Thursday, 27 December 2012

Unwrapping the present

With every Christmas, I find more layers. As a child, it was a time of expectancy, excitment and then unalloyed delight. As years pass, more emotions are added and the simplicity is lost.
The magic can still be found. When I looked at our beautiful tree, the memories of all previous trees are still there inside me.
I can't re-create that wonderful piney scent that you smell when coming downstairs the first morning after the tree is up but this picture nearly captures the glow of delight I feel when we light the candles on Christmas Eve.

We have our rituals as most families do. The tree is carefully chosen, painfully positioned and then decorated (always in the same order) to a very old record from the 1960's.
We are each allowed to buy a new bauble.

 And every year we say -
"This is our most beautiful tree yet!"

Maybe we are right this year?
We put great skill and effort into wrapping our parcels. In the war of the wrapping, my brother always wins!

 It is still a time of delight, of families and love-

And yet it can be such a mad whirl, with so much striving to create the perfect setting for celebration.
I felt happy yet exhausted when I looked around at my home, decorated and ready for my loved ones to arrive

And a small, disloyal voice sounded in my head
"Oh no- It will soon be all full of people and get so messed up!"

I pulled myself together and looked up at my beloved mistletoe Kissing Bunch

And my edible wreath on the kitchen door

And thought, isn't Christmas all about loved ones to kiss and friends to feed?

And yet there is still something missing.
I love to be with my family and it is right that this is a time for feasting, presents and celebration.
But as so often at this most wonderful season, the spiritual side seems to have been put to aside. I do know this is my fault entirely and I that I have made my own choices.
I suppose I have come to realise that I simply do not have the reserves of energy and resolve to create a riotous family event and to still be quiet within myself and think about the other side of Christmas.

I did lean out from my window at midnight on Christmas Eve and think, just maybe, this is the actual moment that changed the religion and lives of so many people.
I did see the flame of love and joy that I call the soul, shining in the faces of people around me.

Yet I still feel that one year, I should like to be tremendously selfish and take myself off to a still, quiet place and just be and think and pray and spend an entirely different Christmas from the ones I know and ususally love.

But for now, this little gift is enough.
All my life I have rubbed berries on bark and longed to have an apple tree with its very own magic mistletoe.
And this year I have.

Monday, 24 December 2012

That season comes

Some say, that ever 'gainst that season comes
Wherein our Saviour’s birth is celebrated,
The bird of dawning singeth all night long:
And then, they say, no spirit dare stir abroad.
The nights are wholesome. Then no planets strike,
No fairy takes, nor witch hath power to charm,
So hallowed and so gracious is that time

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to everybody

Friday, 2 November 2012

The best of Birthdays

Last year I had the great milestone birthday of 50 years. I have to admit, that despite some happy moments, it was a difficult time, with loved ones away from me and my Father so ill. I made up for it by celebrating in many ways throughout the whole year though!

Saints and Sinners Party with Ems and Sam
This year was made special by my lovely man. He (with some help from Emily) planned the most wonderful Birthday weekend to make me happy.
All was a surprise and a secret. We drove off into the dark night and I had to cover my eyes at particular places. When allowed to look around me, we passed an old arched gate, creeper covered walls -and suddenly the place seemed familiar...

He had brought me to stay in the Spread Eagle Inn, set within the grounds of the beautiful Stourhead Gardens.

The bedrooms are elegant, antique filled, old fashioned and comfortable. They were kind enough to have saved us supper, which was then brought to our room once we'd settled in.
I had packed with care-it was such fun to have a chance to use my favourite old suitcase.


 ( This discreet use of the three dots was first used in a romantic sense in Elinor Glyn's scandalous novel  "Three Weeks")
Next morning, after a suitably sustaining breakfast, we had the joy of wandering around these magnificent gardens all by ourselves. True, it was a little rainy but that didn't detract from their beauty or our happiness.

In fact, even the rain-drops looked lovely

We scuffed through fallen leaves

and in time-honoured fashion of happy couples, took our photograph with the camara held out in front us.

We were lucky to have peace and the time to look at the Autumn trees

The amazing colours

And those perfect moments that we usually miss during our tiring, hurried lives.

We stopped at The Gothic Cottage

to rest by the fire, with a  hot chocolate

and add our memories to the magic tree

It was a perfect way to celebrate my Birthday.

And there was still more to come!
We travelled to Bath where we were met by Emily and Sam, to finish the day with shopping, cocktails and the most delicious of meals.

