Saturday, 31 December 2016

Happy New Year

Well, my dears, in the words of Alexander Graham Bell "When one doors closes, another opens" for we sit on the threshold of the new year, with the door of 2016 closing behind us. Graham Bell wisely goes on to say of his statement "but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us". It is with this in mind that my guardians look t'ward the New Year of 2017. Much has happened in this last year and a new chapter of life has begun with thoughts turning t'ward the future, much as the Antipodean members of the family are doing. Whilst one can never predict or exactly plan for the future, it is wise to consider ones options. Time, as we have oft noted, flies, and 'tis very easy to climb on the treadmill of life and keep on going, failing to lift one's head. It is easy to forget that one is the author of one's own destiny and small changes can lead to improvements that open up new, or different, avenues. Our aim, therefore, is to make small changes; some will, or have been, presented to us, others we must take the first step, but in the words of Lao Tzo " A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step". Whatever your aspirations for the new year, dear reader, may we take this opportunity to wish you a happy and prosperous New Year with steps in the the direction that you wish to take, remembering

         "I am the master of my fate: the Captain of my soul" William Ernest Henley (1849-1903)
                                           Life, after all, is to be lived not endured.

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Glorious night sky

My dears, the constellations really are quite bedazzling this very evening, quite beyond exception. It is clear and crisp, indeed, sparklingly frosty at an early hour. As my lady guardian arrived home, at a surprisingly modest hour it has to be said, there was a frosted crust upon the driveway gates already. Diamond sparkles glittered as the house was lit, a breathtaking spectacle. If you have a the time do take a moment to stop and stare, for the naked eye can, if not in an area of light pollution, discern quite enormous numbers of glorious stars. Such natural beauty.

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Happy moments

Whilst my male guardian has spent a large part of the festive period in professional toil, there have been some lovely times in between that we have thoroughly enjoyed. My lady guardian has ensured some delightful meals, the home fire has been burning and a general air of comfort and joy in our country lives has abound. 

This morning my guardians rose at an early hour, before any other lights in the lane shone out, to ensure my male guardian had sufficient journey time to reach his professional toil. All was peaceful and calm, and Jack Frost had made one of his few visits this winter. Oh, the beauty of the countryside clothed in sparkling frost. Once sufficient light was in the sky my lady guardian sallied forth for a most invigorating walk for quite an hour and a half. Tramping along lanes, paths and bridleways to enjoy the spectacle of the countryside in winter. Arriving home she brought with her a fresh, frosty fragrance of crisp air and glowing cheeks. What a delightful time she had enjoyed, indeed a walk has featured every day over the festive period, and much appreciated they have been. To walk unfettered by time and wander at will really is greatly to one's liking, all the more so when the air is crisp and clean.

The Antipodeans have been hatching plans for their future and much electronic correspondence has ensued; a most exciting time for all concerned. My guardians are avidly following the plot as it thickens for there is nought so reassuring than to see ones loved ones settled, safe and happy. Oh the excitement, dear reader, one really must contain oneself.

Sunday, 25 December 2016

Happy hearts and joyful souls

Dear readers, Mery Christmas to you all. My lady guardian and I are spending the latter half of the day quietly for my male guardian has once again taken the carriage and is spending Christmas night in professional toil. This has not deterred the Christmas spirit and the morning was spent quietly enjoying time as a little family. Late rising, fresh coffee and toast for my guardians and a most delicious repast of tuna for myself preceding the exchange of gifts. Dear souls, my male guardian has far excelled himself this year with the gifts for my lady guardian. Such a thoughtful, quiet man who ensures my lady guardian's happiness. We both, she and I, feel blessed to be loved by such a caring man, for that is what he is. There is nought that gives such great comfort than to be loved, for we two feel thus. It is not the gifts themselves that matter but the thoughts behind the giving that reveal the man. This does not denigrate the gifts for they are beautiful but the thought and care that has gone behind them, the care and attention. Dear man, you are one in a million and we love you.

For you, dear reader, we hope your day has been joyous, lifted your heart with love and made you feel glad to be alive. Life is not always easy, and can feel stressful and exhausting but I hope we all are able to spend a few moments of peace and joy on this Christmas Day.

Saturday, 24 December 2016

Merry Christmas

It has been extraordinarily festive day despite my male guardian once again being professionally engaged in toil. My lady guardian waved him off in his carriage and spent some time in domestic chores, preparing our modest estate for Christmas. Floors swept and carpets brushed, furniture polished to a high shine and the small Christmas tree decorated.  Our little house gleams and glows with the frission of anticipation Christmas Eve brings. The smell of polish and the aroma of a fine Christmas candle mingles with the smell of the log burner, so evocative of childhood. 

