Monday, 31 December 2018

Monday

Morning, everyone!

After yesterday's little disappointment with the pool, I'm all set to go today instead so fingers crossed that the water will have heated up properly.
I had a little think about it all and have decided that the time has come for me to start using some of the other facilities in the gym.  In the New Year, I will request another health check and then go into what my options are and what I can start doing.  I'm not fond of classes but there's a lot of equipment and individual stuff that should help with toning.  You see, at my age there's a lot of loose and wrinkled skin now I've lost a significant amount of weight.  I've accepted that and it's not a problem as such, but it is not a pretty sight and toning up would help, I think.
Anyway, there's no harm in asking, is there.  It has got to be things I enjoy or I won't keep it up but unless I know, I can't make decisions.

That was yesterday's little thought for the day anyway!

Today the pool had better be warm enough!  When I come out, I will go three shops down to Matalan and have a good nosey round there before going home. 

I was rootling through my file of recipes to get some ideas for the week's meals and realised that it's all a bit of a mess, so today I want to sort them all out a bit better to make it easier to find things.  They are all Slimming World friendly recipes so it's well worth the effort.  I've found another file to overflow into which is a mercy as the current one is bursting at the seams

Later on, Beth and Alex are coming round to spend the evening and overnight here which will be nice although Beth is still not 100% well.  We might watch some of our traditional Christmas DVDs that we didn't get a chance to watch before Christmas.

I'm doing everyone's request for dinner so I'm having salmon, Beth is having the higgidy pie (squash and feta, I think it is) that she didn't have over Christmas because of being ill while Alex has requested pizza.  Luckily, I have some garlic bread in the freerer and will make some coleslaw for him.  Beth craves roasties (she likes my roasties) and we will share the same vegetables.
I doubt very much that we will see the New Year in together though.  I won't be able to last out for a start!

And that's it really for today.  Have a great day and if you are celebrating tonight, have a fantastic time.
See you all next year!


Sunday, 30 December 2018

Sunday

Good morning!
Thank you all for your lovely comments yesterday.  They cheered me up no end.  It's amazing how a bit of kindly sympathy helps, isn't it?  I think (I hope) I have responded to them all but not necessarily individually.

As the day progressed, the aches diminished, I kept dropping off to sleep and I feel much better now with just an aching arm.  I had a great sleep overnight too, finally waking properly just before seven.  Incredibly late for me but I must have needed it.  I'm reckoning it was the pneumococcal innoculation that caused the reaction because the flu jab has never been any bother before.

In fact, I feel so fine, I want to pop out for a swim, something I haven't done for a couple of months and intend to remedy!  Don't worry, I won't overdo it, but I need to get out and move a bit!

Because I haven't been swimming for a while, I needed to go through both my swimming bag and my costume basket and thank goodness I bought a couple of cossies in a sale three months ago a size down because I couldn't wear the ones I used to wear now!  The one I wore most is only fit for chucking but the other two are in good condition and I think I know who might be able to use them!

I didn't do much yesterday apart from knit, sleep and watch telly.  I'm still catching up on Christmas recordings.  Once I get back from my swim, today should be much the same but without the aches.  What a lazy so and so I am being this weekend with another week before the busier life starts again.

I'll stop now and get the other blog written up and posted too.  Have a great day everyone,
xx



Later edit:  Well, I went to the gym only to discover that they're had heating problems and the pool is five or six degrees below what it should be.  Er - no, I don't think so.  So I'm home and will try again tomorrow when they hope it will be back up to temperature, fingers crossed.  :-)

Saturday, 29 December 2018

Saturday

Morning, everyone. 
I don't usually have whingy posts but the next paragraph is an exception - please scroll past if you want.  :-)

Ouch, ache, mutter, snuffle, more ouch!  Yup, I've got a few side effects of the jabs I had yesterday.  Sore arm, a slight temperatuve, aches and pains generally and a bit miserable.  Thank goodness for paracetamol!

OK, whinge over.

Yesterday went well, despite an increasingly yukky feeling as the day progressed.  I got all the ironing done and put away, the kitchen cleared, had a snooze, went off to my friend's and had a really nice meal.  She had done the Jamie Oliver turkey and leek pie with a sort of noodly thing, all very, very delicious indeed.  I enjoyed it and our chat very much indeed.

I've woken stupidly early this morning, unfortunately, but will go back to bed once the paracetamol takes hold and maybe I will sleep in a little bit.  That would be great.  I'm taking a day out, having a nice, easy, restful day so there's very little on the planning list.

Emily is finished - here she is.  I've now started a knitted teddy bear which is more complex in shaping but with no extra bits like hats, flowers, etc.  I just have to decide whether I want him (or her) standing or sitting as the joints are fixed.


I shall be off to bed soon - the aches are easing again.  Have a good day.  xx


Friday, 28 December 2018

Friday

Good morning.  I'm a bit later today because I whizzed off the the GP earlier and now I am loaded up with my flu jab (better late than never) and the pneumo-whotsit jab too.  The latter is a one off. 
I couldn't believe how easy it was to get through town - usually the centre of Chelmsford is a nightmare but there were no holdups at all, a combination of a long 'holiday' and schools being out, I guess.
Coming home was equally straightforward.

First of all - Eileen, please would you send me the address of that group that sends bras overseas, please.  Thanks for mentioning it.

Secondly - ooops, three pounds on over Christmas, according to the weigh in.  No surprise and I wasn't the only one by a long shot.  Back on track today (apart from this evening) and it'll all or mostly be gone next Thursday.  I'd rather know than not know.

 Town was far from busy yesterday.  The bus was even better, being almost empty both ways.  I went into M&S because I get their bras and found what I wanted although I was slightly tempted by some more fancy, prettier stuff.  Maybe when I hit target I will treat myself to a few sets.
Then I wandered over to the PJs as I love M&S PJs; they are so very comfortable and cosy.  To my delight, they had some at half price although some were Christmas sets.  Not all though and I stocked up.
I also found a jumper reduced in the sale

After that I headed back to the bus, a route that takes me past some big shops on the way.  I nearly went into Waterstones but I knew I'd be there for absolutely ages so I managed to resist.  I will maybe make a trip specifically for that next week.  Why not!  :-)

On the way back I went into Primark and got some thinner jumpers for when the weather is milder.  And I have discovered yet again the eternal truth of clothes shopping.  If you really love the colour and the style, they won't have it in your size.  It doesn't matter what size that is, they won't have it, full stop.

