Sunday, 31 December 2017

Welcome 2018

This has been a quiet year of recovery and reflection. A year of learning how to live around circumstances we never planned for. We have learned to appreciate the ones we love even more than we did. We have learned to find joy where we can. We have learned that life has to go on and we need to run with it. So many lessons from 2017. Wishing all a Happy and Healthy New Year.

Thursday, 28 December 2017

What day is it today?

I honestly had to ask the OH what day it was! It has been a whirl of visitors and entertaining so today was a day to get things done. I changed the broadband and phone to a cheaper deal. I rang the feed in tariff team with a reading for the solar panels. With all the dull weather I was pleased with the result. They have earned me 283.35 in the last 86 days. Not bad for something that sits on the roof doing its thing. The sun has been shining brightly showing up dirty windows and grittiness. It was lovely though to see the sun for a change. It must have been good because I noticed the solar nights in the garden came on. They have not been on for ages now.

You can see them faintly glowing against the fence and wall. 
When I was putting away the dishes earlier, I realised how old my pans are. They were a wedding present in 1981. They have a lifetime guarantee. I think they are doing great.
Tomorrow will be another in betweenie day where I will achieve as much as I can. I am really enjoying having the OH Home. He has been enjoying pottering around doing little jobs here and there.

We won’t take the tree down until New Years Day. A new year and a new start. 

Sunday, 24 December 2017

Bring it on.

Merry Christmas to all in Blogland. (This is not my tree) if it was I would probably not have spent the day prepping for tomorrow. All done now. I’m proud to say I haven’t been near a shop for a fair few days. I dont  like to caught up in the frenzy. I love spending time with my precious family. Daughter 1 has acute tonsillitis so hoping she will be able to come tomorrow. I will make a bed up for her so she can retire or join in at her leisure. Christmas won’t be so raw for us this year but we will never get used to having one of us  missing. Sending best wishes to you all.

Friday, 15 December 2017

Deck the halls...

I have been enjoying blog posts  of Christmas decorations. I think the way we decorate and what we like reflects our personality. Some chic and stylish, homemade and rustic, bold and bright I love how they can lift and light up a home for the dark winter days. Mine are a collection of very old, very cheap or free. This Santa has been hanging on the branch of our Christmas tree for 30 years.
This Santa is the same age. I have a collection of Santa’s but decided to leave them be this year as I haven’t the space to display them really. The sparkly reindeer was from Poundland.

These creatures hiding behind the tree are gifts and the squirrel is falling to bits every time I move it ! The ceramic tree was made at a pottery class by a friend.

 This sparkly white dove was saved from a bouquet. 
The most precious of all. A picture of Steve and his nephews in 2015. Steve loved Christmas. We miss him every day, not just at Christmas. I have a few Christmas lights outside in honour of him. He loved Christmas lights as a child. 


Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Soup weather

I went to Aldi yesterday afternoon for milk. I had run out as I had lots of tea drinking visitors on the snow day arriving on foot. It is usually walkable in about 20 minutes but with frozen pavements I unfroze the car windscreen and went in the car. The main road was clear and I negotiated the ice to get down the hill to the junction. It was very hard to leave the warm house as there was a real nip in the air. I dived in for milk and planned to not spend on anything else but as human nature kicked in I had a nosey around for bargains. I would never buy this normally as I think it cost about  a pound but for a 27 p yellow sticker
I caved in and bought it. There obviously must be a lot of people that are too busy to chop vegetables as there are several soup flavours available. There was just one of these. All you do is add 500 ml of stock. I used a knor chicken cube. I also added some black pepper to warm it up a bit.I usually soften my onions first but I followed the instructions to boil for 20 minutes and it was surprisingly tasty.

With a chunk of bread and a slice of cheese it was a hearty meal. I forgot to take a photo of finished soup as we had scoffed the lot before I remembered. I would never had spent a pound for this but for 27 p it was a quick and easy mealtime fix.
This morning as I write this it is -9C. I have rekindled the log burner from last night. The gas boiler is chugging away keeping the house cosy. The sun is out and it is a bright and cheerful morning. The pavements are frozen solid. The OH has managed to go to work today. Thankfully his job is on a main road so no minor roads to negotiate. We saw this on a local Facebook page for Bourton on the Water.

