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Friday, 24 December 2010

Christmas Eve


Christmas Eve always goes by very quickly doesn't it and in a way it is the best time.  The anticipation is magical. Everything is ready and waiting, well nearly...

I still have mince pies to make and sausage rolls. This is the afternoon I do my baking. When the pastry is cooking in the oven, I shall make some chestnut stuffing for the turkey. Tomorrow we are having ham with a cheese sauce.  The turkey is waiting til Sunday.  At the moment they are both in the shed - my refrigerator is full!

 I finished the shopping yesterday in the snow and the ice - very seasonal. Tomorrow the smiles on their faces will tell me if I've been successful in my choices or not.

I always think that Christmas starts for real at 5 o'clock on Christmas Eve.  By then it is dark, people have got where they're going, the food is cooked and a feeling of calm descends on the household and the street.

So, I'd like to wish all my readers a very Happy Christmas and a big thank you for following me during 2010.

Remember it's not the amount of money you spend but the amount of love you give that makes Christmas so very special so let's all have a l-o-v-e-l-y time!

I hope you get what you wish for tomorrow and I shall look forward to popping in to your Blogs to see how you're getting on over the Christmas season.

Star

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

It's still so cold!

During the cold spell I've been busy decorating the kitchen. It's now 3/4 done regarding the painting of the walls.  I still need to do the wall behind the fridge/freezer, but that can wait til after Christmas now. At least it looks reasonable for the festivities.  I had to take off the paper, which had become very crisp and a fire hazard but that's done now and to spruce it up quickly, I've slapped some good old Magnolia emulsion paint on the walls.  As in all things, the preparation is what took the time.

I still have gloss painting to do and various other projects in there but I'm happy with it for the time being and it has kept me warm.

Here is a picture of 'the Ghost' who I think is a stray.  He comes into my house every night for warmth and shares the food bowl much to the disgust of Patch! Can you see why I call him 'The Ghost'?

This is the snow we got the other day, Saturday - 6 inches in 90 minutes, I'm told.

I'm glad I did that fence!




The car soon disappeared.


How are you managing to keep warm?

Friday, 17 December 2010

Strictly, the final's tomorrow!

I can't wait for tomorrow.  It's the final of the dancing competition we've all been hooked on for weeks.

Meanwhile, I'll tell you that Gavin and Scott are out of it now and we are left with three finalists.

Here is the first: Pamela Stevenson, a 61 year old grandma.  I think she's fantastic.
Here dancing the Quickstep.




Or how about Matt Baker dancing the tango from last week's semi-final.



Brilliant though they are, I think the winners will be Kara and Artem, seen here below dancing the rumba.



Who do you think is going to win it?

Have a great weekend everybody.
Star

Thursday, 9 December 2010

My English Garden - December 2010


When I got up this morning, it was -6 degs. That's way below freezing.
I couldn't wait to get out in the garden and take some pictures.
So many spider webs and icicles everywhere.


Frost covered everything as I wondered up and down the path.


But even so you can see the new mint shoots underneath the older dead stalks. See below.



The camellia is covered with flower buds. I shall have to wait til May next Spring before they burst open.


In the tub below are some bluebells.  I rescued them from under the shrubs I was pruning a few weeks ago.


You would never recognise this Loosestrife would you?  It's bright yellow in early summer.


Look carefully at the next picture (click to enlarge) and you'll see lots of dead leaves on the ground.  These are important to leave because they protect small insects from the intense cold.


The lilac tree in it's winter slumber waits patiently for Spring.


But some trees come into their own at this time of the year.  One of them is the Holly.  Just look at it in its splendour....!



With a frosty edging to all the leaves. It stands proud, waxy coated leaves untouched by winter's forces.



After all that looking and clicking, I think it's time for a cup of soup?


Will you join me in a plate full of English crumpets with butter and honey?

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Keeping warm, keeping busy


This has been the view from my back door all week - pretty but not practical!

I hope you can see that the fence on the right-hand side of the garden is now painted and finished?  I still have the left-hand side to do!  I think it looks a lot better in its rich brown colour.


All the shrubs have been trimmed back and re-shaped. They will enjoy renewed vigour in the Spring.



I've tried to keep the path clear, but every time I cleared it, it snowed again!


I've been trying to keep the birds fed.  They appreciate my efforts and it is an effort because just keeping upright is an effort! First I cut up the bread into the right sized pieces; then I measure out the mealworms for the robins to eat.

Every day I change their water and the previous day's water pot comes back in frozen solid.

All this snow outside has given me the opportunity to decorate the kitchen.  I have spent a week of hours, so far, stripping the walls of wallpaper.  Here's how I'm getting on.





I've decided to strip off the paper behind the cooker today but I need a bit of help to move the cooker first.  It's a gas cooker and it's fixed to the wall.  I need a big strong man to move it for me.  Any offers??


When I've done that, I have the awkward area behind the boiler to negotiate.  Lots of twisting and turning.


I know you like to read about my suffering, so I'll tell you that once the paper is all off and the floor cleaned and tidied, I will need to sandpaper down the walls.  Is that enough suffering?

No? well how about a trip to the dentist next Thursday for a root canal treatment? 

Roll on Friday when I get to look after my grandson for the afternoon while his mummy has her hair done.

Have a great Sunday.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Here come the men...!

We are going into week 10 of our Strictly Come Dancing competition over here in England. The boys are doing really well.  Last week I showed you two of the girls but this week, let's examine the boys!

 Never let it be said that British men are not sexy!

Here is Matt Baker dancing with his professional partner, Aliona Vilani.




and here's Gavin Henson (he's Welsh) dancing the Paso Doble with his partner Katya Virshilas.




and finally Scott Maslen and Natalie Lowe




We could well have a man in the final but I still like Kara Tointon best.  Ann Widdecombe is still in the running although I maintain that she is on the wrong show!.

I hope you enjoy watching these videos.

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

It's very cold in England

                                                
HAD I the heavens' embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet,
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams

W.B. Yeats


I woke up this morning to a white world.  England is covered in a blanket of snow.  It looks pretty but it is causing havoc as usual.


I am hoping not to go out today unless just in the garden to feed the birds.  I have bought some mealworms to feed the robin and he is very grateful, hopping back and forward all day long to take his fill.  I'm hoping to take a short video of him later to show you but first I have lots of ironing to do.



Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
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by Robert Frost (1923)
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Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.




I took these pictures in my magical wood last year but since it looks exactly the same today, I am posting them again. I don't think you can have too much of a good thing.













Star