Sunday, 30 December 2012

A Run Down of the Run Up to Christmas.

Well, my blogging has been very scarce in recent weeks.  A combination of not much to report and not much time to report it in.  Just like everybody else in the run up to Christmas I had plenty of stuff to do which kept me away from the computer.  As well as the usual shopping, cleaning, decking the halls with boughs of holly fa la la la la la la some fun things happened too.


Early in December I spent the afternoon with George in his classroom working on a craft project.  The project being a collage based on the Beatles’ Sgt Pepper’s album cover.  George’s class had recently been on a field trip to The Beatles’ Museum in Liverpool and had had a whale of a time.  While we worked on the collage a large screen showed the photos from that outing and there was Beatles music playing in the background.  It really was a fun afternoon. 


At Christmas time I like a glass of sherry, Croft Original Pale Cream Sherry, to be exact.  This was my first one of the season.


I collected Charlie from school a couple of times and took him home.  Here he is outside his front door with his Stop Here Santa sign.  Was there ever the slightest chance that Father Christmas would not stop here?  I don’t think so!


All three of our little boys have been poorly on and off this month.  The day this photo was taken George wasn’t well.  But, like me, both my daughters are firm believers in the healing powers of fresh air.  A gentle walk on a cold, crisp and dry day.  What could be better to help rid George of his germs?


On the 14th I met my lovely cousin, Sylvia, in Manchester.  Our intention was to browse the Continental Christmas Markets.  Sadly the heavens opened early in the morning and never closed again that day so we  briefly skimmed through the market stalls and made a beeline for cosier, cheerier, indoor establishments.


Of course we had a couple of pit stops along the way.  This one was in Starbucks on St. Ann’s Square.  We like it there because the markets with all the hustle and bustle are right outside and clearly visible through the windows.  We have been boycotting Starbuck’s because of their UK tax issues but things seem to be getting sorted on that front so our consciences allowed us to give Starbucks our custom once again.  Note how we shared our cakes.  That’s our upbringing showing through.  Sharing was very important in our childhoods.  Our mothers insisted that we shared everything we had.  Quite right too!  My mother called it “wacking”.  I haven’t a clue where that expression originates and I think my mother was the only person who ever used it.  My mother would’ve been happy to know that we had “wacked” a sandwich earlier too.


On the weekend of the 15th Charlie slept over at our house when both his parents were working.  Bright and early on the Sunday morning we took him to our favourite cafe in Hebden Bridge for breakfast.  Ceaseless rain made it impossible to take him to the park or anywhere more suitable but he had a good time drawing in the cafe and we enjoyed it too.

Somewhere round about this time I had a Christmas lunch with my sweet friends and walking partners, Vanessa and Diane. I wish I’d got a pic of them. We had a great afternoon together, laughed and talked nonstop almost ‘til the cows came home. There was also an outing with my lovely friends and neighbours John and Lesley to a different Christmas Market. Another wet and windy freezing cold day and no pictures from that day either.  What’s the matter with me?  I had a camera with me on both of these occasions!

Now onto the 17th and another trip into Manchester.  This time with my daughter Caroline…


… for Christmas Afternoon Tea at The Midland Hotel.  This was my Christmas present from Caroline and Trev and couldn’t have been a more right-up-my-street present.  There was champagne and mulled wine, finger sandwiches, fancy cakes, scones and clotted cream, endless cups of tea and a pianist playing away in the background.  It was a little oasis of calm and tranquility.  Perfect!


All good things come to an end and all too soon it was back out onto the wet streets.  This month seems to have been full of nothing but rainy days.


Closer to Christmas now on the 22nd Caroline and I went to the theatre to see Irving Berlin's White Christmas.  What a treat that was.  The  cast was excellent.  The songs familiar.  The tap dancing super duper.  A real crowd pleaser.


On the 23rd George and Nicholas came round to make mince pies with me.  I got crafty this year and prepared well for this event.  I measured the ingredients out and shared (or should that be wacked?) them between two bowls and had two rolling pins lined up for the two boys.  This worked out really well and I must remember to do it again next year.  Charlie had been with me on the Friday and we had made fancy cakes together.  All fun stuff and getting closer and closer to Christmas Day.


