Happy Christmas

2018

We got him (Bob) this far, thanks to our great team of vets. As you can see he was the only dog happy to show off his Christmas hats.

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Trouble with Elves

“It is really fortunate that my hair is as white as snow because this would turn anyone’s hair white. What made you do such a silly thing?” Connie stood hands on her ample but curvy hips surveying the mess before her. The barn smelt beautiful except for the odd farting and belching coming from the reindeer. The two elves tried to look sorry but mischief popped from every pore of their bodies, the munching reindeer looked very happy.

Connie knew she should punish them but how? After all, they supposed they were doing a good thing, how were they to know she had not baked all 356 cakes, yet.

Sam and Noel had decided to add a little festive cheer to the reindeer’s breakfast. They had achieved it by borrowing Connie’s large tub of treacle, another of golden syrup, some festive cranberries and cherries (because Sam loved them), and created a Christmas cake for the reindeer. Sam scuffed his toe off the ground releasing a beautiful scent of mixed spice,” Sorry Connie, we just well… we thought they should have something Christmassy, “

“Hmm right. Let’s start your punishment off with a little cleaning up, then you can wash the reindeer and then…” As she set out the full weight of her punishment, the elves lost all sign of twinkling and festive cheer. 

“That stuff is for girls and we are not girls!” She heard Sam moan as she left them to try and create a little Christmas miracle herself by making 56 Christmas cakes out of thin cold air.

Connie busy baking did not notice a lack of noise each evening but Santa did. “Okay, Connie, spill. Have you locked the elves up or sent them off to watch all of the Santa movies? Why is it peaceful?”

Connie decided to investigate. Together they searched the many elf houses and all of the workshops. Nothing, not an elf in sight. “If they have been elf napped, Christmas is in trouble. It may have to be cancelled.” To console himself, Santa tested another Christmas Cake.

However, next morining all the elves were present in the workshop and again that evening it was too quiet. It was the click clack noise that gave the game away. Santa looked at Connie, “should I be worried?”

She smiled. “Only if you are a reindeer.”

This is what they saw..

Mind you, Rudolph did look happy in his Christmas jumper.

A gift for Santa

The North Pole bustled and hummed with the sound of hundreds of elves calmly working through the last Christmas orders, while inside Santa’s house Constance Claus tried not to panic. The cause : she had no gift for Santa. Eleven hundred years of buying a present for someone makes it hard to surprise them.

Her dilemma had her in a snappy humour. It was noticed by Enda, chief elf. When he stopped to enquire for the fourth time in an hour if Constance was ok, it took all of her patience not to snap, “Course I am,” somehow she calmly nodded and smiled.

Time was running out, only twelve days to Christmas, she thought, why that is a mere flash of a few moments no time at all to create an exotic fun surprising gift.  Constance looked at Summer who was lying at her feet snoozing and dreaming. The cat’s tail twitched now and then as though she were re enacting a dream.

For the next week Constant spent a lot of her time considering a present for  the champion present giver. It was tough, but she knew if she persisted she would finally catch that elusive idea. With only three days to Christmas day she was a nervous wreck.

Finally exhaustion took hold, perhaps I should meditate on it, Constance settled down in front of the fire and closing her eyes let her mind drift. There was an awful lot of Christmas in their past, but as they flashed about in her head, time after time she returned to one Christmas. “ Problem solved”, she whispered to Summer.

Constance didn’t delay she went straight to the kitchen and began to cook and create. She worked at a frantic pace, not stopping to talk to Rudolph when he wandered in looking for a carrot. He reported back to the other reindeer “sorry guys looks like supper is going to be boring hay tonight.”

Enda overheard Rudolph’s comments and went to investigate

Constance first became aware of Enda’s presence when she counted the star shaped ginger cookies. “I could have sworn I cut out five dozen, where did the last twelve go?” She stared hard at Enda who was sitting on a stool at the table, the empty space in front of him provided the answer to Constance’s question.

“You ate a dozen?” She narrowed her eyes. “Help me make some more. I don’t have enough yet!”

