Tuesday 31 December 2019

A year in photos

Thank you, Sue, for the idea.  One photo for each month in 2019.


In the middle of January I started what has turned out to be one of the joys of the year and my life - pottery.  The first effort, the mousehog, was far from a success but then - this.  I still love it!
Beth now comes along with me and it's a brilliant time together.


A trip to 'Sarfend' with a dear friend.  Brrr, it was cold.


It has to be this, my lovely Mum, who passed away on Mothering Sunday, March 31st.  A wonderful lady who lived an honest, loving and generous life and who we will never forget.
RIP Mum.  Love you.


A coach trip to Sandringham with another dear friend.


In May, I had my bathroom done.  Oh, it was such a mess and a stand up, top to toe wash isn't nearly as satisfactory or satisfying as a shower or a bath.  Still, I survived, and I do love my new bathroom.  I've even managed to keep it very tidy and oragnised since then.  Amazing!


I did quite a lot in June, including a visit to Suzanne's with trips out, and the garden was very satisfying this month (and all through the summer, in fact).


My first ever holiday in Southwold.  Of all the photos I took, this reminds me most of the thing I enjoyed most - walking up and down the beach next to the waves, watching the patterns and enjoying the sounds.  Gorgeous.


My first ever cucumbers - and they were brilliant, keeping me in fruit all supper and well into the autumn too.  One to do again this year, definitely.


It's very sad but I don't seem to have taken many photos in September.  However, Beth was very productive, starting to build up her Christmas stock (and yes, they all sold - in fact, she had to make more).


I was on holiday at the Thetford Center Parcs and spent a lovely day at Brandon Country Park.


Right at the end of the month I had a couple of nights in Bury St Edmunds, meeting the lovely Sue over coffee.  I also met this extremely friendly robin.


I started with a crafty thing so I'll finish with one too.  The Dickensian mice I made for a customer of Beth's.  She loved them and her mum send Beth a clip of her daughter playing with them.  So cute!

It was nice looking back over the last year's photos.  I'm not doing resolutions but I ought to take more and maybe I will make it a daily thing.
I hope you've enjoyed looking at them too.


Good morning.  It's not so cold this morning and there's no frost whatsoever.  It's predicted to be dry but dull with thick clouds most of the day.  A bit of a contrast to yesterday when it cheered up no end and we had plenty of sunshine.

I got quite a lot done in the morning.
Not too early, I drove into town to pick up a prescription.  There were a lot of shoppers around and the traffic at one roundabout (not the expected one though) was dire.  Unfortunately, I had no choice, I had to go that way.  Once that was sorted and I'd got my meds, I set off out of town to go to Lathcoats as I needed a few belated Christmas pressies for today.  I wish I'd gone there first when I started my present buying; there were some lovely things including a whole area devoted to gluten free stuff, not just bog standard things like crackers and ginger biscuits, but really nice looking stuff.  Next year . . .

While there, I took the opportunity to get four of their lentil and veg burgers which are really nice and also some frozen roasted veg mix.  Both are loose in freezers and you shovel what you want into a bag.  The burgers are for when Beth eats here and the roasting mix is sheer indulgence, far easier than prepping lots of different veg.

Once home and everything away, I set to in the kitchen and did this and that, one thing and another. 
I sorted out some decorations and put them away - just a few at a time as most will stay up until the 6th when, fortunately, I don't need to go into school pm, so I have the time.

Today Dad and brother, John, come over for lunch, so the morning will be spent prepping for that.  Beth's here too so there will be four of us which is a nice number for my size of table which is not big and means I don't have to fuss with the gopak table.
Beth's staying on and overnight although I very much doubt either of us will be up to see the New Year in.

I'm doing a version of Jamie Oliver's turkey and sweet leek pie, without all the fussing over the pastry which I'm sure is lovely but I can't be bothered.  I've just got the puff pastry (bought - of course) out of the freezer so will need to replace that at some point.  I buy a block, cut it into four and wrap each bit separately before freezing.  The bacon and leeks are now slowly sweating away over a very low heat and the rest is dead easy.
Here's the recipe, if you're interested.  Simple enough and easily adapted, reduced, etc, it would be nice under a potato topping too.

