2014 – review of the year

I’ve been looking back over this year and all the photos I’ve taken

In the garden

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Crochet – 2 unfinished projects and some test squares below but they look lovely and colourful. I haven’t always had time to pick up my hook but I still love it when I do. I don’t make resolutions but I do intend to make more time for hooking in 2015!

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The view from the top of the hill over the last 12 months and 4 seasons

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Miss Tara,  lovely happy bundle of fun, a delightful companion ❤

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Cakes and baking, food and produce from the garden

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Places I visited; clockwise from top left, Inverness, Liverpool, Skipton, Liverpool (the interior of the Central Library), West Kirby on the Wirral and Belfast.

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Family feasts, a big birthday and some music making which I was proud to be part of

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Good times!

Let’s hope 2015 will bring lots of goodness to all, Happy New Year!

 

Homemade Christmas 1

I like to make as much as I can for Christmas – it’s fun to do, is invariably cheaper than buying and means one ends up with a unique gift or decoration.

Instead of a tree which sits in the room, this year I wanted a wall mounted one. I’ve seen pictures of trees made from wood and thought I’d attempt to make one using branches from the garden. I cut these a couple of weeks ago, cleaned them and let them dry out and finally tied them using some sisal string into a Christmas tree. Simple decorations, just some stars,warm white lights and a fairy on top – et voila! My homemade tree!

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September review

imageSeptember was a great month for weather, still warm and dry, so there was much gardening; new potatoes were dug up and I harvested  the first fruits from my plum tree. I made plum gin, ready for Christmas with luck! Earlier this summer, I had laid my hook down for a short break but I got back into the swing of crochet again, with restful afternoons in the sun hooking away. Tara is so changed now from the timid, chubby little indoor cat who came here last December – she has lost 1.3 kilos and adores being outside. It’s lovely to see her so being so confident and healthy.

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Goodbye September, you were grand!

29: Winter poem for friends

I’ve enjoyed finding the poems I’ve featured in my Advent and Christmas posts, and have discovered some poets and poetry new to me, a great delight. I found this poem by Emily Bronte and love its sentiment; the idea of evergreen friendship is never more apt than at the passing of an old year and the beginning of a new one when one wishes one’s friends well.

Love and Friendship

Love is like the wild rose-briar,
Friendship like the holly-tree —
The holly is dark when the rose-briar blooms
But which will bloom most constantly?
The wild-rose briar is sweet in the spring,
Its summer blossoms scent the air;
Yet wait till winter comes again
And who will call the wild-briar fair?
Then scorn the silly rose-wreath now
And deck thee with the holly’s sheen,
That when December blights thy brow
He may still leave thy garland green.

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27: Christmas cat

Not just for Christmas, but for always, a new cat in residence! Its been 6 months since my beloved Oliver died. I knew I would get another cat at some point, but I needed a little time to get used to Oliver not being here. A couple of weeks ago, a friend posted some photos on Facebook of a gorgeous little lady cat who needed a home, I was smitten and she came to live with me a week ago.

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Her name is Tara and she has made herself completely at home 🙂

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She has been an indoor cat up till now, but she is fascinated by the garden and sits for ages looking out especially when there are birds or other cats to stare at – once spring is here, I’m certain she will venture outside;even though she is timid, she’s also very inquisitive!

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Here she is giving the kitchen and the strange and wonderful gadgets in it her full examination! Tara will make an appearance on this blog from time to time of course, maybe she will show a flair for writing posts herself like Oliver did 🙂 Wait and see!

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26: Angel

A beautiful painting for Boxing Day. Angels are part of Christmas legend, and I love Pre-Raphaelite art, so for me, this painting combines these two thoughts perfectly. It is called ‘Angel playing a Flageolet” and was painted by Edward Burne-Jones.

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If you happen to be in Liverpool, you can go and see this painting at Sudley House, one of the city’s many art galleries. If you love Pre-Raphaelite art, then you should visit the Lady Lever Art Gallery on the Wirral, which is full of some wonderful examples of painting of this era.

25: Christmas Day!

Happy Christmas! I hope everyone who reads and follows this blog has a wonderful day –  it has to be a musical offering on Christmas Day, enjoy this energetic interpretation of this splendid chorus from Handel’s Messiah 🙂

24: Winter walk for Christmas Eve

I’m on a poetry roll, so for today, as the UK is battered and blown around by gale force winds and rain, another poem rejoicing in the seasons and nature by John Clare.

Winter Walk

The holly bush, a sober lump of green,
Shines through the leafless shrubs all brown and grey,
And smiles at winter be it eer so keen
With all the leafy luxury of May.
And O it is delicious, when the day
In winter’s loaded garment keenly blows
And turns her back on sudden falling snows,
To go where gravel pathways creep between
Arches of evergreen that scarce let through
A single feather of the driving storm;
And in the bitterest day that ever blew
The walk will find some places still and warm
Where dead leaves rustle sweet and give alarm
To little birds that flirt and start away.

John Clare

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I took this photo a couple of years ago on a snowy winter walk and thought it was a good accompaniment to this poem.

23: Dust of Snow

More poetry today! I like the brevity and succinct message of this poem by Robert Frost. I was going to post “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”  but when I read this poem,”Dust of Snow”,  I liked its meaning – how a single brief occurrence can lighten a dark day. I include it for all those for whom Christmas is a difficult time – I hope something will lighten your day too.

Dust of Snow

The way a crow
Shook down on me
The dust of snow
From a hemlock tree
Has given my heart
A change of mood
And saved some part
Of a day I had rued.

21: happy Christmas painting

An atmospheric Christmas picture today – this painting, called ‘Glade Jul’ dates from 1891 and is by the Danish painter Viggo Johansen, who was one of the Skagen Painters. I like the shadowy corners of the room and the way the candles on the tree illuminate the room and the dancers’ happy faces – the effective, beautiful juxtaposition of light and dark create a vivid impression of Christmas in the late nineteenth century.

imagePicture courtesy of Wiki Commons