Showing posts from December, 2009


Sometimes life can be very sad. You try to comfort yourself with all the truth's that you believe in, all the cliche's that you trot out on these occasions, but of course it doesn't help very much. Nothing does. As you get older you know that these things simply take time, and the hurt gets a little less, but doesn't ever go away. For all the people and creatures that you could possibly love in a whole lifetime there is a price to be paid and it can sometimes be very harsh. Little Bella left us this morning and we hope that her spirit has now joined with the Great Life Force from where we all come and one day shall return, united and one with all the life forces that ever were or ever shall be. We shall miss her dreadfully but give thanks for the life that she had and the joy that she gave to us.

Escape to the Past

One of the things I have loved best about this festive season is the new two part drama Cranford that was on BBC1 the last couple of weeks. I was totally hooked on the BBC adaptation of Elizabeth Gaskill's wonderful books when it first aired about a year ago and could hardly wait for their return. The series has such charm and gentle humour and watching it is like boarding a time machine and escaping into the past. I revel in the clothes, the lace and frills and bonnets. The customs, the curtseying, bowing, the simple good manners. Cranford was filmed in the village of Lacock in Wiltshire. Lacock is a National Trust Village and has hardly changed for more than 200 years. Perfect for filming this series which is set in the 1830's and 40's. When Elizabeth Gaskill wrote Cranford in 1851 she was already describing a way of life that was fast disappearing. The world of her childhood which I suspect she viewed with the rose tinted glasses of nostalgia. Her books were

Christmas Gifts

Having categorically stated that this year I was NOT going to buy gifts but make them all myself, I am proud to announce that all is just about finished. And I am well pleased. Mind you, not all the recipients will be as chuffed as I am. It's not that I made naff stuff for them; I took a great deal of care and thought over the choice of gift for each person, but a lot of them are not used to having this kind of gift. It got me thinking about the whole gift giving thing. In my family we would buy gifts for people secretly, we pretended that we were not going to get anything for them at all, but through stealth and detective work we would find out what they would appreciate most and then seek it out for them, or we would purchase something that we wanted them to have, irregardless of whether we knew that they would like it or not. Playing down all the effort that it took to find the exact thing that fit the bill was always the order of the day. Now, in my husband's family

Vegetarians Look Away Now!

This is the butchers in Oxford's Covered Market. It looks fabulous doesn't it? Well I guess it doesn't if you are a vegetarian. But even when I was a vegetarian I loved it. It's because of the history of the place. The market opened in November of 1774 and is still going strong today, except I think it may have changed a little bit, though looking at the butchers shop pictures you wouldn't think so! The market is purpose built because the people of Oxford objected to the untidiness of all the market stalls in the streets and so a special covered area was commissioned to house the stalls. The stalls soon became permanent shops but the whole place has retained the feel of a market. Initially the market sold only meat, it began with twenty butchers shops like the one above, which is the only one remaining. These little snowmen below (if that's what they are) are made entirely of fruit and vegetables..., it's a grapefruit with an orange on top and baby

A Special Visitor

Did I mention in my last post that I was expecting a special visitor? Perhaps I was a bit uptight because of this... well... here he is......... ..... my big brother! I haven't seen him for over two years and before that it was two years previous and every visit is fleeting... he arrived last night about 7 o'clock... it's just about mid-day here now and he has already left. It's not that he doesn't like us, it's a lifestyle that he chose many years ago when he was still a teenager. He travels - has a house in Scotland that he barely sees, works in Kazakstan, will be Christmas-ing in Thailand and then New Year in Osaka, Japan. He turns up - sometimes un-announced after a long quiet absence and then disappears again into... we don't always know. He is single so he doesn't have to ask anyone's permission or approval to do whatever he wishes. He is mysterious, interesting, always excellent company and my children love him, have always loved hi

How Romantic

I was wombling around the internet, as you do, when I came across this blog . Now I have to be honest that I tend not to read blogs that are overtly Christian. I hope my Christian readers will not take offence at this, it's just my own viewpoint... BUT.... I was very intrigued by this young lady's lifestyle... and apart from her religious beliefs (which are entirely her own affair) I think she lives a wonderful life, a life many of us would aspire to. In fact it seems to be a romantic dream - does it look romantic (idyllic) because I am viewing it from afar? Or is she only posting about certain aspects of her life that give this impression? Well I guess we all pick and choose what to post about. I am sure she has boring chores to do, wants to rage against her parents from time to time ( is she not human?), and all the rest of the stuff that normal daily life consists of. And then I wondered if our lives are somehow made better by the fact that we post about them? Aft

The Big Clearout and Memories of Florence

You know how it is... a big festival is approaching, visitors are threatening to descend, the spare room needs sorting out, you plan to move something from the spare room into another room, but that means you have to make space for it, which involves emptying a cupboard... and before you know it ... This is/was my computer room... the remnants of my business are kept in here, it also doubles as my linen cupboard and where I keep my genealogy files, plus the paper store, the place where we dump old tech, cd's, books, floppy disks (!?) etc... "I'm just going to make a space in the computer room... it wont take more than half an hour...." Three hours later and I am sat in a pile of waste paper trying to sort into recycle and shredding piles... I've already put several unwanted bits of old tech on Freecycle and I'm getting quite bogged down with it all when I came across an old notebook that I used as a diary in 2005.... mmmm.... February 2005, Billy Steve,

Confessions of a Window Cleaner

This is my window cleaner. I was thinking he was overdue as my conservatory windows are filthy... he came this morning and after a little chat I discovered that throughout the whole of November he only worked 3 days - it rained too much for cleaning windows you see. I never thought about how the weather affected his job, and of course because he only worked three days... he only got three days pay! How sad is that! I had just taken some double chocolate cookies out of the oven... .... so I gave him and his mate a giant cookie each. I am sure they would have rather had some extra money... but that is a tight commodity here too. Then I sat down to have a cup of tea and a cookie... mmm... I think I'm going to have the cleanest windows in the village... Nigella's devine recipe......... Intense Chocolate Cookies Ingredients: 125g dark chocolate 150g plain flour 30g sifted cocoa powder 1tsp bicarbonate soda 1/2 tsp salt 125g unsalted butter, softened 75g ligh

Just warning you...

BAH HUMBUG!!!! Actually I am not naturally a Bah Humbug sort of person... but increasingly becoming so. This is the house opposite ours........ can you spot it? Yes, their Christmas decorations went up a week ago!!! I'll say that again... A WEEK AGO! This is the house two doors along from them... their decorations went up last weekend. LAST WEEKEND. The first lot have an excuse of sorts... they have young children... but the people in the house above are about 90 years old and all their children are grown up. What is the date today? And when is Christmas? Whatever happened to putting up the tree on Christmas eve? When I had the soap company I used to begin making my Christmas stock in August. The sun would be shining brightly, high in the sky and I would be ordering festive ribbons and glitter and Frankincense and Myrrh essential oils. By the time it got to early December I was always so fed up of Christmas that I simply could not get excited or festive about