Sunday, 27 December 2015

The Other days of Christmas...

Today is the day that everyone asks that annoying question.  'Did you have a good Christmas?' they enquire and my answer is always to state that it is still Christmas!  To a large number of people in this country, Christmas starts when the shops start advertising their wares (if you are lucky in November), and ends with Boxing Day.  Many people are busy taking down Christmas trees, stripping their house of all decoration, moaning about having too much food leftover.

Whilst I understand the need for businesses to start Christmas early, I don't understand the need to start Christmas celebrations a month in advance.  Before you think I am being rather humbug, it isn't that I don't love Christmas, I really do.  I love all the preparation, the making of the mincemeat, the hanging of the holly and ivy, the choosing and wrapping presents and writing cards.  What I don't like is this long pre Christmas hysteria followed by a cutting short of the Christmas season.  For it IS a season.  Christmas starts on Christmas Eve and runs until Twelfth Night.  In some traditions it even lasts as long as Candlemas on the 2nd of February.

I'm a great believer in Thoreau's saying that we should 'Live in each season as it passes'.  Enjoy the beginnings of Autumn and the leaves changing colour, then celebrate Halloween, Bonfire Night, Stir Up Sunday and so on.  If we rush onto the next thing too quickly, we do not savour what is happening at that moment.  Rather than spending the whole of the Autumn celebrating Christmas, leave Christmas to its proper time at the end of the year, at the darkest time of the year.

I do understand that a lot of people don't work in the same industry that means they can take time off between Christmas and New Year, but even those who have to return to work can have those days brightened by coming home to a lovely tree with its sparkling lights or a candle burning.

Thank you for your messages on my Christmas Day message, I do hope that you are able to enjoy the other days of Christmas too.  We are only on the third day of Christmas now, many days left to celebrate the light in the darkness.
“A good time occurs precisely when we lose track of what time it is.”  
Robert Farrar Capon

Friday, 25 December 2015

Christmas Wishes

We would like to wish all those reading our blog
a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


Saturday, 19 December 2015

Marchpane Cake and Crochet Snowflakes

Since my last post we've been busy with Christmassy plans and trips.  We went to Devon to see the family and spent a lovely day at Buckland Abbey.  It is one of our very favourite places, the great barn was filled with a wonderful flower display based on the Twelve Days of Christmas.

Nine Ladies Dancing

Ten lords a'leaping

 We also spent a lot of time wandering around their beautiful kitchen.  This year the theme was a Tudor Christmas and I was enchanted with the spices and herbs and food displayed.

The open fire made it rather special and made us hope and yearn for cooler days so we can light our fire at home more often!  The next weekend we spent a day in Brighton, having a wonderful lunch in the Blackbird Tea Rooms which was beautifully decorated in 1930s and 40s d├ęcor.
We hadn't come to drink tea however, but to see Kate Rusby.  For those of you who aren't aware, she is a folk singer from Yorkshire and every December she does special Christmas concerts, singing Yorkshire Christmas carols - to the tunes that are sung in the pubs in South Yorkshire.  We just love her voice and I'm sure my description doesn't do her justice.  I also loved her huge crocheted stage decorations!
And to continue our busy weekends before Christmas, we also popped to Hinton Ampner in the north of Hampshire.  They had a lovely Victorian Christmas wedding theme to their decorations. 
Wedding breakfast
Now we are back home again and looking forward to the festivities.  We've even found time to put up our own tree.

As usual we've covered it in our motley collection of hand made, Germanic, Victorian and folksy decorations.
Tomorrow is the Candlelight Carol service at the church and then the last couple of days at work before Christmas begins.  We do really hope the weather will cool down soon, it's been rather warm for the time of year.

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Living in the past

I live in a modern world filled with computers and fast cars and constant change. I appreciate modern medicine and technology and the huge choice that is available, I wouldn't be without any of that which makes life better for all of us. Without technology you wouldn't be reading this blog now!

However my heart and home belongs somewhere in the mid 1930s, where tea is made in a Beryl ware teapot served with homemade scones and jam.  Where every wooden tray has a cotton or lace doily on it, and there are always flowers on the table. A room where Al Bowlly is singing softly on the wireless, and mantel clock is ticking steadily.  Where the dresser has coronation cups with the King and Queen on them and and sofa has home made patchwork cushions and an antimacassar on the back. 

Where there is a larder stuffed with home made chutney and jam and marmalade and where the christmas pudding sits waiting on a shelf.  Where old jars are filled with rice, currants and sago, with pulses and lentils and flour.

A place where books are in every room, books old and new nestle side by side and the telephone rings with a bright 'bring-bring!'.  A place where candles are lit, the seasons are marked and the house is filled with things that bring back memories of trips taken or of people we love.

“Home, the spot of earth supremely blest. A dearer, sweeter spot than all the rest”
Robert Montgomery