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Winter Foraging …

Each afternoon I take a walk – if the sun is out it becomes more of a saunter, an amble.  Sometimes I stop and hold my face up to the sun, close my eyes, and feel its warmth on my skin.  Passing motorists must wonder what I am doing.  I am savouring these brief moments in an otherwise dull and overcast day.  When the fog lifts it is cause for celebration, to see a little blue sky, the sun shining on the leaves that are still hanging on precariously, ready to fall.  Watch glistening raindrops teetering on the edge of red berries giving a Christmas tree feel to the hedgerows.  I am looking for colour, checking out what is available, what Mother Nature will provide for me to bring indoors to decorate the house for the Christmas period.  I like to keep things simple – twigs and branches, vases of berries, holly and ivy, candles and a few baubles – are all that is needed to complete the festive feel.

The bulbs that I planted earlier in the year are all now pushing through – bringing them indoors into the warmth will soon have them growing away, and they too will add a little colour and fragrance to the room.

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The garden still hasn’t died back completely despite one or two frosts

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and even though I have missed a few sunrises catching up on sleep that has evaded me during the night due to my cold and the constant coughing – I did manage to capture this beautiful sunset.

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I  have even started to think about a Christmas wish list

top of the list is a warm winter coat – my old one has seen better days and must be over fifteen years old – I have found a fur-lined parka-type one on line that will be just the job – now all I have to do is convince the husband to pay for it and we’re all set.

“In winter, the kitchen is always warm, and, always, there are smells: of roasting meat and stewing soups, frying onions and baking bread.  There is the chop-shop-chop of the knife, through carrots and turnips and mounds of fresh leeks, and the rhymthic pulse of the electric beater.  And, in the sudden silence after it has stopped, the ticking of the clock.  Outside, early dark, rain like a whip lash, gale and hail, rattling the latch, or ice, sealing it tight.  But inside, all is bright, warm, savoury, companionable.” ~ Susan Hill Through the Kitchen Window

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I came across this book by Anna Pavord in a second hand bookshop, which will come in handy as I start to plan my vegetable garden for next year

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and this one by Sarah Raven – full of interesting and delicious ideas.

So all I can say is – Christmas, you don’t frighten me – I’m not going to be dragged in to all the hype and spending frenzy – I’m going to do it my way – keeping it simple – just the way I like it.

Comments

  1. I take it you weren't tempted to pop down to your local Tesco for a Black Friday bargain then? Hope you soon manage to throw off the cold - chicken soup is prescribed!

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    1. No I certainly wasn't tempted - when I saw the madness that was involved in the spending scrummage - I was glad to have stayed away.

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  2. I do love fog and rain, but only because fog is so rare here. A treat. Today is supposed to be warm and sunny. Hubby and I celebrated our Thanksgiving Day with a roast chicken instead of turkey. I kept the meal traditional, but light. I like the idea of a simple, traditional Christmas. I don't know if you have Black Friday in the UK where all of the merechants lure shoppers in with fabulous deals, but it is on holiday traditon that I stay as far away from as possible. Your red berry photos are so pretty. I hope you share your Christmas decorations with us. Have a wonderful week end.

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    1. Well at the moment rain and fog are all we seem to be experiencing with little glimmers of sun now and then. Yes the Black Friday event has finally reached the UK and I suppose it is now here to stay - spending like crazy is not on my to do list at any time let alone this time of year when there is enough expense as it is.

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  3. I'm planning a long walk tomorrow, in hopefully some winter sunshine. Hope your cold goes away soon.

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    1. Hope it stays fine for your walk - it has been pretty gloomy here. The cold is on its last legs but has been a long time going - all I want now is to be back to normal.

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  4. Oh me too Elaine. This year Christmas is going to be for relaxing. I'm so tired of all the hype.

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    1. All the advertising gets a bit much - the next thing will be wall-to-wall Christmas pop on the radio for the next three weeks.

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  5. It;s certainly been dull for a couple of days and the bonnet and gloves are out and will now be pressed into use.

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    1. I am just amazed at how mild it is here still - the heating hasn't come on till the evening - although, to be on the safe side, I have added an extra layer of clothing.

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  6. Love this post Elaine. Full of wintry wonderfulness and the sunset is stunning. I definitely agree with a stress free run up to Christmas too. P x

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    1. I just can't be doing with all the hassle any more - I try to keep it all as simple as I can these days.

