Tuesday, 30 December 2008

With thanks

Oh I've got so many to make that this post may end up sounding rather like an Oscar's speech. But it's true, I'm a very lucky girl who has an awful lot to be thankful for. I shan't get too sentimental or wallowy though, but instead say a few thanks for the efforts of other people for making my Christmas really special.

1. To our little town for turning on the old-fashioned Christmas magic.
(Hopeless photo, so cold my hands were shaking!)
A wonderful tree, crib scene in the market square, living nativity service (complete with camels!), carols with the Salvation Army band on Christmas Eve and for bringing back the traditional competition of dressing the shop windows for all they're worth. More thank yous then for some real beauties that made our Christmas to; the ironmongers,
the gift shops, the retro shop, and the toy shop (oops a bit misty but still very magical!)
2.To Sairer for a lovely, vintage, giveaway surprise on Christmas Day.

3. To the BBC for The Christmas Good Life, The 39 Steps and Starter for 10; three things I've for once had the time to sit and watch and really enjoyed.
4. To everyone who came to the carol service and clapped even when we wobbled a bit!
5. To our lovely, lovely friends who can't possibly understand how thrilled I am with their gift of this gorgeous radio. I've had to tie my fingers in knots to stop myself from buying one and they didn't even know!
6. To the RSPB for looking after the wonderful little wood, up a twisty lane near our home, with hidden paths, fallen logs for clambering on, a shallow stream for splashing and building dams in, for bird boxes for the spring birds to come, but mostly for the peace and quiet and much needed fresh air after all those days inside.
7. And to all the lovely people who blog and are kind enough to leave me a comment. I appreciate every single one and wish I had more time to reply and visit more. Thank you so very, very much, really hope to get round and visit more next year.

Hope everyone had a lovely Christmas, ours was quiet and noisy, calm and chaotic but most of all joyful and lots of fun. I'm looking forward to the year ahead with lots of plans for the garden to mull over while the weather is still so cold. Have a smashing New Year's Eve, see you in 2009!

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Crikey it's Christmas

As ever it's turned up like a bolt out of the blue in the middle of December as if I wasn't expecting it. Now you would think that being so obsessed with the festive season as I am, that I'd be a bit more organised but here we are again, a week away with lists and lists of things still to do. Preparations are at least under way though, decorations are almost finished, (just a few more fairy lights to pop up because you really can't ever have enough in my opinion), the veg order is in and our wonderfully smelling tree is happily sheeding in the corner.

I tend to change things around every year and these bargain baubles I found in a charity shop are cheering the dresser up. My favourite decorations though are the paper chains we enjoyed making at the weekend. Every so easy, only £1.80 and they bring back endless memories of the last week of term at primary school, party games and being able to take your own toy in on the final day.

My two finish tomorrow and I'm off to a proper dinner and dance with colleagues on Friday night. On Saturday I'll get a few hours at the Farmer's Market in town to stock up and then drinks in a very cosy village pub with a lovely friend in the evening.

Tomorrow is the final choir practice before the carol service on Sunday which I've been looking forward to since I joined in the summer and we're singing some wonderful stuff. Monday will be my last day in the office and if I can fight my way through the wrapping paper we should just make it to the big day on time.

Not sure if I'll manage to get back on line before the festive season really begins as Woody is chained to the laptop trying to get all his work done poor thing. So, this is the best time to wish everyone in the blogging world a very, very merry Christmas full of joy and peace and all best wishes for the year ahead. Have lots of fun!
P.S. This is the most adorable e-card I've ever seen, sent by my parents. Click here if you'd like to take a look.

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Winter wonderland

Oh what a joy - seasonal weather arriving in the right season for once! Snow in April makes me miserable and even if it comes in January I still feel cheated that the Christmas card images have arrived after the event.
So you can imagine just how giddy I was this morning when my littlest man came into our room, with eyes as big as saucers, to tell us how white everything looked outside his window. I'm such an enormously, over-excited child when the merest prospect of snow is mentioned.
I could sit and watch the lacy curtains drift across the rolling hills outside my window all day long. Sadly today I watched most of it stuck in the bloomin' car! Around here it takes just a sprinkling to reduce the main routes into the city to gridlock.
For almost two hours we tried and tried to get in, only to be faced with long, long queues (about 7 miles!) of stationary traffic. In the end we gave up and turned tail, feeling bad and very frustrated about having to cancel meetings and not turning up for work when the roads now are clear and the fields just dusted with snow.
But it has been beautiful to look at as I've worked at home in my bedroom that looks out across the deeply wooded valley. The boys had a walk home from school with their daddy of the stuff childhood memories are made of; snowball fights, slippy slidy skids and cold pink cheeks and fingers.

Preparations for the festive season are well underway at No.25. Delicious treats are being stashed away, advent calendars opened and a few vintage, seasonal treasures spirited home from town.
Some vintage glass baubles and a dear Christmas plate were mine for just £2.
And these are for my boys, a little piece of Potteries heritage from the soon to be bankrupt Spode factory.
I remember a plate like this my mum had when I was little with its charming design. All my grandparents worked on the pot banks, like most people in this area, but today very few firms are left, with most production outsourced to the Far East and those left are going bump.
On the upside Emma Bridgewater and Caroline Zoob have all their ceramics produced here and are doing a lot to keep the industry and it's specialist skills alive. Woody interviewed Caroline Zoob this week and reports she's a very nice lady and as soon as his article is published I'll pop it on here.

If you're a fan of the white stuff I hope its falling in a very convenient manner and making where you live look gorgeously festive.