Monday, 31 December 2012

All over, bar the shouting :o)

Well, here we are again, at the end of yet another year.
Looking back at last year's end of year blog, I'm fairly pleased to report that I managed to achieve most of the things I set out to do in 2012. Of course, Shaun ending up in hospital the week before Christmas didn't help me to sail smoothly into the calm & peaceful Christmas I'd planned, but as it's Shaun, what did I really expect, eh ? :o)
So. What did I achieve this year ? Well, I definitely had a bit of luck in my family tree, finally solving a mystery that had plagued me for years. I also did a fair bit in the garden, but unfortunately, Mother Nature wasn't the little helper I'd hoped for. It really was a case of sink or swim for the veggies & unfortunately, most of them sunk & drowned :o(
Cooking more from scratch - well, I think I did OK, but, like my school reports said all those years ago - I could try better :o)
However, the weight thing - FAILED.   Again.
I think I'm destined to remain a well upholstered girl. I may not be the size & shape I wish I was, but it isn't for want of trying. And anyway, I do have a shape. Round IS a shape, whatever anyone tells you :o)
I'm not keen on New Year. I find it quite depressing - as I probably said last year & countless other years before,  I don't see the point in celebrating a new year that's more than likely going to be just as grotty as the one we've said goodbye to. I know it's a pessimistic way of looking at things, but that's the way I am. If you look on the black side, you'll never be disappoionted & if something good happens, well, it's a bonus !! :o)
This coming year is a big one for me - I hit a big number birthday next week & in July, Shaun & I will be celebrating a big number wedding anniversary. Not bad for someone who's really only 12 & has been for most of her life, eh ?!! :o)
Normally, when people wish me a Happy New Year, I usually reply with
but this year, I will try to smile & - with gritted teeth, just like last year - reply
 So, here's to 2013. I hope we all get the answers to things we want know,  I hope we all remain as happy & healthy as possible & I hope we all manage to have some fun & laughter along the way :o)

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Christmas Tree Decorations

Well, here we all are, another Christmas almost upon us & the end of the year just around the corner :o)
As I get older, the years seem to fly by & I can only now really understand my Mum's reply of *Don't wish your life away, it goes quicker than you think* when, as a kid, I'd say things like *I wish I was 13*, or *I wish Saturday would hurry up & come.*   We've all been there, done it, said it, bought the t-shirt & made the video, haven't we ? But, the one thing I have always wished would hurry up & get here, is the day I decorate my Christmas tree :o)
When our daughter was little, we'd wait till she'd gone to bed & then set to. We used to tell her that Father Christmas sent the fairies to decorate the house when we were asleep & that the fairy on top of the tree stayed behind to make sure she was a good little girl :o) The fairy would report to Father Christmas at the end of every day & let him know if she'd been good or not.  We also told her that every time she was naughty, the fairy would take a present away from under the tree. One year, she managed to have MINUS 32 presents . . .   :o)
Anyway, over the years, like so many people, we've gathered tree decorations that have sentimental value. They aren't posh or expensive & when our grandsons were born in 2008 & 2010, I started a little tradition of buying them a tree decoration so that when they're grown, they'll have the beginnings of a collection of their own. I buy the same ornament for our tree, as well :o)
Amongst the baubles & beads, there are also scattered some lovely wooden ornaments, all of them made by Shaun. For the past 3½ years, he's been woodturning & it's been a real life saver for him. As some people know, he became partially paralysed in August 2010 & is now disabled & unable to work. Woodturning has been one of the best things he could ever have taken up - without it, he'd have just gone doo-lally :o)  Most days, after we've been to his various appointments or gone shopping, I get him settled in the *husband hut* - aka the garage :o) - & he spends a couple of hours doing his own thing in there & the pics below are of some of his work :o)
 This bauble is actually made from acrylic & is new this year. It's a white, silver & gold glittery material that really glistens when the lights catch it.
This is made from an off cut of wood that had natural gouge marks through it. Instead of throwing it away, Shaun made it into a little Christmas cracker :o)
 I love this long pendant type of bauble. Another new one this year, it is so lovely to touch. Wood is so tactile.
 According to the instructions, this is a choir boy, but I've always thought it looked more like an angel with a halo, but minus wings :o)
 This Christmas tree was made last year. I love the two tone wood, which, again, is a natural thing. You don't always know what the wood's going to look like when you first see it as a block. Most of the time it's a lovely surprise, but you do get the odd not so good thing :o)
 His first attempt at a bell. Not quite as bell shaped as he'd hoped, but I like it anyway :o)
 A little snowman :o)
 Another type of bauble. The figuring on this one is just gorgeous. It isn't for us too keep though, it's going to a good home where I'm pretty sure it will be appreciated :o)
 Not to be outdone, here is a little Advent tree that I put together for grandsons 1a & 1b :o) I wanted to do something different for them & so I knitted little stockings & baubles to put small chocolates in. Shaun also made me a few small gift bags out of Christmassy material & we hung them on the tree too. The boys loved it & it stops them from trying to swipe the choccy decorations from our main tree :o) Well, it stops grandson 1a who is 4, but grandson 1b, who is 2 & a complete chocolate monster, still gets tempted :o)
Finally, here's a pic of our main tree. It isn't a good photo though - the light was so bright I just couldn't get a decent pic, even with the blinds shut. The tree is covered with the decorations that mean a lot to us, including the large *Christmas kiss* lips that I bought for Shaun way back in 1985; the Father Christmas long johns from an internet friend (Marge) that we got in 2004; the round cross stitched decoration at the top that Val - aka Poppy, from poppys place blog - made for us last year; the small green foam tree that grandson 1a made with his Mummy for us last year & the small Norwegian mitts that arrived in the post this week, that were part of a secret swap & sent to me by my friend, Mary Elizabeth, in the USA.
It may not be everyone's idea of a Christmas tree, to some it might be over dressed, tacky or fussy, but every year, when I put those decorations on, an explosion of memories fills my head & it feels like I'm saying hello to old & treasured friends again :o) I especially love the decorations that are hand made, it means so much that someone took the time to make something just for us :o)
Christmas means many things to many people, so I hope you all have the Christmas you want & that 2013 is kind to you.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

The Glorious Twelfth . . . but not of August :o)

This morning, we had to be at Canterbury hospital for a 9am appointment. As traffic tends to be quite heavy going into the city & disabled parking at the hospital can be tricky, we left home at 7:45am just to give us the extra time we knew we'd need. We pulled up in the car park at 8:45am - perfick timing !! :o)
Jack Frost had been very busy during the night & into the early hours, so the journey was very cold, but beautiful.
 This pic was taken from Lord of the Manor roundabout, looking towards Pegwell. The sky was absolutely stunning with the sun rising through the dark clouds.
 Another pic taken from Lord of the Manor. It doesn't do the sky justice at all.
 Across the frosticated fields, you can just see Pegwell Bay hotel in the background.
 Heading towards Sandwich, the puddles in the fields were frozen solid.
Not sure what the name of the road is, but this field is on the main road from Aylesham, heading towards the A2.
 The traffic was backed up from the A2,  all the way up to the Nonington turn off,  so I wound the car window down & took a couple of pics. None of them do the scenes any real justice, though. The views were far more beautiful that the photos.
I love frosticated days :o) They're so fresh, crisp & sparkly & they make you realise that Christmas really IS on the way :o)