So David my dearest, I can truly say "Thank You"

this was the happiest of Birthday Treats

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

The Artisan's Christmas Fair

The Artisan's Christmas Fair a date for your diary................. Sunday 2nd December

This time we are in a different venue for our fair. As a result we will have more space and a more prominent position by the A36. Along with more space we will have more stalls with a greater choice of vintage and handmade pieces. There will be gifts to suit all pockets which, unlike items on the high street, will be unique.

The Artisan Friends gathering together include:
Beulah's Vintage Attic, with  kitchenalia, vintage inspired clothing, painted items and accessories. See web-site for details

Camelia with vintage linens, handmade lovelies, vintage objects, haberdashery & small decorative items. She now has a space in The Vintage Quarter, Wilton (within the Shopping Village complex).
Caroline with her handmade jewellery, using semi-precious stones & more recent quirky pieces. Caroline started beading 3 years. ago, when her Grandchildren were staying with her  and she needed to do something with them. Since then she has become interested in
semi-precious beads, and the ideas are humming in! She makes a great variety of jewellery to suit all types, and whilst making variations on a theme, will not repeat herself. Colour and texture are very important to her.
She will be selling at stall at the Godolphin Christmas Fair, Salisbury on 10th November
10th ( 10 a.m. -4 p.m).

Jo & Margot with their lovely cards, gift tags and vintage items.

John Gustard with his lovely collection of art He will be doing quick portraits in Conté Crayon... perfect for Christmas. We are hoping he will be able to run some more workshops with The Artisans in the future.

Kiss the Book, Jane the English Booklady, with her lovely books, kitchenalia and decorative objects. Her blog has recently won an award.
Sky Blue- Anne-Marie with her own design, Sky Blue, hand knitted and handmade items, incorporating vintage fabrics, as well as a selection of other vintage pieces.

Tanya Wadey with handmade rabbits, hair slides & broches. She will be joined by Imogen and her Limited Edition Lino-cut prints, produced entirely by hand (pictures & cards).

John & Sue's delicious vintage inspired cakes & teas are available all day and they will introduce their preserves and homemade produce. (Buttercup Cottage Farm, as seen on Facebook).

& many more stalls including a £1 stall.............something for all

If you are out for lunch with family or friends, in need of inspiration or just curious, you will be made most welcome.

You may wish to combine a day out with friends or family and be in need of a little inspiration for Christmas.
The Artisan's Christmas Fair at South Newton and Great Wishford Village Hall, Salisbury, Wiltshire, SP2 0PJ, just off the A36 with plenty of parking.

Free entry.

Together we look forward to welcoming you.

With many thanks to Anne from 'Camelia'- I've snaffled all this from her- so she, wonderful woman, has done all the work! Only the photographs are mine.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

When a best friend marries

There was a time when I was younger, when our weekends were filled with weddings. Now it is a more unusual event, therefore a particularly special occasion.
When my dear friend Pippa married Andy this Summer, I felt so happy for her. This picture, taken on the beach just after the ceremony, shows the sense of fun and love they share-

I'm certain she has chosen wisely

After all, who can resist a Pirate?

I have to admit however, it is hard when a good friend moves away and starts another phase of their life.
Pippa has lived 'just down the road' from me for 18 years and several times a week we would be around each other's houses catching up on the vital minutiae of life. In fact, she is actually part of my house, having carved our hearth stone for us when we had the grand redecorating

Not a great photo but I had to include it!

She is a stone mason, a sculptor and artist

Pip's Polar Bears just before they were sold

Egg Lady (I was the model)

One of my favourite lino cuts
We have shared each other's highs and lows over the years. Our children have grown up together and there was rarely a party or a meal that Pippa was not part of

And Beetle is always a part of everything too!

And goodness, we have had some great parties! The most recent being our ' Saints and Sinners' party at a local church

Pippa, one of her twin sons Adam and me

Pip looked fabulous as a bad fairy!

We have been on so many adventures and holidays-

In Yorkshire for the Andy Goldsworthy exhibition

Cut off by the tide in Devon!

Pippa took me to Spain last winter to celebrate my 50th Birthday. We had the most amazing holiday in Granada and Cordoba

It's such fun to go away with a friend who shares the same love of art and the unusual. Although I have to admit, that meant we spent quite a lot of our time enjoying wonderful meals in beautiful surroundings...

I know she will be happy together with Andy in her married life and I also know that I will always be a welcome visitor to her new home in Devon. After all, life may bring many changes but good friends remain!