And that's my Christmas money spent!

After getting home (only two of us on the bus), I took off labels, etc, investigated the contents of my washing basket and got stuck into some washing.  I now have a basket of ironing which is on today's list.  Stuff got moved about in my cupboards so now there's room for all the new stuff.

Emily now has two legs the same and she's nearly made up.  She's gone well, very pretty (I think) and I just have to get the hat bedecked with leaves and flowers and then sew it on.  She will make someone a nice gift at some point, I am sure.

Last of all, I'm off out to a friend's home for supper today.  I'm very much looking forward to that.
Well, time flies and I need to get going so I will wave goodbye now.  Have a super day and may everything go well for you.  xx


Thursday, 27 December 2018

Thursday

Good morning, everyone.  It's a chilly, damp and misty early morning here, typical of the time of year, I guess.  Inside is lovely and bright with tree lights twinkling and decorations looking jolly!  One tradition I am definitely keeping to is keeping the pretties up until Twelfth Night or as near as possible anyway.  The weeks after Christmas tend to be very dark and gloomy and it's lovely to have the bright lights and the cheer.

After several days of being awake in the night, I slept like a log last night and woke at more or less normal time.  A great relief.  Fingers crossed for tonight now.

Yesterday ended up quite busy.  Dealing with the turkey took a while but it's all done now, the bones are wrapped and in the bin ready for collection tomorrow and I have several pots of deliciousness including one with the stock for next year's Christmas gravy and a couple of large pots to take to Mum and Dad's next time to be turned into Dad's favourite - turkey hotpot.
I have an excess of vegetables to use up (no hardship there) and some of the ham but that's about it really.  Back on the straight and narrow now and tonight's weigh in should get me morivated properly again - it won't be a pretty sight but simple to remedy!

First thing today, I am off on the bus into town.  I fancy taking a look round and I need to get some smaller clothes.  My dressing gowns are all falling off me, as are most of my bed clothes while I can't wear some of my bras any more!  So M&S, here I come, to spend my Christmas money!  While I am there, I will take a good look round just for fun.  If it's too crowded, I will come home again, but it should be OK.
I enjoy my saunters into town now that the ankles, knees and back don't hurt so much and the bus pass is a real blessing.  I never thought it would be so useful and really appreciate having it.

After that I am still feeling holidayish enough to take the rest of the day really easy.  I've started sewing Emily up - not as simple as it sounds - and discovered that her two legs don't match so I have to make another one.  What a daft thing to do, eh!  Oh, well, you live and learn and the first thing to do is to see which of the two versions is the correct one!  Once I've finished her (which may or may not be today), I need to decide what to make next.  I have so much yarn, it is ridiculous!

Well, my mug is empty and I have things to do so I'll stop rambling and start the day.  Have a good one, everybody!

Wednesday, 26 December 2018

Boxing Day

Good morning, everyone, and Happy Boxing Day to you all.

Yesterday came a bit unravelled as has today.  Poor old Beth has a very nasty cold virus that, for a time, she really thought was flu, but now says it's not as she'd go for the fiver if she saw one in the street!
Of course, she didn't come over and I won't be going to hers today to be 'spoiled'.  All deferred until New Year by which time I hope she will be feeling 100% better again.

Alex came over and Dave (son) turned up although he, too, was full of cold and almost cancelled earlier in the day.  We had a lovely time together; my two men ate like horses to the extent that I have to cook more veg for today's bubble and squeak!

There's loads and loads of turkey left (good-oh) and I will be dealing with it today as it was cooked on Sunday.  It is lovely, full of flavour as these Kellybronzes always are and it gave me loads of gorgeous stock too.  I'll have even more after the carcass has boiled up and I will do what I did last Christmas and that is reduce some of it down and freeze it in a box labelled 'Stock for Christmas Gravy 2019'.  I mixed last years with the stock from this year's giblets, seasoned it all a little bit and then just thickened it with thickening granules and it was absolutely fantastic gravy!

I'm back on SW plan as of now and thankful for it too.  A bit of letting go is nice but it's great to get back to the simple and healthy stuff again.  I'm pretty sure I will have gained a bit tomorrow but that all will be back to normal next week.

Today there's not an awful lot to do.  I have the turkey work, of course, but the men helped me clear the kitchen yesterday and there's just a dishwasher to unload.  Everything else is in reasonable order.

Midday I am driving over to Beth's to drop off some food  and pick Alex up.  He came over yesterday on his bike but I drove him home because he had a lot to carry.  So today he will cycle back home from mine.

Apart from that, I will continue to work on Emily (nearly all the knitting done now, just the making up left), watch some telly and research leftover turkey recipes.  Thank goodness it's a healthy food!

Was your Christmas good?  Any unexpected happenings?

Tuesday, 25 December 2018

Christmas Day

Not making any kind of point here, but I think the words are lovely so here they are for my Christmas Day post.


  1. Love came down at Christmas,
    Love all lovely, Love divine;
    Love was born at Christmas,
    Star and angels gave the sign.
  2. Worship we the Godhead,
    Love incarnate, Love divine;
    Worship we our Jesus:
    But wherewith for sacred sign?
  3. Love shall be our token,
    Love be yours and love be mine,
    Love to God and all men,
    Love for plea and gift and sign.

Christina Rosetti.


Have a wonderful day, however you are spending it.  xxx

Monday, 24 December 2018

Merry Christmas


Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Monday - Christmas Eve

Good morning, everyone.  My fingers are crossed that today is a much nicer day, weatherly speaking, than yesterday was.  Rain, rain, rain and more rain so no walk for me yesterday!

First of all, many thanks for all the lovely comments yesterday.  I was rather busy yesterday but will reply when I get home and can use my big screen -  it all gets a bit cluttered on the laptop screen.

It was a lovely day, despite the weather!  Pressies round the tree, a bright and tasty buffet type lunch, a traditional dinner and a bit more alcohol than was good for me.  The turkey cooked brilliantly, as Kellybronzes always do, and there's so much left over!  There would be anyway but I was factoring in my brother taking a good lot back home with him and he informed me yesterday that he has his own back oop north so won't be taking any this year.  Ditto for Christmas pudding!

It's just as well I love leftovers, isn't it?

