Thursday 31 December 2020

On The Last Day of 2020 - The Weirdest Year Ever? And the 6th Day After Christmas

 Photos and Memories from possibly the weirdest year most of us have ever lived through.............


Stacked the logs from the poplars that were cut down and put onto pallets ready for splitting.

                                                        Logs to burn, logs to burn
                                                        logs to save the coal a turn
                                                     here's a word to make you wise
                                                 when you hear the woodsman's cries
                                                          never heed his usual tale
                                                     that he has good logs for sale
                                               but read these lines and really learn
                                                        the proper kind of logs to burn
                                                  Beechwood fires burn bright and clear
                                                             Hornbeam blazes too
                                                          if the logs are kept a year
                                                  and seasoned through and through
                                                            Oak logs will warm you well
                                                                if they're old and dry
                                                        larch logs of pinewood smell
                                                                but the sparks will fly
                                                              Pine is good and so is Yew
                                                         for warmth through wintry days
                                                             but Poplar and willow too
                                                             take long to dry and blaze
                                                             Birch logs will burn too fast
                                                                   Alder scarce at all
                                                            Chestnut logs are good to last
                                                                        if cut in the fall
                                                                Holly logs burn like wax
                                                              you should burn them green
                                                            Elm logs like smouldering flax
                                                                      no flame to be seen
                                                                 Pear logs and Apple logs
                                                                 they will scent your room
                                                               Cherry logs across the dogs
                                                                smell like flowers in bloom
                                                         But Ash logs all smooth and grey
                                                                burn them green or old
                                                         burn up all that come your way
                                                       they're worth their weight in gold

BiL is very dismissive of the lightweight quick burning  Poplar I have as the wood he cuts and sells is more likely Oak and Ash, but as I said "beggars can't be choosers" and suddenly he was quite happy to clear this lot away to his house when I decided to move. (There is still enough left here for this winter and next for the new family)


February's memory has to be the new Grandson and a visit from the other grandchildren to meet their new cousin. Who would have guessed that would be our only big gathering in 2020. Please, please let us be able to all  meet again in 2021.

The three oldest have all grown up so much this year. Oldest Grandson is a school boy, Oldest Granddaughter goes to a school nursery class and Youngest Granddaughter will soon be 3 and the baby will be a 1 year old even sooner.


The first Lock down and I started to cycle more for exercise as the weather was so good, down to the old part of the main village.


I made a map of the garden and meadow, hadn't really thought about selling the house then. But another  year of having to drive everywhere, all the garden work and things going wrong changed my mind.


My Greenhouse in May. Getting a greenhouse will be my first plan at the bungalow after I move. It will probably be too late for growing in 2021, depends how soon I can get a base down.


A few strawberries from the pots on my patio. I'm taking some new plants in pots to the bungalow. Luckily Brother-in Law had enough spare so that I could make jam.


There were a few boot sales in July - it was so good to get out and about again after the long lock-down, although I didn't find much


It was lovely to get back to swimming when the pool re-opened. The first time for 5½ months.


I went as many times as possible between August and the next lock-down in November.


I used some of the huge peppers that the 3 plants from Thompson and Morgan produced to make mango chutmey


All through the year there were many many posts about books. I've had lots of comments from readers who say they enjoy my library book photo each month - of course the mobile library was locked down too for months and I seem to have  bought more books this year than any previous year. But there are no regrets about that! 

These were my shelves in the living room in October and since then some have these have gone off to Ziffit too.I've sold more than I've bought


A fast moving month despite being in lock-down again. After Col died  I knew it was impossible to  stay here for ever, it's too big and too old and too many things that need sorting all the time. After  looking at the houses for sale for several months and seeing how quickly things were selling I had this place valued and it was such a good price that I could move and have money left over. The house sold within 4 days of going on-line!



I'm moving just 4 miles to a 3 bedroom bungalow with a small garden but there is room for a greenhouse and  a couple of vegetable beds. The best thing is that I can walk to a shop, post office, library van stop, chip shop, doctors and the hairdressers where I go is just 3 houses away. The village has a village hall where in normal times lots of things happen and a big childrens playground for when the grandchildren visit.


