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Snow is forecast.


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There has been a lot of hoo-haa in the news about the snow storm in America and now over here in England, we are told we will be getting some snow too. For most people, this is bad news, but for some it is very exciting. I’m talking children now.

In her book ‘Village Affairs’ Miss Read is describing how her class of Infants react to snow in Fairacre…

‘Cruel weather,’ said Mr. Willet. ‘My greens look fair shrammed. What with the weather, and the pigeons, and all them other birds, I sometimes wonder why I bothers to grow them.  If I had my way I’d stick to root crops, but my old woman says we must have a bit of winter greens, so I doos my best.  ‘Tis a thankless task though, when the winter’s like this.’

‘As long as we don’t get snow,’ I said.

Mr. Willet looked surprised.  ‘You’ll get that aplenty, my dear, and afore the week’s out too.’

As usual, he was right.

It began during the dinner hour, while the children were tearing about digesting, I hoped, steak and kidney pie and pink blancmange.  Hilary was on playground duty, and I was cutting up painting paper for the afternoon sessions, when the classroom door burst open to reveal a knot of panting children, proudly displaying the spatters of snow on their clothes.

‘Snowing, miss! Ennit lovely? It’s snowing! And it’s laying too.’

They were much too excited to have understood the different uses of the verbs ‘to lie’ and ‘to lay’, and anyway I have almost given up hope of any success in that direction.

I contented myself with telling them to let Miss Norman know that they must all come in to school.

They clanged over the door scraper with enough noise for a mechanized army, and I went to the window to see the worst.

The snowflakes were coming down in great flurries, whirling and turning until the eyes of the beholder were dazzled.  The icy playground was white already and the branches of the elm trees would soon carry an edging of snow several inches deep.  Across the playground, sitting inside the window of my dining-room, I could see Tibby watching the twirling flakes as interestedly as I was doing.

The snow hissed against the glass, but that sibilant sound was soon drowned in the stamping of feet in the lobby and the excited voices of the children.  I could see we were in for a boisterous afternoon.  Wind is bad enough for raising children’s spirits to manic level.  Snow is even more potent a force.

I judged it best to give out the paints and paper as soon as the register had been called, for it was quite apparent that my voice could never compete with the drama that was going on outside the windows.

‘You can paint a snow scene,’ I said, working on the principle that if you can’t beat your rival, you join him.

‘What like?’ said Ernest.

Our Fairacre children are chary of anything involving the imagination.  If I had told them to paint the tasteful arrangement of dried flowers and leaves, concocted by Amy and kept on my desk, they would have set to without a word.  But to be asked to create a picture from nothing, as it were, filled them with dismay.’

Did that passage from Miss Read’s book stir any memories of your own childhood in snowtime?

Oma

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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

Hamley’s Toy Shop – a child’s delight!


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It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…

My grandson, Dylan, has been to the famous toyshop in London, called Hamley’s, to make his Christmas choices. At three year’s old, there is no end to his list of wants, but who would spoil the magic? Not me, for sure…

Here at the cottage, the shopping is almost done. I still have the food to buy. I don’t have enough room to store very much and soon every corner will be filled.

The decorations will go up at the weekend. I must check that the lights for the tree still work!

The cake is made and sits in a tin awaiting the marzipan and the icing decorations.

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How are you getting on with your preparations?

Oma

Comfort Time


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With the bad weather continuing, it’s comfort time in the kitchen. We’ve had all the usual suspects, toad in the hole, see above and roast leg of lamb.  Thank you Sainsbury’s for selling these legs of lamb at a price I could afford for two weeks. It was delicious.

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Apple crumble has been a favourite. Apples are so good for us and apple crumble is so tasty.  I like mine with double cream.  How do you like yours?



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I did get out a few weeks ago and bought a new cupboard to put my glasses in.  It’s such a joy to go straight to the right cupboard and find just the glass you want. Previously my glasses have been wherever they would fit and I could never find the one I wanted. Now that problem has gone away and I’m sorted!

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I’ve enjoyed all the reading I’ve done during the bad spell of weather but I’m ready now for some light entertainment in the garden. I hope my back’s up to it after all this enforced containment!

