Sunday, 30 December 2012

Christmas wanderings

Suddenly its almost the end of the year, and the sixth day of Christmas.  December seems to have passed by in a complete whir.  This blog posting is a pictorial representation of the last couple of weeks...

Walking when the weather has briefly been dry
Visiting National Trust houses
Baking and cooking

Making time for contemplation

Christmas entertaining at home
Visiting family and other animals
Relaxing at home with tea and mince pies

So here's hoping you are all having a merry little Christmas and will have a wonderful new year.  See you in 2013....

Monday, 17 December 2012

O Tannenbaum, O Tannenbaum...

It is always a special day when we go to choose the Christmas tree and decorate it.  We are especially pleased with the tree this year, its over seven feet tall, and a lovely shape.  It amazes me every year how many people say they don't want a real tree because of the mess.  To me, the whole point of a Christmas tree is that it is bringing greenery inside the house - a very old tradition itself.  Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without a real tree!  We will make sure we do as TS Elliot says and be "taking pleasure in the fragrant brilliance of the Christmas tree."


Christmas - that magic blanket that wraps itself about us, that something so intangible that it is like a fragrance.  It may weave a spell of nostalgia.  Christmas may be a day of feasting, or of prayer, but always it will be a day of remembrance - a day in which we think of everything we have ever loved.  ~Augusta E. Rundel

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Days of frost and candlelight

Now that it is December and we've had some quite deep frosts it feels like autumn has gone and winter has arrived.  I've been ill for the last couple of weeks so my intention to start tidying the garden hasn't quite started yet.  And now its almost Christmas and the garden appears increasingly forlorn.  However even in the cold, beauty is found in the frost and ice

In all the rush and busy chaos of the run up to Christmas, its even more important to spend time in nature, watching the seasons change.  At Hazel Cottage, the hazel tree is now almost bare.  The bare branches make it far easier to see the teeming bird life that bounces around the bird table.  The blue tits and great tits are frequent visitors in little gangs and we've seen a wren and dunnock recently too.  If we are still and quiet, they ignore us and carry on with their feeding.  The fearless robins appear regardless of what we do, although I imagine they are disappointed when we just walk through the garden and don't dig over the soil for them.  And the minute we walk back into the house, the blackbirds appear, the pigeons flutter in and the squirrel steals peanuts from the feeder again.  I love the idea that even when we aren't there, the garden is still teeming with life.

Our advent candle

by Robert Louis Stevenson   

Late lies the wintry sun a-bed,  
A frosty, fiery sleepy-head;  
Blinks but an hour or two; and then,  
A blood-red orange, sets again.  
Before the stars have left the skies,
At morning in the dark I rise;  
And shivering in my nakedness,  
By the cold candle, bathe and dress.  
Close by the jolly fire I sit  
To warm my frozen bones a bit;
Or with a reindeer-sled, explore  
The colder countries round the door.  
When to go out, my nurse doth wrap  
Me in my comforter and cap;  
The cold wind burns my face, and blows
Its frosty pepper up my nose.  
Black are my steps on silver sod;  
Thick blows my frosty breath abroad;  
And tree and house, and hill and lake,  
Are frosted like a wedding-cake.