Sunday, 30 December 2012

And Christmas Came

Hope your Christmas has been truly smashing. It's been lovely here; slow, peaceful, cosy and quiet...ish.
We made it to The Eve with a tiny margin to spare - just big enough to squeeze in some homemade sausage rolls, mulled cider and the Good Life Christmas special which is a bit of a ritual of ours.
I couldn't wait to get cosy and as soon as the door was shut on Christmas Eve the baking began and we settled in. There's been much loafing about in new slippers, munching of cake, game playing and long afternoon reads.
Our Christmas Day was wet and dreary but all the more snug for it I think. We ate lunch late in the afternoon, just as the light was going. There was a moment when the turkey went onto the table with the candles flickering when I felt so grateful and happy to be with my little family at home together. I'll never forget it.
The boys have been thrilled with everything they were given and our family and friends have been so kind. We were all happiest though about Grandma staying for three whole days and she's back tomorrow for New Year.
The lurgy has spared us so far but I'm trying not to mention it as everyone else has succumbed and I can't bear to think about it. Luckily we've still managed to catch up with the family and had some of those precious, slumpy afternoons full of laughter, party games and mince pies.
I'll miss the decorations when they go - but not for a little while yet. I want to squeeze the last drops of Yuletide out before I step back out into the real world again.
The rain has been relentless so we've not ventured far, aside from an ice skating treat and a Boxing Morning walk  down past the water meadows. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for New Year's Day and a stroll over the hills. Not a bad way to start 2013. Happy New Year xxx

Monday, 24 December 2012

Happy Christmas

Night has fallen, fairy lights are twinkling. All is safely gathered in, wrapped and stashed for the feast ahead. Loved ones are on their way and for a few minutes there is calm around the house.
The wreath I made with greenery from my little garden is still hanging on the front door - miracles do happen at Christmas it seems.
This year's favourite cards (treats to myself mostly!) ...
... and favourite snowy trees are all in place.
Just a little more baking to do and beds to change and then we're ready. Time to savour the silence and remember what its all about.
Wishing everyone joy wherever you are in the world. Happy happy Christmas xxx

Thursday, 20 December 2012


Oh I'm so glad to be at home. No more work now until New Year's Eve. Being able to take the boys to school and pick them up is lovely although they finish so late this year (tomorrow) that tempers are short and over excitement is getting to them both.
There've been a lot of lovely things on this week; church services, concerts, parties and outings. Think they're ready for some quiet time at home before the big day.
I've been on a mammoth wrapping spree, settled in by the tree with Nigella, Nigel and Hugh keeping me company. Today I've moved onto the food; dropped orders in town to collect early on Christmas Eve, a bit of supermarket shopping done and tomorrow the baking starts.
We don't go mad for food at Christmas, but I do like a few tasty favourites for our feast. Don't get me wrong we do indulge, but not overly so I don't think. Homemade, fresh, zesty, tangy and delicious tastes are our cup of tea.
The decorations are almost finished and thankfully we got the cards and parcels posted just in time. Can't wait to shut the door when the boys are home tomorrow and settle in for the festivities. Xxxx

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

On Our Way

Dawn crept in the other morning in a glow of pink and gold under an iron frost.The view across the garden was still as still, a lovely peaceful way to ease into the season of festivities.
I'm trying really hard to hang onto that stillness but the old season of panic and headless-chickeness is descending! I guess we'll arrive at the big day in some sort of shape but there feels a fair bit to organise yet.
Christmas rituals are keeping me on track; shopping in our little town, dressing every corner with favourite old decorations and fairy lights to chase away the gloom.
And a tree. There has to be a twinkly tree up in plenty of time. So we're on our way there.

Monday, 3 December 2012

They're On!

Oh I love this night so very much. All the town out to celebrate and count down, then cheer the lights.
 It happened a couple of weeks ago and town has been twinkling ever since.
 We caught up with friends, bought treats and shopped. All at home which is a really special feeling.
Its a night for supporting all the people who keep the place going and pulling together to help those  in need.
 A great start to the season if you ask me. Xxxx

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Winter Weekend

Phew,what a week! From Sunday to Friday we had an extra little friend staying with us; Robbie from Poland. As part of the exchange programme B was on last year, we hosted one of the 12 ten year olds from schools across Europe.

It was great to be part of the whole thing and Robbie was a smashing and very brave little chap. The language barrier was pretty vast though - thank goodness for Google translate (even if it wasn't always telling us quite the right things!)

So we waved goodbye on Friday morning and decided after our very busy week (of bleeugh work hassle and annoying stuff too) to take things easy this weekend. Well some of us did - Woody decided to run the annual village 10k run yesterday - the Christmas Pudding race and yes you've guessed what the prize for finishing was....
I don't know how on earth he does it or everyone else, but we do a good line in cheering, even in the pouring raining.

And boy did it rain yesterday, a good solid 15 hours of being lashed by the storm. After a slow start we gathered ourselves up after a cosy lunch of soup and fantastic bread from the London Road bakery and ventured up to the woods to see what the damage was.
Winter has arrived for certain. Hardly a leaf left hanging and everything is so dark and skeletal already. But beautiful in a stark and bare sort of way that I really love.
And there was water absolutely everywhere. Tiny trickles of water that usually we hardly notice seeping through the mossy banks, today were absolute torrents. This waterfall is usually a small dribble but look at this!
Our walk brings us out where the river and the canal run alongside but now they've overun into each other and the weir is a force of nature. The power, the speed and the noise were completely overwhelming; an amazing sight that terrified me quite a bit. We were behind a fence but I couldn't let go of our two precious boys.
When the steam train thundered past we hardly heard it over the surging water.
As much as I love the canalside houses I thought twice today about longing to live here and felt for everyone around the country washed out of their homes tonight.
Since April it has hardly stopped. I wonder if this much rain is going to be with us forever and perhaps we should wish for arks for Christmas?...

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Autumn Fades...

This was the last time I felt the golden rays of autumn were still touching us.
A lovely Sunday afternoon over the hills in Derbyshire at the farm at Chatsworth House.
A golden afternoon admiring fancy hens, counting piglets and climbing all over the fabulous adventure playground.
The boy's love it here and it brought back sweet memories of gentle afternoons we've spent there since they were little.
As the afternoon wore on the sun dropped lower and cast golden shadows all around.
We drank delicious hot chocolate as it got chillier and dusk fell.
A special, beautiful afternoon. xxx