Enda did as he was told and though he asked why they were baking such a lot of cookies, Constance refused to answer. When the final batch of cookies were baking, Enda slipped away to report to the elves. “She has lost the plot,”

Constance locked the door of her workshop.  “It is top secret, a Santa surprise. “ She told everyone and warned them under pain of being banished from the Christmas dining table not to go into the workshop.

Late on Christmas Eve , Constance seemed  fussier than usual.

“Constance, are you okay dear, you seem a little frazzled, ouch, Enda watch where you are shoving those extra toys.” Santa grimaced as the elf ignored him and pushed another train set into the gap in the back seat. “I wish the elves would do as I ask and sprinkle more magic dust on the toys, wouldn’t it be much better and safer if we made everything teeny tiny, just for the trip,” he finished.

“We tried that before, “ Sam replied. He was at that moment balanced on Santa’s hat and attempting to tie a sack to the back of Santa’s seat,  to anchor it.

Santa blushed and sighed, “It wasn’t my fault the magic wore off. The town square looked huge, but it wasn’t big enough to deal with the exploding growing gifts.. Lucky the reindeer were in top form and we got to hide them all on the roof tops. It was a long night.”

“It was for Bob he had to keep jumping off the sleigh to retrieve lost toys.” Sam slid down Santa’s hat, onto his shoulder, arms and tumbled onto the ground before walking away, happy his work was done.

“Well there is only so many times you can wind the clock back, so, don’t have any accidents this year.” Constance scolded as she handed him his warm gloves and fastened a hard hat over his santa hat, just in case. She wondered if she should sprinkle some pixie dust on him for a little luck then deciding it wouldn’t do any harm threw a whole sackful over him.

“Hoi,” Santa roared. The reindeers took it as his usual roar for go, leapt into action.

Constance turned about and raced back indoors.

That is strange Enda thought. Usually Constance stood watching the Reindeers fly into the sky and waited to see if their flight path would create a heart shape or a star. Tonight it was a glowing heart.

Constance finished her surprise with minutes to spare. The sun was peeping into the workshop when she made a discovery. Her present was too big to fit through the door.

“Bother, and triple bother. Now I will have to get help.” Summer stared at Constance and seemed to be smirking.

With a sigh Constance headed off in search of help. Minutes later her helpful elves, Enda, Slim, Noel and Sam stood and asked, “Why?”

“Because…well….it doesn’t matter but he will know, if he hasn’t forgotten.” Constance said with a racing heart and hoped that indeed Nick would remember.

“It won’t fit through the door,” Slim declared as he took out his tape measure and measured it for the fourth time.

“We know that you idiot.” His brothers sang at him.

“Perhaps we could take it apart and then put it back together.”

“No time”. Constance said.

“Bother, we will have to try the weave dance”. The elves sang and leapt into action.

Constance stared at them as they began to run around the giant gift. “If we run fast enough it will shrink.” They sang.

She grimaced. “ No it won’t but you guys will.”

They stopped running. “No. We are small enough.”

“Pixie dust”  Enda declared and ran to collect some. It took a while as the pixies’ were having a party before Christmas day and were not inclined to stop partying to work up a little magic dust even if it was for Constance.

However at last, with ten minutes until Santa’s arrival, they finished.

With a giant yawn each of the elves raced back to bed.

Constance sat and nibbled on a candy cane. She was too anxious to sleep.

There was a clatter of hooves, a few tired snorts mainly from Santa,  announced their return. She went to meet him and help get the reindeer settled. Bob, she saw was curled up asleep on the now very empty sack.

“Job done, all I need is a nice quiet day ..” Santa began and sighed, “but I am not going to get that am I?”

He produced a package from his pocket and handed it to Constance. She smiled, twinkled and whispered,” thank you but first I want you to see your present.”

Santa seemed to shrug off the tiredness as he walked quickly to the hall, he pushed open the door and stopped. There in the corner of the great hall sat a Santa Gingerbread House!

He put his hand on his belly and laughed, “Does it, will it?”

She smiled and said, “try it.”