Today is the calm between two Christmasses and I am going to make the most of it by doing not an awful lot.  I'll be driving back home after breakfast, unpacking, sorting out the myriad of food I shall have with me and then I will be strolling along to Morrisons to get some Christmas flowers.  As I was away over the weekend, I didn't get any earlier and if there are none left (or no good ones) I shall do without and treat myself in the New Year.

After that, I will do a few outstanding preparations (e.g. a bit of wrapping up and a few cards) before settling down for a telly-fest and a knitting session.  I always like to have something on the go, knitting-wise, as it keeps my hands occupied and out of the proverbial biscuit tin!  I don't have anything I have to make or finish so I've started knitting a Jean Greenhowe dolly.  At the moment she's in bits in a poly bag so I might start sewing her up and stuffing her.  Here's a photo from Jean's web site - my Emily will have yellow hair as I was out of brown.



Finally, here's the last Advent offering and it really has to be this one.  I'm looking forward to this year's version on TV later on.


Sunday, 23 December 2018

Sunday

Good morning, everyone

Yesterday was quite busy but really very pleasant as well as being beautifully sunny and mild.  I did Mum and Dad's washing, got the turkey ready, boiled up the giblets for stock to go into the gravy, made the stuffing and generally got ahead because today is Christmas Day here.  :-)

It's a happy compromise for us which is working well.

When I unpacked the box containing the turkey I thought it looked somewhat large so I did the trick of weighing myself and then again with the turkey.  I was right - it's around a kilo heavier than I ordered.  I'm glad I know because it does make a difference to the cooking time.
I generally find that with Kelly turkeys; they are not stingy with their weights.  It's the one time that we always splash out on meat because they are so delicious and, as a family, we just love doing things with the leftovers so want plenty of them.  Mum and Dad's favourite is a turkey soup/casserole thingy and I have promised Dad a big bowl of it, some for a meal straight away and some for the freezer for another time.  I'm planning curry and various other SW friendly meals.  And finally I boil up the carcass and freeze some of the stock, very much reduced, to start off the gravy for the next Christmas.  Works for me!

What do you do with your turkey leftovers (if you have them, of course)?

Today's Advent offering is another John Rutter carol, a very beautiful one called Nativity Carol.  It's another I have sung in the dim and distant past and have loved ever since.  It's sung, of course, by the incomparable King's College Choir.


Saturday, 22 December 2018

Saturday

Good morning, everyone.  It seems to be damp out there and not cold but the skies are clear.  Fingers crossed for a fine day!

Thanks to being organised earlier on in the week, yesterday went surpriingly smoothly.  I popped over to Danbury and now a plump turkey is resating in the cold larder waiting for my ministrations this efternoon.  I've also taken the pudding out of the freezer and moved the pigs in blankets into the inside freezer!

I don't think I have forgotten anything that matters but Dad and I had a laugh when I saw that he had bought some Stilton and he saw that I had bought some Stilton.  Isn't it lucky that we like Stilton!  Unloading the car and unpacking took a bit longer than usual, what with one and another and I don't think I have forgotten anything.  I even remembered a large roasting tin and some long foil.

Looking at those put a rather wry smile on my face.  They used to be the sort of thing Mum would bring to mine for Christmas; now the boot is on the other foot.  Maybe I have grown up a bit!

Did anyone watch the Kings Choir programme yesterday evening?  I did enjoy it and there was a good nibble of music to enjoy.  I didn't realise Stephen Cleobury is retiring in 2019; it appears a Stephen Hyde will replace him, according to Wiki.  He will be missed very much indeed.

The Advent offering is music - Star Carol by John Rutter.  It's a good one to sing, lively and joyous.




Friday, 21 December 2018

Friday

Good morning.

First of all, the good news.   At Slimming World this week, I lost three and a half pounds, I got my two stone certificate and sticker, I reached my Christmas challenge (and went beyond) AND I was Slimmer of the Week.  How's that, eh!

Well, I survived the shopping, got all the kitchen work done, tidied up and enjoyed the 'taster' party in the evening.  It was a really nice day all in all.

Today I need to get going as I am driving over to Danbury to pick up the turkey early from Kellys.  They have been very obliging about letting me have it early and, with any luck, there won't be the crowds there usually are on pick up day (which is actually Sunday).

Then it's home to finish packing, finish the tidying up, etc, do the usual stuff such as emptying the bins and so on.  Busy but small scale.

Here's my Advent offering for today.  Such a lovely sound from the fantastic Pentatonix.  I do love acapella!


Thursday, 20 December 2018

Thursday

Morning, all.

I'm shattered.  I got to Tesco by 7:00 this morning and staggered out at 8:15 and a heavy trolley.  I could do with a G&T before starting to pack things away but I'll settle for a coffee.  I think I've got everything; there's certainly enough to feed a small army anyway and, unless it is crucial, what I don't now have we will do without.  So there!

It was a good time to go.  Traffic, often dire in our city, was light, there were no parking problems and the worst thing inside the shop was the online order packers getting in the way!  I used to do an online shop while working, grabbing a slot as soon as they came out and regularly adding and amending before I had to confirm, but now I prefer to be more hands on so I can see exactly what I am getting.

I'm glad it's done.

Yesterday was fine.  I got the beds ready for my guests (Beth and Al are staying over Christmas night and into Boxing Day), the wrapping is all pretty much done and Carols by Candlelight was lovely.  They keep the hall dark for this and every year some of the very youngest ones fall asleep.  Yesterday was no exception and I did feel for them, stumbling, bleary eyed, from the hall once it was all over.

As for today, I've done the biggie which was the shopping - well, half done anyway.  Looking at my list, it tells me I have to cook a ham (slow cooker so no problems), make two batches of fudge (easy in Thermione) and finish my ecards followed by packing and getting everything ready that I am taking with me.  By teatime I want everything to be neat and tidy and organised.

Then, this evening, it is Slimming World so I will discover if I have achieved my Christmas target.  My fingers are crossed.  It's a taster evening/party so I also have to make whatever I am taking with me.

So I'd better get going, hadn't I?

The doorbell has just rung and it was my neighbour with a lovely little planted basker from one of my students.  It's so pretty!

And finally, today's advent offering is a photo of my own nativity crib set.  I got this when my two were very little and it's come out every year since.  We all love it and I will never forget the Christmas that Alex, almost non verbal when smaller but loving stories, used the figures to act out the Christmas story.  Goodness knows what they taught him at school because it ended up with Mary going for a night out with the wise men, leaving Joseph to look after the baby!
Happy memories make this a very special thing.

