Saturday, 14 December 2013


Slowly, slowly Christmas is creeping up on me.  Yesterday was the last Welsh class of the year, so after only half a lesson, we all walked down the road to a small country pub by the sea and had lunch.  I am very proud to say that we all spoke Welsh together even though we weren't in class.  We must be improving!  English took over in the end though, but we parted with hugs and wishes of Nadolig Llawen (Happy Christmas) and promises to do the mammoth homework Babs has kindly set us...

The weather is still quite mild but the wind blows strong; no sign of frost or snow any time soon.  Gloves and hats stay firmly in the drawers while blankets and extra quilts are folded up in cupboards instead of on our beds.  I am grateful that we don't need the heating on for many hours a day, so money is being saved there.  One of our long held Christmas traditions that we all look forward to each year is the purchasing of the double issue of the Radio Times.  People in Britain will understand!  I never buy or even look at a news paper or magazine of this sort at any other time of the year, but the Christmas Radio Times is as important to the comfort of our homely Christmas as presents, chocolate and decorations.

I like to sit down with it and a cup of tea and mark the programmes that we will all want to watch.  This year I am looking forward very much to Death Comes to Pemberley, an absolute must for Jane Austen fans I would imagine.  Six years after Elizabeth and Mr Darcy marry, something nasty happens at their gorgeous English mansion house, Pemberley.  Thankfully, neither Lizzie nor Darcy are the victims and it has a happy ending.  Phew, that's alright then.  Also looking forward to Alice in Wonderland and of course, the ubiquitous Wizard of Oz.  Yay!  I have seen this film almost every Christmas since I was a child and I love it.  The flying monkeys still give me the creeps though.

My friend gave me a jar full of chocolates for Christmas.  The jar is very old and heavy.  I love it.  She's had it for years so I was very touched that she gave it to me.  It looked gorgeous full of brightly coloured wrapped chocolates.  That didn't last long though, as I kept dipping into it all yesterday afternoon and once the boys came home, they went through it like a plague of locusts.

You can imagine how pretty it would have looked when full.  Well, you will have to imagine, as it's almost empty now.  The glass is quite thick and it has a really nice lid too.

I am a very lucky girl to have such nice friends.

This morning we all went shopping.  I bought a lovely dress that I shall wear over Christmas and beyond, H1 bought a new pair of jeans and H2 got himself some batteries for his new head torch thingy that Santa gave him yesterday at school.  H1 said he wanted to buy a present for his school friend.  'That's nice,' said I, 'What will you buy him?'  'A pack of bin liners,' replied H1.  Pardon?,' Did you say bin liners? For your friend? For Christmas?'  H1 rolled his eyes and said 'Yes, it's a laugh, everyone does it.'  Do they?  I hope no one does it for me.  In the end, after I told him not to be do darned stupid, he got a tube of Jelly Tots.  A much nicer present, I thought.  Sitting in the back of the car on the way home, I heard his brain clicking and whirring and sure enough..'Mam,' he said,'I don't think I will bother giving this to my friend after all, it's a bit girly for guys to give each other presents at our age.'  I was a bit suprised but said 'Oh, OK then, what will you do with it?'  Obvious really.  He barely answered before the wrapper and lid were off and he had several in his mouth.  'Nuf said.

 It is getting very busy out there in the real world, so I don't intend to go in it again until after Christmas, when things have calmed down a bit.  As I was reversing out of my car parking space, a woman walked right behind my car, not even looking where she was going.  I could easily have flattened her if I hadn't been looking either.  People become so focused on buying and rushing about, that they have no idea what is going on around them.  Concentrate people!   Pea is spending the afternoon in Llandudno cinema watching The Hobbit with her friends.  I took her to the train station on the way home and left them all huddled up on the platform together.  The weather has taken a definite turn for the worse since mid morning and is now howling a gale and raining hard.  The mild temperatures I spoke of at the beginning of this post have dropped somewhat, making us pull coats and jumpers firmly on.  I have to go and pick her up from the 8.05 train this evening.  Hate going out in this kind of weather.  I will be very happy when we are both back in and I can lock the door behind us and settle down for the night.

