...comfort and joy and every happiness in the coming year.
My heartfelt thanks to you for reading my blog.
I was very glad I did the shopping yesterday.
Assuming you don't have to go to work that day, what is your favourite way to spend a snowy day?
I stoked up the fire and had breakfast by candlelight, fed the birds, took a little bare foot walk around the garden, listened to The Snow Child on Audible. I had some soup and some Christmas chhocolates and looked at my Christmas book and thought about my word for 2024...
I had a thoroughly lazy and self indulgent day.
It was lovely. :-)
When I got off the bus, which drops me right by my house, I had my phone in my hand to use the torch (no street lights here which I rather like). There are no bus stops either, the drivers drop you where you request.
I loved how the house was welcoming me so I put down my bags of shopping and took few quick shots....
It's very cold and starry and they say it may snow!
Thank you so much for the good wishes and for the poems - that was lovely! I hope you all had a happy time at Christmas.
I spent time with family and although we have had some foul weather I had a beautiful journey home on the single bright and calm day in a week.
My friend drove us out of the city to the west past fine terraces of Victorian and Edwardian houses, the golden stone looking amazing in the low sunshine. Along the western shores of Loch Lomond detouring for a look at the pretty village of Luss. Through the Arrochar Alps and over the Rest and Be Thankful pass, on to Loch Fyne and Loch Eck, over the Larach to Loch Long and home for a leissurely lunch. My daughter had kindly put some heating on and it took no time to get a good blaze going in the stove and to light lots of candles.
I hope you are sheltered from the storms.
They get too much for Christmas,
said Gran. It's really shocking.
In my young day you got
a few nuts in your stocking,
an orange and an apple
and a hanky from your aunt
and you were grateful for it
unlike modern kids who aren't.
So we put apples in her stocking
as many as we could fit
and was she grateful for it?
No she wasn't, not a bit.
From a little book which makes us chuckle each Christmas - Funny Poems For Christmas compiled by Paul Cookson
My little sustainable save-the -planet growing Christmas tree is rather bald on top and a bit sad looking!
So I cut some pine branches and wired them on. I will give the tree some extra TLC during the year and see if it will grow more needles on top for next Christmas.
Meanwhile it looks quite pretty. When it is dark.
Have you got your decorations up? Your cards posted? Your presents wrapped? The menu planned? Mid-winter would be so dull without Christmas!
..and on with more down to earth matters.
Do you have a place you feel to be your second home? Not in the literal sense of owning property there, but in the sense of feeling at home, feeling you belong. York was my home for many happy years and revisiting it can be rather bittersweet, but the beauty of it and the layers of history so visible on it's every surface always enchant me..
I am not naive about it's problems. Like most cities it has homelessness and pollution, over commercilisation, rowdy hen nights and stag parties and crowds, but as in many English cathedral cities there is a sense of continuity and tradition that appeals to me on a deep level. Centuries of it, and York Minster has seen it all.
Gullygate, Petergate, Goodramgate, Fossgate, Walngate, Micklegate and Whip Ma Whop Ma Gate - all these smaller streets have wonderful independent shops run by knowledgeable and enthusiastic creative people. Children's bokshops, delis like The Hairy Fig , Greek cafes, bakers, clothes shops, card shops - if I didn't have to carry things home on public transport I would probably have spent a lot more money!
For me the start of the real Christmas..
When the main lights go out (about 14minutes in) and the procession starts, the magic begins.
I do like what Lia Leendertz has to say in her December podcast As The Season Turns about our desire to hibernate in winter, and I also plan to take up her suggestion of preparing a nature table for the solstice on the 21st.
We have had little snow as yet and some brave sunny days.
I love the way the villas and large houses on the shores of Holy Loch give scale to the hills. Large areas of the forest have been felled recently.
A winter blog break coming up - hope you will stay safe and cosy!
..I just get a bit fed up with eating sensibly. So I had a mince pie for breakfast.
Now to get down to the lovely task of sending greetings and messages of love...Its a happy
thing to do on a wintry day.
Donald MadLeod on his brilliant programme Composer of the Week (Radio 3 mid day) points out that in Medieval times the festive season lasted from now until Candlemas on the 2nd of February. Maybe they had the right idea.
Would it not be a wonderful thing to celebrate every day of winter until them? In some quiet simple way? Any ideas on how you would do that? Mince pies for breakfast might be one.. well, occasionally.
..that I once said I would put a link to the beautiful holiday apartment in York which my kind friend let me say in during the pandemic on my way back from Venice. What a strange time that was.
Here is the link. The house is lovely, the location perfect and York is gorgeous at Christmas!
Getting in the mood
to add a little decoration
with the first Christmas card.
I noticed the building featured in this post only because my bus stop had been moved. I looked it up on the way home and thought I would like to see inside and took the opportunity on that day out in the time between the two concerts. As we walked in - it is the headquarters of the Bank of Scotland - a man stepped out from behind a very inposing desk and asked if he could help. When he realised we were not there on business he began discreetly walking us back towards the door, but when I said I was interested in the architecture it quicky became clear that her knew a lot about the building and its history, and we had a lovely conversation. (He called the building 'she')
Sadly, the feature I especially wanted to see - the atrium - has been floored over. It no londer exists
I have found a book called Fragments of Glasgow with photographs of many old Glasgow buildings, which I think I may have to have for Christmas!
An artist seeking a simpler life - (but not too simple!)