(the angel is not part of the original set)

And now I really AM going.  Have a good day.

Wednesday, 19 December 2018

Wednesday

Good morning, everyone.  It's Wednesday and where is the time going?  Just as I want it to slow down, it's accelerating away!    I suppose that's what being busy does.

I did OK yesterday.  I went out and did all the things I needed to do - picked up a prescription, collected a parcel and at Hobbycraft I bought some little jewellery links.  For years I have had this yearning for bauble earrings but my once peirced ears have long since closed up and I used to find clip-ons too uncomfortable.  However, at our girls' meal last week, the others said that clip-ons are much improved, adjustable and why not give them a go so I did.  I ordered some from Amazon and then realised I needed something to attach the baubles to the clips, hence the visit to Hobbycraft where I found just what I needed.

As a result, I now have some bauble earrings.  I suppose it's the Christmas equivalent of wearing purple!  It makes me happy!

Later on, Beth came round and made a mess doing some more sewing (fear not, she always tidies up properly when she's finished) while I covered some boxes with Christmas paper for gift hampers.
She's made me some bunting to hang at my living room windows - two French windows and a smaller one - and it looks great.  So nice to have it custom made for different sized windows.
Apologies for the poor light - the colour is better than it appears in the photos - much more intense.




Today the list is shorted but maybe the tasks will take longer.  I need to get the spare room ready, do my online cards, write a report for the governors and go to Carols by Candlelight at school.  Also to finish my shopping list for an early morning shop tomorrow - I'm shopping for two households so it's a bit complicated.

I'm not really doing 'real' cards this year but will be sending a donation to charity, probably Crisis.  I know an ecard isn't something you can put up but I love the Jacquie Lawson cards and I know they give much pleasure as well as being better for the rainforest as the saying goes.

Did anyone see Howard Goodall's 'The truth about Christmas carols' yesterday evening?  I'm glad I recorded it so I can watch it again another time.  I thought it interesting, although an hour really wasn't long enough for me and just scratched the surface.


Anyway, here's my Advent offering for today.  Another favourite:  The Three Kings by Peter Cornelius, beautifully sung by King's College Choir.  I love the way the melody and the chorale weave in and out of each other and the ending is just fantastic.
Enjoy!



Tuesday, 18 December 2018

Tuesday

Good morning, all!  It's chilly but dry outside with no frost that I can tell.  Maybe we will have another gloriously sunny day as we did yesterday.  I had to wear my sunglasses driving home yesterday as a travel more or less east and it remained beautiful all day.

Lists really help - I got everything on yesterday's list done and dusted and, attached to my workdesk, there are three large post-it sheets headed TUES, WED and THURS to which I am adding things as they come to mind.
The thing is, before anyone thinks I am panicking or over micro-managing, I just have those three days because on Friday I am off to my parents' again and I truly don't want a mad panic on Monday so time really is pretty short.

Back to yesterday.  Once home, I sorted my stuff out and called for C over the road as we were both invited to Coffee and Cakes at school.  It was lovely.  Parent-helpers, governors and staff having a good natter over a hot drink (and lovely looking cake but I was well behaved and stuck to my plan) while the children enjoyed a slightly longer playtime out in the sunshine.

When I came to look at my planning, I found I had plenty for yesterday and for today too, which is the last of the year.  That was good!

In the evening, I finished a cherry red pull on hat I've been making to go with a scarf.  They will go nicely with my navy coat, brightening it up cheerfully.

Today I have loads of little tasks starting off with picking up a prescription and a parcel, meandering through Hobbycraft (with a purpose), doing my online cards, sorting out my bedroom and putting on my Christmas sheets (yes, they are tartan and really cheerful) and sorting out some washing.  Nothing huge apart from, maybe, my bedroom!
I'm recording lots of programmes and working through them in the evening as I knit and sew.  It keeps me out of trouble!

For today's Advent offering, I found this picture yesterday.  I know it's just a Peanuts cartoon but I love it.  The children are so earnest and caught up in their singing, looking so joyful, it makes me smile.


Monday, 17 December 2018

Monday

Good morning.  Weather stuff . . .

It stayed fine yesterday and increasingly mild, which was nice.  In the afternoon I put on my walking shoes and took a very pleasant walk down the lane, round the corner, down another road . . . And on until I ended up at Bickerdikes.

The car park was teeming (so glad I walked) and I wondered why until I saw a couple of uniformed gents bearing brass instruments.  Yes, the Sally Army was in town - or in Bickers anyway.

I meandered round, popped some hamper type stuff in my basket and then they started playing.  They weren't 'amazing' in quality but it felt just right and very Christmassy indeed.  One lady was handing out carol books and people were joining in and making requests while the folk from the coffee shop were handing out mince pies and what looked like hot mulled something.  You will be impressed to hear that I declined both in the interests of hitting my Christmas target on Thursday.  What a sacrifice!

Then it was back home to finish off Mum and Dad's ironing and get dinner on the way.

A nice day.

Today is going to be busy.  Home early, coffee and cakes at school at ten thirty, then helping out in FS in the afternoon followed by a bit of tuition.  I guess I will sleep well this evening.

Have a lovely day.

Today's Advent offering to reflect yesterday's festive surprise at Bickerdikes.  Brass bands aren't my favourite, but I have to say they can sound lovely.


Sunday, 16 December 2018

Sunday

Good morning to you all.  Yesterday was a truly horrible day, weather wise.  Cold, windy, wet and not a flake of snow to brighten things up.  My much needed walk didn't come off; there was no way I was going to brave that sort of weather.  Maybe today . . .

Never mind, it's lovely and bright inside, warm and cosy and very festive.  We now have the new Christmas tree up (I'm at my parents') and it's made a nice, bright corner that Mum enjoys looking at.

Today's advent pictures!


One of my brothers sent some flowers and they also look gorgeous.  The snowman certainly seems happy with them!


Today is more of the same really but fingers crossed that I can get some fresh air this afternoon.  I'd really like to walk to Bickerdikes to get a few bits and bobs for a hamper gift and to take another look at their decorations but we will see.

Have a lovely day and stay warm and happy.


