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My English cottage garden – December 2014


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Hello everybody, I hope you enjoyed your Christmas. New Year still to come!

I am loving my Christmas present – a new shed! I’m so delighted with it, I could almost eat it, if you see what I mean.  It has been invaluable for putting the excess Christmas food in during the last week or so and the extra milk which I ordered over the Christmas period. The shed was put up a few weeks ago, but I wasn’t supposed to go inside it. I cheated! Still never mind, it didn’t spoil anything and now, every morning, I go up the path and peek inside to check on my geraniums, which are over-wintering in there. The baby ones, you’ve seen before, I keep indoors on the window sill but I don’t have enough window sills for all the others. At the last count there were over twenty of them!

The shed is going to look grand when the lilac bush comes into flower in the Spring and I will be popping back to show you when the buds are evident.

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This is the view from the inside, from the door. Geraniums on the right and at the back?

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Here’s a closer look:

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Four chicken nest boxes! Yes, I’m going to get some more chickens in the Spring. I kept chickens before, for ten years from 1990 to 2000 when their housey fell to bits! Now it’s time to have another go, I feel. I miss my hens a lot and can’t wait to get some more.

Here are some more pics around the garden this week:

View from the inside of the shed looking out, south:

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The woodpile:

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Pots of herbs by the back door. In the large pot are bluebells. I had to move them to make room for the new shed.

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I think you can tell how excited I am, can’t you?

Have a lovely Sunday.

Oma

Merry Christmas everyone.


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My turkey is defrosting in the shed; my mince pies are ready and waiting to be eaten and some of the other jobs have been done. Others are still waiting (mops brow). So it just remains for me to wish all my followers a very Happy Christmas. I appreciate your visits day by day throughout the past year. It means a lot to me to see your comments and I hope you will continue to dip into my life, here in England, during 2015.

Tale care!

Oma x

Christmas Cards


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We have received some lovely Christmas cards this year. Even now they are still coming, one or two a day. I don’t think the custom is quite so popular as it used to be but in this house at least, they are all most welcome.

The question is, ‘what to do with them?’ I have some pretty hang-ups and I clip my cards onto those. Here is one of them..

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I slot the cards in and secure with a paperclip, otherwise they sometimes fall on to the floor. How do you display your cards?

The cards I like best are the ones of the three kings. I’m not sure why but I love those. They are mysterious. It’s all about following a star wherever it leads and having trust and faith that the star will lead us to the right place at the right time and of course in the case of the birth of Jesus, it does. Maybe it’s the anticipation of what will be found at the end of the journey. Christmas is a lot about journeys. So many people are on the move, trying to get to their loved ones at Christmas or just escaping from the place where they usually live. Mary and Joseph were making a very long and arduous journey on a donkey – not the best way to travel when you’re pregnant, is it!

The three kings are on camels, again not a very comfortable way to travel. We in this day and age travel mostly by car or bus or train. Aeroplanes too are buzzing about in the sky. We all pray for good weather so that we can make our journeys safely. We watch the weather forecasts at every opportunity to see if snow is forecast or ice or whatever we dread the most.

For myself, I am not travelling this year. I am staying by my own hearth. Here it is:

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You are virtually invited to join me in front of the fire as I and my family prepare to enjoy the Christmas season. As you can see, we have chomped our way through most of the chocolates in the advent calendar already! There are just a few left.

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Oma

The Post Office is bulging!


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Well, we braved it and went into town today. It was frosty when we got up, but the frost soon cleared and the sun came out.  That always makes you want to move yourself, doesn’t it. I had two more parcels to deliver, but one can’t go yet because I’m not sure where to send it, but the other one was ready and anxious to be off.

The bus was full but not as full as last week but when we got to the Post Office in town, it was pumping. I took a ticket and discovered there were 55 people before me. I’ve never found it that busy before. To start with there wasn’t a seat wherein to wait but soon the queue started getting smaller and I found a seat, which was a relief.  There was also a queue for the self-service where people can send their post using a machine like in the supermarket.  I looked at the clock, 10.25 a.m. I wondered how long it would take for me to get seen to?  There is a machine with an automated voice in there so your number is called out when it’s your turn. It usually works extremely well. All the stations were manned. Then three tellers went off on their coffee break and the queue slowed right down.  One man had a duffle bag with about a 100 parcels in it. OMG I thought, that will take ages. I timed him. It took 15 minutes but stuffed up the queue for the rest of us. All in all it took half an hour before I was seen, but considering the circumstances, I thought that was good and at least I was sitting down.

From there we went to the wool shop. I wanted a pattern for Aran wool because that is how my spinning comes out when I spin with merino. I couldn’t quite reach the pattern book because someone was standing in the way. The next thing I knew, the pattern book was on the floor and all the patterns had fallen out of it. Blow! now I had to put them all back in again. Meanwhile, Larry was choosing his yarn and getting on very well. I eventually put the patterns back in and chose one I liked. I’ll show it to you soon. We went to the till to pay, only to be told that the card machine wasn’t working. A new one was promised some time today but they didn’t know when so could we please pay in cash? We didn’t have enough cash so we had to go downstairs in the Mall and find a cash machine. That done, we returned to the shop to pay for the goods.  It was definitely going to be one of those days!