Oma

Deeper into the snowy woods and an unexpected disaster.


As promised, here are more pictures as I travelled deeper into the woods the other day.  However, just so you don’t think everything is always perfect in the cottage, we have had a disaster in the kitchen!

As some of you know, over the last few years I have been endeavouring to update the kitchen to a look that pleases me. It is expensive and takes time. Recently I got to the 3/4 stage and was feeling very pleased with myself that at last it was beginning to look how I wanted it to look.

Then disaster struck in the form of three leaks under the sink and behind the cupboard backing.  The first leak concerned the trap pipe under the sink, which kept working itself loose but wasn’t bad enough to need a plumber. Next was a drip drip noise, which at first I thought was rain outside. When I opened the back door to have a look, no rain! I realised there was a problem. Water was dripping at the back of the cupboard and when I looked under the sink, having first removed all the bottles in there, I found I could not access the problem and worse still I couldn’t turn off the water tap.

I texted my friend, who shares my house and asked him to come home (he’d just gone out) and see if he could fix it. He didn’t reply. I phoned – no answer. I waited up for him and at 12.15 a.m. we were both back in the kitchen trying to sort out the problem, but it soon became apparent that we needed a plumber.

Sunday morning and J phoned three plumbers. All advertised a 24/7 service. The first one didn’t answer his phone, the second one didn’t reply but the third one came round within the hour and took the back off the cupboard to fix the leak.

The leak was coming from a valve which leads to the outside tap in the garden. He stopped the leak but it needed a new part. Since it was Sunday and we were paying double time per hour, he said he would come back with the part the following Tuesday, which he did. That all cost £100 plus.

For some time the new linoleum in the kitchen had been coming up and losing its stick. I wondered why. Now I know – the floor underneath was saturated.

We called out the insurance assessor who said they would pay for the damage that the leak had caused, but not the repair to the leak itself. Fair enough. I was grateful. He said the floor underneath the lino. was 80% saturated with water. OMG no wonder the lino. wasn’t sticking.

We weren’t out of trouble yet though.

When the builder came to see what the job would entail a few days later, he noticed that we still had a leak! This time is was the tap to turn off the mains water.

We had to have the plumber back before the builders would touch the floor.

When the plumber came he said we needed a new tap and he would try to get one. He was gone for two hours. Trouble was the tap was new when the house was built and that sort of tap was no longer available so he had to get a new tap with an adaptor on it.

Apparently when the cottage was built, they used taps which conformed to European standard sizing, which was different to English imperial measurements. After two years, that idea was abandoned because too many English plumbing firms were going bust owing to the new sizings not being compatible with their machinery.

So much for complying with Europe.  More about that in another post!

So now we have the three leaks fixed and the builders are coming back next Tuesday to replace the floor. Help! I’m not looking forward to that visit, but it will be great when it’s done.

Oma

The magic of the forest.


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This morning I was called to the woods to experience again the white magic I find there with snow. Follow my path as I travel…

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The arrows point the way …

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Through the park …

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Across the bridge …

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Amongst the trees…

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Beneath the leaden skies …

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No sound… all is quiet.

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Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village, though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Robert Frost
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I’ll continue my walk in the woods tomorrow. Will you come with me?

Dylan in the snow!


As you might know it snowed over here bigtime yesterday! The Welsh people got it worst, followed by the poor people in the South West and then us in the South East.

However, not everybody disliked it! You can tell from the look on my grandson Dylan’s face, that he had a great time. He is eating a gingerbread man whilst learning how to throw snowballs. This picture was taken on the field near his home, by his daddy and has captured the moment perfectly, don’t you think!

His joy was unbounded however because his mum bought him a sledge too. Here he is on it:

…still holding the gingerbread man!

All this after an exciteable day at my house. He was so excited by the snow he could hardly contain himself, asking me ‘when was the snowman coming’ because he’s been watching Raymond Briggs ‘Snowman’ over the Christmas Holiday.

If you haven’t seen it, here’s a short clip:

So today we still have lots of snow and more to come tomorrow. Dylan will be having more fun I think!

Don’t you just wish you were two year’s old again? I know I do…..

Have a great Sunday whatever you do people.