Santa didn’t hesitate hand in hand with Constance he walked through the door of the gingerbread house and immediately a shimmering light surrounded it.  Ten minutes later the hammering of hundreds of elves feet announced their arrival into the great hall.

The excitement created by the gingerbread house was understandable as elves adore gingerbread however when they tried to reach out to eat a piece their hands hit an invisible wall. Inside Santa sat beside Constance with a grin on his face.  “A perfect present. You remembered what I wished for in the beginning and have been afraid to utter since… a few hours of rest in a peaceful silent room with not a yammering elf in sight. How long will it last?”

“As long as we don’t eat a piece.” She sighed and hoped the elves would forgive her but perhaps the dozens of gingerbread cookies sitting on the tables in the hall would help.

Afterall if Santa couldn’t have his perfect present once in a millennium then what chance would anyone have of ever getting their perfect gift?

The Christmas photo shoot was a disaster, all were grumpy, refusing to pose, the reason? I was working and late home.

Have a great and peaceful Christmas everyone..

Surprises at Christmas

Unfortunately snow is not looking likely, yet again, here in Ireland but as it is usually a one or two day mushy affair, we are perhaps better off without it. However, these photos will explain the title of the blog post.

No surprise in the first one.  Bob asleep…again.img_0316

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Even Ellie could not waken him.img_0321

 

She considered joining him but only for a minute.

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But she did find one or two interesting things beneath the tree, did you spot them?

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It left her feeling a little puzzled or is it just that intent border collie look, begging for someone anyone to play with her? You can decide while we grab a racket and a ball.

Happy Christmas everyone and a great, 2017 to all.

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Double Trouble for Constance Claus.

Double Trouble for Constance Claus.

Constance Claus loves Christmas as much as she loves her husband but, every year from November until December 26th a disaster happens. And at his tremendous age, Santa hated problems. Constance tried to plan ahead as, let’s be honest; most people like to have a trouble free life.

Last year it was the missing gingerbread recipe. The recipe was ancient, almost as old as the cook who had the job of baking five million perfectly formed gingerbread houses. Every inch of the North Pole was searched. This meant the elves were hungry, a lot more than usual and so Constance spent most of her days cooking and preparing meals. If, she often reasoned afterwards, if she hadn’t been busy feeding the hungry elves, then she would have solved the puzzle earlier.  She found it – under the cook’s hat. It had risen as high as his pastry and was stuck to the top of it.

This year she began her anti disaster plan in July. The first thing she did was to make certain there was a copy of the recipe on her tablet. Next, she checked there was an awesome mountain of buttons for the Minion’s dungarees,then, enough paint for the rocking horses and on and on her list went. But she with the help of chief elf Enda,  worked their way through it.

So by the second week of November she was wondering if she could finally relax.

The workshop was thundering through the long menu of toys and electrical gadgets that needed to be made. The new computer department was turning out to be a great addition as the technicians had rigged up a mechanical serving belt which brought the food straight from the kitchen to the tables at lightening speed.

“Too fast for me,” moaned Santa as yet again he was too slow to collect his dinner off the moving belt and it whizzed on to Slim who snagged it.

But dear you are looking all the trimmer for it,” Constance said.

She was sitting before a pretty log fire with Summer, her cat, snoozing on her lap, when her walls began to shake and rumble. Strange, thought Constance. However, when the rumbling increased she jumped to her feet and went to investigate. Summer slid to the ground, shook himself and went off to find a more reliable less jumpy cushion to snooze on.

Constance wondered if Santa and the elves were playing a trick on her so she was a little wary of opening her front door. This was just as well, because when she opened it a chunk of snow slid off the roof and landed on her doorstep.

“This won’t do,” Constance muttered and picked her way through the mountain of snow.

Then she stopped and stared. She giggled because she couldn’t help it. The reindeers were playing dodge the snowball. And due to their very heavy appearance they were making the ground shake and groan under their hooves.

She frowned. “This is terrible, Rudolph you are looking a little chunky tonight.” She mused and then stopped and sniffed the air. He smelt of chocolate and something else. She stared at him.

“Is that marshmallow sticking to your coat?” He backed away and looked at her with huge sad eyes.

