Wednesday, 30 December 2015

How Sad and Bad and Mad It Was ...

"How sad and bad and mad it was - but then, how it was sweet" ~ Robert Browning
Photo: taken on 30 January 2015
This year has zipped by; each year seems to go faster than the last. As the year draws to a close I find myself in reflective mood.  There have been  highlights and lowlights; happiness and sadness; worry and stress and moments of calm and serenity.  For me, this year, has been all about nature and observation of this village life that I lead.  It has been a year for writing everything down; my journal has been my constant companion, recording my thoughts and feelings - and trying to find the words I need when expressing myself on this weblog.  Then there is the visual element; taking photographs; these are the best reminder for me; I look through them and think 'ah yes, I remember that day - it was a good day'.

So what does 2016 have in store; I make no resolutions - except to enjoy every day as fully as I can.  I wish the same for you too.

Thank you to all those of you who have visited here in 2015 - you are the best!
"Reflect upon your present blessings - of which every man has many - not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some." ~ Charles Dickens  
Time for New Beginnings ~ Taylor Addison
This is a time for reflection as well as celebration. As you look back on the past year and all that has taken place in your life, remember each experience for the good that has come of it and for the knowledge you have gained.  Remember the efforts you have made and the goals you have reached. Remember the love you have shared and the happiness you have brought.  Remember the laughter, the joy, the hard work, and the tears.  And as you reflect on the past year, also be thinking of the new one to come.  Because most importantly, this is a time of new beginnings and the celebration of life.

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Christmas Spirit

Christmas Spirit

 I hum carols whilst I work
 Smile at strangers
Drop coins at buskers' feet
Show a little kindness where I can

Think about those I have loved
long gone
Remember times past
and thoughts of future

Send gifts
to show I care
this midwinter ritual
this festival
this Christmas





Thursday, 17 December 2015

A Backward Glance at 2015

Another day dawns  grey and dreary with mist and rain; I find myself wishing for sunlight and blue skies, so I begin to plough through the hundreds of photographs I have taken this year.  They bring back memories as clear as a rock pool; of the garden when it was full of colour and flowers; the sun warm on my skin;  walks that I took everyday photographing everything and anything that caught my eye.  Below are just a few that capture the feeling of the seasons.  With love from me to you.

So there you have it - my year in pictures (the short version) - I'm not sure just how many pictures I took over the year - but, believe me - it was a lot.  Hope you enjoyed some of my favourites that I have included this year.

One day at a time - this is enough.  Do not look back and grieve over the past for it is gone; and do not be troubled about the future, for it has not yet come.  Live in the present, and make it so beautiful it will be worth remembering" ~ Anon.


Friday, 11 December 2015

Trying to Find the Spirit of Christmas

Twig Lights in Garden+Outdoor COLLECTIONS Doorstep Decorating at Terrain:

Below is a collage of all the activities that convention says I should be doing at this time of year but I haven't quite found the Christmas spirit yet - I probably won't get round to any of them until the last minute.

Presents have been bought (but not wrapped); cards are waiting to be written; the tree hasn't been decorated yet - I think to myself - what's the rush - there are still two week to go - no need to panic.  I do try to keep things fairly simple;  Christmas Day here is a quiet, relaxed affair - and I am quite happy to keep it that way.



Friday, 4 December 2015

Random Ramblings on a Wet December Day

'Over the tea cup' - design for a postcard - Harrison Fisher 1910

"Afternoon Tea" by William Henry Margetson 1861-1940. This is one of the most beautiful paintings ever! Why can't I paint like that?:
Afternoon Tea - Wm. H. Margetson

The cup of tea on arrival at a country house is a thing which, as a rule, I particularly enjoy.  I like the crackling logs, the shaded lights, the scent of buttered toast, the general atmosphere of leisured coziness. ~ P.G.Wodehouse

Setting off on a stormy, wet day, we went to visit our friend, who had moved away from the village.
We three ladies had been invited to afternoon tea at her new home.
Arriving bearing gifts like the biblical 'Three Kings' we were welcomed in, to a roaring log fire.
Plates of delicious-looking sandwiches were arranged on the coffee table and the best bone china tea service had been brought out especially.
We spent time catching up on news and what had happened since we last met; had a tour of the house; then went into the dining room where the table had been set with a lace edged linen table cloth and matching napkins, sparkling cut glass bowls filled with home-made jams; three types of scone - cheese, plain and fruit; Florentines and biscuits; all made by our friend that morning.
It was a delightful and civilised way to spend a wet Saturday afternoon - full of chatter and laughter and delicious food.
It was good to see her again.
We spent an enjoyable few hours.
Then it was time to leave.
We left the warmth of the room and ventured back into the dark, stormy night; each bearing a parting gift of a Cyclamen plant  - all saying that we must meet up again ... soon.

It felt wrong and intrusive to take my camera with me - I wanted to enjoy the afternoon without worrying about photos for a blog post so I have used some vintage pictures to illustrate the feeling of the afternoon.

Here are some random pictures of things that have caught my eye during the week.
The light levels have been so low that I haven't been able to take many decent pictures outdoors - the atrocious weather has a lot to answer for.


And so another week comes to an end; bringing us one week nearer to Christmas.
My one concession to  it so far has been buying a festive jug to fill with holly and evergreens, and a matching plate, that I thought would look good when passing round the mince pies.
Both bought in a charity shop for £1.00 each.

The week has been uneventful except for a power outage during a storm.
I fumbled round in the dark looking for my stash of candles.
How did  people in the old days manage without electricity.
The light wasn't good enough to read by; it was too early to go to bed; I couldn't even boil a kettle for a cup of tea.
Luckily, it only lasted about twenty minutes.
Oh, and I had my hair cut - I have to say that the lighting in my hairdressers is awful; it drained the colour from my face and made me look about ninety years old.
I didn't recognise the old person staring back at me from the mirror - when did that happen - getting old I mean - it didn't seem so long ago that I was a fit and sprightly forty year old.
Best not think about it - far too depressing.
Enjoying watching 'The Last Kingdom' on television and feasting my eyes on Alexander Dreymon who plays Uhtred the Dane here - I do love a bit of Viking skulduggery.

Alexander Dreymon as Uhtred, complete with difficult man bun.

Well, that's about it for this week.
Take care.
And I'll leave you with this passage from Wind in the Willows
“The rapid nightfall of mid-December had quite beset the little village as they approached it on soft feet over a first thin fall of powdery snow. Little was visible but squares of a dusky orange-red on either side of the street, where the firelight or lamplight of each cottage overflowed through the casements into the dark world without. Most of the low latticed windows were innocent of blinds, and to the lookers-in from outside, the inmates, gathered round the tea-table, absorbed in handiwork, or talking with laughter and gesture, had each that happy grace which is the last thing the skilled actor shall capture--the natural grace which goes with perfect unconsciousness of observation. Moving at will from one theatre to another, the two spectators, so far from home themselves, had something of wistfulness
in their eyes as they watched a cat being stroked, a sleepy child picked up and huddled off to bed, or a tired man stretch and knock out his pipe on the end of a smouldering log.”
Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows