Thursday, 31 December 2015

Garden Update


Welcome back to blogland!

It's still warm and a bit drizzly here. In the garden, the heathers are starting up again providing a bit of colour and there are a few pretty pink Japonica flowers.

The euphorbia has teeny red flowers.

There's still a touch of red in the ivy.

Hellebores ready to bloom.

The silver birch bark is all gnarly as usual.

Bulbs are popping up.

Berberis have a few orange flowers.

So although there hasn't been any frost yet, there is a hint of Spring!  Storm Frank is on the way bringing more rain to the North just when they could do without it.

Glad you are back from the holidays, thanks for visiting.

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Christmas Present


How are you? Long time no see!

I'm easing myself back to normal following the Christmas season. The best bits - seeing family both near and far, sharing traditions built up over the years, everything being in the right place at the right time, hearing all the news in letters and cards, that period of calm on Christmas morning.

Not so good bits - car breaking down on the way to collect Mum on Boxing Day.

Luckily Christmas is still carrying on for a few more days although I have had to take the paper decorations and tinsel down as I can only cope with ducking underneath it for a short while as each day it gets lower and lower, still the youngest Mr CK does enjoy decking the hall when he comes home. I wouldn't have it any other way.

We're going to finish up the mince pies today as they won't taste right tomorrow as it's New Year's Eve.

Hope you've all had a great time.

This is one of the youngest Mr CKs photos, he's such a good photographer.

Thanks for calling in.

Bye for now

Friday, 25 December 2015

Happy Christmas

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas

See you in the New Year

Thursday, 24 December 2015

A Christmas Walk


Oooh what a lovely day!

Despite the Christmas preparations, I managed to take a break for a mooch by the meadows following the tiny channel leading to the balancing pond which retains excess rain water to stop any flooding.  The water in the tiny channel has been excitingly used for racing plastic ducks in the past and I was rather cross that I had left mine behind on this occasion.

The seagulls, geese and swans were enjoying a feast in the pond. I walked along the muddy path to the river where the water was gushing and rushing along following the rain we've had lately.

Popping into the Day Centre, the ladies and gentlemen were all lined up in their chairs having a cup of tea and a biscuit, sun streaming through the windows, balloons everywhere, all set for a delicious Christmas dinner having whooped it up at a party yesterday.

Thanks so much for visiting.

Bye for now.

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Gingerbread House


Following on from my Five on Friday post on previous gingerbread houses, I've just finished this year's creation.

They always seem to make themselves, design-wise, when we don't have a special design prepared.

I cooked it all yesterday with the help from our son, who had the important job of smashing the boiled sweets with a rolling pin to make the stained glass windows. The real house smelt delicious while all the spiciness was cooking.

Putting it all together is a bit fiddly and usually involves a large quantity of mugs leaning against the walls until the chocolate glue sets.  Unfortunately, I forgot to take the mugs out when I put the roof on, so they are stuck inside till we eat it!

The roof is a bit too long and is a bit wonky where I was holding it all together but it's all decorated haphazardly with various sugary things now. So that's it for another year!

I have to say that the white writing icing by Dr Oetkar was particularly good this year and stuck really well compared to other icings I've used in the past.

Bye for now.

Monday, 21 December 2015

The Secret Garden - Mosaic Monday


Have you read Frances Hodgson-Burnett's The Secret Garden?

It was first published in 1911 and is the story of spoilt and recently orphaned Mary Lennox who comes from a privileged background in India to live with her uncle in Misselthwaite Manor in England. Roaming round the grounds, she finds an arched doorway and discovers a secret overgrown garden which she transforms into a thing of beauty, her attitudes changing as she does so.  In another part of the house, her cousin Colin who thinks he is an incurable invalid is prone to tantrums but gradually Mary helps him get involved with the garden and he begins to change too.

It's a heartwarming tale. Here are a few quotes:

'If you look the right way, you can see the whole world is a garden.'

'Where you tend a rose my lad, a thistle cannot grow.'

“The robin flew from his swinging spray of ivy on to the top of the wall and he opened his beak and sang a loud, lovely trill, merely to show off. 'Nothing in the world is quite as adorably lovely as a robin when he shows off and they are nearly always doing that.'

The robin plays a key part in the story leading Mary to the buried key to the garden.

Seems a bit Christmassy to me!

Many thanks to Judith for the Mosaic Monday link up.

Have a great Christmas!

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Saturday, 19 December 2015

The Park by the Shops


For some reason it has been necessary to go to the shops AGAIN!! I've had a flat battery this week most inconveniently so I'm a bit behind. The car's not been great either! Ha ha!

Thank goodness Mr CK has been able get us back on track again and I was able to meander round the park breathing fresh air in a stress free way.

It's still very warm (in fact, it was the warmest December night ever last night - 14°C) and sunny and I was able to mooch about without a jacket.

A Christmas coot - look at those feet!

A sneaky primrose

Poster for a treasure hunt - exciting!

Jazzy theatre foyer

Guess who's behind the door . . . . . Santa plus elves fab!

Christmas tree - I love their scenery
Sleeping Beauty is in full swing with coachloads of local schools turning up to watch.

On with the shopping now . . .


Friday, 18 December 2015

Five on Friday - Christmas Again!


Thanks for visiting what I think is the last Five on Friday before THE BIG DAY! I know, it's come round rather quickly!! Thanks Amy for all the Fives this year, I've really enjoyed joining in and getting to know all the lovely people out there that read your blog and now read mine, leaving such kind messages.

Keeping with the festive theme, here are my five:

One - Cards

I really look forward to receiving cards and letters from friends and relations, many of which I don't see from one year to the next. I love the so-called round robins which are so vilified - I just don't know why, as nothing pleases me more than hearing how well people are doing, seeing their photos and sharing their plans.

Two - Presents

We have a couple of presents under the tree already. I like to look at them and wonder. That's the best bit. Anticipation! Small homemade presents are wonderful.

Three - Crackers

There's nothing dafter than a Christmas cracker but we wouldn't be without them, would we. After the BANG, out pops a hat, a joke and a present. Then the toys go in the drawer and gradually increase in numbers, well they might be useful one day!

Four - Snow

Traditionally, it's snowy at Christmas but in actual fact we're more likely to have snow between January and March. A white Christmas is defined by the Met Office as one snowflake falling somewhere in the UK during the 24 hours of 25th December. It was more likely to happen in the 18th and 19th centuries. Have a look at this website to see a chart of Christmas snowfall from 1959 to the present.

Five -  New Year

We have a great many anniversaries to look forward to in the UK next year -

950th Battle of Hastings
400th William Shakespeare's Death
300th Capability Brown
350th Great Fire of London
200th Charlotte Bronte's birth
150th Beatrix Potter's birth
100th Roald Dahl's birth

That's going to keep us all busy plus there's the Rio Olympics too!

All the very best to you all for Christmas and the New Year if you aren't able to call in again.


Thursday, 17 December 2015

And They're Off


Our Three Kings have started their long journey, following the star to Bethlehem.

He's gone back to get his present.

It's really busy here.

Hurry up camel

I wonder if they do bed and breakfast.

Camels aren't allowed on the beach.

Are you sure this is the right way?

It's this way.

Hello, hello

This looks a good place to stay.

You're walking too fast

What's the time? Are we nearly there yet?

Meanwhile, Mary and Joseph have spotted a rather nice inn, the lady has come out to meet them - well the sun is shining.

Not long now!

Thanks for calling in.
Bye for now