There is only one week to go until the children break up for the holidays.  H2 has a busy week with a school play on Tuesday followed by three days of fun; a trip to Llandudno theatre to see Sleeping Beauty and a school Christmas party.  H1 and Pea have internal mock exams; not the real mocks but a preparation for them.  Of course neither of them are impressed about any kind of exam or test in the last week of term.  Pea has been revising of course, but I haven't seen much evidence of H1 doing any.  Nothing new there then.  So I have one week to bake, make edible delights, clean, tidy and wash mountains of clothes.  Then I can relax, eat chocolate, watch films and walk the dogs; that's all I want to do really.

Love Christmas!xxx

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Winter Garden

I love gardens and I love Winter, therefore it doesn't take a genius to work out that I love gardens in Winter.  As we moved into this house only two months ago, I do not know my garden yet and have no notion of the secrets it holds within it's earth.  Far from being dormant, it still has colour and life even in December.  The mild days and sunshine have kept leaves on trees for longer and tiny flowers blossoming bravely on.  There is plenty to admire and plenty to look forward to.

This morning I had this lovely view to greet me when I opened the curtains.  The beginning of a beautiful day.  I have a mountain of dirty washing to get through, so the prospect of a sunny day with a light breeze to dry it all was a real delight, which just goes to show how sad and pathetic my life is.  It doesn't yet feel like Christmas though.  We have the tree and decorations up, there are Christmas songs on the radio and the children at the junior school are practising hard for the Christmas play.  But it doesn't feel like Christmas.  I have wrapped all my presents and Christmas cards are trickling through the letter box each day.  I have stacks of chocolate, flour, sugar and jam ready for a mammoth baking session next week and we are counting down the days to the Christmas holidays.  So what is wrong with me?  Actually I'm not the only one, others are feeling the same.  I think it is the weather.  Here in Britain we blame the weather for everything from our mental state to the clothes we wear, so I may as well blame it for my lack of Christmas excitement too.

I feel that we should be enjoying crisp, cold mornings with frost crunching beneath our feet when we walk and our frozen breath hanging in the air;  fingers numb in knitted gloves and scarves wrapped tightly round our necks.  I took the dogs for a walk this afternoon and got so hot in my  winter coat I needed a glass of water when I came home, rather than a steaming mug of hot chocolate.  It doesn't seem right.

H1 complained that he hasn't worn his hat and gloves yet but I have to tell him to put his coat on to take Puppy for a walk, despite his protestations.  It really isn't that warm, but he's a teenager, so what can I expect.  We are all feeling a bit worn out at the moment and seriously looking forward to the Christmas holidays when we can get up later, watch television during the day, eat Quality Street for breakfast and walk the dogs on the beach.  The children are doing their homework while I am writing.  Every few seconds someone sighs in a long suffering fashion, scribbles or rubs out their work and starts again.  I cannot concentrate either.  I keep writing rubbish, deleting it and writing more rubbish in it's place.  Sorry.

Maybe some photographs of foliage will take your attention away from the poor sentence structure.  Are things always this intensely green at this time of year?  I find myself getting excited at the prospect of ordering seeds, drawing a garden plan and finally digging and creating a garden.  One snow fall would send all that scuttling from my mind and into a dark, cosy corner to await the spring warmth.  I long for frost, the glitter of ice and the whisper of snow flakes as they fall slowly to the ground.  I long to be snowed in with my children (providing I have plenty of food, gas and dog biscuits of course) and spend days making snow men and dragging the sledge up and down the lane.  In reality I would do it twice and then collapse in a heap causing great embarrassment to my children who would probably walk off and leave me there, sprawled unbecomingly, pretending they have never seen me before in their lives.  Charming.

While the garden looks pretty now, snow and frost would add a completely new dimension and turn it into a secret garden from a child's story book, full of magic and promises.  It will come, we just have to wait.

In the meantime I need to do something to get me more in the Christmas spirit.  Any suggestions gratefully received!  Hope you are enjoying your December, where ever you are. xxx