We'd made a little a plan while ago, my lovely middle sister Rachel and me, that on the shortest day we'd grab ourselves a little free time to walk the lanes and gather some greenery to decorate our homes.
So we set off this dank and blustery morning (perfect!) to wander around Bagnall, the village where we grew up. I only live a couple of miles away but Rach lives over the hills in Buxton and although she's often here visiting us or our folks, I can't remember the last time we had the chance to saunter about together with no time pressure or small people needing our attention.
Both of us were keen to see if we could still remember where all the footpaths went, so first of all we headed down towards to old mill pools and then onto the Salt Track where merchants brought the mineral over from Nantwich to the monks at Hulton Abbey centuries ago. I remember this cosy cottage in a really tucked away spot, as a tumbled down farm for a long time and it was great to see that its being lovingly restored
The wooded end of the Salt Track proved to be a treasure trove for the wreaths we wanted to make and we found wispy seed heads, berried holly and rosehips to snip (leaving plenty for the birds and the rest of the village.)
Our morning was literally a walk down memory lane. We had a good laugh remembering Grandad getting us to hang upside down from the little white bridge over the ford to grab moss for his hanging baskets! We kept complaining about getting wet but typical Grandad he just said' "its only a bit a' watter!" (and his hanging baskets were the best bless him.)
The little brick building is the parish hall where we went to Sunday School, playgroup and lots of village barn dances and things. There's a more modern village hall too that's much better suited to parties and events, but I have really fond memories of the church hall, the glorious view out of the back door and tea from Woods Ware crockery. Its been closed for years and I harbour a little dream that I might turn it into a family home one day (the wooden floors were wonderful!)
So this is what we made. Rachel's is a rather elegant effort, lots of ivy and some discreet rosehips that she's hoping won't get blown away in the windy part of Buxton where she lives. Mine's a bit more of a rustic affair with a little of everything we found including holly, yew, and ivy berries.
I had such a great time, it was treat for us to chat and put the world to rights together and I think just maybe we've invented a new family tradition. Happy winter solstice everyone xx