She went back inside but instead of sitting in her comfortable chair she peeped out the window.  She noticed some of the reindeer sniff the air and stroll off towards the elves living room. Constance decided to follow.

In the  elves living room she discovered the elves were having a snack. They had taken their shoes off and were sitting before a huge fire toasting smores. “Where did you learn how to do that?” She asked Santa who was managing to toast four at a time.

“Internet.” He said, “Try some. They are delish.”

She tilted her head to one side, “how long have you been doing this?

“Oh only a week or two. It’s just that we get so hungry with the extra work. It is a nice way to relax and we tell stories then head to bed.”

She looked around the room and noticed many of the elves were already asleep in their chairs. Just then the door opened and a young reindeer entered. He walked straight to a sleeping elf and very gingerly took the uneaten smore from the elf’s hand before moving to the next elf.

Constance did not want to be a spoilsport but she was worried. The reindeer needed to be fit and Santa, she knew would eat until his suit was close to bursting.

Over the next two weeks no matter what she did, the reindeer always found a way into the elves sitting room. She wondered if they were paying the elves to leave a door open. No, that is totally silly, she decided.

It was December and the workshop was producing toys at a frantic rate.

There was a “bang” followed by a “pop” and everything stopped. There was a shocked silence. Enda shouted, “lets find the fault.” An hour later they knew the problem. The generator couldn’t produce enough electrical power.

“We need to produce more electricity.It’s knackered.” Was the final statement from their workshop maintenance team.

“Right early lunch and lets chew on it.” Santa said.

Constance went for a walk. She always thought better when left to think by herself. Rudolph accompanied her, with Summer sitting on his back.

“I know you are trying to get fit and slim Rudolph but it is not working. You need a high intensity work out. Cross fit for Reindeers, I think.”

She let the thought rattle about in her head for a while and when she returned to the workshop she called the maintenance team to her.

Three days later the workshop was breaking all production records.

Enda said, “Thank you Constance for your brilliant idea.”

Constance beamed at  him. “You are welcome. I think almost everyone is happy.”

Enda grinned. “Well if Santa insists on eating so much then he has no choice. He can’t have it all his own way, even if his name is Santa.”

They both looked over at the line of reindeer waiting their turn to get on the exercise wheel. Beyond the exercise wheel there was another line of reindeer happily munching on smore flavored hay.  Santa walked alongside the reindeer. A giant pedometer declared, “well done Santa just 5,000 more steps to earn a whole smore this evening.”

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Santa wasn’t too worried as he had a date on the 25th with a dog called Bob who was currently stashing marshmallows in his Christmas stocking in exchange for jelly babies.

 

 

 

Bob’s Diary: Christmas Fun

It is really Christmas now! The internet is working and Maria can post these pics of me, Ellie and our Christmas Eve surprise.

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A new house!

She of course had to try it out first,

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I played it cool.christmas 15 for blog 006

Because I knew this was only the start of it!

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Better, tastier things were yet to come,

christmas 15 for blog 013christmas 15 for blog 012 and I got help to open my tripe parcel with pigs ears.

But they still tasted delish!christmas 15 for blog 015

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Constance Claus and a fun filled Christmas.

“I am  sick of red and white,” Mrs Constance Claus grumbled. Summer, her snow white cat ignored her as she was busy washing her fur.

Constance noticed the snow falling in thick clumps and the cheery red lights from the workshop didn’t lessen her bad humour.

Enda, chief elf, scurried by with the inevitible list dangling from his hand. He stopped, pivoted about and stood before Constance. “Speaking of Red and white …we are out of both,” his grin was wide.

Constance used to his sneaky sense of humor, and trickery glanced at the red ink on the white paper and said, “I suppose you mean red ink and white paper.”

“Blast,” thought I had you fooled, “but yep you are correct. Could you order some please?”

Constance smiled, nodded, and promised she would order both  red ink and white paper.

That evening Constance broached the topic of red and white with her husband. He was staring morosely at the beetroot salad and poached chicken on his plate.

“I’m not happy” she began.

He frowned. “Neither am I.”

“Why?”

