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

Elaine
 

Comments

  1. It is harsh light in the hairdressers, I've had exactly the same depressing experience. I suppose they will argue they need it to see what they're doing.

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    1. It is the same with changing room mirrors isn't it - they are always just so unflattering.

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  2. I am so pleased that you enjoyed time with your friend in her new house, it all sounds lovely. Is this your old neighbour that moved away?
    Yes, I relate to the hairdressers lighting too, I don't look quite so bad at home in our mirrors!!!

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    1. Yes, it is Rosemary - it was great to see her again and was as if no time had passed at all. I agree with you about the mirrors at home, but even so I rarely look into them unless I absolutely have to.

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  3. Ah!! the old ways, wonderful.

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    1. Hi Rooko
      Lovely to see you here - how are you doing my friend.

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  4. A delightful post and lovely pictures. I like your choice of books on the bedside table. That jug was a real bargain. Flighty xx

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    1. Thanks Flighty. They are the sort of books where you can just dip into them and always find something interesting. Yes, the jug was a bargain and very Christmassy.

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  5. What a lovely post! Your visit with friends sounds wonderful, warm, cosy and cheerful. Your choice of books looks fascinating and the red pottery is so festive, what a lucky find:)

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    1. Thanks Rosie. It was a lovely afternoon and my friend seems very settled in her new home (I still wished she lived next door to me though) even though my neighbour seems very nice.

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  6. I love those first two pictures, especially the second one. So charming! The red festive jug is lovely too. Red really is all about Christmas, isn't it?!

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    1. I loved the second one too Sandra - it is a lovely atmospheric painting. I love red at Christmas and the jug will fit in nicely with all my other Christmas decorations (when I eventually get round to dragging them out from their hiding places).

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  7. Lovely ..... just lovely Elaine.
    ..... as for the hairdresser, once we are passed a certain age, that experiene happens to us all I'm afraid. I'm going to have my highlights done next week and will try to look in the mirror as few times as possible !!!!!!

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    1. Thanks Jackie - how kind. It is always a shock to see myself - I hate having my photo taken for that very reason - what I think I look like and the reality are two very different things -lol.

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  8. A very good week. You make such lovely posts. I don't go to the hairdressers. I cut away on my hair myself. Old is hard. And yet it comes with a quickened pace.

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    1. Thanks Donna. I used to snip my hair when it was longer but now it is a lot shorter I am afraid of making a mess of it - although I am always shocked at how much it costs to go to the hairdressers these days. I agree about the quickened pace - life seems to go faster with every coming year - hey ho!

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  9. I had no recollection of that passage so thank you for highlighting it. I can't see myself in a mirror when my hairdresser comes to our kitchen but I have one kind mirror in the house so I go and look in that afterwards.

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    1. The passage is from the chapter Dulce Domum literal translation 'sweetly at home'. Thank goodness for a kind mirror - every home should have one.

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  10. It sounds as if you enjoyed a most pleasant afternoon in good company Elaine. I usually partake of a soft boiled egg and soldiers on a Sunday and really enjoy it. It's porridge the rest of the week. My hairdresser inhabits a below street level space so the light or to be precise lack of it is most flattering :) Hope that you have a good weekend despite what the weather gods are threatening.

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    1. It was a good afternoon, thanks Anna. I do love a boiled egg - we were commenting the other day that each way an egg is cooked always tastes different - a fried egg tastes different to a poached etc. The weather has turned pretty foul this evening - it would be nice to have a rain-free weekend for a change. Hope you have a good one wherever you are.

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  11. Great post, that teaparty with friends must have been lovely, like in the old days. So nice to have a pile of books to read, especially in these short dark days before Christmas. I have to go to the hairdresser next week, I never like looking into the mirror there, as I really look as bad as in that mirror it makes me very sad.
    Enjoy your weekend!

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    1. It was lovely Janneke - she went to a lot of trouble to give us a special afternoon. I am reading so much at the moment - catching up on all the books I never read over summer. Cheer up my dear - we all feel the same way I am sure. Enjoy your weekend too.

