Saturday, 6 December 2014

Preparations for Christmas.

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It's time to start the preparations for Christmas, isn't it! Time to find or remember where you put the decorations, the Christmas cards, ribbons and bows and of course the Christmas tree. Time to make that all important cake and start the shopping... I've noticed that my branch of Sainsbury's is getting busier by the day. There were very few free spaces in the car park this morning. On the shelves there is change!  Familiar items have disappeared for the time being to make room for all those special treats we come to expect at this time of the year.

One of the places I love to visit is Poplars, the garden centre, which is a short drive from where we live.  They always put on a good display for Christmas and each year there is a different theme.  This year's theme is The Snow Queen and you can see her in the picture below, sitting on her sleigh with the reindeer in front.  There is a Santa hut for the children. It gets more spectacular each year.  The restaurant does good business with mince pies galore and a view of the Christmas trees for sale just outside the window.

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Garden centres do big business over here these days.  They have changed enormously since the days when they were just nurseries. Now they are grand and full of all sorts of delights and it is possible to spend the whole day in them.

We bought a new Christmas tree for this year. I think it's a little bigger than the previous one but we are restricted by space so it is still small. I may need to buy some new baubles for it (yeah) but must wait and see. First I need to assess the situation and where we're going to put it etc.

Most importantly - don't forget your spiritual preparations. If you go to church, go! If you don't, consider trying it? Or follow your God wherever he/she goes. You will be all the more richer for it.

Will you be having a Christmas tree in your home this year? Have you decorated it yet?

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Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Book Review - The Last Runaway by Tracy Chevalier

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'Honor Bright is a sheltered Quaker, who has rarely ventured out of 1850's Dorset (England) when she impulsively emigrates to America.  Opposed to the slavery that defines and divides the country, she finds her principles tested to the limit when a runaway slave appears at the farm of her new family.  In this tough, unsentimental place, where whisky bottles sit alongside quilts, Honor befriends two spirited women who will teach her how to turn ideas into actions.'

My friend bought this book for me for my birthday, back in October and I loved it. It is the third book by Tracy Chevalier that I have read. The first was 'The Girl with the Pearl Earring' and the second was 'Burning Bright'.

My friend thought I would like the book because it deals with an English girl's journey to America to begin a new life. She knew that I had that same experience back in 2006 when I left my life in England to go and live in Tennessee. From then until 2013 I was back and forth from England to America, spending approximately six months of the year in each country. Finally, Larry and I decided that England was the best choice for a permanent home given that we are both getting older! The distances are not so great, there is not so much the need for private transport and the health service is better. Those were the three main criteria which influenced our choice plus the fact that I already owned half a house over here.

In the story, Honor's choice was different, but in many ways she found the same differences over there that I did.

I encourage you to read this book. It is a good read and very enlightening.

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