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Thursday, 22 December 2011

Carol singers and Posada

Just a very brief update, last night our adult church choir were out singing near where we live so when Ian went out to join them I suggested he may wish them to come back to our home afterwards. Meanwhile, I got on with important things, like posting yesterday's blog, listening to The Archers, and answering the phone. Which meant, when Ian tried to ring me to say he was coming back he couldn't get through. It didn't matter, mince pies were available, so was the wine as we had prepared it for the Posada visit.

So, for once, the house had visitors, albeit just 5 of the choir but it was so good, it has encouraged me to try and do some entertaining. No one stayed too long, I don't think they wanted to be around for the Posada visit as that would have delayed them.

The Posada visit went well, Y and J had an extra prayer to that on the sheet; there was much discussion about the structure of the stable. No wine was consumed by these visitors, coffee and more mince pies instead.

I see one of Ian's projects coming, a new stable for next Christmas?

Need to present wrap and other seasonal stuff.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Shortest daylight day

Just thinking.... about a couple of things about Christmas. One is the tree. We have a reasonably realistic artificial tree that has appeared out of various hiding places for at least the past 20 years. It opened out, is decorated, by one person, or by all the family. Decorations have history, like the box of Polish decs bought at the Whitton light switching on evening, there are some infant school sewn items and frankly it is a hotch potch of colour, style and taste. The last attribute is questionable.

A couple of years ago we went all artistic. Out went the rainbow of colours, in came blue and silver, minimalism, enough but not overload, new fine lights that could change in frequency or brightness. It was lovely, elegant, even though the blueish light did clash with the yellowy lights in the window upstairs.

This year, as we are empty nesters the tree, lights and decorations were put up by Ian whilst my back was turned. I doubt we could fit more decorations on to this tree.

The other thought, is how my dear late Mother always baked and cooked everything at Christmas. she was a good baker, how she stored, cooked everything in the tiny galley 30s kitchen I'm not sure but I feel I am failing because I do buy more ready stuff. There is the orange Christmas pudding, the ready made mini mincepies, the pre-weighed cranberry sauce ingredients, likewise the Delia Smith Christmas cake pack. I think the latter does mean I cut out the weighing and measuring, especially as I no longer make cakes every week. I am sure my Mother would have appreciated these short cuts, maybe not the price tags that cover others doing the work but it does make me feel so guilty yet I do not know why. Am I doing my best for the family? Mostly it is down to Ian and I, Martha will be here but it is a good chance for her to catch up with her London friends, not stuck in with the parentals.

At present, just trying to sort a meal where there may be more veggie than non veggie guests so will probably serve all veggie so everybody can eat everything. Hope they will, lots of empty plates without my fear of not enough food either.

Now, need to get on, the Posada is arriving chez PixieMum  Mansions so we require a candle, wine glasses and those mince pies. Rare for us to entertain, am out of practice and find it scary. Oh, the wine and mince pies are not obligatory for receiving the Posada, we thought it would be good to offer them.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Delaying tactics

Saturday December 17th 2011 

Outside My Window:  Amongst the darkness some houses lit up with over the top decorations

I am thinking...  about Martha's friend's Mother who died on Wednesday 14th December from Cancer. Teresa was a few years younger than me, we were in adjoining beds in a maternity hospital, maybe that is when our daughters bonded. The girls went to the same secondary school, were in the same class and the friendship has endured although Martha lives 60 miles away. She came back last night to support her friend, an understanding reinforced by her work with those dealing with the aftermath of a death.

I am thankful for... Ian has been able to get into our old Blueyonder email address and find 10,000 emails as we were asked why we had not replied to our (only) party invitation. Apparently we are usually one of the quickest to reply. Most of the emails relate to Freecycle, as I read these on one of my other emails we have not lost any bargains. Away from Freecycle, what else have we missed?
I am wearing ... green cord East skirt, Uniqlo cable knit cashmere jumper and chunky cardigan, the cream coloured one I completed after a 20 year gap.

Sunday evening.
Well, I never got to finish this blog so will post it as it is. 

Just a thought from the kitchen, am going to put the marzipan on the Christmas cake, thought I would need have a cake board as part of this, but have checked with Delia and will need board for icing. Am going to marzipan the sides as well, although the leaflet with cake has marzipan and icing on the top only.Also, will make royal icing, don't like the roll out icing so we will be having our usual snow scene. Traditional, just like my Mum made.

Yes, I know this is a bit close to Christmas, but I just keep forgetting about it! Will photograph it after, and may add that to these ramblings later.

Saturday, 3 December 2011


After all that blogging about newspapers I think we are missing part of our paper. There is no Weekend supplement, no property - not that I am wanting to buy another home but I lurve looking at interiors for ideas -no personal finance. Ian said there wasn't another plastic wrapped section apart from the magazine. It appears that the app on my iPad does not have these supplements so I am pleased I don't pay extra as the app comes with the subsciption.

