Sunday, 30 November 2014

The coming of the light

Today is Advent Sunday - the beginning of the countdown to the feast of Christmas.   In the church, in spite of all the chaos and busyness of the season, it is a time of quiet anticipation and expectation, a celebration of light coming into darkness.  This time of year sees us move from Autumn into Winter, when the trees shed their leaves, the temperatures drop and we move into the darkest part of the year. 

In John Betjeman's poem Advent 1955, there is a lovely passage about how it feels this time of year

"It’s dark at breakfast, dark at tea,
And in between we only see
Clouds hurrying across the sky
And rain-wet roads the wind blows dry"
Lighting a candle in the darkness signifies light, warmth and hope. The act of lighting a candle or even kindling a fire seems to stir something within us.  A candle makes us stop and consider, to be quiet for a while.  In this time of frantic noise and flashing electric lights, to light a candle slows everything down and gives us time and space.
It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness.
Eleanor Roosevelt

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Stir Up Sunday in front of the fire

We are sat in front of our fire on a wet damp Sunday afternoon, watching the fire flicker and feeling my knees warm up gradually.  I'm loving having a fire, it instantly warms up the room and makes it feel so cosy.

In the kitchen our Christmas pudding is gently bubbling and steaming away, its been on the hob for three and a half hours and will steam for another four and a half.  Today is stir up Sunday, the traditional day for making the Christmas pudding.

Yesterday I mixed up all the ingredients in a large bowl and left it overnight and so today it was packed into a pudding basin and covered
Later on tonight at evensong, the collect or prayer for the day will be this one from the Book of Common Prayer:
Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people;
that they, plenteously bringing forth the fruit of good works,
may of thee be plenteously rewarded;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Monday, 17 November 2014

A Sunday afternoon in November

The weather outside is frightful and its not snowing, its just raining incessantly.  We are making the most of this horrid weather by getting some jobs done inside the house.  I'm starting to plan Christmas as we have eight of us for Christmas lunch this year.  Next weekend will see me making the Christmas pudding, but this weekend I am checking the larder supplies...

We have a jar of Pickled shallots which will hopefully be ready for Christmas and a lot of chutney and pickle, of varying ages, some of which will be donated to the local church fete.  Most importantly I still have a large jar and a half of mincemeat.

Whilst I was fussing around the larder, Mr C was busy upholstering our dining room chairs.  We have been looking for some nice material for ages, and everything we liked was extremely expensive.  Then a few weeks ago we found some really good quality curtains in a charity shop...

So we cut up the material and Mr C got to work...

This material has reupholsted six chairs and we still have a lot left over.  And all for the princely sum of £6!

We now have our dining room chairs looking wonderful for Christmas.  We also found some lovely smaller wine glasses which will take pride of place on our Christmas table.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

We will remember them

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.