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Sunday, 12 November 2017

Oh my, my......

My dears, I really am beside myself with shock. You may indeed ask why and, dear souls, if you had not noted it yourself, I will tell. Yester morn, the male guardian and I spent some time talking to the darling twin sister and her male guardian via the electronic technology (a most ingenious device, but that is another subject) and a fly away comment did make me start for, dear souls, 'tis but six weeks this very day til Christmas Eve. Why, I felt quite a frission of shock for t'as fair crept up' on me, stealthily below my festive radar and, one has to admit, momentarily, put me in a spin. Thankfully, dear souls, one is not apt to allow such a state to linger being more of a practical soul. Now that my dear parents are no longer here, and the family range far and wide, ''tis more a time to enjoy one's own traditions, give thanks for health and peace, giving to those less fortunate and enjoy some local celebratory rituals. I am a firm believer in the handwriting of festive cards, chosen for the recipients and sent in good time. There is nought so delightful than receiving a handwritten missive to make one feel a warm glow, most welcome in some of the more draughty establishments of my country friends and relatives. 

Christmas is, as is today, a time for remembrance, today being Rememberance Sunday, of those loved ones no longer with us. A time to remember the joys and sadness but to remember those who have gone before us, for there, dear souls, by the grace of god go we when ''tis our time. Take a moment today, especially, to remember, for remembrance is what keeps them alive. 

Thursday, 9 November 2017

A PhD

Now, dear friends, one could be led to believe by the title of this missive, that one alludes to one's educational achievements but no, dear friends, 'tis reference to that which all crafters, be they a knitter or seamstress, are familiar. Such is the excitement for a crafter on espying a sumptuously spun fibre in the most becoming shade or a material of delectable weight and drape, that the current project can be cast asunder or momentarily aside, thus a PhD is achieved. A PhD in crafting circles is of course a "Project half done", of which I am sure, there are many across the continents. One can barely complete the first project before the next is being considered. Why, my dear colleagues and friends and I are in just such a position, for we do spend many an hour contemplating the next project and oh, what fun we do have. It does, however, add to the problem of the "stash". The stash is the squirrelling away of those desirable accoutrements for "the next project" be it yarn, fabric, haberdashery and so much more to be admired and considered at will. Enquire of any crafter and one would be suprised at the treasures this simple enquiry elicits, "stashed" away for the right project.  Now, one does where possible, try to keep oneself to a minimum, as for some, it can become an increasing problem with storage, thus, one attempts to be sensible. I do however, dear souls, have to confess to two such temptations recently of both yarn and fabric; the yarn being a delectable shade for my friend and colleague, and the fabric a very reasonable meterage which will be made into a little practical something to add to my wardrobe. One really cannot resist a bargain, my dears, and I am very fortunate indeed for the male guardian is most understanding of this habit, having one or two "hobbies" of his own. Therein lies the secret of a match made in heaven, do you not agree?

Saturday, 4 November 2017

Restoring Autumn order

Whilst the male guardian goes about his professional toil, I have taken the opportunity to gather up the apple harvest once again. This, my dears is not the first time since our return from the Antipodes. This collection alone resulted in some seven garden tubs and at least eight sturdy sacks; dear reader this was a small collection compared to those previously undertaken but one that allowed some produce to be left for the wildlife as the weather continues to cool, much to my delight. The harvest will be utilised by the local recycling centre in their garden compost/mulch, completing the cycle and reinforcing one's motto of "waste not want not".

Once this task had been undertaken, the boundaries of our little estate were reviewed. They required their autumn tidy and therefore this very afternoon saw me wielding a favourite piece of garden machinery to bring them back to their crisp, clean lines. Oh, I do so love a crisp, clean hedging line and one that forms uninterrupted views of the surrounding countryside in its autumn finery of fiery golds, reds, greens and oranges. Such a beautiful site to behold. In return for trimming both our own and our neighbours sides of the hedge, the resulting debris will be placed upon our neighbours bonfire to be lit at their leisure,  for which I am most grateful and indeed suitably fitting for a believer in the motto "quid pro quo", do you not agree? The added bonus, of course, dear souls, is the gloriously evocative aroma of an autumn bonfire - what is not to like one asks oneself.

What satisfyingingly tiring work this is, one that creates a rosy glow upon the cheeks and ensures a good nights sleep will be had. I am most fond of work like this for I firmly believe it to be wonderful for the constitution and a happy, healthy mind.

Thus, the autumn tidy has begun and for many a weekend ahead, weather permitting, we will continue to cut, trim, rake and more, preparing the garden once more for the eternal cycle of renewal. I have, however, dear reader, ensured that the finest selection of ivy, holly and greenery remains in situ for the festive season for what else would one use to decorate one's small country home in suitably traditional finery; a must my dears, for any country dweller.

Thursday, 2 November 2017

Fine blends and Russian Caravan

How could I forget, dear souls, to tell you about a most delightful establishment that my dear friends and colleagues and I did espy during our trip to Bath last weekend; so very tardy and for which I apologise. Now, as you may well remember, I am oft to comment on a fine blend of tea or indeed fresh coffee, both of which I am inordinately fond. It was whilst we were in the Antipodes recently that I was fortunate to be introduced to, sample and, greatly enjoy, a fine blend of tea called Russian Caravan. It is, one must comment, not everyone's cup of tea, for it has a smokey flavour that some literally cast asunder; dear reader, what is not to like. So taken was I with this fine blend that I looked to purchase some whilst there to bring home. Alas, a national shortage thwarted these attempts and I came away empty handed and bereft of said tea. My dear Antipodean relatives did, however, most generously send me home with the most exquisite receptacle for brewing my own restorative cup of tea, with two of the most beautiful fine china cups from which to enjoy it - they really are things of beauty and, if I say so myself, quite something to behold.