Saturday, 15 December 2018

Saturday

Good morning, everyone.  It doesn't seem as cold today although that might just be because there's no frost as it is cloudy.  There's still plenty of ice on Dad's garage roof!

Yesterday was quite busy.  I took Dad to the barbers in the morning and Mum to the hairdressers in the afternoon.  There was plenty of washing, drying and ironing plus meals to cook, etc.  It all went well and it was a most satisfying day really.

Today, I expect, will be more of the same.  I'm planning a cottage pie for dinner so will get the mince cooked and ready this morning and I'm hoping to be able to get a good walk this afternoon as there wasn't really time for one yesterday.

Today's advent offering is sung by the best boy band in the world - the King's Singers!! Wonderful, wonderful vocal brilliance.  Enjoy!
Gaudete!


Friday, 14 December 2018

Friday

Good morning, one and all.  It's very cold out there; there's solid ice on dad's garage roof and in the bird bath!  The winter coat I bought a month or so ago proved its worth yesterday - my head and hands were freezing (really I should have worn my hat, scarf and gloves) but my body remained nice and warm.

I didn't do an awful lot yesterday but the ironing basket at home is temporarily empty and there's very little in the washing basket, a satistying state of affairs that won't really last very long at all!

I think today will be more of the same.  Here, with Mum and Dad, it is sheet changing day so there will be washing and drying, etc.  I have the meals planned  - fortunately they are happy with my Slimming World friendly meals - and between chores, Mum is going to help me decorate their Christmas tree.
I gather that the knitted nativity set has attracted great interest from visitors which is gratifying.

Today's Advent offering is a well known poem, The Oxen, by Thomas Hardy.  It was published during WW1 but has none of the doom and gloom of much poetry of that time.  To me, it speaks of the persistence and comfort of old faith, despite the loss of specifics, and looks both backward and forward, most appropriate for the time of year.  Hardy is not really a cheerful writer but I detect cheer and positivity in this poem as well as a yearning for a timepast when things were hopeful and sure and unshadowed.

The Oxen
by Thomas Hardy

Christmas Eve, and twelve of the clock.
“Now they are all on their knees,”
An elder said as we sat in a flock
By the embers in hearthside ease.

We pictured the meek mild creatures where
They dwelt in their strawy pen,
Nor did it occur to one of us there
To doubt they were kneeling then.

So fair a fancy few would weave
In these years! Yet, I feel,
If someone said on Christmas Eve,
“Come; see the oxen kneel,

“In the lonely barton by yonder coomb
Our childhood used to know,”
I should go with him in the gloom,
Hoping it might be so.

Thursday, 13 December 2018

Thursday

Good morning, everyone!  Brrr - it's very cold outside, there's a frost and I closed the front door again right speedily!  Inside, the heating is on and all is warm and cosy.  The only thing missing is the mandatory First Coffee so I'd better go and remedy that!

OK, now that's sorted, all's right with my world!

I had a great time with V yesterday.  It was no hassle as I had planned 'leftovers' (can they be called leftovers if they are planned?) from Tuesday's lunchtime feast so V and I ate well while chatting nineteen to the dozen about all sorts of stuff.  The food did just as well as a sit down meal as it did for a buffet.

Val went and students arrived, bearing gifts and cards which was really very kind indeed.  Then I dashed off to the Wednesday Slimming World group as I can't make tonight's and was most relieved to have maintained this week.  Phew.  I usually eat very light on weigh-day but, obviously, couldn't yesterday so maintaining was fine.  It was a pleasant group, quite small but very jolly, and I was mortified to be introduced as 'the famous Joy C.', a reference to the fact that I talk a lot on the group's Facebook group, much more than I do in Real Life.  It's awful when you can feel yourself going bright red and can do nothing about it, isn't it?  A good laugh settled things though and all was well.

On the way home I stopped off at Morrisons and treated myself to the classic Christmas two week edition of the Radio Times.  On glancing through, there seems to be quite a lot of good stuff on offer and now I have an up to date Virgin box and can program recordings with a couple of clicks, that's just what I will be doing.  It'll probably keep me going all through January and maybe into February too!

Today's Advent offering is a double gift of music.  My favourite Christmas song of all time, Pearsall's arrangement of In Dulci Jubilo.  When I was in the Chapel Choir at school, it was an annual staple and, as I was in the semi-chorus (they are supposed to be solos but Mr McCay made them semi-chorus sections), I sang alto through the whole thing and still do to this day, albeit not so musically nowadays!  If I can find it on Youtube, there's one clip that shows the score too - I love that.

Yes, found it!  Sung by the greatest choir of all time - Kings.



And in contrast, a much more dance based arrangement, the legendary version by Mike Oldfield.
Same tune, totally different styles.  I love them both!






Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Wednesday

Good morning.  It's ridiculously early and I can't sleep.  Unless I get back to sleep, it is going to be a long day!

Yesterday was a lovely day.  The morning was busy but once that was all done and the girls had arrived, we had a great time.  Lots of laughing and loads of chit chat and the food went down a treat with just enough left over for me and another friend who is coming for lunch today.  This week sure is busy but that saves me a bit of time!  It was worth getting the decorations up early - it all looked lovely and festive.

I remembered to take some photos of the buffet lunch.



After that, I went off to do a bit of tuition, made some more fudge (some for my friend coming today and the rest to take to Mum and Dad who are very fond of it) and then spent the rest of the evening finishing clearing up, knitting and watching telly.

Today I have an easy morning before V arrives as the house is fine apart from needing to sweep the floor and there's just a bit of ironing to mop up.  Lunch is more or less made and tuition is all planned and ready to be delivered.  It'll be nice to rest and relax.

I'm off to Mum and Dad's tomorrow, rather than Friday, this week which means that I miss my usual SW group meeting.  Fortunately, Jennifer, the leader, runs several groups in a nearby village and I can get to the one this evening instead.  Fingers crossed.

Here's today's Advent Offering.  A firm favourite - 'In the first light' sung by acapella group, Glad.  I do love acapella.



Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Tuesday

Good morning, everyone.  A lovely sunny morning today - hope it lasts!

It was, as expected, a very busy day yesterday but I got a lot done.  I finished the nativity set, took some photos (as you can see) and got it posted off.  The sheep took ages - they are so fiddly.
I cleared all the knitting stuff away so my corner in now neat and tidy.
Here's a few other photos to go with the new header and as today's Advent Offering.