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  12. I like the over the teacup postcard and afternoon tea and I think of my drawings when I see them. I like drawings of people around a table with drinks or tea. I share with you many things here, and I cannot talk about them but one I can is that I too wonder why I look different in the hairdressers mirror.

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    1. From the comments it seems we all feel the same way - one of the mysteries of life. Thanks for visiting Rachel.

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  13. Lovely post, and oh, such a wonderful stack of books! I ave read Meadowland, The Old Ways, and Wild Hares & Hummingbirds and would warmly recommend them to anyone, any day. Beautiful books.

    Many blessings for your weekend. Sarah (from knitting the wind)

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    1. Thanks Sarah. I love this genre of books and tend to home in on them whenever I am in a bookshop - I strive to write as well as they do about the countryside. Have a good weekend.

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  14. Elaine, you always create such a lovely atmosphere as I read you words. I wonder if this was your friend that moved away earlier in the year. It must have been good to catch up again. Sarah x

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    1. Thank you Sarah - what a kind thing to say. Yes, this was my friend that moved earlier in the year - it was lovely to see her again.

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  15. Your afternoon tea sounds wonderful what a lovely way to spend time with friends. I can assure that the lighting in hairdressers does nothing for forty somethings either :(. Have you read the Old Ways yet, I was rather disappointed in it but would love to try Meadowland and the Stephen Moss book.

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    1. No I haven't read The Old Ways yet - it is on the pile waiting to be read - I did read another book of Robert Macfarlane's which wasn't as good as I expected it to be - I'll just have to wait and see.

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  16. No photos are required for the afternoon tea; the words performed the task beautifully.How very civilised was my thought on reading about it.

    I have also been seated in front of that very same hairdresser's mirror. I know exactly what you mean, it's a universal mirror with universal reactions.

    Ms Soup

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    1. Thanks Ms Soup. A lovely afternoon was had by all - afternoon tea, a delightful English pastime.

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  17. Love the way you described your afternoon + all the quotes. Your pics are lovely despite the light! And powercuts are common in S Africa...

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    1. Thank you Jandi. Winter isn't always the best time to take photos unless it is sparkling with snow. Unfortunately we have had no snow so far - lots of strong wind though that practically whips you off your feet.

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  18. I love that Ridge and Furrow field; how marvellous to have that on your doorstep.

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    1. You have mentioned this before - I wonder what it is that draws your attention.

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    2. It brings history alive for me. I can just picture those post-Roman farmers ploughing with their primitive tools, etc. Very romantic.

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  19. Wonderful description of a Tea time ... yes, some moments you can not destroy with the click of a camera, and we can not penetrate the private sphere of a person - I know that well!
    But you've done beautiful photos of the other thinhgs and moments.
    Have a nice weekend

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    1. Thanks Mascha. I do agree sometimes it just isn't appropriate to take photos.

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  20. I totally agree with you and the other commenters: It's better to cherish some moments in the memories only; one can't take photos always and everywhere. You described the lovely afternoon tea so well that I can almost see and hear it.
    Wonderful photos and I too can relate to many things in this post, power outages and the awful lighting in the hairdressers... :)
    Have a lovely weekend!

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    1. Thanks Sara - I seem to have struck a nerve with the lighting in the hairdressers - it seems we all agree. Enjoy the rest of the weekend.

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  21. Dear Elaine, I loved your post, and can imagine vividly to sit at such a loaded table together with wonderful friends - we have so much to be thankful for!
    Not taking photographs: very sensible! I have visited a blogger in America - yes, first time that I met her in real life - and though maybe one day I will show the landscape, I will not show her or her house (though lovely - but: to private). . And my son & DiL asked very determined not to show photos of them on my blog, which is especially hard as they are really beautiful (and not only in my proud eyes).
    As to the weather: we are lucky here in Berlin: though we had a few stormy days, the temperature is high (8°Celsius today - "better than many days in Easter" said the radio speaker.
    As to your hair: are you unhappy with the dyeing? I let my hair natural silver+ blond and think it works like a soft focus lens. Or is it the cut? Then I would change the hairdresser.