Getting ready for Christmas, which was almost cancelled  and then  tier 4 the day after. I enjoyed my double edition of the Radio Times, I like all the extra bits of reading in a year when TV has been a constant companion for me.

so my 6th Day after Christmas treat is the new copy.

 That was my year in photos and now it's the last day of 2020 and all we can hope for is that 2021 is better for everyone.

Thank you all for your company in blogland through 2020 

I'll be Back Tomorrow in 2021

Wednesday 30 December 2020

The Penultimate Day of The Month and The 5th Day After Christmas

 On the 5th Day after Christmas...........

My Christmas Treat will be
Some posh Choca Mochas

A new craft to try
Chocolate liqueurs 
A Paperback book
And a big tub of chocolates just for me

These Double Choc Mochas are a treat now because I only usually buy the cheap Asda own label ones. It's certainly a case of you get what you pay for with packets of frothy coffee sachets. I'm trying to cut down and get back to normal coffees and even tea which I've not chosen for a while. The expense was getting out of hand.

Yesterday I tootled off to the main Post Office to get my ID stuff certified and stamped. I didn't need any food shopping, still plenty here to eat, just half a dozen eggs from the roadside stall on the way home. 

Just after I got home a fig tree in a pot was delivered to take with me to my new home. I brought one here in a pot and we planted in against the brick wall of the patio and this year, just 3 summers later, there were lots of lovely fresh figs to enjoy. So hopefully the same again. It's a good thing it wasn't a bare rooted plant as the email saying it was on the way arrived the day before Christmas Eve, so it's been sat around somewhere for a week before I let it out into the light but it looks fine, still damp in the pot and well protected in proper packaging.

I usually do a round up of the months finances and frugal savings on the last day of the month but in December the post on the 31st is always photos of the year and anyway December has been expensive with trees cut down, car insurance, deposit to solicitor for the house selling bit  and Christmas so there's no point looking for frugal bits!

 There was some Clearing out done

Lots of things to to the tip
4 Bags of books and odd bits of craft stuff to charity shop
Son's canoe out of workshop to his garage.
Box of books to Ziffit =£21
Old paperwork to light the fire
More old paperwork into recycling 
Lots of old bits from the greenhouse into the rubbish bags

But I failed to get the two crates of tools etc to the auction house before we were locked down on the 26th so just have to hope they re-open before I move.

Back Tomorrow

Tuesday 29 December 2020

On the 4th day After Christmas

On the 4th Day After Christmas.....................
My Christmas treat will be
A New Craft to try
Chocolate Liqueurs
A Paperback Book
And a big tub of chocolates just for me

This popped up on amazon and  I just needed to know what it was! 

30 Teeny weeny books to make - if one of my granddaughters has a dolls house these will be perfect. It includes a bookcase to put them on too. Probably best to put these away until I've moved and the two small girls are a bit older.


Yesterday started sunny but then fog rolled in and the washing that I'd hung out stayed wet. No sign of sun yet this morning but I'm glad we haven't got the floods and snow other parts of the country have.

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Monday 28 December 2020

On The 3rd Day After Christmas.......................

Ready to sing it again? (I'll stop reminding you in a day or two!)
On the 3rd day after Christmas............
My Christmas treat will be
Chocolate Liqueurs

 A paperback book
And a big tub of chocolates just for me.


I'm not a drinker of alcohol but I do love a chocolate liqueur. Not the ones with a sugar coating inside but the proper ones with a tablespoonful of the real stuff in them.

Yesterday we had some sunshine which was very, very welcome and  I had a very unusual takeaway for my Sunday Lunch. I was supposed to be at my sister's house for a roast of venison and all the trimmings but the Tier 4 rules put paid to that so instead I went and collected it! and very delicious it was  and a yummy chocolate dessert too. Thank you L and J. She also photocopied my ID stuff so I can go to the Post Office with it when they re-open and get all the forms for buying the bungalow off to the solicitor.

