Monday, 30 December 2013

Twixmas Picnic

Yesterday I discovered a new word, Twixmas, which, for me, beautifully and succinctly describes that period between Christmas and the New Year, before the world gets back to normal. My thanks go to Amanda at Graham's Landing for introducing me to this lovely new addition to my vocabulary.

Also yesterday, as it was a bright and sunny day, and as the forecast for today was (rightly) very wet and windy, GM and I decided to take a drive out into the countryside and take a picnic lunch with us. We found a lovely little spot just off the A350, south of Longbridge Deverill, only about 3 miles from home, where we could park up and enjoy the view while eating our sarnies.

As you can see, the fields are very wet and muddy, even at the top of the hill.

While we were eating, our attention was drawn to some others who were also about to enjoy their lunch.

After the hay bail on the rear of the tractor had been distributed, the driver then filled the two metal feeders with the other two bails, but I was so fascinated by watching how he did it that I didn't take any photos.

The cattle then went back to grazing, they seemed to be positioned almost in a straight line,

and the farmer appeared to be walking up the hill, stopping every now and again to move something.

By this time, we had eaten our lunch and were beginning to feel a bit cool, even though the sun was shining, so we decided it was time to make our way back homewards, but I asked GM to stop near the cattle so I could get a close-up shot, and then we realized what the farmer had been doing . . .

. . . he had been moving the electric fence so as to allow the cattle access to fresh grazing.

We both feel very priviliged to live in such a beautiful area of the country, and even more so to learn about country life by our observations. This was a Sunday lunchtime and life for farm workers carries on no matter what the calendar says and the weather does. These cattle, with their tagged ears, will one day grace someone's dinner plate, so a huge Thank You to all those who work tirelessly, 365 days of the year, to provide food for us.

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Friday, 27 December 2013

2013 in review

2013 has been a year of consolidation for us, after our relocation in 2012 it's been lovely to spend time getting used to our new home and surroundings, finding our way around, making new friends, putting down roots and just "being". We've made a few improvements to the house - the new dining room had a complete make-over, which included replastering the walls, new wooden flooring and replacing the patio doors. We've painted the walls in the old dining room and turned it into a non-TV sitting room. We've installed fitted wardrobes in the bedroom, installed reading lamps over the bedhead, and made a start on wallpapering the walls. We haven't yet started on the garden make-over, hopefully that will be put in hand in 2014. In September I restarted my Phoenix business, and GM is still looking for a little something for a few hours a week to bring in some pocket money for him. We've had a few walks, found a few pubs, played a few games of bridge, had a week in North Wales, and generally chilled. 

However for most of the other members of my family it's been a real year of change one way and another.

DO, JP and GD1 moved house in August, not far, just about 3 miles from one village to the next, so they could be in the right catchment area for the school they would like GD1 to attend when she's 11. I spent a few days with them, looking after GD1, while they packed and cleaned and then unpacked again. Their new home is lovely and I'm sure they will be very happy there. They ended the year with the news that they are expecting another baby in May 14, this time a boy, who will be GS3.

FO and CH became parents to the gorgeous GD2 in May. FO had a bit of a scare with regard to his job towards the end of the year, but heard a couple of weeks before Christmas that his job is safe, at least for the time being.

GO has, after almost a whole year of job-hunting, been able to give up his part-time chef job and started a "proper" job in November with a small company doing IT systems support, in a village a few miles outside of Bristol. His partner EG has also started her dream job as talent acquisition officer (recruitment) for a well-known and well established company in rural Wiltshire, and last month they moved into a flat conveniently situated for both of their jobs.

GT also spent almost a whole year job-hunting, and eventually started work in August as a carer for vulnerable young male adults, he loves the job and is a changed man now, with a purpose. He is delighted that he gets paid for playing football, swimming, visiting farms and generally enjoying himself while helping others!

GS1 is now in year 11 at secondary school and is studying hard for his GCSEs next summer, his brother GS2 started at the same school in September and still plays football (extremely well, by all accounts!). Their Mum, JO, continues to enjoy her job as a gentlemen's hairdresser.

My dear Mum is now 89 and a half, and is arranging her own 90th birthday party for June next year, which will be the major family get-together of 2014. She is doing remarkably well for her age, a trifle forgetful now and again, but very fit and able, and I've a feeling she's going to be around for a fair few years yet.

So that's where we stand right now. For 2014 we look forward to the arrival of a new grandson, a family 90th birthday, a week in the New Forest, a visit to UK for DO's Japanese mother-in-law, and hopefully lots of other happy occasions.

I hope you too have plenty to look forward to in 2014.

Happy New Year.

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Advent Calendar, Day 21 and Happy Midwinter Solstice.