Home once more and intent upon purchasing my necessary haberdashery, I fair walked straight past this fine purveyors of tea and coffee, only to double back with alacrity as I caught sight of the many caddies of tea, and coffee, advertising all manner of flavour. Well, when my eyes alighted on this gloriously named blend, my heart fair skipped a beat. Dear reader, before one could say 
"Mr Robinson" I had purchased two tidily wrapped packages of Russian Caravan tea; one for me and one to wing its way across the water for the Antipodeans whilst they experience their national shortage and to go some way t'ward replenishing their badly dented supply of which I readily partook. Gillards of Bath reside in the covered market and really are worth a look. I found the lady there most charming, knowledgeable and helpful; they are certainly to be marked on the map for a return visit, dear friends.

Sunday, 29 October 2017

Friendship and hard work

I am most fortunate, dear souls, in having a small select number of friends whom I have made along the way in my career and in whom I find great joy, for they are open and honest and, more importantly, such genuinely lovely people.  This very weekend I had the delight of taking the locomotive with two such ladies to the charming city of Bath whilst the male guardian went about his professional toil. We met, as arranged,  at an early hour and walked to the station. The journey itself was short and oh, how we chattered along the way for this is the first, we hope, of many such days. We had gone with the express intent of purchasing the necessary haberdashery for our next dressmaking project. On arrival, a warming drink and a little tasty something set us up for a day of looking, reviewing and buying. We walked around Bath in search of the necessary requisites until, tired by our efforts, we partook of a light lunch to restore ourselves and consider our purchases. My dears, we did have such fun and laughter, made all the more delightful by the ease of companionship and a shared interest in ensuring that we all enjoyed ourselves. The journey home was taken with consideration and forward planning for our next day of sewing, something enjoyable to look forward to on the calendar. 

The clocks have turned back an hour overnight and thus the male guardian and I took the opportunity to rise early and undertake the necessary gathering of grocery requisites for the week ahead, planning meals and stocking the larder. That undertaken, the day was spent in catching up with laundry, chores and generally maintaining our home and small estate. As dusk began to arrive, we have battened down the hatches and begun to enjoy the darker evenings. A delightful homemade supper, and an evening of rest and recuperation is in store for us. The periodicals, a fine blend of coffee and a square or two of a dark intense chocolate is just the way to end an enjoyable weekend, do you not agree.

Friday, 27 October 2017

The winds of change

Well, dear souls, the weather has once again ensured that the favourite topic of conversation upon this green and pleasant island remains the same, for it has been incredibly warm of late. Today there has been a faint glimmer of  change with a cooler feel to the air albeit with a bright blue sky and sunshine. This very night we are expecting a single figure temperature, borne out by a clear sky and twinkling stars. So very exciting, with the smell of woodsmoke upon the air, a fragrance I am, my dears, inordinately fond of. There is nought so delightful than a deep warm bed, snuggled down, in the depths of the bedding on a cold winters night - such a gloriously luxurious and decadent feeling.

Do you not just adore these preparations for autumn and winter, dear friends. The garden is trimmed and tidied, bonfires lit and harvests gathered. The home is battened down, chimneys swept, log stores checked and the larder is surveyed to ensure the essentials are gathered in. Why, even our wardrobes undergo change, moving from light, loose garments to warmer, layered ensembles to trap warmth. Being an amateur knitter,  I do so love to see hand crafted garments lovingly crafted. 

The clocks change this weekend thus the male guardian and I will luxuriate in that extra hour, particularly if the temperature has dropped and the autumn bedding replaces the lightweight summer ensemble. Such delights to look forward to.

Sunday, 22 October 2017

Refresh and revamp

Well, dears souls, all too soon we have slipped back in to the routine of our professional toil after such a glorious time away. For many years, the male Guardian and I have willingly kept our noses, as the saying goes, firmly to the grindstone however I do believe, my dears, that it has done us the world of good to step off of the treadmill of life for that short period and, whilst whole heartedly enjoying oneself, take time to contemplate and consider. I do believe that it has recharged the batteries but, most interestingly, given me a refreshed standpoint to review that which I do and those around me both in my personal and professional lives. Update and refresh is the new motto, with fresh eyes and a clearer perspective after such a delightful time away.

After some charitable works at the beginning of the weekend, the male guardian and I have spent a quiet time catching up with those essential chores and enjoying our home. As the clock ticks t'ward the winter season we are also undertaking the essential estate garden review. After the last few blustery days, much of the harvest has dropped to the orchard floor, thus affording us a nigh unfettered view of the crowns of the trees. After much consideration,  we have come to the conclusion that the orchard requires a revamp, therefore, the winter will see us warmly clad, long loppers and fine blades apiece, trimming the orchard back to basics. We last did this when we arrived at the estate many years ago and have been rewarded threefold; all the more reason, my dears, to step once more unto the breach, as it were. 

The days are fast becoming shorter and, indeed, next weekend the clocks will turn back an hour plunging us in to darker evenings when sadly, nought can be achieved outside on our return from our professional toils each day. The season that good old Blighty hunkers down and relishes. Thus far we are fortunate that the weather has remained temperate despite November fast approaching, no doubt to surprise us at some point with a nip in its tail.