Saturday, 27 December 2014

A Week In View - Christmas 2014

My Thanksgiving Cactus (Schlumbergia truncata) has not been well for sometime. I've had it for over 20 years and it has grown from a small cutting to a large plant that usually flowers profusely at the end of November. It was re-potted earlier this year and hasn't been happy since - this November there were very few flowers. Then, this week I discovered that the main stem has rotted through near the base, just above the level of the compost. I have taken some cuttings. I know it's not the right time of the year but it has always been such a beautiful, reliable plant and I don't want to lose it. I hope that with some tlc the cuttings will thrive and will be around for another twenty plus years.

These lovely homemade mince pies were a gift from two little girls that I sometimes help with their maths homework. It was such a lovely surprise when they gave them to me and they tasted as good as they look. I love mince pies; they are one of my favourite Christmas treats.

Christmas has been a quiet and peaceful time in this home, with lots of time for knitting and reading. I've started to knit a shawl in some purple chenille yarn that I bought from Texere. The colour is beautiful - rich and luxurious looking. Yesterday we had the first snow of the winter but cozying up on the sofa, with my knitting and  a glass of red wine, I was snug and contented.

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

A Grand Day Out - Hanbury Hall

N and I were both off work so we decided that we would take the opportunity to go out for the day to get some fresh air and exercise. We both love the Worcestershire countryside at this time of the year and, as it would be dark at about 4 o'clock, thought we'd stay local to admire what can be found on our doorstep. The weather was not promising with showers and high winds forecast so mostly indoors rather than outdoors was preferred.

Hanbury Hall is one of the few grand houses open to the public during the week before Christmas so we decided to go there for a stroll around the gardens and park (as much as the weather would allow) and to have a look inside the house.

As the photograph shows the house is beautiful, built in 1701 by the Vernon family. The National Trust have restored the interior to the William & Mary period; there are some terrific wall and ceiling paintings in the hall and staircase, and some very fine furniture. Sadly the upstairs was closed so we only got to see the downstairs rooms. The house was decorated ready for Christmas so it was all very atmospheric.

We had a long stroll around the gardens, which have also been restored by the National Trust. It was cold and showery so we retired to the tea room rather than exploring the park, but I would like to go back again to take the walk from the park up to Hanbury church.

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

A Week In View

This week I have been under the weather and haven't been doing very much except sleeping and reading other people's very interesting blogs.   Even my favourite things - knitting, reading, baking - raised no enthusiasm and needed more energy than I had to give.    So, my world this week has been one of eating comforting food (I have rediscovered the pleasure of instant hot oat cereal eaten with sliced up banana and a spoonful of honey) although later in the week I felt well enough to visit one of my favourite shops, The Cotton Patch, where I bought some Christmas fabrics and a new Omnigrip ruler.    The fabrics are being made into a table runner.
The beautiful, bright red Poinsettia is adding colour to what have been dull days around here lately.