Sunday 31 December 2017

December 31st and Remembering 2017

I always did this on my old blog, the photos here are taken from the blog through the year, a little glimpse back.

We moved in on March 1st
"Look for the post box and turn up the lane, we're right at the end"

March 11th, Colin's 60th Birthday Get Together and the last photo we have of Col's Dad who died in July, seen here with our youngest and Florence, she was a baby then, now 14 months old

After 6 weeks with a picnic stove and a microwave, I was glad to get my new LPG range installed

We have a good view of the sunsets here, across the open fields

The Mid Suffolk Light Railway Museum,  half a mile just across the fields from us or 3 miles by road.

Pyramidal Orchids on our meadow

June and a sunny Fathers day at the beach hut.Colin with Jacob and then with Florence

Polly quickly settled into her third home and likes the wood-burner

Being able to join a new WI and re-joining a WI that I last went to in the 1980s -  has been  good.

That strange weather phenomenon when the sky turned red with dust from the Sahara high in the atmosphere

A few of this years paper-craft cards.

Getting all the trees planted was Col's dream and he succeeded

Seasonal bits and bobs on the mantle-shelf
We've seen rather a lot of Addenbrookes hospital this year, but these mosaics are cheerful

Snow in early December brought all the birds to the feeders

So that was 2017. 10 months in our new home, another year of hospitals but with good months in between. Our Grandchildren have both gone from babies to small people and another on the way and we look forward to whatever life throws at us in 2018.

Thank you to everyone who's followed me from the old blog to the new and read the blog all through 2017, and for all the comments that make blogging a two way affair.

Have a good New Years Eve if you stay up to celebrate......... I shall be fast asleep I hope.

Back in 2018

Saturday 30 December 2017

December 30th and The Walk Down The Lane Again or Maybe Not

What you should see here is my December post with photos of the lane.................except the weather has been awful, so I haven't done it!

We had to go to Addenbrookes again yesterday.... second time in 3 days, this time for blood tests and to see one of the Post-Transplant team. Once again I drove there in pouring rain, parked in the multi-storey car park, pushed Col in a wheelchair round the hospital and sat about and waited for an hour and a half. Drove back in pouring rain stopping for shopping and diesel on the way.

When we got home the wind was howling round the house and still raining so instead of walking down the lane taking photos I unloaded the car and then lit the wood burner. It was so windy the garage door wouldn't stay open - had to prop it up with a bit of wood to get the car away.

Didn't venture out again.

Instead of photos of the wet soggy trees in the wet soggy lane here's how the jigsaw puzzle is looking

after about 12  days, just the sky left to do - as always.

Just added the last "Book Read" to my list - 112 read this year! The list is on the separate page under the header photo.

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Friday 29 December 2017

December 29th and the New Diary

I had one of these this year and loved it, so sent for one again for 2018, this was my other Christmas present from Col. It's not as nice as 2017's........printed on better paper - too shiny, I liked it on re-cycled card

It's full of folklore, the moon phases and traditions from various parts of the country.

A favourite job for between Christmas and New Year is filling in the new diary - birthdays to start with and then lists and things to remember at the beginning and end. WI dates and speakers, dentist appointments and any other events that I already know the date of.

The hare on the front of the diary reminded me of my favourite Christmas card mentioned on the 3rd of this month, we also had lots of other lovely cards but among the cards were 3 I just didn't like. Am I the only ungrateful person who dislikes the pictures on some cards so much that I hide them under others!? or am I just odd?

Thank you for all the comments over the past few days, I have read all and appreciated but have been lapse at replying - apologies.

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Thursday 28 December 2017

December 28th..... Colour and Rough Weather

When the sun shone on Boxing Day I took my camera for a tour around the garden

Dark red Cyclamen

Sunlight catching the Golden Feverfew

Winter Pansies

First Aconites
 Even at the end of December there are little bits of colour here and there.

I do hope everyone got through the awful weather yesterday. We headed out from home just after 7am to get to Addenbrookes and it was already very wet. While we were sat in the waiting room waiting for blood test results it started to snow and by the time we were able to head home the roads in Cambridgeshire were nasty, slushy and slippery. We crossed back into Suffolk and there was a lot less snow and clearer roads except for big lakes of standing water. Very windy too, the dustbins were all over the garden. We were glad to get in and light the woodburner, because an hour and a half sat in a waiting room then slow journey home had quite worn Col out.

Tomorrow I must clear away my presents including the 6 books and 3 boxes of biscuits  - all shortbread- all very calorific!