I finally finished doing the pots, pans and washing up after Christmas Day and got everything tidied away into the cupboards although I'll need to get lots out again soon. Once everyone is working  I must get quotes from removal companies but in the meantime I ordered a pack of 15 boxes and tape so I can make a start on packing. When son got stuff down from the garage loft a few weeks ago we discovered a half pack of white wrapping paper (surprisingly mouse-free) that must have been left over from the Ipswich to here move in early 2017, a very timely find.

Thank you to everyone for comments over the last few days.

Back Tomorrow


Sunday 27 December 2020

On the Second day After Christmas................

Ready to sing again?
On the second day after  Christmas
My next treat will be.....
A Paperback book
And a big tub of chocolates just for me


 Yesterday everything except the worst of the yuckiest pots and pans  got done and tidying up in some places. There's no hurry now to finish- we don't even know how long this tier 4 thing is going to last which is unsettling. I opened all my pressies and found enough chocolate to sink a ship!, some frothy coffees, 2 books, a DVD and biscuits. Also a notebook from someone that I actually sent them last year!

We did a family zoom meeting and my lap top worked properly which was good. Afterwards though I felt the saddest I'd been for months, missing my family....the children, grandchildren and the rest of us that are getting older and of course missing Colin the most. 

Before the zoom thing I began  to watch the DVD youngest daughter gave me - a 2009 film from my wish list called Glorious 39, it got a bit scary! Turns out to be a psychological wartime thriller - not what I thought really, anyway I turned it back on later and the ending wasn't too bad. Then I re-watched most of the DVD of Their Finest Hour - another film set in wartime that has a sad ending which is why I turned off early. After that I found the war film "Tora" "Tora""Tora" was on TV. 
I need to stop this WWII fixation, I'm blaming Sue in Wales/Lancs for her new Ration Book Challenge!.

Must finish the washing up and hoovering today

Back Tomorrow






Saturday 26 December 2020

On the First Day After Christmas ...............

What a year, some people have had it really tough and heart-breakingly sad. My year hasn't been tough, just a little bit sad and dull in places, so to cheer up those quiet days after Christmas (and this was planned before things got even worse and we were shifted into Tier 4 AKA Lock-down) I decided not to buy the Folklore diary, The Almanac of the Year, an Advent Calendar and a present for Christmas Day but instead to have some special gifts for the 12 days of Old Christmas. I haven't wrapped them but have put them all in a box, (without looking at the books) and will take out one each day. At the moment there are only 8 things but hopefully I shall think of something else for the other days,
This must be sung!
On the First Day After Christmas
My Christmas treat will be 
A whole tub of chocolates just for me

 Yummy yum yum. I won't eat them all at once! (And I had more as a gift, so enough to last me all January at least)
Thank you to everyone for so many lovely comments yesterday. Hope everyone had a good day. I just about remembered how to cook a roast dinner for 3 grown ups and  one small person - difficult nowadays as it's such a rare occurrence. The Yorkshire puds were still in the freezer until I started dishing up - good thing they were the 4 minute ones! 
We didn't eat or drink too much and I sent Brother in Law and Youngest daughter home with  some of the roast chicken.
Today I've a big heap of  dirty dishes to do- we didn't bother yesterday as there are plenty of days without visitors ahead. Then there are more presents to unwrap as yesterday I was busy in the kitchen in the morning and playing with Oldest Granddaughters new presents in the afternoon.
I've got 3 various DVDs to watch and later and some things are circled in the Radio Times so it will be a good day.
Back Tomorrow

 Back Tomorrow

Friday 25 December 2020

Happy Christmas

 Wishing everyone a VERY HAPPY CHRISTMAS. 

Have a good day, where ever you are and whatever you're doing.

And a special Happy Christmas to everyone who is alone when they didn't want to be.



Merry Christmas 

Thank you to everyone who reads my blog, I love writing it and if nobody read it would all seem very pointless. 

Thank you to everyone who comments, it's lovely to have so many comments everyday.