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  7. Yes, nice and calm does it. No panic needed.

    Jean x

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    1. Absolutely Jean - I couldn't agree more.

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  8. Wonderful images and descriptions of your Christmas time expectations! I so miss the hedgerows and gently rolling hills! Hope you get over your cold quickly.

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    1. Thanks for visiting and leaving a comment Mary Anne.

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  9. Dear Elaine,
    I have completely avoided silly old Black Friday even though I had a zillion emails from every store in the world on the subject !!
    My hyacinths from last year are poking through and, I LOVE Sarah Raven … I always get her plant catalogue.
    Here's to a calm and non-indulgent Christmas. XXXX

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  10. Me too elaine - keep it simple. I don't know why I dread the winter arriving when so many of the things that you have mentioned are elements that I love. I think that it is just the grey skies, when the shone so perfectly last Monday I loved it.

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    1. It has been such a rare treat for the sun to break through these last few days and when it does life seems worth living again - I certainly don't flourish under grey November skies.

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  11. Hurrah for keeping it simple, but you will surely have posted my present off by now?

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    1. Of course, I hope it doesn't get lost in the post and reaches you in time for Christmas.

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  12. Once again you fill the senses with the beauty surrounding you :) Lovely photos and sentiments towards this time of year. Your books sound like the perfect fit for cozying up and learning things at the same time!

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    1. Thanks Glo - I am trying not to buy any more books but they just seem to keep jumping off the shelves and throwing themselves at me - I think I have a serious problem!

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  13. My first early (8am these days) walk with the dogs is my favourite. Half an hour of absolute quiet in our peaceful countryside sets me up for the day ahead. When I think of all those fools queueing, then fighting, in big shops it makes me wonder what on earth is going on in the world.

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    1. I often think about getting up and getting out in the early morning - sometimes the best part of the day weatherwise - perhaps if we had a dog I would be more motivated.

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  14. Lovely photos from your early morning walks. A gentle stroll every morning and a gentle stroll into Christmas away from all the frenzy of the supermarkets and shopping centres - sounds perfect and it'll do for me too:)

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    1. Yes - a gentle stroll into Christmas - a perfect expression.

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  15. I'm with you on keeping it simple. I watched the news in disgust last night, 'Black Friday' indeed watching all those people fighting and trampling others underfoot just to get their hands on a bargain! It makes me resolve to have our family celebrations as homespun and uncommercial as possible. (Although having seen the Booth's catalogue on Nilly Hall's blog I've ordered some food that promises to be delicious!)
    Hope your cold soon goes and your winter coat gets ordered!

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    1. I checked out Booth's site and was very tempted myself. The cold is almost gone and the coat has been ordered - although at the moment it is nowhere near cold enough to wear it.

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  16. Gorgeous surroundings and still plenty of colour to bring inside for your Christmas decoration. I have that book by Anna Pavord. I discovered her maybe 10 years ago, there was a little documentary on her, she was part of a series of documentaries on gardeners around the world, the program was called Recreating Eden. As far as keeping it simple during the Holidays, it's been like this for me for years and years.

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    1. I checked up on Recreating Eden which looked really interesting but I don't think it was shown in the UK. I have one or two of her books though - always an interesting read and full of good advice.

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  17. A lovely post and wonderful pictures. I do so agree with keeping it simple, that's the way I like it too. Flighty xx

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    1. We're definitely birds of a feather Flighty.

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  18. Some most vivid images Elaine especially the one at the top of your post. What do you use to get such great effects?
    Hope that the cold/cough are improving but at least whilst you have got some great reading matter to keep you occupied if you are stuck indoors. Call me Scroodge but I never contemplate Christmas until the start of December ...... then it's panic!

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    1. I edit my photos on Picasa Anna. I have gradually started organising for Christmas - I don't really like to leave everything till the last moment - although I do get the spirit the nearer it comes.

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    2. Thanks Elaine :) I've not used Picasa for ages. Will have to return for a dabble.

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  19. That sunset photo is glorious. What a shot! I love the scent of evergreen boughs in the house this time of year. Like that you scour the neighbourhood for bright twigs to bring indoors. Christmas doesn't need to be glitzy to be nice.

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    1. The trick is not to bring all the greenery in too soon as it quickly dries out and the berries drop off - trouble is, if you leave it too late, the birds will have nicked all the berries but I can't really object to that - there is generally enough to go round.

