Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Seasons Pleasings

It’s okay, I’ll stop after this one, I promise. But I wanted to mark this Solstice with a little glimpse at things that have provoked sighs of deep contentment and let me think that, for just that moment, all is right in the world. 

Misty days where the cloud hung low, clinging to the tree tops, blurring the city lines and lending an air of mystery to my trip to the allotment, where I dug in some well rotted manure (courtesy of my friend's Shetland pony), admired cobwebs bejewelled by the damp air, and watched millipedes weave, like bright copper threads through the earth. 

It was an early start to the Sunday but my feet were toasty in thick socks and wellies. No one else was at the plots, just me with what sounded like hundreds of birds shouting their territorial rights, the chime of distant bells and the satisfying thunk of the shovel in the damp earth. 

I love misty days. They make me happy all the way to my toes and I can't wait to get out and walk in them. 

Last Friday, I took a trip to see colleagues, one that involved 2 trains there and 3 back, a cancelled train, a detour and a shouty woman on the final leg. As I reached my front door, I could see the lights on the wreath and the tree glowing through the window. Once inside it was warm, full of cats and N pleased to see me back, smelling nicely of pine, cloves and home. Settling into the sofa with a glass of wine as deep as a plunge pool and an M&S prawn sandwich, blanket over my chilled feet, fending off messages from Mum, N asked why I was sighing. 

I hadn’t realised I was, but they were the sighs of deep and blissful contentment. It was good to be home. 

Making jumbleberry jam to give to people I love over Christmas. A mix of raspberry, Japanese wineberry and blackberry, jam sugar and lemon juice. The longest part about making jam? Gathering the fruit. But that’s also the best part. 

The house smelt of sugar, fruit and that indescribable whiff of summer. 

Although the skies have been too shrouded to see the full moon, a week or so ago, I'd managed to capture it completely by accident as I stopped to take a photo of the lights at the local church. When I got home and looked back at the photos, I could see it, photobombing over the church's shoulder and looking might splendid. 

See? Splendid. It reminded me of that Jaffa Cake advert from looooong ago. Repeat after me: Full Moon, Half Moon, Total Eclipse!

A friend and I took a bimble around Malvern at the weekend, something we haven't done for a while. I dropped an astonishing amount on books (both new and second hand), and then we happened upon what is the winner of my own personal Christmas window contest...

Inside the shop was warm and bustling with the ever-cheerful owners and staff taking time to chat to everyone through the muffling of our masks. Later, we ate rum and walnut chocolate cake, exchanged presents and parted, determined to do more bimbling next year. 

Today I finish work, not back to my desk until the Thursday after Christmas*. The Kid comes home on the 23rd and I will attempt the Meringue of Folly on Christmas Eve. It's not really a peaceful time of year, but I am still going to make the most of not having to switch the computer on at 8 in the morning, of being legitimately allowed to eat After Eight mints for breakfast, to make turkey stuffing sandwiches, to watch old films. To hunker down. To take the Kid on long hill walks with flask and aforementioned sandwiches. 

To make plans and daydream.  

However you spend this time of year, and whoever you spend it with, I wish you all a very Good One indeed. Thanks for keeping stopping by here over this strange, untidy year. 

(*although I may possibly pop back here during the festive break because I don't seem to be able to keep away - even when I have Proper Work to do) 


  1. What a wonderful post, and I agree, home is a very good place and the fruit picking is indeed the best part of jam making. I do love that taste of summer in the winter. And I also love these misty days and wintry skies. Envying you your Shetland pony manure, how brilliant. I hope you have a brilliant Christmas as well. CJ xx

    1. You are kind :) We had a lovely time and enough of it for that lovely betwixt-and-between feeling to have settled in. Taking it very easy now. Hope you had a wonderful Christmas Txx

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Of the Before and the After

The Potting Shed by Lore Pemberton.  On my Christmas  wish list, Click on the image to get to her website. I had planned to pop on here and ...