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Wednesday 27 December 2017

December 27th and What was in the Hampers

Now they've been given to sisters and husbands I can show a picture of  what my hampers looked like in 2017. I think  the Christmas candles and crackers fill the gaps nicely between the jams,chutneys, marmalade and strawberry Vodka.. I'm glad I found that box of candles at a car boot sale in the summer as there are still several left and they can do the same job next year.

It will soon be time to make a note of ideas for the 2018 hampers...................

But then I came across a list in a free magazine I picked up in a local shop. A survey done by Marmite has come up with a list of the Most Loved and Most Hated gifts and 5th was home made jam and chutneys - oh dear!
 Of course they hadn't printed the most loved gifts - why look on the bright side!?

Some good blue sky on Boxing Day morning and the sun shone on our Poplars

and cast long shadows over the field of Oil Seed Rape

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Tuesday 26 December 2017

December 26th and Christmas Presents

Christmas came up the end of the lane and with it some lovely gifts.
Son and daughter in law had been wise and found us lots of bits and bobs from car-boot sales, including 2 more winter jigsaws and lots of crafting bits for me. I was so pleased they hadn't gone crazy because with buying a house in the new year and a baby on the way in April they'll need to save.
My sister and brother in law gave us a big box full of bird feeding things - a brilliant present.
From 5 Penny Pinching friends there were useful things like  notebooks and shopping bags, a needle case, felt tip pens, lip salve and a book mark.
The present from the over 60's meal raffle was edible as I hoped - a box of shortbread.
I knew what Col's brother had given me without opening it as I'd bought it and wrapped it - just like last year. He would quite like to do all his Christmas shopping that way I think!
This was what it was...............A Green Man
to watch over the new mini woodland. We left one at the smallholding and he has been missed.

My presents from Col were also bought by me - as he was otherwise engaged in hospital! this was one, the other will feature in it's own post later.

Notecards, envelopes and some secondhand books from a friend - another lovely gift.

Books from my Amazon wish list from Sister in law and nephew and biscuits from niece.
Our two daughters will be bringing gifts in January when they visit once Col is feeling better.

We had lunch out at Sister-in-laws and then came home and collapsed in a heap, Col because he's still recovering from the chemo and me because I've been running on adrenaline for a month and I think it's just run out!

Best programme on Christmas Day TV?   The Upstart Crow. If you've never watched any of these, you've missed a very English  treat.

Hello and welcome to new followers, hope you enjoy reading.
Back tomorrow

Sunday 24 December 2017

December 24th and Christmas Books From My Shelves

Some Festive books from my shelves

 I've had this for years.............but have yet to get round to reading it!   .

  The book below has only been here for a couple of months. It was a 1p + postage buy from Amazon
 after I got  interested in the Edwardian Country lady books and bought the colouring book.

It's got seasonal bits in from dozens of authors past and present as well as Edith Holden's drawings and nature notes, articles from Punch, recipes and even a couple of knitting patterns. I've been reading a little every day.

And a book that's been around for ever, it's moved house as many times as us and I guess originally came from the States (as it's priced in cents!) via jumble sale.

The well loved poem by Clement C. Moore written for his children in 1822 and a Must Read on this day every year.

Back Soon

Saturday 23 December 2017

December 23rd and the Library Books for Christmas

When I collected my books from  Novembers Library van visit, there were three seasonal ones amongst them..............
Jeanette Winterson  - Christmas Days; 12 stories and 12 feasts for 12 days.
Product Details

The library website summary says
" Everybody loves a Christmas story. The tradition of the 'Twelve Days of Christmas' is a tradition of celebration, sharing and giving. And what better way to do that than with a story? Read these stories by the fire, in the snow, travelling home for the holidays. Give them to friends, wrap them up for someone you love, read them aloud, read them alone, read them together. Enjoy the season of peace and goodwill, mystery, and a little bit of magic. There are ghosts here and jovial spirits. Chances at love and tricks with time. There is frost and icicles, mistletoe and sledges. There is a Christmas Tree with mysterious powers. There's a donkey with a golden nose and a tinsel baby that talks. There's a cat and a dog and a solid silver frog. There's a Christmas cracker with a surprising gift inside. There's a haunted house and a disappearing train. There are Yule-tides and holly wreaths"

I read and enjoyed but wasn't overwhelmed.