In the afternoon of the 23rd William and I went along to our local park for a carol service.  It was cold, very cold in fact, but dry for once.  The brass band played merrily and the small crowd sang heartily.  We came away with Jingle Bells jingling in our heads.

This Christmas I have been able to “visit” my sister, Maureen, thousands of miles away in her home in Arkansas and see all her family too.  Several times we’ve hooked up and spent time together.  Shown each other our Christmas decorations and seen each other’s happy smiling faces.  All this courtesy of iPhone’s FaceTime (video calling).  Isn’t technology fantastic?!


And finally, I just had to take a picture of this pram in the park.  It’s a proper pram!  You don’t see many like this any more.  All babies were pushed around in prams like this when my girls were babies.  I would’ve loved to give this pram a little push but I didn’t know the owners and they might have thought I was bit nutty if I’d asked them if I could please push their baby around the park in that beautiful proper pram!  It is lovely though isn’t it?

Of course I’m writing this a few days after Christmas so it’s too late to wish everyone a Merry Christmas but I do hope that everyone did have a Merry Christmas and that a happy, healthy and peaceful New Year is just around the corner for each and every one of us.


Sunday, 9 December 2012

I didn’t think …

…I had anything to report but when I started to look back over the last few weeks of my photos I decided I’d got plenty to make a post out of.  I didn’t know whether to start with the newest or the oldest happenings but have gone with the newest first.


Sunday last was a lovely winter’s day.  William and I wanted to go somewhere but somewhere not too far away.  I suggested Towneley Park.  We could look at all the Christmas decorations and plants etc. in the garden centre and then have a walk through the park for that all important exercise and breath of fresh air. 


I was disappointed with the Christmas decorations in the garden centre.  They seemed to have been thrown together rather than artistically displayed which is what I like to see. 


Anyway, no matter, we still had that brisk walk in the very fresh air and a light lunch in the cafe.  Usually we would’ve sat outside the cafe but it was very cold and those chairs are made of metal.  A bit too cold for our derrieres.  I noticed the hardy folks who were seated outside had come prepared and had brought small sheepskin mats to sit on.


Saturday night we drove over the icy tops of Blackstone Edge into the small  village of Mytholmroyd to see their Lighted Lantern Parade.  It was a happy, vibrant parade led by a New Orleans type band.  The leader with his umbrella trimmed with lots of lights.  All the lanterns had been made by the locals in schools and other workshop locations throughout the borough.  It was good and I’m glad we made the effort to go and see it on a freezing cold night.


George slept over on the Friday night and I taught him how to play Rummikub.  He soon cottoned on and loved the game.  So much so that he wanted to play again as soon as he rose from slumber the morning after.


That is, as soon as we had made and eaten our pancakes .


Like I’ve said before these little boys only ever want pancakes for breakfast at my house.


It wasn’t too long before Victoria came to collect him.  Nicholas came with her and he and George both made themselves useful by mopping the kitchen floor for me.  Apparently it’s necessary to strip off nearly all one’s clothes in order to mop a kitchen floor.  I didn’t know that, did you?


Another walk around Watergrove Res with my girls and our dogs on a nippy November blue sky day.  Looking down the hill to the road where we started the route.


..and looking up.  We live in a hilly part of the country but that doesn’t matter so much when it’s blue skies all the way!


I have even made time for a bit of scrapbooking recently.  This page remembers a crisp autumn afternoon in Towneley Park with Victoria and the boys.  The top left photo shows five year old Nicholas skipping.  Not all little boys can skip can they?   You should see this little boy.  He can skip!


Recently I found a wool shop that was a little off the beaten track.  How would you like this scenery for a backdrop when you looked out of your office window?  I know it would please me no end and for a lucky few in Mytholmroyd, (that’s where the wool shop is), this is what they’ve got.  Looking at it now the scene is very autumnal.  Not anymore it ain’t.  I drove over this route Friday morning and these hills had snow on them.