He cleared his throat, indicated his plate with what he hoped was a look of disgust,, ” with this dinner it is very …” He scratched his beard and searched for a suitable word. “Bland, boring, tedious there is only so much beetroot and white chicken one can take.”

Constance agreed adding, “Yes that is the way I feel about red and white but what can I do about it?”

“We can start by making a few changes around here” Nicky stared at his plate. “I would like to possess magic that would turn this in to steak and chips or Guinness steak pie.” He wondered if the elves would swap dinners with him.

With a start he reaised Constance, his constant Constance, was having her version of a melt down. He watched with interest as she stood then taking both plates of dinner she handed them to Bob, the dog.

Bob delighted with being remembered on such an auspicious ocassion as dinner, accepted both in two generous sized gulps. He then licked Nicky’s hand and wagged his tail at his benefactor.

Constance didn’t notice she was busy pulling out the laptop from under a mountain of lists. It opened with a grunt. She ignored its creaky protest and said,”I will start right away, no time like the present.” She raised an eyebrow challenging him to disagree only to discover her usually slow moving husband was standing before the giant fridge eyeing up today’s treat for the most productive elf – sticky toffee pudding cake.

When he returned to her side minutes later it was to present her with a slice of cake and a tub of her favorite rocky road icecream.  Minutes later she was smiling. “I spent some money” Constance declared.

“Good,” he raised his eyes from his spoon long enough to ask, ‘what did we buy?”

“A microwave, a steamer and not a red or white purchase was made.” This was the only cryptic remark she made for the rest of the evening.

Nick snoozed with happy thoughts of deep fried garlic mushrooms, fish in beer batter and dough-nuts a banned treat for the past six months, since he won the dough nut eating contest to raise money for a save the reindeer charity.

However Nick’s dreams did not come true. The next evening he was staring at chicken salad. He looked from the plate to his wife and back again. His beard wobbled with sadness.

“It’s a salad.” Constance told him, ” A smiling happy rainbow salad.”

“Oh great. ” He stabbed the carrots, cucumber, and began to chew while dreaming of steaming pots of cheese fondue with stacks of potato crisps sitting on the side.

One week later there was a delivery made to the north pole. This, the elves declared was not good. They were in a twirling mess because products left their store room. Nothing ever came back, ever. The triplets, Slim, Noel and Sam were arguing about whose shoddy work was responsible for such a disaster. Enda’s voice silenced them. “I think this is the first time in history we received a parcel, not to mention a whole truckful of parcels and none of them are for us, they are all for Constance.”

Twenty four elves swivelled about in their seats to catch a glimpse of Constance and Summer who were making their way across the square into the giant storeroom.

Constance looked happy, more than happy, Slim thought she was about to cry with happiness. “Ohh they came. I am so happy, please put them in my workroom.”

The curious elves did as she requested though some tried to linger after the parcels were lined up in her room.  For the next two days everyone was far too busy to wonder about Constance’s mysterious parcels. Christmas was about to happen and in the north pole this meant every elf was acting like a super hero elf. As Enda reminded them, “In this highly populated world it is our duty to make sure every child receives something. And we will not fail them. The production line must move faster, breaks will be shorter. Elves we have only 36 hours more to Christmas Day.”

“Turkey day,” the triplets said and sprang into action. For the next thirty six hours they worked around the clock in shifts of twelve hours with a five hour break to eat, and sleep.

It was a close finish but they managed it.

Their last chore was to squeeze Santa into his sleigh and persuade Bob that perhaps he would be more useful as an anchor dog in the back keeping a protective eye on the goods to be delivered.He didn’t look impressed. He was sitting in the front until a large bone landed in the back of the sleigh and Bob moved to the rear.

The elves waved their delivery sleigh off and sank into an exhausted heap on the workroom floor. Constance appeared with a generous sized tray filled with cookies, donuts, hot chocolate and reindeer shaped marshmallows. She didn’t relax until every elf in the north pole was snoring their hearts out. Then she picked up her phone and dialled her friends.