Back Tomorrow


Thursday 24 December 2020

24th December - Advent Photo and Yesterday

First of all Must remember to say hello and welcome to follower number 650 - that's a good round number to finish the year with I reckon.

Oh Goody, we in Suffolk and Norfolk have now jumped from Tier 2 to Tier 4 from Boxing Day, which is lock-down in all but name and something I predicted the other day and I'm not at all surprised after hearing how many Covid cases are being treated in Ipswich hospital. Plus another new variant has got here from South well as that which seems to have started in Kent. It's not ending anytime soon is it?

Did it rain where you were yesterday? It certainly did here..........most of the day...... heavy rain - really nasty. The water in the ditch across the lane is as high as I've ever seen it, and a few weeks ago I reassured the people buying this house that it never floods over into the lane, now I'm not so sure!

 By the time I got to the Greengrocers just after 9 yesterday all the sprout stalks had sold - everybody must have had the same idea, so I got some loose - they looked fresh so that's OK. And to make a change I got a bag of their mixed colour carrots -that will puzzle BiL tomorrow - bet he's never seen a purple carrot!

I'm not a huge fan of cookery programmes but I watched Jamie Oliver  doing some Christmassy stuff  and liked the look of his roasted squash 'sausage rolls'. Unfortunately I didn't write down what ingredients he used, wonder if it's online anywhere - I shall do a search. Later there was a Wartime Christmas programme, first of three in a new series and at the opposite end of the scale "Christmas at Chatsworth" was very decorative.

Today I'm going to get the pigs in blankets prepped - my favourite bit of Christmas dinner, yummy with a honey and mustard glaze, the bread-sauce made - that's youngest daughter's favourite bit of dinner,  and get as many other jobs done before my visitors tomorrow. Strictly legal visitors I hasten to add- an odd thing to say but there you go. 

Back to  the books................

And the last of  this years Photos in Advent, a couple of old favourites. Two of my Miss Read (Dora Saint) collection. Both these books are made up of either her other very slim titles (No Holly for Miss Quinn and The White Robin) or extracts from her Fairacre or Thrush Green books.

A friend  used to read these every year at Christmas to get her in the right mood, perhaps she still does. I've not read them for ages and only thought of them when I was searching the shelves for something for this last day of advent post.
 I love these gentle stories of the 1950's and 60's villages and villagers. Her 2 room primary school is just the same as the 2 room school I went to but we didn't have such a wonderful head teacher as Miss Read. 
I started reading them when I first worked in the library and she carried on writing one a year until the 1990s. Over many years I gradually found all of them in charity shops to read again, although they've rarely been out of print since and are probably still around to buy now.
Back  Briefly  Tomorrow


Wednesday 23 December 2020

23rd December - Advent Photo

Another small book similar to the one I wrote about on Sunday and compiled by the same person a couple of years later in 1986. It's also a book that I've had for ages. 


 The editor had already used all the best bits of Christmas writing in the first book but there are a couple of enjoyable pieces in this one.

First an Ogden Nash poem -                  A Word About Winter

Now the frost is on the pane,
Rugs upon the floor again, 
Now the screens are in the cellar,
Now the student cons the speller, 
Lengthy summer noon is gone,
Twilight treads the heels of dawn
Round eyed sun is now a squinter,
Tiptoe breeze a panting sprinter,
Every cloud a blizzard hinter,
Squirrel on the snow a printer,
Rain spot sprouteth icy sprinter,
Willy-nilly this is winter

Summer swollen doorjambs settle,
Ponds and puddles turn to metal,
Skater whoops in frisky fettle,
Golf-club stingeth like a nettle,
radiator sings like kettle
Hearth is Popocatepetl.

Runneth nose and chappeth lip,
Draft evadeth winter strip,
Doctor wrestleth with grippe,
In never ending rivalship.
Rosebush droops in garden shoddy,
Blood is cold and thin in body,
Weary postman dreams of toddy.
Head before the hearth grows noddy.
On the hearth the embers gleam,
Glowing like a maidens dream,
Now the apple and the oak
Paint the sky with chimney smoke,
Husband now, without disgrace,
Dumps ash-trays in the fireplace. 