Book Review: Snowfall in Burracombe by Lilian Harry


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This is a delightful book and just right for this time of the year. As you know, I love all things ‘village’ so this book was perfect for me.

‘In the village of Burracombe, nothing stays secret for long and behind the peaceful, rural charm, there’s always a scandal to uncover, a newcomer to the village to set tongues wagging, a happy occasion to celebrate or friends to help their neighbours through the tough times.

It’s December 1953. As the village prepares for the festivities, for many people a happy Christmas is by no means certain. For Stella Simmons, recovering from a car crash, the winter wedding that she and her sweetheart had planned seems impossible.

Elsewhere in the village, Jackie Tozer is dreaming of America and Hilary Napier, who thought the war had robbed her of her chance of happiness, has to ask herself if she could ever imagine leaving her life at the big house for the sake of love and adventure.  The darkest time of the year finds everyone asking questions with no easy answer.

As snow falls softly on the village, and everyone wishes for peace and joy, Burracombe proves once again that there’s a always a surprise around the corner.’

so say the jacket cover! Lilian Harry has written numerous books, but this is the first one of hers that I have read! I enjoyed it very much and would recommend it to you. I counted 60 characters in all. Far too many for me to remember so after reading the first chapter, I started making a list.  I wrote down the character’s name, who they were and who they were married to or in a relationship with. Perhaps if I had read other books in the series, I would know by now, who is who, but I didn’t. I found this book in a charity shop and pounced on it! Do you make lists of characters when you are reading?

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I have just completed two more doggie blankets for the Battersea Dogs and Cats home. I hope I can get them off in the post in time. I expect they won’t mind if they’re late arriving. There is a blue one and a purple one. I’m using up my stash nicely!

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Have you noticed how busy the delivery men are? It must be a very stressful time of the year for them. I hope they all get a bonus like the bankers!!! This year, here in England, we adopted the Black Friday nonsense. I say nonsense, not because it is a waste of time. If you can buy a TV at a very reduced price, then good for you, but I don’t like what I see on the television with regard to the behaviour of many of the shoppers. Frankly, it was disgusting. I would much rather we adopted the Thanksgiving Day that you have over in America. Following on from Black Friday is Cyber Monday and yes, we have that too now. Those two days of sales have caused havoc with UPS etc.

Tomorrow is the 12th so I’ll be posting my Christmas cards and putting up the Christmas Tree. I’m looking forward to doing that.

What will you be doing tomorrow?

Preparing for Christmas


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It’s time to start the preparations for Christmas, isn’t it! Time to find or remember where you put the decorations, the Christmas cards, ribbons and bows and of course the Christmas tree. Time to make that all important cake and start the shopping… I’ve noticed that my branch of Sainsbury’s is getting busier by the day. There were very few free spaces in the car park this morning. On the shelves there is change!  Familiar items have disappeared for the time being to make room for all those special treats we come to expect at this time of the year.

One of the places I love to visit is Poplars, the garden centre, which is a short drive from where we live.  They always put on a good display for Christmas and each year there is a different theme.  This year’s theme is The Snow Queen and you can see her in the picture below, sitting on her sleigh with the reindeer in front.  There is a Santa hut for the children. It gets more spectacular each year.  The restaurant does good business with mince pies galore and a view of the Christmas trees for sale just outside the window.

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Garden centres do big business over here these days.  They have changed enormously since the days when they were just nurseries. Now they are grand and full of all sorts of delights and it is possible to spend the whole day in them.

We bought a new Christmas tree for this year. I think it’s a little bigger than the previous one but we are restricted by space so it is still small. I may need to buy some new baubles for it (yeah) but must wait and see. First I need to assess the situation and where we’re going to put it etc.

Will you be having a Christmas tree in your home this year? Have you decorated it yet?

Oma

Baby Sam’s First Christmas and a new project for me.


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This is my second grandson, Sam. He is sitting on his mum’s lap, opening his Christmas presents. He is a little confused about it all because it is his very first Christmas and he’s not sure what it’s all about. The quilt over his knees was his main present from me. You can see more about it here… I think he likes it. It has a jungle theme so I bought him  a tiger to go with it and a storybook called ‘The Tiger Who Came to Tea’. Don’t you just wish you were that age again?

So now that I’ve finished that quilt, what am I working on next? Well, here it is, a quilt for Larry (my husband). When I was in America, I loved going to Joanne’s Fabric Emporium. They have every sort of craft going on in there and they are very big on quilting. I was inspired every time I stepped through the doors. Now that I’m back in England, I feel deprived because the nearest shop I have to that is quite a way away and my local shop is tiny. I buy a lot of materials online, but I did bring some American themed material back with me so the quilt for Larry has an American theme (in case he gets homesick) and I’m making it in a homespun sort of design. I fell in love with the homespun style while I was there and for those of you reading this who are English and unaware of the style, take a look here:

I love the spooky nature of the Primitive Style. It appeals to that side of me as I love all things natural and home-made.

Here’s a preview of Larry’s quilt, which I still have to sew up. The layers are in place like  a sandwich and I’m pinning them together so they don’t shift about when I sew.DSCF1749 DSCF1750

Sam Xmas 2013

and one more picture of Baby Sam’s first Christmas:

Oma 🙂