Friday, 18 December 2009

It may be a cliche but.....

... when it snows, it really does turn the outside world into a 'winter wonderland'. Can you just make out the twinkly lights on the summerhouse? So pretty.... we had over four inches of snow, and incredibly strong winds last night, the latter disturbing all the twinkly lights strung around the garden, so that when the snow finally clears, we need to get out there and put them all back where they should be. Shrubs and so on are weighed down with snow, birds struggling to get on the feeders. But luckily for them I have a daft soft-hearted lovely husband who braved the falling snow to go and lay food under the holly tree, where the pigeons can't get it, where there is no snow, and within minutes robins were back to eat. They had been scrabbling around looking desperately for some food, which is what prompted the explorer like trudge across the garden!

The lacy window is pretty don't you think? This is the north-facing window of the front porch first thing this morning. I just love snow, a big kid at heart I suppose, and so I was out in the garden taking the above photos whilst husband had breakfast, he being the more sensible of the two as you can see! Though would a sensible person go out in the heavy snowfall to feed small birds? Anyway, it looks beautiful from the inside, but venturing out brings a whole new different perspective to the lovely white stuff.
And be warned, here beginneth a small rant!
We had planned to go shopping this morning, though I was a tad worried at the lack of traffic through the village. Normally one hears the bread van delivering to the shop down the road, buses, and on Friday, the dustbinmen. Well, the latter made it at least. But the road was snow covered on our side, less so on the opposite, so not much was coming into the village, but the usual amount of people going to work etc., was leaving. So, rather than turn left out of the drive - once we got out of it that is because there is a slight dip just at the end then a slight rise onto the pavement - we turned right, going along towards the bypass. We would have been surprised, though pleased, had the gritters been out along the main road through the village, but felt sure they would have done the main A road, the bypass, the main arterial road linking the bigger towns. We were dismayed to see that NONE of the road had been done at all, traffic was crawling, and listening to the local radio station in the car when drivers were phoning in to report on the state of roads, one man who lives in our village and works on the same estate as my husband, had left home at the normal time of 7.15am, which would have got him to work by 7.40 at the latest.... two hours later he still hadn't got there, so that means that by the sound of it, absolutely no roads at all, not even one where there is a hospital, had been treated. It seemed to be the same across the whole of north Norfolk.
Speaking for our own area only since I know for a fact the road hasn't been treated, this is a disgrace. They can't pretend they didn't know about it, for we were told at the beginning of the week to expect 'significant snowfall late Thursday night, early hours Friday morning'. There have been severe weather warnings for the last twenty four hours, so why has nothing been done? As usual, the country grinds to a halt, even when we are prepared. Most of the schools around here are closed, buses are few and far between and taking hours to do relatively short journeys of twenty miles. Even when prepared and warned, it still causes chaos.
So, winter wonderland it may be, but only if you don't have to go out in it. We have abandoned plans for shopping, having enough food for a few days, and so I can just enjoy the sight of it falling, gently at the moment, in huge white flakes.
Wherever you are, I hope you have the weather you want, and none of the chaos you don't want!

Thursday, 10 December 2009

A bear, a book, baubles and beads and other stuff!

When you stand in the window, look out at the clear, pale blue sky and feel the warmth of the sun on your face, it is hard to believe that Christmas is only two weeks away. However, there are predictions of wintry showers, possibly snow, and low temperatures next week, so maybe it will feel a bit more Christmassy then. Out in the garden there is still masses of colour from penstemon and snapdragons, marigolds and cranesbill all valiantly hanging on to their flowers, and this fatsia has produced masses of 'flowers', and I should think they would take to removing and spraying gold or silver for a wreath? I have loads of hollies and ivies in the garden too, which will be used with plain cream candles in the dining room, and this is all the decoration that room will get - anything more would be too much I think, and with its deep red walls, alcoves lined with books, large fireplace with mantlepiece and big mirror above it, I have always felt it needed just candles and natural foliage.

And I know this pineapple sage should really be indoors now, but it seems happy still in its pot under the laburnum, and so I will leave it, until the predicted freeze arrives, and then put it in the summerhouse.
This is Henry. I swore, years ago, when I gave away dozens of bears to the Children's Hospice in Milton, that I would stop buying them. But sometimes, just sometimes, one catches your eye, you know? Well, possibly you don't. A slight deviation from the theme of the blog, but did any of you see Kirstie making her little bear on C4 last night? Watching her, rather overly made up towards the end I thought, I couldn't help but notice how she has slimmed down, and how much she has possibly changed from those early days on C4 with the lovely Phil Spencer. At least on this latest show she only seems to be wearing three different outfits, unlike when she was doing out this cottage and seemed to wear a different outfit for every camera shot almost!

I thought some of you might be interested in this book, one of our recent additions. It is divided into chapters, with headings such as 'Nothing like a bad start in life', which includes Isaac Newton and Salvador Dali; 'Happy-go-lucky' with Edward Jenner and Benjamin Franklin amongst those famous people mentioned; and 'Driven', Genghis Khan and Mary Kingsley feature in this group.

Well, it may not look like Christmas, but there's no denying it is that time of year. Last year we had a beautiful Spruce, one of the no-drop variety, and once Christmas was over, outside in a pot it went. And to say it looks odd would be an understatement, since there is a bit of a pointy green bit of a stem at the top, then a gap of over a foot, some bald branches, and then full lush greenness. It won't be coming indoors, but inspired by a feature in COUNTRY LIVING I am going to hang bird treats off it.... I have done pine cones with seeds in before, so will do that again, as well as hang fat balls, peanuts, fruit rings off the branches.
So instead of the real tree indoors, I have opted for two small artificial ones instead.

The first is this white one, which will be decorated with small purple baubles and beads, and go in the sitting room, which has purple walls. (Not that I am alwayas fussed about colour co-ordination I have to say, sometimes the trees have been rather gaudy to say the least!) Then there is a little black one, slightly smaller than this, which will be decorated with red and silver. Which makes this little lot redundant this year....

And finally, inspired by Jill over at I have bought some lovely books of cartridge paper to have a go at one of her gorgeous calendars. I am not expecting to do anything as beautiful or arty to be honest, but I just loved hers so much I wanted to play too. These fab books are so incredibly reasonably priced, were delivered within 48 hours, and came from the pink pig over at for any of you similarly inclined to buy notebooks and journals like me.
So, all that remains is for me to wish you all a very happy Christmas, may it be just as you hope, just as you want, and that goes for the new year as well. Thank you all for following me, for your comments, and your kinship.