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    1. Thanks Britta - sorry you have missed the point regarding the hairdressers - it wasn't my hair that I was complaining about but the awful lighting in there that makes you look a lot older than you do in your mirror at home

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    2. Oh, I see! Yes - the same thing always makes me wonder how on earth people who want to sell bathing trunks or clothes often use the weirdest light. On the other hand there are some with strange mirrors that make you very slim - but, as I am slim, I don't need that, and I think, nobody will be fooled by that-

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  22. What a wonderful teaparty that sounds! Love your charity shop buys too! xx

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    1. It was Amy. I was really surprised when the lady behind the counter said they were only a pound - I purchased them quickly before she changed her mind😊

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  23. I just loved those vintage pics, they really set the mood for your gathering and the tea party, I would have enjoyed being there. I'm glad you got together and hope you have many more enjoyable afternoons! I liked the giving and receiving of gifts too....if I come though, wine will be required!
    Interesting pile of books there, Nightwalk grabbed me! Looking at the damn winds raging here, yet again, I'd bet on the fact that your cherry has finally dropped it's leaves!
    I loved your charity shop buy, what a bloomin' bargain! We lost power in the rescue recently, it went on for an hour and everyone was pulling their hair out....which brings me to the hairdressers....jeez....I'm sure that twenty somethings look ancient with their hair scraped back....I cannot look in the mirror, if I did I'd just go home and shoot myself! Loving your choice of eye candy!xxx

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    1. Hi Dina
      It was a really lovely afternoon - catching up with our friend - who was on good form - I would hate for our friendship just to fade away because she has moved - I will make sure that it doesn't.

      I just wish there were more hours in the day for me to read all the books I have piling up. The books I showed are the sort you just dip into at the appropriate times of the year - even I can manage to do that.

      The cherry tree still has a few leaves still hanging on - I reckon they must be superglued or something!

      I was dead chuffed with the charity shop buys too - I love to see red and green at Christmas and think the jug will look lovely on the table full of greenery.

      As for the hairdressers - I just wish they would hang a towel over the mirror or something!!!!

      As for the eye candy - you are the first one to mention him - I was beginning to think I had bad taste in men! Have a good week - I do hope the winds die down soon, they have been causing havoc here.

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  24. Ladies that lunch. All I have done was print my cards and that was in case I was unable to later - as it turns out I needn't have.

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    1. Absolutely Sue - I could get used to it! I have ordered a few things on the 'net - so at least have made a start now. Do your cards feature one of your photographs?

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    2. They do, Elaine. This year red deer taken in Wentworth Castle deer park last year complete with snow which will also be used as my blog Christmas card.

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  25. I haven't heard of The Last Kingdom. I'm not sure if we can get it over here in the States. I am going to investigate. I love tea time....I am drinking some right now. It's a bit early in the day but since it's a lazy Sunday I suppose it's okay. I'm not sure what the book with the rabbits on it is...but it looks so interesting I think I am going to do some investigating to see if I can find out a bit about it.

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    1. Hi Kara
      I'm not sure whether you will be able to get it yet and as you seem to be a gentle sort of girl you might not like all the violence and bloodshed - I seem to have a dark side that enjoys it - it is fairly accurate historically and I am fascinated by how our country was formed in the 8th and 9th centuries by different warring tribes and invaders.

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  26. Happy sigh :) I love that passage from Wind in the Willows. Your Saturday afternoon tea party sounds perfect. What a lovely idea. Have a good week and thanks for linking up!

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    1. I re-read Wind in the Willows all the time and keep finding different passages each time I do. It was a lovely tea party - a nice way to spend a wet afternoon. Enjoy your week too.

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  27. Your description of the tea party made me want to go out and round up my friends immediately so that we could have a similar treat. Cut glass! Matching napkins! Sigh...