The morning saw my lady guardian pop along to the next small town that was in full Christmas mode; a brass band played glorious Christmas carols, a small market sold delightful festive morsels and all around was festive cheer. So delightful, my dears, at this time of year to see people enjoying a peaceful, festive period. This afternoon my lady guardian attended the most delightful of Christmas services held in the barn of a local farming family, a tradition that has held for many years. People come from far and wide, even across the world with people from Australia, Dubai and China attending today. An amphitheater is created from bales at one end of the barn whilst the cattle look on from the other end. The service, led by our local lady Vicar, enjoys carols sung by all the family, including verses for the children alone, the story of the Nativity complete with appropriate sound track provided by the attendees with the lowing of the cattle accompanying us. This is the true spirit of Christmas; families, friends, tradition, thoughts of those less fortunate for whom a collection is made plus mince pies and chocolates offered by the farming family as we depart. One feels so blessed to live is such a community and ones faith in humanity is restored.

My dearest readers, we wish you a very Merry Christmas and hope you too experience a peaceful festive period, with special greetings for loved ones across the world.

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Four sleeps...

Oh my, my how the festive preparations are building. Why both my guardians have made comment on the vast quantities of illuminated decorations on view on the external facades of many homes. Why, the number of candles these families must purchase is quite beyond me. My lady guardian has taken pains to reassure me that they are electrical illuminations, and if installed correctly are quite the safest of decorations. Dear friends, I am most relieved for one does concern oneself at the thought of excited children in the presence of a quite so many naked flames, or indeed, the very fabric of the buildings they adorn. 

Our dear postman has delivered a busy stream of Christmas greetings in the form of cards and oh how delightful they are. A predominance of the festive robin, a beautiful print of an illuminated church undertaken by our local artist and, some very jolly village scenes adorned with the ubiquitous smattering of snow. There also appears to be quite a number that sparkle, which I must confess, does appear to spread itself around with abandon; why, one finds evidence of it is the most unusual of places, dear reader.

We do so hope that your preparations are well in hand and that you approach the season with peace and goodwill in mind, despite the frantic feelings that can sometimes creep up on one as the day approaches. ''Tis but one day, dear souls, and a time for joy and celebration and to do unto others as you would have done unto you, such a peaceful simple maxim to follow.

Saturday, 17 December 2016


My dears, a sad, sad time for 'tis the anniversary of the death of my lady guardian's mother. Hard to believe that a year has gone by and a life extinguished in the blink of an eye; alive one moment, gone the next. A life that had known hardship and joy, bought six children in to the world as well as working in the care of others. Gone but not forgotten, the six children spread across country and the world, some divided by miles, others by preference; such are families in the way of the world today. A parent brings a child into the world, begins their life and then sees them take steps toward their own life, the author of their own destiny. 

How hard to imagine the responsibility of six children, whilst two parents worked to clothe and feed them in the best way they could. Taught to read and write before attending school, a family of book lovers, all able to craft and some to graft. My lady guardian has the fondest memories of fun not hardship, joy and love and much laughter that is so sorely missed and thus 'tis with heavy heart that we go about our duties. A small comfort to know she had the chance to tell both parents she loved them. A small omission for many that cannot be rectified. Families really are the most curious of things, my dears, so fascinating to observe. The loss of parents a momentous time in a child's life that can bring a family together or, more often as not in these most strange times, fragment it. Guilt the driver of many an angry word, jealousy and greed in evidence for others. Adults, such interesting people, full of contradictions.

For my part, I have sought to give comfort along with my male guardian. We are most fortunate to be a small unit, happy in our own world in our little country home, supported by some family members and a small band of wonderful friends and colleagues. Thank you dear souls for supporting my darling lady guardian at this sad time.

Monday, 12 December 2016

Wells Cathedral

Oh, how very exciting my dears, for my guardians have taken the opportunity to visit Wells Cathedral in the run up to the festivities. What a glorious architectural triumph with scissor arches, a beautiful clock, stained glass and enough stone carving to delight all. It was a most fortunate choice of day for t'was relatively quiet in the smallest city in the country. Not that this dimmed the festive preparations for the Cathedral was preparing for an afternoon and evening of musical enjoyment. As they took in the architectural splendour, beautiful music echoed through the space; so delightful and joyous. My guardians were much taken with this beautiful building.

A quiet stroll through the Bishops Palace, followed sedately along the moat by the Swans hoping for a pre-Christmas treat. On through the arches they ambled and enjoyed the festive wares on display, stopping to enjoy a light lunch in a most delightful vegetarian establishment, well known for its delicious offerings - Neither did it disappoint on this occasion. Such a calm and peaceful time was had, not rushed or harried by over wrought people; a genteel pace to balance life. 

Home now, a fire laid in preparation for a quiet evening; the curtains drawn against the darkening sky with only glimpses of the parish lantern for there is much cloud in this early evening sky.

Saturday, 10 December 2016

Art appreciation...