This is why it was better to stay in yesterday if you didn’t need to be anywhere. There was also this lovely picture of the Bourton on the Water Christmas tree.
I would love to go and have a look for myself but not until the roads improve. I know we are not the coldest place in the country today so keep warm and safe wherever you are.

Sunday, 10 December 2017

Snow chance

We were going out for our annual OH’s family Christmas dinner today, in a lovely Cotswold pub in Great Barrington. It is  nestled in the Windrush valley. No chance of that. Now,we can deal with a bit of snow here. Farmers and 4x4 vehicles generally get around ok and help to clear the roads as they go. Not today. While we slept there was at least 10 cm of snowfall and it is still going at midday. Oxford Stagecoach buses have come to a halt. The road at Burford is closed due to accident and snow. Little chance of getting out of our road without a shovel. My wellies are in the shed and I don’t fancy going to get them at the moment so it is a day of staying in.

The boys were out early getting busy with Daddy.

There is only one thing to do then. Chores are done as I thought I was going out. It has to be stay in by the fire and watch something nice. The electric is off in the neighbouring village soI hope ours stays on. If not we will go in the camper van and fire up the gas heating and watch a dvd. The leisure battery is full. I hope everyone stays warm. My thoughts are with people in fuel poverty and the homeless. I am warm and cosy here and I feel grateful for that.

Saturday, 9 December 2017

Nativity time

I remember fondly the knitted Nativity scene at my infant school in the 1960’s. I am pleased to confirm that in this uncertain world, that the Nativity play is still an important part of infant school life. The costumes are out and on hangers, the piano is being dusted off . At the pre school I work, there is much preparation for the annual event. Proud parents will get time off work to come and get emotional about their offspring dressing up. No pressure for us then!
I always try to get the Christmas story across as best I can to the 3-4 year olds. There is a limited understanding and one of the best child quotes that sticks in my memory was:
Me. “Who knows what a shepherd is?”  Pause...  Child. “I think it is a pie.” Most of the children have no idea about the story but enjoy dressing up and singing. Tradition is important and I hope they will remember these times for the rest of their lives. I played the Virgin Mary when I was five. I picked the baby Jesus out of the manger by his neck. There were howls of laughter from the audience. I remember being confused at the reaction but proud of the attention I got. The Nativity is timeless. Nothing much has changed in the last 50 years. There is now music technology and sound systems, costumes available in supermarkets, but shepherds still need a striped tea towel round their head for the best look. Long live the Nativity!
Our little king. Costume by Asda but a homemade crown. His lines were “I bring frankincense to worship the baby king.” Happy memories to last him a lifetime. 

Monday, 4 December 2017

Love it or hate it. It’s on its way.

Bah Humbug!
Last Christmas was all a bit of a shambles so this year I am getting the chores done early so I can actually enjoy time with family and friends. Expectations are not high in my family. We do not spend lots on gifts. This year each grown up couple will put a set sum of money to a fund where we have a UK family break later on in the year. This is money we would have spent on pointless gifts and expensive packaging for everyone in our large family. The children who are still quite small will get 
modest gifts from us.I set a budget and as I see things suitable, I will get them. Christmas dinner will 

be at mine this year. I will provide the mains and cook, but others will do the rest like a bring and  share feast. I’m thinking turkey, and the accompaniments will be homegrown where possible. Not Brussels sprouts though. I wasn’t successful with growing them this year. 
A modest tree is up. Some of the decorations are up to 30 years old. The tree isn’t. I had to downsize my tree to a 6ft one when we moved. I donated a 20 year old large one to the local primary school and it is still going strong. 
A bittersweet time for us but Christmas is a time when people come together. Life goes on and the family is growing in size. I sometimes feel very stressed with the expectations of Christmas but deep down I know I am very blessed.