When I looked online on poetry websites to copy the poem onto the blog I couldn't find it anywhere at all which is a bit odd so had to type it all out word by word.........the things I do to fill a blog post!!

Below is a story which I hope is true, and also hope it's big enough for you to read. It's said to come from The Sunday Express in December 1984. The Queen loves her horses so perhaps she would ask a choir to sing to them.

Yesterday I made some cheese straws and today I shall pop to Debenham for the fruit and veg shop where I know they will have a stalk of Brussels sprouts, carrots and grapes. That's my shopping done.
Back Tomorrow

Tuesday 22 December 2020

22nd December -Advent Photos 2020 + Holly and Stars

 Yesterday was the Winter Solstice and now  daylight hours will (very) slowly increase and the days will get colder - in theory,  

As the days lengthen, so the cold strengthens

 but with global climate change who knows.

 I had to move the car out of the garage and out of the way as Youngest Daughter's ex partner was hopefully coming with a friends van to get the fridge and bed frame (he didn't appear for the third day in a row) so while I was in the car I decided to go and get the Holly from a mile away. No chance of biking as it was pouring with rain. Then there was Ivy, Rosemary and Bay from home and now winter is on the table.

 Today's Advent  book is a children's book, one that has been around a while, but not long enough to have been found secondhand for my children. It was published in 1991.


It's full of short  stories and well known excerpts from longer books plus carols and poems.

Once again it's the  illustrations that I love

I'm a sucker for traditional winter scenes

 I discovered that Sally Holmes, the illustrator of this book had also illustrated a book called "The English Cottage Year", available for 99p from Abebooks. It sounded interesting and will be on it's way to me in the new year.

Was it fine enough where you were to see Jupiter and Saturn in alignment yesterday evening? It was too cloudy and wet here although I'd seen them getting closer together on the last few clear nights from my bedroom at bedtime. This is the first time they've appeared so close as to look like just one star in 800 years (or 300 years depending on which news I read/heard). Some folk think this may have been the bright star seen in Bethlehem all those years ago. 

Maybe it was. 

Back Tomorrow

Monday 21 December 2020

21st December - Advent Photo + Thinking About Isolation

Yesterday I delivered the Christmas hamper to my Sister in Law  H. (Colin's sister) and her husband S.. They have been seriously isolating and  shielding since March. S has a condition which requires him to take tablets to suppress his immune system and luckily H has been able to work from home all this time. Lucky also that they live up a long lane in a old farmhouse with space and land all around to walk.
I was able to have coffee with them outside in the summer but since the colder weather haven't seen them. I knocked on the door and put the hamper on the doorstep when the door was opened, they stood well back with S at least 15 feet  away. I felt intrusive and it's difficult to have a conversation when they are standing so far away and living in a different world. What they are doing is understandable but I wonder what's it like to be so worried?
Although there are many things I used to enjoy doing that haven't happened this year I've not been scared of going out, shopping, swimming, library van etc.Trying to keep things as normal as possible, while being careful and hopefully getting back to real normal whenever that's possible. Will people who've been shut away ever feel brave/safe enough to return to the world? H & S aren't old - they are both younger than me by several years so hopefully with the roll out of vaccines they will be able to return to all the things they liked doing.
As for the new was pretty obvious after the November lockdown that the 5 days of Christmas "permission to go crazy" wouldn't actually happen so why are people so surprised? and I'm now sure that there will be a harder lock-down through January - with brexit looming and still no deal there will be lots of fresh food missing from the supermarket shelves anyway, so it won't matter if we aren't allowed out as there'll be nothing to buy  !!
Deep rooted Suffolk common sense and English stoicism  says that I don't react to things beyond my control but just get on with life as it is, whatever.

Anyway back to Christmas books in Advent......................

 This is the most recent acquisition to my Christmas books, another small book with not many pages. I found it in the Home-Start charity shop in Eye when they re-opened after the November lock-down. Books by Susan Branch, a well known author and illustrator in the US are rarely seen this side of the Atlantic and they are a bit twee.

This book is printed using a very small handwriting type of font, makes it difficult to read but her illustrations are pretty.


Today for the Winter Solstice I shall be going out for some Holly and Ivy and with Rosemary and Bay from the garden I'll decorate the house to symbolize the turn of the Wheel of the Year.

Back Tomorrow


Sunday 20 December 2020

20th December - Advent Photo

It was lovely weather here early afternoon yesterday, sunshine but breezy and not cold so I threw doors and windows open and let the wind blow through the house. It felt good. And then at 3pm it started to rain Yet Again. Ho Hum..................... too much rain in my opinion


Today's Christmas book is a very small book of just 50 pages that's been around on my shelves for years, it was published in 1984 and comprises of carols, poems and Christmas writings from years past.


This book was where I first read the John Betjeman poem 'Christmas'

Christmas by John Betjeman
The bells of waiting Advent ring,
The Tortoise stove is lit again
And lamp-oil light across the night
Has caught the streaks of winter rain
In many a stained-glass window sheen
From Crimson Lake to Hookers Green.

The holly in the windy hedge
And round the Manor House the yew
Will soon be stripped to deck the ledge,
The altar, font and arch and pew,
So that the villagers can say
'The church looks nice' on Christmas Day.

Provincial Public Houses blaze,
Corporation tramcars clang,
On lighted tenements I gaze,
Where paper decorations hang,
And bunting in the red Town Hall
Says 'Merry Christmas to you all'.

And London shops on Christmas Eve
Are strung with silver bells and flowers
As hurrying clerks the City leave
To pigeon-haunted classic towers,
And marbled clouds go scudding by
The many-steepled London sky.

And girls in slacks remember Dad,
And oafish louts remember Mum,
And sleepless children's hearts are glad.
And Christmas-morning bells say 'Come!'
Even to shining ones who dwell
Safe in the Dorchester Hotel.

And is it true,
This most tremendous tale of all,
Seen in a stained-glass window's hue,
A Baby in an ox's stall ?
The Maker of the stars and sea
Become a Child on earth for me ?

And is it true ? For if it is,
No loving fingers tying strings
Around those tissued fripperies,
The sweet and silly Christmas things,
Bath salts and inexpensive scent
And hideous tie so kindly meant,

No love that in a family dwells,
No carolling in frosty air,
Nor all the steeple-shaking bells
Can with this single Truth compare -
That God was man in Palestine
And lives today in Bread and Wine

I've a version of this set to music on a CD called Words/Music which is poetry of Betjemans set to music by Mike Read and sung by various artists. I tried to find a youtube version but couldn't. Just a 30 second sample HERE   (And this link may not work anyway  so the site is ...... )


 Also in this little book is a letter from General Robert E Lee writing to his daughter in the middle the US Civil war in 1861


I wonder what he sent that was 'vile dross'?

Another poem in the book

"Fetching of Grans" something that always used to happen when I was little but no "sherries or gins" or "corks making pops"!

Back Tomorrow

Saturday 19 December 2020

19th December Advent Photo + Saturday Round-up

 Another Ladybird book that I've kept for years. First Published in 1988 and probably bought for my children or for ideas for the Cub Scouts, it was good for answering Christmas Quiz questions before we had the internet.

 It's been a busy week here up the end of the lane, the final thing being the chimney sweep who came yesterday morning. Then I rushed off shopping to get a few bits before a lazy-ish week at home. On Christmas Eve I'll just pop to the fruit and veg shop in Debenham for a stalk of sprouts as there aren't enough left on mine here and the carrots that I was sure I'd bought in Asda but got home and  hadn't. How did I do that?

A few weeks ago I spotted some mistletoe within reach on a tree on a back road about 3 miles away so the other day went for a closer look but I reckon it had been sprayed with something as there were no berries and the leaves were turning yellow. That's the second time my attempt at local mistletoe has failed after the bunch on a tree close to home was sawn off earlier this year. Looks like my winter solstice greenery hunt will be just Holly and Ivy

I've enjoyed looking after the two youngest grandchildren for two afternoons while DiL had appointments. Youngest grandson is missing out on so much social contact by being an almost Covid baby (born beginning of Feb) there is just nothing happening that DiL can take him too, it's made him so clingy. When youngest granddaughter was little they were able to go to parent and baby group, baby music group and all sorts of other things. Poor little fella only gets to see his Mum, Dad, sister and me. Thank goodness Youngest Granddaughter is a happy little girl.

At last........... 12 days after the first email saying the Hermes courier was about to deliver my order - the parcel arrived yesterday. When I heard rumours that the arcadia group were about to go belly up I quickly ordered some black leggings from Evans as that's where I've been getting them from for years - nice soft black and stretchy. So it was a tad annoying to find on the local face-book page  that the replacement  Hermes driver had given up in despair and I'd given up hope of them arriving. They've obviously found a new driver with a bit more common sense.

And that was my busy week - Oh -  I also dug up and potted a rhubarb root to take with me to the bungalow and finished tidying the greenhouse stuff too. 

This week I am grateful for

  • Some fine days to get more cleared and sorted in greenhouse/garage/garden ready for moving
  • A lovely quiet swim
  • Time spent with 2 precious grandchildren
  • Lovely load of library books


Back Tomorrow 

Friday 18 December 2020

18th December - Advent Photo + December Library Book Photo

 A book from my Home Front collection, that I've had for years. Christmas at War by Caroline Taggart  which I wrote about last Saturday  is reminiscences written recently, whereas A Wartime Christmas by Maria and Andrew Hubert tends to be made up of pieces from newspapers etc written at the time. It's quite good for dipping in and out of.


 This is the amazon description.............

"For those who lived through wartime Christmases the celebrations during those years had an especially poignant flavour. This unique anthology recreates those times of heartache and brief moments of pleasurable escape and happiness. Share with wartime veterans and their families memories of Christmas under fire; read about the gift of a pig for POWs' dinner from the Japanese emperor and how Glenn Miller's disappearance almost ruined the AEF Christmas show; enjoy ENSA veterans' anecdotes of Christmas concerts in the most awkward situations. From Christmas on the Russian Front, on board ship in heaving seas and a soldier's experiences in Egypt, 'It ain't arf hot' pantomimes and the Archbishop of York's Christmas message in 1940, to an account of life in the Warsaw ghetto, here is a collection of what made Christmas special during the years of the Second World War. Illustrated throughout, it will appeal not only to those who have experienced wartime Christmas for themselves, but to all of those with an historical interest in the war."

And two long months after his last visit,  Andrew the mobile library man was round with a lovely collection of 16 books that I'd requested.

What a treat..........

 5 British Library Crime Classics,  new books by Anne Perry, Ann Cleeves and Lissa Evans. 3 other fiction re-prints of old books, 4 Non-Fiction and Blitz Detective which I know nothing about. 

If (and it's a probably a sure thing I reckon) - we are locked down again through January then I'll have plenty of reading.

Back Tomorrow


Thursday 17 December 2020

17th December - Advent Photo

This is one of those books that gives you dozens of ideas on how to make wonderful Christmassy things. A book that's been on my shelves for years waiting for me to use the ideas,  it was published in 1996 and I see my copy was from a charity shop for 80p.

 As it's a Dorling Kingsley it is mainly photographs. Ideas and instructions to trim your tree, your table, your fireplace, your front door and the presents - lovely photos but it would need many hours and more enthusiasm than I've ever had for making things!


 The salt-dough camels above caught my eye - pretty - and with the salt dough crowns in the bottom right corner of the page are used to decorate a "We Three Kings" themed tree.

It's been so handy doing this book advent photo thing - made me look at the books properly - bet you've guessed this book has gone in the charity shop bag!


