily left for a few hours and doesn’t beg for food or make a fuss. However, she isn’t the best walker in the world. In fact she generally doesn’t even want to go for a walk and almost has to be dragged out of the door!

Molly at Mears Ashby

Susan had warned us that Molly generally refuses to walk further than the pub, around 300 yards down the road. With a little bit of encouragement and Jonno-psychology we’ve managed to get her walking right round the village every day and to keep her going for most of the walk. Not easy at first but she seems to have got the message now.

Mears Ashby
“Jo and Molly walking through Mears Ashby”

Festive plans for our stay

As we were here right through until January we obviously knew we were in for a very quiet Christmas which we were actually looking forward to after the amount of travelling we’ve been doing these past few months. Time to just sit back and relax and have a bit of a lazy old time. Apart from our daily walks with Molly of course.

Mears Ashby
“Father Christmas waiting patiently in a phone box in Mears Ashby”
Mears Ashby
“Nearby Sywell Country Park where we’ve had a couple of lovely walks”

Christmas in Mears Ashby

After an action-packed shopping trip on Christmas Eve where every other person in Tesco seemed to be super-stressed and more crazy than crazy, we settled in for the Christmas season, Supplies of crisps, pigs in blankets, wine, and the odd bar of chocolate were all ready as we sat down with our most expensive purchase of the trip. The Radio Times! Can you believe it was £4.99? Incredible. Anyway, a session of highlighting films and tv programmes took us back to our childhood when absolutely every family traditionally did this. The plan was to record as much as possible to watch at our leisure in January.

Top Fives of Christmas

Oh and we ran through our annual top fives whilst we were at it. Okay, that may just have been me asking Jo question after question about what her favourite films, tv shows, and songs were. I love that. Not sure she feels quite the same.

Top Five Christmas Films

  • Love Actually
  • Its a Wonderful Life
  • Miracle on 34th Street
  • The Santa Clause
  • White Christmas

(and if anyone’s asking, Die hard is NOT a Christmas film, it’s just set at Christmastime.)

Top Five Christmas Songs

  • Driving Home for Christmas – Chris Rea
  • Santa Claus is coming to Town – Bruce Springsteen
  • Merry Christmas Everyone – Shakin Stevens
  • Do they know its Christmas – Band Aid
  • Power of Love – Frankie Goes To Hollywood

(fed up with The Pogues and definitely NOT Maria Carey)

Top Five Christmas Foods

  • Pigs in Blankets
  • Pigs in Blankets
  • Pigs in Blankets
  • Pigs in Blankets
  • Pigs in Blankets

(what else is there?)

Top Five Christmas Drinks

  • Mulled Wine
  • Peach Schnapps
  • Cherry Brandy
  • Coors Light lager
  • Rose Wine

(our traditional Christmas day drinking list)

Ice Skating and Curling with Good Friends

One of the best things about housesitting here in Northamptonshire is its proximity to the Midlands where two of our best friends live. Jackie and Trevor, who we’ve known for over a thousand years, popped down for an afternoon rendezvous at the Beckworth Emporium which is just a couple of miles away. It was fabulous to spend a few hours having lunch and coffee with them before wandering around the garden centre shops and having a look at the Ice Skating rink (we weren’t tempted as it was £14 a go!).

Christmas Emporium

Jackie and Trevor


When we booked this housesit our host Susan very kindly arranged some cover to give us a weekend off so that we could get together with our three boys. We’ve booked a hotel down in Hitchin near to Shauns home and are off on Friday 28th for a couple of nights with the whole family. We love it when all eight of us can get together so this second Missmas should be a lot of fun. We’ll let you know how it went and whether we survived ………

Molly in Mears Ashby

14/12 – 27/12/2018


  1. Lovely post but a few comments from us:

    1. Die Hard definitely is a Christmas film, and have you checked out Nativity! With Martin Freeman set in Coventry?
    2. Where were ‘Don’t shoot me Santa’ by The Killers, and ‘Christmas in Hollis’ by Run DMC in your song list?
    3. If you plan to be on NZ for Christmas next year and fancy a stop on the way we expect to be in SE Asia in the latter part of 2019

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Andy, can’t ever agree on Die Hard being a Christmas film but both tracks are good. Not currently got any plans for 2019 but we’ll keep you posted.


  2. I think Love Actually must up there on everyone’s list. Agree with the mulled wine too. Couldn’t get enough of that when we were in Yorkshire just prior to Christmas 3 years ago. Then when we arrived back in Lancashire there was no mulled wine to be had except for what we made ourselves. I don’t get the pigs in blankets though. It’s not something that’s ever taken on down under, and I must say that I’m happy to see both pigs in blankets and Brussel sprouts omitted from the usual Australian Christmas dinner plate.

    Liked by 1 person

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