When Enda walked into the great hall the following morning to inspect the green christmas tree and its silver and red decorations. He let out a roar, “Vandals.” Before Constance could stop him he alerted the elves. Thirty seconds later they stood before the tree, distressed, crying and in shock. For the glitter filled hall looked like a rainbow coloured scene from a Disney movie.

Summer had been given a makeover as well, she was a delightful shade of blue. She seemed to like it and strutted about waving her tail.

“Why?” Enda bellowed.

There was silence.

Then Constance stepped into the middle of the hall. “Why not?” She held up her hand to silence the outburst of answers. “We have carried on this tradition for over six hundred years. Six hundred years of red and white. I am the custodian of the hall and I have decided from now on , each year one elf will be chosen to create a different scene in the hall. Why we could even put on a play”

The elves were not appeased.

She continued,” We are becoming stunted and stuck in a rut. Let us remember how to have fun. Wander around and see what I have done then after breakfast you may each seek me out and make your complaints.”

Slim stood staring up at her. He adored Constance, she could do no wrong in his book. “I am game to give it a shot, I am not boring or stuck in a rut.” And he marched off, behind the giant multicoloured tree. Seconds later his laughter filled the hall, “catch me if you can find me.” Enda looked high amongst the rafters and smiled. “I want a go.” Because Slim was paragliding high above them.

Soon the hall was filled with the sounds of elves having fun. Like penquins a group were sliding down a huge slide to land in a pile of multi coloured sweets and treats of a chocolate kind. Others were climbing a candy rock wall which filled the lower hallway. Hours later they were a little worried when they couldn’t find Sam. The elves were having a rest sitting on the edge of a giant warm water pool. A gurgling sound from the pool alerted them, they swung about to find Sam, wearing a dive suit complete with mask and snorkel. “Can you not see what I have found down here, magical marshmallows. ” He held up a giant sparkly marshmallow and then lifted  his mask to allow him to take a giant bite. “Delish. And there is tons more of them.”

Marshmallows kept the fun going for a few hours. Exhausted and sticky they gathered in the middle of the hall. The same dreadful thought arrived in each of the elves heads as their stomachs gurgled.

“Dinner, we didn’t put it in the oven!” Their thundering feet echoed through the building. They met Constance licking her lips walking from the kitchen. “No panic I cooked dinner last night I simply need someone to finish setting the table and we are all ready to go.”

But to her dismay no one moved. “I can’t eat cold Christmas dinner today is not the 26th. Cold leftovers are for the 26th not for Christmas dinner.” They wailed.

She merely smiled at them and said, “You got to start trusting me. I am not a fan of cold Christmas dinner and todays is piping hot, I promise.”

Minutes later the air was filled with loud pinging sounds. Constance emerged carrying huge trays of piping hot turkey, ham and huge vats of stuffing and potatoes. “A giant microwave or several if I am honest.”

So it was that Christmas 2015 became a turning point in the elves life for it wasn’t only children who got to have fun and stay up late. Santa was a little preturbed that nobody thought to wait for him but a few rounds of the obstacle course and many many marshmallows later he was smiling as brightly as any star.

Bob was happy nobody had thought to remove the marshmallows, his challenge was to eat as many as he could without bursting.

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The Runaway Schoolhouse Book Launch Night

It was a great night, and everyone seemed to have fun as you can see by the pictures I was supported by family and friends, and some of my Facebook friends surprised me by dropping in.

Thank you everyone and a reminder it is for sale as an e-book and you can rent it  which is an unusual option but one worth considering: http://www.emuink.ierunaway_schoolhouse_cover_Latest_151031

 

 

 

 

 

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maria and family (minus niall)

 

But there was someone missing who needed a hug, but he got plenty when we got home.

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Happy Days, Cold weather is back.

I enjoyed Christmas, the Turkey was awesome but something even better happened this morning. Jack frost is back….

bob pooching

 

Though some dogs do get a little excited about it

 

ellie away

searching

bob and ellie with me

 

But not this cool dog.

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Because I know where the day is always heading…..

ellie asleep on bob the cushion

But using me as a cushion is a tad too much, don’t you agree?

Have a great New Year see you all in 2015,