I made a batch of fudge and cut it up.  It's now divided out and in bags for gifts for the girls when they come for lunch.  I was remarkably good.  One tatty bit to taste and a few crumbs might also have made their way into my mouth but it wasn't a catastrophe by any means.
I even managed to remember to take a photo . . .

It's very good.  A bit 'rustic' looking but so delicious.

I also made a spicy miced bean dip for lunch and got other things ready to put together soon.  I'ver gone a bit retro with Delia's vegetarian sausage rolls, pineapple, cheese and tomato on sticks and some spicy chicken as well as other bits and bobs.  I think it will be a tasty lunch.

Today this is late because I've been bustling around getting things ready.  It's almost done now and I'm having a breather before doing the last few thing on the list.  Yes, I have a list and it's been a life-saver! 
I've even remembered to get the wheelchair ramps out. 

Better go and do the last bits and bobs now, empty the dishwasher and finish getting the table ready.  Should be a lot of fun.

Have a good day.






Monday, 10 December 2018

Monday

Good morning, everyone.  I got my wish - some sunshine yesterday - and very cheering it was too.  It's turning colder though, I think, and there might be a bit of frost developing.  We will see.

Yesterday was sit and knit day.  I worked my way through mountains of saved programmes as I did so.  Not exactly brain challenging but it kept me going.  It's now almost finished which is great because this week seems to be turning out very busy one way or another.

Today I have loads to do in preparation for the Girls' Lunch here tomorrow.  I'm doing the savouries and, while I'm not providing loads, I want my offering to be deliciously Slimming World friendly so have dug out a number of recipes to make.  Should be good.
I need to make fudge too, and to go shopping, tidy and clean downstairs and plan for today's tuition - not that the last will take very long as I have loads of stuff in their folders.
I have two lambs to knit and a parcel to post.

It's all go around here.  Better go and get started - fudge firsh, I think.   :-)

Today's Advent offering.   Moving on to the annunciation - another favourite.  The Angel Gabriel.


Sunday, 9 December 2018

Sunday

Good morning!  After quite pleasant weather yesterday, it appears to be raining again now; at least, there are droplets on the windows.  I'm not going out to check!

Well, the tree is up and decorated.   I had a very pleasant time with J, we chatted about all sorts of things as we baubled away and here's the result (with apologies for the light - and the bad taste - ho ho ho!)

(The mince pie was pretty good too)

I also took a photo of the wreath.
Its restraint contrasts nicely with the overkill of the tree.  :-)

When Christmas is over, I shall strip off all the decoration bits and keep the base ring.  You never know, maybe next year I shall have a go at making my own.  There must be tuitions things on the internet and I know places like Hobbycraft have all the embellishments a heart could wish for! 
You never know!

After J had gone, I did a bit of tidying and then sat down to knot.  I've nearly finished the nativity crib set I am making for a friend and am sewing it all up, a fiddly task that takes longer than one would think.  To my annoyance, I found I had made a mistake with the main part of the Joseph figure so have to make that again.  Never mind, it'll still all be ready for posting tomorrow.

Today, there's nothing in the diary (checking to make sure - no, there's nothing) so I have a free run with the knitting project.  Beth may pop round at some point bit that won't stop me knitting - or sewing up or stuffing or whatever.

I need to go shopping because I'm making some fudge in Thermione (my thermomix) and need the ingredients.  I have a splendid, trouble free recipe that really works and, of course, in Thermione I don't need to beat, mix, time, check, whatever as it does it all for me!  It's not for me, in case you are wondering, it's for gifts.  Honest!

My Advent offering today makes me laugh.  I wish I could find the original as you should be able to stop and start each character but all I can find is this, on Youtube.  It's still chuckly though.



Well, I'd better stop and make my second coffee of the day.  Have a good one, whatever you plan to do, and stay warm, dry and, as the great Dave Allen used to say, may your God go with you.




Saturday, 8 December 2018

Saturday

Good morning, everyone.  I'm up really early this morning after a sleepy evening yesterday and a comparatively early night.  It's not a problem - I have plenty to do so the extra time is quite a blessing.

I started yesterday off by diving through the wind and rain to the garage to get the Christmas tree in.  On the way back the remaining handle on the bag broke and a slight split in the seam became a rather large slit so the first thing I did once back in the warm and dry was to get onto Amazon and order what is described as an 'extremely heavy duty bag for storing artificial Christmas trees'.  A snappy little name, don't you think.  Anyway, it's arriving on Monday and the old one is now in t'bin!

I assembled the tree and only one little branch fell off although there was a lot of 'shedding' and the carpet was well covered!

Then the lights.  I've had these lights for ages, it has to be nearly twenty years, and they've been great but when I turned them on - nothing.  I checked connections and they came on, then went back off again.  Darn it.  So it was off to B&Q to pick up some more - fortunately they had some just the same - garish, colourful and twinkly.

So it turned out to be a bit expensive but the tree and lights are now up awaiting the baubles.  It all looks merry, festive and lovely.

Beth turned up and we crafted together for a while before lunch, after which I popped off to school for my governor meeting with head and deputy to talk assessment.  Very interesting.

After that I went over the road from school to Morrisons and then home.

Then it was back to school at six for the school fair.  I did my duty, spent a bit of cash, met people who looked at me, did what used to be called a 'double take' and then made comments about 'not recognising' me.  That's happening a lot at the moment.  I know I'm slimmer but I didn't think I had changed all that much!   Obviously, I must have.
I got hugs from ex-pupils which was nice.
There was a lovely stall - two friends who have worked together to make 'real' wreaths.  They were really good so I splashed some cash there and one is now on the front door looking festive and welcoming.
(Thinking about it, yesterday really was very expensive.  I shall have to be very frugal this week to make up)

This morning it's mince pies and baubles with J and then the day's my own.  Ironing, sorting out some shelves in my bedroom and wrapping a few parcels are all on the list.

As it's Decoration Day, here's a Jacquie Lawson card - I wish it were that easy!
(I hope this works - click on the link)


Friday, 7 December 2018

Friday

Good morning, everyone.  I've taken a peek outside and it's a bit chilly and a bit damp but nothing major.  Just an ordinary December morning really.  A few frosts might freshen things up a bit - it's so very dull, weather-wise, at the moment.