Today is the shortest day of the year, and as of tomorrow we can begin to look forward to longer days, so let's celebrate. Let's decorate a tree, let's send festive greetings to all our friends, let's exchange gifts with our nearest and dearest, let's make our home warm, happy and welcoming. Let's have a feast.

Happy Midwinter Solstice everyone.

Friday, 20 December 2013

Advent Calendar, Day 20

If you like red wine, and if you also like chocolate, you will love this

£6.99 a bottle from Lidl, go own treat yourself, because you're worth it.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Advent Calendar, Day 19

This card arrived in the post yesterday, a very "proud Nanny" moment!

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Advent Calendar, Day 18

A spare set of christmas lights draped along the mantle shelf

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Monday, 16 December 2013

Advent Calendar, Day 16

Testing the lights before they go on the tree

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Advent Calendar, Day 15

East Street decorations

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Advent Calendar, Day 14

The house across the road from me.

Friday, 13 December 2013

Advent Calendar, Day 13

Party hats, compulsory for eating christmas dinner in our house

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Advent Calendar, Day 12

Jigsaw time, a family tradition, we don't do jigsaw puzzles at any other time of the year.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Advent Calendar, Day 11

My tree will be going up this coming weekend, so here is one of the decorations that I'll be putting on it again, taken last year.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Advent Calendar, Day 10

Star decoration, made by my lovely friend Jean.

Monday, 9 December 2013

Advent Calendar, Day 9

OK all, here are the chocs you were asking for yesterday.

This year I'm joining in with KC's Court's advent calendar, please visit here to view all the other participants, listed on the left hand-side, there are lots of lovely links.

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Advent Calendar, Day 8

It's December, must be time for the Irish Cream.

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Advent Calendar, Day 7 and views from my windows

Another advent picture from the archives

and views from my windows

1) from the front room

2) from the kitchen

3) from the back door

4) from the studio

5) from the bedroom

6) of the garden

p.s. the pillar at the front wasn't blown over by the wind, it had some help from GT

Friday, 6 December 2013

Advent Calendar Day 6, and my five on five for December

All our overseas Christmas cards are now on their way

I'm joining in with Sandie at itchifingers for the monthly "Five on Five" which you can read about here. The idea is to take as many photos as you can on the fifth of the month during a five minute period, and then select the best five.

I decided to step out into the garden for five minutes yesterday, it was very windy, the sun was shining, but black clouds were heading our way, so I just caught the last of the sunshine. I took about 18 photos and found it quite difficult to pick out the best five. I love the structural nature of plants at this time of the year, it's so easy to stay indoors and dismiss the garden as being "dead", while, in fact, it's only just "resting".

A little bit of moss in amongst fallen leaves



morning glory seed pods

the pergola in the low afternoon sunshine, with my studio window above

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Advent Calendar, Day 5

For the last couple of years I've joined in with Tracy's (Mad About Bags) Christmas Cracker swap, and this year I was partnered with the lovely Ali (Ali Bee's Creations). The idea is we take an inner tube from a kitchen roll, and fill it with as much as we can, then cover it.

My cracker arrived yesterday, and I set too and opened it straight away. Ali had crocheted a lovely red cover for her cracker.

Having taken off the gorgeous bright red cover, it was then wrapped in gift wrap.

By this time I was getting impatient to get to the goodies inside -

still a bit more unwrapping, and there were all my lovely goodies in front of me.

I find it incredible how much you can get into a kitchen roll inner tube, Ali sent me a bar of chocolate (which sadly is no more!), a cute tree decoration, a tea-light candle shaped as a boot, a tub of Burt's Bees lemon butter cuticle cream, a tub of lip balm (which smells divine), a bath bomb, a brightly coloured emery board, a dear little tape measure, a pack of christmas paper chains and a bottle of nail varnish. Thank you so much for this lovely cracker, Ali, and thanks also to Tracy for organising this very popular swap.

I forgot to photograph the cracker that I sent to Ali, but she has now received and opened it, and you can see it here.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Advent Calendar, Day 4

Especially for Chrissy - mustn't disappoint!

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Advent Calendar, Day 3

More from the archives, playing with colours and light.

Monday, 2 December 2013

The last of the photos a day for November, and Day 2 advent calendar

My posting for today's advent calendar is another one from the archives, this was so much fun to do, hope no-one minds that it's not original, click here to view.

And the last instalment of November's photo a day, prompts from FMS :

23. Simplicity, the lovely Cassie

24. A word, this is the word which best describes the last twelve months for us.

25. Quirky. My dear friend Janet knows that I love stripy socks, so she sent me these. If you look closely you'll see they have individual toes, like gloves.

26. A message - on my phone

27. No . . . vember

28. I am grateful for . . . my desk and all my bits and pieces, in my studio

29. Something black, a can of Guinness

30. All done - my list of photos for November