Friday 29 December 2023

#WBOYC in December

 Time to link up for the last time this year with  Deb in Australia for What's Been On Your Calendar

It was a month that started with temperatures in the minus figures - but I guess we shouldn't be surprised by that in the last month of the year!


Deicing my car never gets more enjoyable - although I did read a very handy tip that if you pull your sun visors down when you put the heat up the windscreen it recirculates the air up and down the glass rather than inside the car and the ice will just melt away.  So I started the month with a valuable lesson which saved me being out in the freezing cold too long.


Everybody here for a meal to celebrate Paul's 66th birthday and him officially becoming a pensioner!  


Christmas - what else could C stand for?  Apart from the big day itself, Christmas Nativity Concerts for Max and Rosie this year.  We were so lucky to have such a lovely family Christmas, I am very thankful for time spent together.

Leo still enjoys a Snapchat filter!


Ending the year with a good book club choice - The Berry Pickers. I have read so many books this year that are of varied genres that I would never have chosen myself.  The sign of a good book club is to introduce you to authors and books you wouldn't discover yourself.


Meals out with friends to celebrate Christmas. I wonder why we feel the need to meet up with everyone in the weeks leading up to December 25? This year we have a post Christmas meal already planned so we haven’t used up all our social events in the busy time.


Buying gifts for family brings so much happiness. I love picking something that I think will make them smile.  I still ask everyone for ideas about what they would like, but try to add a little surprise (or two)along the way.


Eventually completed my Scandi Meadow blanket 

And now time to start a new one 😉


Remembering my dear Mum who loved Christmas so much and died on the 18th December in 1997.  She made Christmas so magical for us when we were growing up and we have tried to maintain her traditions while also making new ones of our own.

So that is my last monthly round up for 2023, here’s a month’s worth of pictures 1 Second Every Day …

Tuesday 19 December 2023

What I've been reading in December

Just one book to share with you, and that was the book club choice of The Berry Pickers by Amanda Peters

Before I start my review I should explain that although people said that it was an excellent book, I put off reading it for a couple of weeks after I picked it up from the library as I wasn't sure that I would be able to comfortably read it.  Those of us in the UK will remember the heartbreaking story in early 1993 of a little boy called Jamie who was taken by two ten year old boys in a shopping centre in the seconds that it took his mum to let go of his hand to get money out of her purse.  Little Jamie was just two years old and at the time and my son was almost three so you can imagine that the story hit me hard.  It is true to say that this affected me so much that I had a real sense of panic if I ever lost sight of my son at a park or indoor play area and the rule of holding hands whenever shopping was ingrained.  Little Jamie had unspeakable things done to him and whenever reports of his death appeared in the press I could not help but wonder how on earth his mum managed to cope with the loss of her little boy.  Whilst I knew from the reviews of the book that nothing untoward happened to Ruthie in the story,  I could not help but find the storyline of a child being snatched emotionally triggering.  

So that is why I was late starting the book, but having finally read it I can agree with the reviews that it is a very emotional, well written story.  On a summers day in the 1960s, a four year old Mi'kmaq girl called Ruthie disappears from a field in Maine where her family are picking berries.  Despite extensive searches by her family Ruthie is never found and the family have no alternative but to move back to their home in Nova Scotia when the berry season comes to an end.  Ruthie's six year old brother Joe was the last to see Ruthie and for the rest of his life he feels the guilt that maybe he could have done something to keep her safe.  

Meanwhile, in Maine a girl named Norma is growing up as an only child with an emotionally distant father and an overprotective mother.  Norma is plagued by dreams of herself in another life and as time moves on she is unsure if they are figments of her imagination or distant memories.  Was she adopted?  There are no photos of her as a baby and she clearly has different skin tone to her parents.  She is unable to discuss this with her mother as the moment she would try and broach the subject, her mother would develop a dreadful 'headache' and take to her bed.  

I have to agree with the reviews about how good this book is.  How one moment of impetuousness affects the lives of so many people.  How the unknown fate of a little girl threads tendrils of fear, loss and guilt to two very different families.  Apparently the author is a writer of Mi'kmaq and settler ancestry, and her knowledge of the lifestyle of these people at that time shines through her writing.  

This was a good end of year book and I'm looking forward to seeing which title our book club chooses for the first read of 2024.  

Monday 18 December 2023

Me on Monday

 These Mondays are coming round super fast aren’t they? This photo of a wobbly inflatable polar bear, that we passed in the park while walking Coco, sums up how I’m feeling

Still smiling, and standing, but feeling a bit under inflated now and again depending on which way the breeze is blowing!

We’ve had a busy few days with dinner out with friends on Friday evening and friends coming round for drinks on Saturday night. Every now and again it hits me exactly how much we missed out on during the Covid period.  Maybe that's why we are taking advantage of any invitations to see people over the holidays.

I must confess to having a tear in my eye on Thursday when we watched Max's nativity.  These children have been in school for just 12 weeks, a lot of them are barely four and the oldest is just five.  Yet they knew all the words to the songs and joined in with all the movements and spoke their lines clearly.  There was no toenail event this week, but when the third camel from the left had to escort the kings to the stable he suddenly went very shy and pulled his t shirt over his face and wedged it under his camel ears so no one could see him!  How he made it back to the right place on stage without mishap I don't know as I'm sure he couldn't see where he was going!

So this Monday finds us counting down to the big day, food shopping being done, the last presents being wrapped (what a time consuming job that is!) and making lists to make sure nothing is forgotten.

There won't be a Me on Monday next week because I feel that everyone will be too busy to read it so my next Monday post will be next year - sounds funny to say that but 2024 is approaching very quickly now.  Wishing you all a happy and healthy Christmas and thank you for your Monday visits during 2023.


Monday 11 December 2023

Me on Monday

 Oh hello! Is it Monday again? We’ve had a busy weekend, which ended with a drive by from a very important person just as our grandchildren were about to go home after a pre-birthday dinner for Paul.

Olive was a little bit apprehensive about going out to see Santa so stayed safely in the doorway with her mum. It’s a bit scary when you’re only two! It's organised by our local Rotary Club and such a lovely thing for them to do in the lead up to Christmas.

We started the weekend with a show by Leo and Rosie’s drama classes. I have nothing but admiration for those people who spend so much time organising events like that. The children did so well and obviously enjoyed themselves. We’d also had Rosie’s nativity play earlier in the week so I think we are now well in the Christmas spirit!

So this Monday finds me popping into town to pick up a couple of things I had ordered on click and collect, then having friends over tea and cake in the afternoon. Tuesday is Paul’s birthday and at 66 he is now officially ancient enough to get his state pension. Wednesday we will be looking after Olive and then Thursday it is the turn of Max to have his nativity show. Friday we are going for a meal with friends, and we have friends coming over for dinner on Saturday. That’s another week done and dusted. With a lot of eating and drinking!

Is it just me that finds that the closer Christmas gets, the faster the days fly past?

Tuesday 5 December 2023

It must be getting closer

 Because we've just come back from Rosie's first Nativity Play

and I've started constructing a gingerbread house

I had tears in my eyes before the first angel had walked on stage because I cannot help myself when I see those little five year olds desperately searching the audience for their mums and dads.  There are sixty children in each year group so this meant the cast list was quite enlarged from the original Nativity story.  Rosie was Inkeeper 1's wife.  She'd chosen her husband wisely as Inkeeper 2 sat down and started chewing his toenails part way through 😱

I think I would quite enjoy decorating my gingerbread house myself but I've promised Rosie and Leo that we will finish it off when they get home from school today.  There will be squabbles no doubt about who wants to be doing the icing and what sweets and sprinkles they will use to decorate, and there's a very good chance one will lean too hard on the roof while doing it and the whole thing will collapse.  I'll try and get the 'after' photo to share another time.

We went to Chelmsford for some Christmas shopping yesterday (which is one of the reasons I forgot to do a 'Me on Monday') I managed to tick a few more things off my list and it was a nice atmosphere there, not too busy.  We stopped for a coffee and a scone mid morning, I liked this sign they had in the John Lewis cafe

We have a busy weekend ahead with watching Leo and Rosie in their drama club concert on Saturday and we have all the family round for lunch to celebrate Paul's 66th birthday a little early on Sunday.  Fancy that, I'll be married to a pensioner!  So tradition dictates that we need to put our Christmas tree up very soon, then it really will feel like Christmas is getting closer!


Friday 1 December 2023

Let's sit and have a cup of tea

 Here we are with the last 'first Friday of the month' of the year!

Thank you for taking the time to join me for a cuppa and a biscuit.  It's getting busy isn't it?  Please do sit down and sample one of the brownie cup cakes I made yesterday.  It's a new recipe for me, salted caramel brownies made with Carnation caramel condensed milk.  What do you think?  They've been a hit so far with Leo and Rosie, not to mention me and Paul!

Are you organised with all your Christmas prep?  I'm gradually working my way through the list of presents I want to buy and we'll probably put our tree up after the weekend.  Family tradition dictates that it goes up just before Paul's birthday on the 12th so we have a deadline!  

Our grandchildren are getting very excited now, they are the perfect ages for Christmas, young enough to still believe, and old enough to understand what's going on.  We will be going to see Max in his first nativity in a couple of weeks and Leo and Rosie are in a Christmas concert next weekend.  I will definitely be shedding a few proud tears I know!

Hasn't the weather turned cold?  I was late collecting Olive this Wednesday as I simply couldn't get into my car!  The door lock and handle were fine but the window seal had frozen solid.  After a lot of googling, I found a recommendation to use a vinyl and rubber conditioner and luckily had a bottle of it in the car in amongst all the car washing products.  It seems to be working!

By the time we meet again Christmas will be done and dusted and we will be a few days into the new year isn't that hard to believe?  Have a happy and healthy Christmas!