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  20. Lovely post Elaine. I must get back into the habit of walking every day. The photos with the out-of-focus surround are beautiful.

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    1. Thanks Freda. I have to say that I enjoy my daily walk even if it's going the same way every day - there always seems to be something different to see if you look hard enough.

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  21. If your Christmas is as beautiful as this post and as calm and serene, it will be a wonderful one. That is what I wish for you anyway! xx

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    1. Thank you Amy - that's kind of you to say.

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  22. Nice view from your window.

    Just nipping over from Going Gently blog to take a look round. Some great photos.

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    1. Thanks for popping by and leaving a comment Andrew.

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  23. A beautiful post with some lovely images. I often hold my face up to a winter sun.....cost nothing, but it is just so good to feel the warmth during the short days of winter.


    It is good to walk each day....to study the changes.......to be in touch with nature.

    I do hope you get your new coat. I have an old coat that I keep in the shed.....I use it for gardening now. For some reason I just cannot part with it. My parents bought it for me many years ago....feels a bit like an old friend :)

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    1. I'm not sure I will be able to part with the coat that the new one will be replacing as I have become rather attached to it over the years. I have got into the habit of winter walking usually about 3 o'clock in time to get back before it starts to get dark - even when it's pretty gloomy I always feel better for it.

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  24. That misty landscape and that glowing sunset are my two favorites from this lot.

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    1. We have had plenty of misty landscapes just lately - it's just catching the right moment and having the camera always at the ready.

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  25. And that is EXACTLY how I like my Christmas too....nice and simple, without the hype! Well said!
    Another marvellous post, you have certainly put me in the mood for Christmas with those wonderful festive looking berries and delightful winter scenes...I too loved the misty landscape and glowing sunset....gorgeous!
    Sorry to hear you have had a cold, I do hope you're feeling better, there is nowt worse than coughing at night.....get some honey, lemon and ginger hot toddies!
    I love your books and that is a lovely quote....here's to you getting your coat! Yes!xxx

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    1. Thanks Snowbird. The cold is on its way out at last - I thought it would never go. I do like looking round the hedgerows to see what I can find and maybe collecting bare branches in the hope that they will come into leaf or flower early - a little extra bonus. I certainly don't go overboard at Christmas - it's only one day but the preparation can seem endless.

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  26. Like your motto pal!!! Keeping it simple is a beautiful thing! As is your post here! I am always amazed by the landscape that surrounds you!!! Wishing you holiday happiness in the weeks ahead!!! And nothing better than raising your face to the sky!!! Sorry I am a bit behind we had a nasty stomach bug here....hope you feel better soon as well!! Nicole xo

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    1. I'm trying to stay stress free and positive in the run up to Christmas so far succeeding. Hope you are feeling ok now - stomach bugs can be nasty. Enjoy the rest of the week.

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  27. I love getting out my copy of through the Kitchen Window at this time of year. Thanks for the reminder. I haven't seen that Sarah Raven before. Is it old?

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    1. I always enjoy reading the Magic Apple Tree at this time of year - her descriptions of village life in winter are delightful. The Sarah Raven book is dated 2008 so not so old.

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  28. These pictures take me to a place of contentment and give me a feeling of inner-peace. I love them. I hope you have a good evening!!

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    1. Thanks Keith - glad you like the pictures.

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  29. Dear Elaine - your photos are lovely. Your garden still looks green...unfortunately mine is very cold and tired. I think I will come winter forage with you. Everything looks delightful. Like the idea of the bulbs coming up indoors...like having a breath of spring visit. Hope you are getting over your cold. Agree with you I think I will keep Christmas simple this year too. Take care. Hugs

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    1. Hi Debbie
      Thanks you my cold is on its way out now and I am beginning to feel more like myself again. I love to see berries, foliage and bulbs in the house over the festive season but equally I am glad to get rid of them after a few days when they start to look a little sad and dried out. It has turned a bit colder here now but there are still a few flowers hanging on - I can't believe the winter so far - more like October than December.

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  31. I think I plan to keep Christmas simpler than my family would prefer, but left to my own devices I'd be happy with a turkey sandwich and a flask of coffee to be eaten out in the hills somewhere.

    Stunning pic of the red sky there!

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    1. Sounds perfect to me - these days Christmas just doesn't have the appeal it once did.

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