Saturday 28 December 2013

Merry Christmas!

For me, it's still definitely Christmas time. I have one acquaintance who has already taken down her tree and put away all the decorations. I think she's got it wrong - she starts very early and therefore finishes too soon, whereas I like to put up the tree a little later (I think later than we did it this year would be even better, just so the magic feeling is still there for the day itself) and don't take the decorations down till 12th night. But each to his own (so long as it doesn't hurt anyone else!).

Gingerbread house made by A at a friend's house. We've not eaten it yet. I assume they do get eaten at some point? It's the first time we've had one.

Now to some pictures from a walk/cycle A and I made on the 22nd of Dec, so just after the winter solstice. The photos were taken between 2 and 3 in the afternoon when the sun is already close to the horizon.

Love the bare branches against wintry skies. 

I spotted this blackbird feasting on hawthorn berries. He was too far away to get a decent photo. However, I like to think the resulting image resembles some sort of painterly effect.

 More berries.

Christmas Eve mantlepiece.

This year we were out on Christmas Eve thanks to N and the family of his best friend from school who were having a little social evening. It was a lovely chance to get to know some people from the village better. As it was a fairly late night for the children (though we were still home in plenty time for Santa to visit) we didn't have to get up till 8 on Christmas Day.

Now to some photos from Christmas Day...

The cake (Nigella's chocolate fruit cake, as usual). We were all too stuffed on the day to try some. Rather a lot of it was devoured on Boxing Day when we had hubby's (fairly numerous) family round. I've still to try it, have been too busy eating other things...

I like our dining room. We don't actually eat here often as we tend to use the table in the kitchen. However the room is used all the time as you need to pass through it to reach the kitchen or the rest of the house, so it's not one of those dining rooms that's shut away except for special days. Normally hubby uses the table for the laptop and I use it for folding washing before taking it upstairs (one of the household chores I quite enjoy though putting it all away doesn't seem to appeal so much)

It's also the room where we keep the piano. A has been taking piano lessons and played Away in a Manger for us on Christmas Day. Awww!

Candles all lit, ready to eat. We had duck this year. It was nice, but I think I prefer chicken which is what we'd normally have. We also had masses of stuffing; I love making (and eating!) stuffing - this year it was sausage meat with fried onions, garlic and bacon, toasted pine nuts, parsley, bread crumbs and a beaten egg to combine. Mmmm! We also had cocktail sausages, roasted parsnips and potatoes, sprouts, sweetcorn and bread sauce. As usual, we were too full for Christmas pudding. Normally we have sandwiches and cold sausages etc later, but as we didn't eat till three we were still too full. That's usually my favourite time of Christmas Day, so I'll try and remember to get things ready sooner next year.

A murky view of the park on Boxing Day, taken on the way to the shops for more milk and butter.

Yesterday I took the kids down for a fleeting visit to my parents. They stay about 100 miles away so it's a bit of a trek. The weather wasn't pleasant for driving either, especially on the homeward trip in the dark - so much spray from the lorries when passing, rather unnerving I find.

Anyway, no more visiting/hosting obligations now till nearer New Year so I've time to get going on the essay again. Why am I therefore spending the time blogging? Sigh, I don't like essay writing, I'm going to end up doing several very late nights nearer the time methinks. I'm at the reading/researching stage and I find the academic style of writing challenging - why can't they just say exactly what they mean and get straight to the point in as few words as possible. Most journal articles to me seem unnecessarily complicated and long winded...  


driftwood said...

merry Christmas to you xxx it looks like you had a lovely day x

Anonymous said...

Lovely images, as usual. I agree that the one with the Blackbird looks painterly, I like it very much.

When I was married the decorations were put up on Christmas Eve and taken down at Epiphany. I was usually fed up with seeing them before then.

I have no idea what to do with a gingerbread house either but guess that it should be eaten.

Lyn said...

I loved catching up with your Christmas. Gorgeous photos as usual.
I am also glad you did some blogging instead of your essay too!
Happy New Year to you all. xxx

Vicky aka Stichr said...

Lovely gingerbread house! I really like the window...I will have to show this to my daughter, the one who makes a GBH every year.

Also, I want to show both my girls [who really are adults] your stars....please can I have more information about them? I have a granddaughter who will love these and of course want to make them. [she has Aspergers Syndrome, a form of autism, and paper folding is a favorite.]

Thank you! Gup [grandma][vicky][stichr]

CJ said...

Beautiful photos, it sounds as if you had a wonderful time. I always make Nigella's chocolate fruit cake as well. We've got a gingerbread house too, and we're slowly working our way through it. I'm not sure if it will all get finished though, there's quite a lot of it!

Mereknits said...

It looks like you had a beautiful few days with your family. I love looking around your very beautiful, cozy home. As for paperwork, I am just awful at getting it done, sometimes I just have to force myself. It is hard to work on the computer when blogging and Pinterest try to distract me. Good luck,

tove said...

Thank you so much for your sweet comment over at mine! Oh, what a lovely post! I so enjoyed reading about your Christmas. I couldn't agree more about decorating too early, we don't take the tree in before the evening of the 23rd. When the kids were small, we decorated it after they went to bed, to give them the experience of magic when they tip toed down the stairs in the morning. Your home looks so warm and cosy, exactly what a home should be! And your countryside is so beautiful!! Love the gingerbread house. We usually have one too, and the tradition over here is that the kids get to invite some friends and use a hammer on it just after New year. Before too much dust settles... Enjoy the rest of the Holidays, and lots of happiness in the coming year!! Good luck with your essay!!

Louise said...

I've always find it easier to actually get of with essays as the deadline approaches - it's so easy to find better things to do while you still have time to write the essay! Good luck with it.


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