Although the latest book - Nine Lessons - by East Anglian author Nicola Upson isn't necessarily a Christmas book it is set during the Christmas season in Cambridge. This is the 7th in her crime series featuring Josephine Tey, so well written and an excellent read. If you like historical crime and haven't read these it's best to start with the first, look at Fantastic Fiction for more info 


From Col's room on the 10th floor at Addenbrookes he could just see the top of Kings College Chapel, which is the pictured on the front of the book and famous for it's Nine Lessons and Carols service on Christmas Eve.

Still here from November is Edward Marston's latest offering " A Christmas Railway Mystery" - that will be a quick and predictable read, actually I might not even read it because I've just remembered that I abandoned his last one as it was so dreadful.
I also have half the November books still here, what with one thing and another, didn't seem to get much read.

But on Thursday it was Decembers library van day and I collected another load of ordered books and there is yet another Christmas book amongst them

On the far right is Tidings; A Christmas Journey by Ruth Padel. The library summary says.......
"In the tradition of Charles Dickens and Dylan Thomas, 'Tidings' takes us on a journey into the heart of Christmas, showing us celebrations down the ages and across the globe - as dawn sweeps from East Australia to Bethlehem, from London to the Statue of Liberty in New York. This is Christmas in all its magic, reminding us that it is a time not only of good tidings, but of loneliness and longing, compassion and connection.

I've read it, took less than an hour, it's a poem in a small book.

Plenty of other interesting books there too.

Thank you to everyone for lovely comments yesterday. It was such a surprise that Colin could come home as the consultant told us early on that he would need at least 3 weeks after the transplant and that meant definitely stuck there for Christmas. When he had his own stem cells back in 2016 he was in hospital for 7 weeks, due to various problems, so we had been quite prepared for that to happen again.

 Back Tomorrow

Friday 22 December 2017

December 22nd and Decking the Halls with boughs.............

Yesterday being the Solstice it was the day for bringing in some greenery.

From the garden I collected some bits of Rosemary, Elaeagnus, Ivy, a few pieces from the Leylandii and just one little piece of Bay from the plant that moved in a pot from the smallholding to here via Ipswich. It's been planted out now but needs a few more years to get going so I didn't want to take too much from it.
The holly - with berries - came from a lovely big tree about a mile away, I spotted it a few weeks ago and because we live on little used back roads it was still there when I went to bring a little home.
We've planted some holly in the mini-wood so one day there will be some to bring in from right here, although holly is so slow growing it might be the next person to live here who benefits.

A vase of greenery at each end of the living room and ivy on the mantel-piece. I'm Decked!

Now, on the subject of Holly and Ivy........... here's a thing.......a pretty thing and a happy surprise find. I had to go shopping at Aldi, so of course popped into the Hospice charity shop just over the road, where they always have a table of Christmas things and what did I spot, YES it's another bit of Holly and Ivy Portmeirion, a small footed bowl, priced up at £4.50 but Great Joy, they had a "Everything Half Price" notice on the table. Happy Dance........
................. But I really didn't mean to start a collection!

And Finally is some news I wasn't expecting to say..........Colin is home! Much to our surprise they decided his blood counts were good enough to let him out a week earlier than we thought and I went and collected him yesterday afternoon. We have to go to Addenbrookes twice a week for blood tests where they check and re-adjust tablets and recovery will probably be up and down but at least he'll get a good nights sleep here. In a few weeks time he will have a bone marrow sample taken and that's when they'll be able to judge how well the donor stem cells have worked.
Having him home but still needing to rest and keep away from people with colds has quite thrown Christmas plans up in the air......... but in a good way.😊

Back Tomorrow

Thursday 21 December 2017

December 21st and Yule or The Winter Solstice
Susan Cooper is an author best known for a series of fantasy novels for children

BUT is it the shortest day?

According to my diary................and this is very depressing!

Today ............Sunrise  08:04                                   Sunset 15:54
Tomorrow.......Sunrise  08:04                                   Sunset  15:54
23rd   Sunrise 08:05 (a minute later)                       Sunset 15:55 ( but also a minute later)
24th   Sunrise 08:05                                                 Sunset 15:55

Am I reading this right?...... that's 4 days all the same....................4 Shortest days?

Then at last on Christmas Day we gain a minute   Sunrise 08:05  but Sunset 15:56

Then for the next 6 days sunrise is a minute later - at 08:06 but we gain a minute each evening. - Oh Hooray!

Is my diary right?

Anyway I've been out and brought in some greenery as people have done on this day down the centuries, more about this tomorrow.

BTW the jigsaw puzzle is coming along slowly.


Wednesday 20 December 2017

December 20th and the Jigsaw puzzle

Way back in April at a charity shop somewhere I found a jigsaw to do over Christmas.