Back Tomorrow

Wednesday 16 December 2020

16th December Advent Photo

 Something completely different today and it didn't get into the 1st December photo of all my Christmas books because it was tucked away at the end of a row on the bookcase and got pushed behind other books.

This has been sitting around waiting to be read for several years. Katie Fforde's books are a bit light and fluffy, not my usual reading but I don't mind one now and again and  they make a change from crime!

I started to read it but honestly the (VERY) short stories were such rubbish that I gave up after a couple and popped it in the bag for the next charity shop trip.

Good news from the estate agent is that the people who own the bungalow I'm buying have found a property to buy in Kent with no chain. So hopefully nothing to stop everything being straightforward. (Famous last words!). 
Thanks again for comments and sorry for not replying - busy week this week with babysitting the 'bubble' grandchildren twice, chimney sweep, swimming, shopping, library van, baking mince pies (and my mincemeat with chopped apricots instead of raisins is fine) and now I need to start list making for moving.

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Tuesday 15 December 2020

15th December - Advent photo

 Compared to most  of my Christmas books this is a newer addition to my shelves.

I borrowed this from the library last year or the year before and loved all the illustrations so much that I bought a cheap copy. But when my paperback copy arrived it was completely different to the hardback library copy.
In the hardback the illustrations were full page and in colour but in my paperback they are mainly black and white and much smaller, as is the print size ............disappointing  .


The description from Amazon ..................
" Medieval Christmas roaring fires, Yule logs, boar s head on a platter and carols. So many of our best-loved traditions have their origins in the medieval period that it would be impossible to imagine the season without holly and ivy, carol singers calling from door to door and a general sense of celebration in the face of the harshest season. Sophie Jackson investigates the roots of the Christmas celebration in this beautifully illustrated book. She offers guidance for re-creating elements of the medieval Christmas at home, tips on decorations, instructions for playing medieval games and recipes for seasonal dishes. Fascinating facts about some of our most cherished customs, such as the nativity crib, are unearthed, as are some that are less well known wassailing the apple trees, the ritual beating of children on 28 December and the appointment of a Lord of Misrule and a boy bishop. Lively and entertaining, this book illuminates the medieval Christmas, showing how the traditions of the Middle Ages continue to delight us today."
A couple of weeks ago I watched the Christmas edition of The Tudor Monastery Farm where they baked a cake with a dried pea inside - the person finding it became The Lord of Misrule and  Wassailing apple trees I knew about and have been doing it for years, Boy Bishops I'd heard of and they probably still do that in the Very High Church in the village I'm moving to but the ritual beating of children on the 28th??!!'s a good thing that tradition has been lost in time!
A few of the illustrations that are in colour in my book. 
The first is from Les tres riches heures du Duc de Berry by the Limbourg brothers. I wanted to find out more and discovered this.........
 " Très Riches Heures is probably the most important illuminated manuscript of the 15th century, "le roi des manuscrits enluminés" ("the king of illuminated manuscripts"). It is a very richly decorated Book of Hours containing over 200 folios, of which about half are full page illustrations. 
It was painted sometime between 1412 and 1416 by the Limbourg brothers  for their patron Jean Duc De Berry and finished by Jean Colombe between 1485-1489. "
The text beside the picture says "In the depths of winter, greenery brought hope of renewed life, although this farm has yet to be decorated."
I also found that the picture above illustrates February so not a Christmas picture at all - hence no greenery!
Below two more medieval illuminations from the book

Thanks to everyone for comments, apologies for not replying and it's good to hear the Christmas crime books have arrived at their destinations in plenty of time for Christmas reading - Good Old Royal Mail.
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Monday 14 December 2020

14th December - Advent Photo

 Today's Christmas book is another that's been on my shelves for as long as I can remember.

 A Christmas Scrapbook compiled by Elizabeth Walter and published in 1979

Each page has an illustration of a Victorian Christmas card and some history of all the traditions  that we know today.

I doubt you'd find a New Years card in 2020 featuring a dead turkey!

 Christmas returning after being banned in 1652  featuring on a Victorian card 200 years later

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