Sunday, December 20, 2009

Winter Wonderland

My back garden, under snow.

The quaintest of the five pubs in the village: The Woolpack.

The village church.

And the little chapel by the old abbey on our favourite short walk.  Just a pity that it is painfully cold and treacherous underfoot.  Ah, to be six again, when snow was an unalloyed pleasure.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire...

Eighteen years we have lived in this house, yet I doubt  if we have lit this little stove more than five or six times.  Some early experiences involving a lot of smoke, and the presence of perfectly adequate storage heaters, have made it seem like a waste of time.  Still, as the temperature drops outside, what could be nicer than to bask in front of an open fire, enjoying buttered crumpets and mince pies?

Note, among the brassware, a piece of utilitarian laundry equipment, which I remember my mother buying new.  Called a "poss," it was in weekly use alongside the dolly-tub, boiler and mangle during my childhood.  And now here it is decorating my hearth.

Another little sampler from my collection.  In this case, a mystery item from a junkshop.  The imagery speaks of the Twenties or early Thirties, but it is still very much a sampler (click to embiggen)

Saturday brought an unpleasant surprise.  My husband having just collected a batch of timber destined to be our new dining-table, set off for his shed anticipating a few hours of pondering and pencil-chewing.  But, through night, a large, high, storage shelf had collapsed, scattering a scrow of debris over his workbench.  Thus began several hours of final reckoning and a trip to the tip.  When did I think I would ever complete a macrame lampshade, started in the early Eighties?  His shed is much improved by this enforced de-clutter.  Only this little owl survives from the macrame enterprise.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Stored Goodies

More Christmas preparation in the form of spiced preserves from Delia's Christmas book.  Pears in one jar, with lemon slices, and clementines in the other, both drenched in wine vienegar, brown sugar and cloves.  The kitchen certainly smelt like Christmas as these simmered.  In January, they are lovely with cold cuts.

Delia's Christmas food programme on tv, however, was like a voice from another age.  Who now slathers on the butter and double cream with quite such a free hand?  Though it is true that her Luxury Fish Pie was lovely because of the unctuous nature of the potato topping.

Our loft was recently much admired by two chaps from the local historical society, because its unimproved state allows full sight of the rafters with their many centuries of alterations and road -grime.  Stashed up there I have all those items bought at textile fairs and boot-fairs and charity shops, knowing they would come in one day.  That day has now arrived for a piece of tweed woven from sari silk scraps.  It's so long since I sewed anything for myself that I was unconvinced by this, but in fact, with skirts, it is a question of hitting a length which is currently in vogue and matching that with what one's figure will stand.  It looks very lively with a bright top picking up one of the colours and the obligatory black tights.