Total Pageviews

Monday, 30 December 2013

At the turn of the year

These days after Christmas celebrations and before the new year have an odd feeling about them, neither holiday or work day, there appears little traffic in our suburban street, certainly few of the regular Park-and-Ride commuter cars are around; our offspring, Daughter in Law and Outlaw Son all are working. (Daughter phoned in her lunch break, she was surprised how busy she had been today, unexpectedly so). Radio and TV schedules change, news bulletins are shortened, often it is one film after another, or compilations of past programmes or events jumbled together.

In my twenties I often worked, it was easy for me, I was single, living at home whereas other staff would want to go up country to their families. Before New Year's Day was a public holiday, the London Gazette containing the New Year Honours had to be distributed amongst the top people. When I think back to the shelves of bound volumes of the London Gazette, the piles of copies waiting to be bound and how rarely they were consulted the world of the Internet seems so green. The library had bound volumes of The Times too, even though by then it was available on microfilm. I remember asking the Chief Librarian why we didn't have microfilm copies and he boomed at me "We can't ask Lord Mountbatten to look at a microfilm"! Presumably had Mountbatten asked to see an issue of the Thunderer a librarian would have had to carry the volumes to him, as far as I know it never happened. Thankfully, even then I could hardly lift them.

One of my many Christmas gifts was a new spiral bound note book, all very girly and pink which is me (I hope), said notebook is to be used to help me structure all this free time I have but can waste. So, at the back I have a page headed up Blog ideas, have remembered to date it and write on the top line Even with lists I try to date everything, cannot remember who or where this was installed into me. Blog ideas all seem very positive and relating to the season so I shall include these ideas and thoughts. When asked if we had a good Christmas I answer very positively yes, because we feel this year the gifts we gave were a surprise and a success, I love giving pleasure and happiness to family and friends, I worry about finding the 'right' gift to match the person.

Christmas Day was family, this year our turn to spend the day with our adult children and other halves at my cousins, a traditional time when the only TV programme watched was the Queen's Speech, instead games included a beetle drive with coloured plastic beetle parts and a 1930s game - Plus and Minus. I remember my father talking about this, cousin must have inherited the family set,

Lots of adding up, taking away and laughter from the youngsters.

Boxing Day found us, with daughter and her young man in Richmond, walking past a very fast flowing River Thames before managing to climb through the Terrace Gardens to take in the View, the only one legally protected. Quite cold weather, no cows in Petersham Meadows, the mist there was quite noticeable. The Terrace Gardens is another one of the places that has been part of my life for ever. I took my first photos here, with my Kodak Brownie 127, I was about 10 or 11 and have enjoyed snapping ever since.

As I have organised my Blog Ideas I shall close this, maybe read more of book given me by my daughter, Listening to the Light: how to bring Quaker simplicity and integrity into our lives by Jim Pym. So appropriate, especially after attending the Quaker funeral and Memorial Meeting for my cousin this year. Also need to move on Winter in Madrid by C. J. Sansom for reading group, this book is not holding my interest at all.

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Christmas Greetings

Hello everyone,

Just a last minute blog to wish all readers of my ramblings a peaceful, joyful and healthy Christmas and best wishes for 2014.

Was going to write lots of profound thoughts, but daughter and her young man are nearly here after being delayed by floods on A31 in Dorset so this will be very brief.

Important message to all knitters who like me take knitting with them everywhere. I left mine on a table at a coffee morning, the 300th hexipuff was lost! Fortunately after phone calls, super Wendy dropped knitting bag back to Pixie Towers. Now I keep one of my cards in with my work so if I'm careless again it can be returned. Since then have made 306 hexipuffs, my target is to finish the whole quilt by next Christmas.

Arrangement in our fireplace is from our local florist, we keep decorations to a minimum, just tree and Christmas cards displayed between books in our hall bookshelves.

Travellers are here, byeeeeeeeeee

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

News and a puzzle to me

Christmas preparations in this house don't real commence until after Adam's birthday tomorrow. Though he won't be here, we had a visit from him and his wife at the weekend, nothing much has been done towards Christmas, except the cake is cooking very slowly at Gas mark 1. For a couple of days the fruit has been soaking in the brandy, (Zoe, I didn't check the brandy was okay, as my understanding is that brandy lasts forever), so this afternoon I weighed and measured, mixed and put cake into tin, as usual Ian had wrapped the outside in newspaper, he's a dab hand with the knots.

Here's the adding black treacle stage, after the butter and sugar has been creamed together. The recipe came from my Stork book of Home Cooking, acquired it in the sixth form at school, it has been used for many Christmas cakes and for my wedding cake too. Great source, there is a chart giving quantities for different sizes of tins, plus all the measurements are in imperial.

Ready to go in the oven now, then the best bit, bowl licking, although its not so good nowadays as the plastic scrapers mean the bowl is wiped clean!

Thinking about food, why do all events, meetings, gatherings etc. all assume that all participants need to have food and drink at all times? History Society, tea and coffee served beforehand; Ian had a rehearsal of the U3A choir, with the orchestra, so members were asked to bring cakes etc.; then at the concert, more food and drink. HIs painting group meets for just two hours, it seems much time is spent organising teas and coffees plus the washing up rota and remembering the tea towel along with the paints.  All knitting groups I have attended seem to require refreshments, yes one group meets in a community centre and by buying a coffee one is helping financially, fair enough. At the local archive where I am a volunteer, again one is encouraged to have a tea break, it is not as if we work a  full day, sometimes it is just a couple of hours on a project, in which case I feel obliged to make up the time I spent in the staff room knitting and drinking coffee.

All this shows I'm a three meals a day girl, in fact can smell supper cooking so will end on that note.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Thinking about things

Didn't mean to leave it this long to post some thoughts, but have been out and about doing things, like local studies volunteering, knitting group at local U3A, lunching with friends, including a former housemate visiting from Melbourne, reading group, plus routine domestic chores like climbing Mount Ironmore, a Mummy-and-Martha day in Town.

An overheard conversation in Oxford Street John Lewis on this occasion made us both crack up, we were in the furnishings department, a young guy with wife was heard to say in an exasperated voice "Oh no! Not cushions!" We wonder what cushions had done to him for him to be so against them.

It was on last Monday morning when I was off to Reading Group that problems with big diesel car started. Well, the car wouldn't start, horrible grinding noise. Abandoned big car and went in little petrol car to discuss the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, well we discussed for all of 10 minutes and spent the rest of time catching up on all the news. I suspect most Reading Groups are like this, especially so if they are held in members' homes, I've never been to any other but maybe there is much more analysis of the book in a library setting.

Our good family owned and run local garage collected the car, apparently the problem was the battery, which was replaced, additionally we asked for a service as the car hadn't had one for a while, like 15 months.  That is the conundrum. We don't drive it very far or that often so the battery, which supports all sorts of electronic whizzy gadgets, doesn't have a chance to really charge up, especially as much of our driving is in town traffic jams. We try to be greener, using public transport more, train journeys down to Dorset are less stressful than driving back in the dark and rain, but then not using the car for long journeys means they don't run so well. Nothing like a long steady run to clean the engine and charge the battery, especially so in a diesel car. Neither of our cars are new, little car is a N registration, big car is 04, but both are low mileage so no point in changing them for newer models. Two litre diesel is not a good town car choice, but in a previous life it was Ian's company car.

Other conundrums that could cause me to wonder; why does the road and pavement sweeper come just before the refuse collection so that all the rubbish that inevitably blows from our multitude of boxes is blown around for another week?

On that note, time for bed.