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    1. Isn't it nice to have an occasion where you can blow the cobwebs off the best china and get things out of the cabinet that rarely get used - this was one of those times.

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  28. Oh Elaine, such a lovely read again ... thank you.

    You just can't beat afternoon tea with good friends, it sounded a glorious way to spend time together.

    I love red at Christmas time I bring out quite a few family favourites at this time of year and they sit so nicely with a red Pointsettia.

    Now, this coming Thursday I will think of you as we both sit down to watch 'The Last Kingdom' - I think it is the last in the series ... I have enjoyed it, and appreciated the photo of Alexander Dreymon

    I hope the coming new week is a good one for you.

    Take Care

    All the best Jan

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    1. Thank you so much Jan - these occasions are few and far between but so enjoyable. I shall be buying my annual poinsettia very shortly I love the red ones in particular - the other colours just don't seem right! I have really enjoyed the to series and will be sad when it comes to an end - but I have no doubt there will be a second series. Have a lovely week.

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  29. Will you find my comment way down here at the bottom? Tea sounded wonderful. My dear friend with whom I worked with and traveled to the UK with, loves to give teas. We don't do it often enough and what a lovely way to sit and visit and catch up. For us, it is our group of educators and support staff at the university, a small, close group of English teachers who love English literature. Anything English. And who needs a camera? Sometimes they just get in the way and make us self conscious of ourselves--wrinkles and gray hair. Have a wonderful week and I do hope your weather improves. Ours is warm this week.

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    1. Dear Anne
      Hi - I have found you. It is so nice getting together with friends, whatever the occasion. The weather here has calmed down a little and is surprisingly mild but I am always wary of saying this as it can change rapidly. Have a good week.

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  30. Elaine, It sounds like just the kind of weather for a fire, a cup of hot tea, and some good books! Have you read The Old Ways? I have it as a sample on my Kindle. Now, if only I had one of those homemade scones!

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    1. It has warmed up just a little and the wind has dropped for now - there are lots of areas further north that are experiencing flooding with the amount of rain we have had. No I haven't read that book yet - I hope it lives up to expectations.

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  31. Ah Elaine your tea with friends sounds just lovely. We Americans have forgotten the art of a tea party I am afraid. Need to come take some lessons from our English friends. By the way I love "The Wind In the Willows".
    Your festive jug and plate look like a great find. Have a super week.

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    1. Hi Debbie
      I can't believe this - I was just thinking about you when up popped an email - how about that for sixth sense eh! The afternoon tea was straight from a magazine article - perfect. W in the W's one of my favourites too. Glad you like my charity shop finds. Have a lovely week yourself my friend.

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  32. That is a beautiful passage from Wind In The Willows which I have to confess I have never read. A wonderful post!

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    1. Thanks Freda. I often read Wind in the Willows for inspiration and come across passages that I had forgotten - this is one of them.

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  33. Leisured coziness sounds absolutely perfect. Such friendly elegance those vintage pictures are to illustrate your tea with friends. (nikkipolani)

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    1. I agree - we should all have some leisured coziness in our lives.

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  34. Hi Elaine
    Hope you enjoyed tonight's episode of The Last Kingdom ... I certainly did.

    Happy Friday Wishes for tomorrow.

    All the best Jan

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    1. Hi Jan
      Yes - I did enjoy it - a good ending to the series - and happy to hear there will be a second series coming up. I am reading the books as well, I am a little ahead of the TV so know what will be coming up - looking forward to it.

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  36. What a delightful post! Tea is such a gentle meal, I would love to invite some American friends here to enjoy it, an idea for next year.

    Hairdressers hold no fears for me, lol, I am incredibly short sighted so can hardly see my face in the mirror anyway. L is a wonder and I wait until I am home to see the results of her artistry! When I reached fifty I decided I was never going in a changing room again, unless for a sweater, perhaps. A bit of a faff to return something but worth it!

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    1. I think we ought to bring back some of the old traditions don"t you. Thanks for stopping by for a chat.

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