I was finding that I didn't always remember to take my meds first thing in the morning which resulted in forgetting them completely occasionally so I looked around and bought one of those tablet cases - the ones with separate boxes for days and times of the day.  It arrived at the beginning of the week and since then I've not forgotten so it might be an elderly thing to do but it's worked.
Here it is - colourful and eye catching which is why now I don't forget, even in my bleary-eyed-before-the-first-coffee-of-the-day state!

Yesterday was one of those days where I kept busy but didn't seem to get much done.  I went to Wyvale yesterday to get a Christmas tree for Mum and Dad - an artificial one, I mean.  Their tree is very old and not very nice and Dad said to get a better one if I was going to put it up for them so I did.  It's actually very nice as far as these things go.  While looking, I was sorely tempted by one for myself too, given that my own tree can't have much life left in it, but I didn't.  I might go back between Christmas and the New Year to see if they have any in the sale.

Slimming World group was good.  I've lost another two pounds which was something of a surprise AND I won the raffle too.  After so many weeks of losing one and a half pounds, two was great and very motivating.  I'm dropping down the BMI range and am looking forward to when I get into the normal banding which is more or less an undiscovered country.

It's Friday - no tuition today.  However, in the next couple of weeks I would like to go through the folders and deal with the piles of finished stuff therein.  I don't have to keep it or anything but prefer to shred it all for the sake of common sense so I might do one today.  Each one won't take long and there aren't many.

It's Friday - cleaner's day.  That means doing a general tidy up.  Again, it won't take long so that's good.  I shall move things around too, to make space for the Christmas tree.  It would be sensible to get this done and the tree assembled before she comes as it is very old and tends to shed rather badly.

Beth's round for lunch (cheese and onion toasties, yum yum) and then I'm off to school wearing my governor's hat for a meeting with senior management to go over the assessments for this term.  One that's done, my weekend starts with the school's Christmas Fair which I think I will go to as it will get me out of the way of Christmas nibbles.  I might find a few gifty things too which would be nice.
This time I will do the adult thing and be a paying customer rather than sneaking in behind my staff badge!

Image result for holly
I was wondering what to do for the Advent offering today and remembered another tradition which has rather hit the deck last year because I wasn't feeling great what with gall bladder stuff.  I might this year because - because they are delicious.  They freeze well too which is what I will do.

So here they are!
Nigella's Christmas Muffins.

Ingredients to make 12
250 grams plain flour
2½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
100 grams caster sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg (or good grating of fresh nutmeg)
2 clementines (or satsumas)
approx. 125 millilitres full fat milk
75 millilitres vegetable oil (or melted butter left to cool slightly)
1 large egg
175 grams dried cranberries
3 teaspoons demerara sugar (for the topping)

Method
Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C Fan/gas mark 6/400ยบF. Line a 12-bun muffin tin with muffin papers or (as I have here) silicone inserts.
Measure the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, caster sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg into a large bowl; grate the zest of the clementine/satsuma over, and combine. If you are doing this in advance, leave the zesting till Christmas morning.
Squeeze the juice of the clementines/satsumas into a measuring jug, and pour in the milk until it comes up to the 200ml mark / halfway between the ¾ cup and 1 cup marks.
Add the oil (or slightly cooled, melted butter) and egg, and lightly beat until just combined.
Pour this liquid mixture into the bowl of dried ingredients and stir until everything is more or less combined, remembering that a well-beaten mixture makes for heavy muffins: in other words a lumpy batter is a good thing here.
Fold in the cranberries, then spoon the batter into the muffin cases and sprinkle the demerara sugar on top. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, by which time the air should be thick with the promise of good things and the good things themselves golden brown and ready to be eaten, either plain or broken up and smeared, as you go, with unsalted butter and marmalade.

Thursday, 6 December 2018

Thursday

Good morning, everyone.  Where is the week going?  It's Thursday already!  Almost another week over and finished!  It's damp and mild out there but maybe the sun will shine later on.

First of all, thank you, thank you, thank you for all those lovely and kind comments yesterday - I have some good friends on my blog, don't I?
I've replied to most of them in yesterday's comments but I'll answer one here - Margaret, what a splendid idea.  Strangely enough, I had an email yesterday from J, saying it was ages since we had got together so how about it.  With a suddenly free weekend I suggested that and she agreed (not sure whether it's Saturday or Sunday yet).  I was going to do the tree on whichever day she didn't come but after your brainwave, I will ask if she'd like to help!  Thank you so much.
That's a very good quote too - I think I will look out for that book!

The Infants' show yesterday was wonderful.  The children come alive with an audience of mums and dads, don't they, and I had a great view.  Well done, everyone.  I must remember to send a note for the newsletter today.

I've sent round messages to 'my' parents (of my students) advising them of when my term finishes and the next one starts.  I like tutoring but it will be nice to have more free days for a few weeks - not that they'll be particularly free but you know what I mean!

Today is an almost empty day until the evening so I might get out the tree and set it up with its lights ready (that takes ages as each branch has to be fitted separately).  Yes, I have an artificial tree and have done ever since a 'real needed decided to lodge itself in my eye and it took ages (and considerable discomfort) to get it out again!  It's getting old not and I keep thinking to replace it but never do.  Well, it won't be this year now.

I also have knitting, housework, a titchy bit of planning and some ironing before tuition which is the last one this year for this particular student so I am glad that I got all the gift bags done and dusted yesterday.

And then it is Slimming World group so my fingers are crossed.  I have my doubts about tonight's weigh in because the weekend was a bit 'naughty but nice' at times but what will be will be and there's always next week!

Seeing as Christmas trees are on my mind, here's today's Advent offering.  Enjoy.


Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Wednesday

Good morning, everyone.  I can't believe we're five days into December already.  I've caught up with my Advent candle after not being able to start it until Monday; it's a slow melting candle so you get a good flame time each day and it's sitting beside me on the table, casting light.
Thinking of candles, here's my Advent offering for today - not my photos but I like the 'atmosphere'.

Thank you, Google Images.

Watching yesterday's dress rehearsal yesterday morning was enjoyable.  It's the Juniors' chance to see the Infant show and I was able to exchange waves/smiles with some of my students as well as enjoying the music, dancing and general cuteness.  It's the first proper performance this morning and I shall be attending that wearing my School Governor hat.