Oh well, it is late. Ian is just boiling water for the hot water bottles, so good night.

Sunday morning.

Ian collected Sunday's paper this morning, and the rest of Saturday's as it turned out that not all Saturday's paper had been delivered by 9am yesterday. Newsagents had therefore saved it for us to collect with today's paper. As we have a prepaid subscription papers are put aside for us, some times it is quite late when we amble down to our urban village.

Very different Sunday for us. We had planned to go to son's to help him and his wife assemble the IKEA wardrobes that were to be delivered yesterday, but they weren't, and have just been so it is too late for us to drive to their home today. Instead Ian is continuing with painting the kitchen, it isn't too bad, but some areas need freshening up. He's painted some door frames, now it is the larder so all the food has been taken out. Good to see what we have, there is even more in the dining room than shown below.

We suspect some items are well out of date, such as the four 5-litre containers of water, with a use by date of end July 2011 so we are not sure whether these should be kept any longer. They were bought earlier in the year when water supplies were threatened, have been kept in the dark that is the larder. We wouldn't waste the water if it were not drinkable, loo flushing comes to mind. What do my readers think? 

Here is the larder, awaiting cleaning and painting.

Lunch preparation calls, will I find everything?

A good week.

Well, this week has been quite interesting, everything from son and D-in-L visiting last Sunday, a broken down car, a meeting with a blogging friend to a surprise shopping trip today with daughter. Best news of all, Ian passed his Open University Maths. exam so that is MS221 out of the way. So delighted  for him, he had done so well in all the assignments, but was worried about the 3 hour exam.

Will try to type this quickly as have not yet read the Saturday paper at all, before I know it there will be the Sunday papers to peruse. I've always enjoyed reading newspapers, as a child I developed the skill of reading upside down as my father would put the paper flat on the table, I sat opposite. My parents took the Express, in the days when it was a broadsheet, much more serious, if fewer pages. Apparently when they set up home, four and half years after their marriage there were discussions about which paper to buy for their choice had to be suitable for their children to read too. In the evening it was the London Evening Standard, it could have been the Evening News or the Star in those days when the capital had three paid for evening papers, including on Saturdays too.

Then papers were more for news, not for comment so much. We didn't seem to have the radio on, or perhaps not the Home Service when I was a child, I remember my father coming home from work, holding up the evening paper with headline: The Queen: a baby. That baby is the Duke of York now. It wasn't just newspapers, my mother had Woman magazine delivered with the paper. As she wouldn't have had time to read it till the evening it was hidden as I wanted to read it too! At one time they bought She but when the magazine published a pull out supplement called All you want to know about sex but were afraid to ask there was disapproval. Obviously Woman was more suitable reading!

Our big car breakdown was on Monday, on the way back from Teddington with my new bag and books. The Citroen Picasso started jumping kangaroo style, the engine stopped too when it wasn't grinding. Fortunately we were so near the garage, an appointment had been made for Wednesday anyway so Ian drove very gingerly to their premises and left it there. We collected it this morning. To be fair, it was ready yesterday late afternoon but we couldn't face convoying over there. Apparently the crank pulley and glow plugs had gone, plus we had new filters, (the air and pollen filters are essential for me) as well as an annual service. We have used this family  garage for about 25 years, so do have a loyalty discount and feel happy with them. The main dealers failed completely to sort a problem we had a couple of years ago with fuel injectors so we will not go back to them.

Tuesday saw me scurrying up to town to meet with Z, a lovely blogger from East Anglia who writes daily about all sorts of interesting and fascinating topics. Her blogs are the new newspapers, sometimes I read them before I settle down for the night, otherwise they are a joy to peruse early morning on my iPad. We chatted for about 5 -6  hours in the cafĂ© in the crypt of St Martins in the Field,  we were joined by Ian later who reminded us we needed lunch.

This is becoming a long blog, so will jump to today. Our church had a fair and a display of Christmas trees, we were just going to collect the car and go to the fair as Ian had made decorations for the choir tree and a tree from oasis, when Martha called to suggest meeting her in Kingston - she is missing John Lewis obviously. Hesitated, then said yes. So went to the church, bought cakes, saw the trees before being driven to Teddington station to catch a train immediately so very quick journey to Kingston.

I think these show the hymn books made by Ian on the choir tree.

We lunched, as you do, in John Lewis, so fortunate to have a table overlooking the river before shopping. All purchases are secret, but apparently I have yet to learn the art of wondering around shops, looking at stuff that I would never buy or desire.

Well, enough nattering, papers to read still, haven't done much knitting lately either, the train journey today was too short. If the pictures look a big colourless, I have since read the rules relating to my camera and it is back on auto.Those other symbols were so baffling, have gone for the KISS principle.

Oh, here's the oasis tree made by Ian with flowers stuck into the 'tree'.