Well, my dears, the weather has turned warm and wet much to my lady guardian's disappointment. Today has been dank, dark and quite unseasonably tepid. Ne'er fear, for what should arrive by post this very week but an invitation to a most splendid open house art exhibition. Oh, the frisson of excitement this did cause for the exhibition was for non other than James Lynch, a most talented local artist and one of my guardians' favourites. Much deliberation however was undertaken by my lady guardian for she finds art to be most irresistible. My male guardian was most persistent and won the day, thus the carriage was prepared and off they went this afternoon for a few hours of art appreciation. Now, as Christmas is ever closer, I am quite excited myself, dear friends, for will there be a parcel that resembles a painting under the festive tree? Why, who indeed knows, but it has to be said a most jolly time was had by both my guardians with a most delightful warm welcome from the artist and his wife, who is also an artist of repute. 

On their return the fire was lit to burble away slowly and brighten the day for 'twas dimpsey; the lamps were lit and a most warm glow they did emit. My lady guardian has most diligently mastered the art of sock making, therefore my male guardian may find something warm and welcome in his Christmas stocking - now for those gentleman who are sniggering at this juncture, with minds in the direction of the sewer, may I dutifully remind you that this is not what I am implying as you are well aware, (although if you are thinking that which I think you are thinking, you are no gentleman Sir!).

On a firmer footing, my lady guardian is assessing the estate gardens for the annual decoration of our small abode. We are inordinately fond of greenery to decorate the mantle, a wreath and a small tree of some kind as a nod t'ward the festivities without overt excess. I am sure our home will be simply but stylishly decorated for the season. We do hope you too are enjoying your festive preparations. My lady guardian is fond of home made gifts and will be trying out a twist on the normal sloe gin; something I am sure will go down well with the Antipodeans after a year or two of maturation.

Sunday, 4 December 2016

A day of gardening

A day has been spent in the garden gathering many sacks of fallen apples, for there are many of them and yet many more remain on the trees. My lady guardian finds this most pleasing for she is  most keen to ensure that the birds have plentiful supplies to get them through the winter. Whilst my male guardian gathered apples, my lady guardian raked leaves, thousands and thousands of leaves, and yet more remain to be raked. It was a cold day but raking leaves built a warmth that required little more than one layer in which to work. With so many apples a duel trip to the local repository was required; quite how my guardians managed to transport so many apples is beyond my belief but the job was done in good time and a welcome cup of fine English tea was partaken on their return. 

Once these jobs were complete, supper was prepared for later, the log basket replenished and those little jobs that require regular attention undertaken.  Thus prepared for the coming week, we have spent a quiet evening enjoying our leisure. My lady guardian has added many rows to a fine pair of socks, fine woollen garments to add to our collection. 

Saturday, 3 December 2016

Thoughts of the festive season...

Now that we are in the month of December, thoughts have turned t'ward the festive season. Firstly, and most importantly, the postal dates are of paramount importance for anyone with family residing abroad. Dates have, therefore, been duly noted and addressed. The larder has been reviewed with thoughts of a number of small select festive meals to enjoy when both guardians are present outside of their professional toil. My guardians are most dutiful every year in ensuring the log shed is full to last us through the winter months, and provisions laid down for wholesome food. High on the agenda, of course, is ensuring that plentiful supplies fill my own little cupboard of delights; one likes to be prepared for all eventualities.

I have been most fortunate to have both of my guardians home for a few days. We have enjoyed time together, the log burner murmuring in the back ground. Lamps lit early to produce a welcome glow of warmth, and curtains drawn early afternoon against the darkening sky. Whilst my guardians have taken time away from the home, we have all thoroughly enjoyed our delightful moments of languor; the periodicals, a fine book, music in the background - unwinding to the sights and sound of  home, such comfort. A warming cup of fine coffee, a sweet treat for my male guardian and deep sighs exhaled at the knowledge that sanctuary has been reached in the four walls of our little home. Home is where the heart is, my dears, particularly in the case of my guardians and I. 

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Winter's arrival...

Dear friends, winter has truly arrived on our little estate. A clear night once again and December began covered in frost, a deep cold fog having descended that truth be told has not lifted all day. Ne'er a day felt so wintery for the lamps were lit at three this afternoon as well as that most beautiful of contraptions, the log burner. 

Earlier in the day my guardians took the carriage to Exeter for an amble amidst the Christmas market and all manner of merchants selling their wares. The weather was cold but blue sky was evident and my guardians partook of coffee on the quayside and watched the world go by before taking a leisurely drive home through our glorious countryside. On return a light lunch was partaken, whilst the logburner gathered speed to heat the home. I, for my part have directed operations from my sheepskin lined basket, ensuring the correct procedure for the lighting of the fire for this is a most important task now that we have arrived in the winter season. My guardians will ensure it is fed at the appropriate junctures to ensure our continued comfort on this, the first day of winter. We do so hope that you too are suitably prepared.