After that I have a parcel to post for Beth and then I need to get my Christmas gift bags made for my students as tomorrow is the last time this year for a couple of them.  It's nothing much, just little bits and bobs, mostly edible, with a card, but they like it and so do I.

I have a bit of planning to get done.  Not much but it needs to be done.  After that I will be sorting out home stuff - the usual washing and ironing and some general clearing.  Quite a busy day but nothing too difficult!

A bit of a disappointment and a blow to another Christmas tradition.  Alex is staying at uni to complete some course work and Beth cannot make this weekend after all.  So I will be decorating the old Christmas Tree by myself this year.  So it will be carols, a bit of bubbly and when all is looking lovely, a Christmas DVD by myself.  It can't be helped, nothing lasts for ever and it's nothing whatsoever in the wider scheme of things but I can't help feeling a pang of sadness. 

Well, the candle is still burning gentle and it's nowhere near '5' yet but I have things to get on with so I will say 'see you tomorrow' and finish waffling on now.  Have a great day and stay warm and dry.


Tuesday, 4 December 2018

Tuesday

Good morning, everyone.  I had a surprise when I peeped out this morning; we have a frost!  Given that it was pretty mild yesterday, that's a big drop in temperature overnight so here's hoping it bumps up again to yesterday's level (lovely and mild) this morning.  At least the skies are clear.

I returned home to a lovely, clean and tidy hope and proceeded to change that, but only temporarily.  Then, after lunch, I was off to school where I ended up taking part in a fire drill and getting a bit cold but, dear me, these drills are a necessary evil!  After tuition I had a lazy evening knitting and watching some recorded stuff and two of my favourite quiz programmes, Only Connect and University Challenge.  I must have been on form because I got a few links in Only Connect and answered several questions in Uni Challenge.

Today is going to be fun.  I've been invited to watch the final dress rehearsal for the Infants' Christmas show so I will be down there when the gates open to help get a very over-excited and dressed up Foundation Stage class into the hall before settling back to watch and reminisce.  After that I'm over the road to Morrisons and then home to plan, get a bit of paperwork done and then do some crafting with Beth.

It should be a good day!

Today's Advent Offering for your delight, delectation and/or disgust, a few of the worst Christmas cracker jokes I can remember!


What does Santa suffer from if he gets stuck in a chimney?

What goes Ho Ho Whoosh, Ho Ho Whoosh?

What do Santa's little helpers learn at school?

(sorry)

Answers in comments!



Monday, 3 December 2018

Monday

Good morning.  I'm a little late this morning because I waited until I got back home.  It's been another gentle weekend with Mum and Dad but it's always nice to get home again too.

Today's a busy day what with school and tuition and unpacking, etc, so there's not much time to write, but I will pop on today's Advent Offering - a very well known exerpt from 'The Messiah' based on that well known prophesy from Isaiah.

 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
(Isaiah 9:6)



Sunday, 2 December 2018

Sunday

Good morning, one and all, it's Sunday and it's 'orrible out there.  Wet and miserable and a bit windy.  At least, it was when I looked an hour ago and I can't be bothered to look again.

I had a pleasant time with Mum yesterday.  As it was December 1st, I went up into their attic and found the nativity crib I knitted for her about two years ago.  She unwrapped it all (it was packed in tissue paper) and I set it up on a table opposite where she sits so it is view.  She was so pleased and kept looking at it and smiling happily which was lovely.
She also liked the Thorntons' chocolate Advent calendar I got for her and happily scoffed the first choccy!

Next time I come, we will get up the Christmas Tree and Dad picked a load of holly from their tree in the garden so I will make some arrangements with that.

And then a week after that, it will be our Christmas Day (on Sunday 23rd).

Margaret's comments yesterday were interesting and I have to be honest, cards on the table, I love all the Christmas hype.  The lights, the music, the decorations.  Personally, I have always left my own decorations until the Sunday before Christmas but it's not going to work out like that this year because of the weekends with Mum and Dad so they are going up next weekend, tree and all.  The rest of that particular family tradition will be the same, just earlier.  Beth and Alex (home from uni, I hope) will come over, we will have a buffet meal, put up the tree and then watch a Christmas DVD of some kind.

What I don't love is the rampant commercialism that goes hand in hand with the lights and glitter so I take what I enjoy and enjoy it but don't get involved in the rest!

Regarding the food, I have, in my freezer, a box of the best stock from last year's turkey, intended for this year's gravy and I will get that out the day before the first Christmas dinner and make it up.  I also make and freeze cranberry sauce and roasties but maybe I won't prep the roasties this year as there's not so many to do for each meal.  I had planned to do them the other day but didn't get round to it!

Basically, I get as much as I can pre-prepared.  Works for me and it's all part of the enjoyment!  It cuts down on the work load, always a Good Thing.

Today, I expect it will be a quiet day and I will knit, knit, knit!  I'm sure my fingers ought to be the slimmest in the world with the amount of exercise I give them, but they're not!

Have a great day, whatever you plan to do!

Edited because I've now taken a photo of the crib set.  So this is my Advent offering for today.




Saturday, 1 December 2018

Saturday

Good morning, everyone.  Pinch and a punch for the first of the month and white rabbits to you all!  December has now begun!

Thank you all very much for the lovely comments yesterday.  I think I have replied to them all and very much appreciate them.  I also seem to have some new followers so a warm welcome to you!

Yesterday was a good day and the drive over to Mum and Dad's was absolutely lovely.  Clear roads, moving traffic, no hold-ups and the sun was shining.  Best of all, I had remembered to wash the windscreen so there was much less sun glare on said windscreen than there could have been!

I bustled around early morning, getting stuff done and organised and made a few plans for sorting out the mess in my bedroom (again).  I need to make better use of the high cupboards for things I don't want to chuck but which aren't needed very often; that would sort a few things out nicely, I think.  I also have to deal with the small bedroom, the one over the stairs, as I am likely to need it over Christmas and it's my dumping ground.
So - I made plans!

Today I have ironing, cooking, maybe a bit of shopping and generally being there so not too busy.  I'm hoping to be able to spend plenty of time on my knitting - that would be good.  Weather permitting, I'd like to go out for a walk, but we will see!

Have a lovely day and remember to burn that advent candle, open that door in your advent calendar or do whatever you do once December starts.  I'm afraid my candle will have to wait!

Here's a favourite advent carol ever - always has been since I was little.  It's very old and very 'modal' and beautiful (I think).