For the life of me I can't remember where I got it from but my accounts say I paid £1.

Got it out to make a start and immediately hit a problem, it's long and thin, panoramic and won't fit on the bit of board I have for jigsaws.
So Plan B, the table in the living room which we eat at when we are not feeling posh enough for the dining room....... that is all the time when we don't have visitors.
Then I hit another problem - it's a blinkin' difficult puzzle - took me an age to even get the edges sorted and the perennial problem with second-hand jigsaws.........are there any bits missing?
 I'll let you know........probably next year.........or I might just  give up in a huff!

Update from Addenbrookes........ When I went up to see Col on Sunday I said how good it was that he hadn't lost any hair after the chemo, in 2016 it went quite quickly. I spoke too soon because yesterday I had to use the clippers to take all the remaining hair off his head to save any more hairy pillows!   He is beginning to feel better, his mouth is less sore and he's eating a little. The blood counts are looking better too so hopefully onward and upward, and our son got the dongle working so he's connected to the world again. He has had one or two small temperature spikes but no trace of infection.......thank heavens - infections caused so many problems when he was in Ipswich.

And the A14 update - not too bad yesterday, busy but moving well but it's a pity everyday isn't like Sunday morning, I think I only saw 4 trucks all the way there. Yesterdays' delays on getting home were caused by the traffic lights at the hospital bus station getting stuck on red and about 6 buses had to back up and shuffle about to get out a different way.

Back Tomorrow

Tuesday 19 December 2017

December 19th and 50p for Christmas Decorations

Way, way back in November 2013, when my first blog was just a baby, I went to a Christmas sale in the village but only found a 50p decoration to buy
This was it.

The Post was on 30th November 2013 and was one of the 30 ways to save £1 posts and also in the title it said "50p for Christmas Decorations"

You can see the post here if you feel  so inclined

A strange thing then happened, the post went the time I was getting about a couple of hundred page views a day, but this got over a 1000! and if anyone googled "Christmas Decorations" a picture of this decoration came up with a link to the blog.

It's now got 2,271 page views!! while posts before and after vary between 200 and 400.
How odd
I was reminded of this when I bought this little glass Nativity scene for 50p from a charity shop in Stowmarket last weekend.
It's meant to have a tea-light behind it, but that doesn't really add much. Need sunshine I think to get a good effect or a good LED.

I've added it to the mantel-shelf with a rather ineffective battery tea-light for now...................
The question is, will the same thing happen again, will this post go viral? .............................................................I shall wait with bated breath for a massive spike in page views!!

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Monday 18 December 2017

December 18th- And the Christmas Trees in the Church

Stowmarket Church have a Christmas tree festival every year. Before Col went into hospital we popped in to have a look. Unfortunately there was a funeral due to be held there so we couldn't stay long. One of the helpers at the church said that unusually they had three funerals that week.........must be odd to attend  a funeral in a church stuffed to the hilt with decorated trees.

So I went back on Saturday for a better look and found the choir practicing Christmas carols which added to the festive feel.

 Sorry my photos are awful - taken on the phone and however hard I try I can't seem to get the thing to keep still and focused when I click, but you get the general idea

There were well over 100 big trees with all sorts of decorations and lots of small ones too. The Prayer Tree (3rd photo) was full of prayers for loved ones

For a donation they serve coffees and mince pies so I sat for a while with a cuppa listening to the carols and watching all the people looking at the trees.

Then had to fight my way out of town, the roads out of the car park and then out of town were heaving with Christmas shoppers coming and going.

Thank you for the comments about the  children's book, think I should be on commission! .........and I had no idea that it's not easily available, when I checked back found that I'd got my copy in May for 88p plus postage............... The moral of this story is Shop Extra Early for Christmas!

Also Hello, Hello and Hello to 3 new followers, numbers are going up in leaps and bounds and it's also good to hear from people who've never commented before.

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Sunday 17 December 2017

December 17th and The Christmas Book for Children

I'm not sure where I heard or read about this book, but it sounded so special that it had to be bought.

It's Christmas Eve and the house in Exeter Street is crammed full of guests- and more keep arriving. But Mrs Mistletoe squeezes them into every nook and cranny, the dresser, the bath and even a baby in the kitchen sink.

My favourite illustration, just the sort of page to linger over and point out all the people sleeping in the house

And just to make sure Father Christmas knows how many children are sleeping in the house
Did Santa arrive and remember everyone...........of course he did.

This book will be enjoyed by the grandchildren in a year or two I think.

Back Tomorrow