Fridays in Phong Nha were now all you can eat pizza night at The Villas and we were regular frequenters of it. But first I had an extremely busy day on Friday 4th December, by my standards; Captain Caveman made breakfast and I had a bacon sandwich with jasmine tea. 
My physio went well and afterwards Thuy gave me a box of treats, a box of traditional sweet snacks called Cu Do, made from rice crackers, peanuts, ginger and sugar. This was really kind and such a lovely thought so Phuong and I tried some in the minibus on the way back to Phong Nha and it was very nice, if not a bit dentist appointment enticing.
In my home town of Sheffield I saw that it was snowing a little, as I got ready to pick up the gang (Captain Caveman, Veronika, and Melissa x5) on the way to The Villas for all you can eat pizza night. When we arrived the whole place had been well-decorated for Christmas and even the staff had their coats on as the temperature had dropped. Ben joined us in his woolly hat and brought the kids so that Melissa’s kids could meet up and they had the end of the table. Matty was back in town and he had also joined us at the big table too, threatening to stay in Phong Nha for a while. I took it easy on the wine this time although I’m sure I ate just as much pizza as usual. The slices just kept on coming, and were so good – there was even extra garlic and chillies in case people wanted to add more. For the price it is a bargain for all you can eat, it’s amazing and I’m sure Captain Caveman and I certainly got great value!

On Saturday 5th December I was still in bed, but awake, when Captain Caveman came in to the bedroom to tell me that the housekeeping and security staff were putting up a Christmas tree! I came to check and he wasn’t joking – we were surrounded by Christmas! This would be the first year in many that we had a Christmas tree at home and of course it feels weird that we are in Vietnam where the locals don’t celebrate Christmas, even their new year is in February 2021. I had bread and butter for breakfast, with water. For lunch my weekend diet fell at the first hurdle when I had a Snickers which gave me a bad stomach almost instantly.

In the afternoon we decided to go for a walk round the block and there was even more Christmas tree erecting and lights going on in the communal areas. My walk went well, just 13 minutes in total, and I popped over to see Melissa on my way back managing to get up the ramped entrance to their villa without any crutches, and then back down again when I realised they were still by the fire at The Farmstay. Captain Caveman gave Mr Ky, the dog, a bit of a tickle but I’m still not allowed to pet him because he loves to jump up and I can’t risk him hurting my leg. That evening Captain Caveman made a lovely sausage casserole with potatoes, onions and peppers in and we opened the wine we had been saving for a special occasion; a 700,000vnd (¬£22.50 ish) Primitivo which Captain Caveman found in the wine shop next to the organic shop in Dong Hoi – it was fantastic.

On Sunday 6th December, though, I went down for breakfast which Captain Caveman had made from the leftover sausage and potatoes. I’d had about 170 hours of physio now, in total, and my recovery was still so slow and it was getting frustrating not being able to ride a bicycle or walk anywhere. I was still turning down a lot of invites to things too as I didn’t want to undo the good work by falling or slipping again. I watched old Big Bang Theory episodes and found some moisturiser to put on my face. It was Sunday roast dinner tonight so we went to the Farmstay, ready for a feast. Veronika and Melissa x5 were already there, as was Ben, Bich and Matty. Melissa and her family had decided they were leaving on Monday and were off to Hue. Matty had his Ukulele out, he and Rimaha were jamming and it sounded really good – I do miss live music and singing. After the amazing roast dinner, I joined in a little sing song with Matty and Remy. Remy and I even attempted Shallow as a duet and I’m sure Lady Gaga or Bradley Cooper would have loved it!

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