When Dad and John go, as already mentioned, Beth will stay and spend the evening and night here.  I'll be using the last remaining 'nibbley bits' left over from Christmas and we're both happy with that.  We'll chat, maybe play Scrabble and/or Yahtzee and perhaps watch a film or two.
Her bedroom is all ready and waiting so there's nothing to do there.
It should be a really nice day.

I read something somewhere that I will pass on.  Whenever you write the date this year, especially on anything official, make sure you write the year in full as it will be so simple for fraudsters to add to the simple version to change the date to anything from 2000 to 2019.  Best not to take the risk.

All that remains is for me to thank you all for reading my ramblings this year, sticking with me in the tough times and laughing with me in the happier times.  Here's to the coming year; I don't doubt there will be some tough times as well as good and I wish you strength, a determined approach and plenty of laughter and wonderful things.


Monday 30 December 2019


Good morning!  It's a bit chilly outside with maybe a touch of frost but yesterday was lovely.

I managed to get to the shops good and early while things were being reduced and managed to get some cooked ham joints and some stilton reduced which will be useful.  I also picked up a turkey leg/thigh which I then roasted slowly so now I have a stack of flavoursome brown meat and more stock.  To lessen the storage space, I reduced the existing stock right down and will do the same with the new stock (the bones and bits are currently in the slow cooker).

Sadly, after that I crashed rather and spent the rest of the day knitting and watching recordings.  I particularly enjoyed the programme about Michael Bond, the creator of the Paddington stories and the one from the Royal Ballet about the run up to the Nutcracker.

I'm still feeling very 'slumpy' and bleugh this morning but I can't give way to it today as tomorrow I have Dad and my brother, down from Scotland, over for lunch.  I've decided to make a turkey and ham pie as I have pretty much all the ingredients in, even some puff pastry in the freezer, so I need to get the filling made today.  It will just be a pot pie with only a pastry topping.  I have something nice in the freezer for Beth so I will only have the do the vegetables tomorrow really.
The pie and a good, meaty hotpot I will make next weekend at Dad's will use up all the meat from the leg and thigh, so that's great.

Also, I have ironing, housework, etc, so there's plenty to occupy me and stop me having any pity parties.

Have a good day.

Sunday 29 December 2019


Good morning.  As expected. yesterday turned out dull and gloomy and, while it didn't actually rain, there was a lot of dampness in the air.  Today we might possibly see some sunshine which would be very pleasant indeed.

I did all that I had planned yesterday.  The spare room is now ready for Beth on Tuesday night and the sheets have been washed, as has another pile of stuff with one more pile sitting on the kitchen floor for today.  It's not been drying weather, of course, so I brought the tumble dryer into use for some things while the others dried on a rack.  I do miss using my washing line!

The turkey also got sorted out.  When I got down to it, I realised there wasn't all that much meat left, not enough for what I want to do which is make Dad a nice big pot of turkey 'hotpot' (family name for chunky soup really) which we have every single year after Christmas and which I want to freeze in portions for him.  So today I am off to Morrisons to see if they have any turkey legs/thighs, ridiculous as it sounds, because he loves turkey hotpot and looks forward to it every year.

The instant pot dealt with the carcass and I do have plenty of stock now which is great.  One lot won't be touched until next Christmas.  The rest will go into casseroles, soups, etc.

A few decorations are now down and out and I gave the poinsettias a good soaking from their roots and sprayed their leaves and they look much happier again this morning.  I thought I had lost one as it was so droopy, but it has revived well.  I know I can't keep them for long but they are such a splash of happy colour, I want to enjoy them as long as I can.

The rest of the day was spent reading and watching telly, catching up on recorded things.

Today, after a walk to Morrisons for a few bits and bobs (spuds, paper, fruit, maybe turkey) and if the sun comes out, I may tackle the back garden as the middle bed is looking decidedly scruffy and I want it to be clear so the bulbs have a free run!  It shouldn't take too long.  Beth may come round but I'm not sure so not counting on it at all.

Well, my coffee mug is empty so I'd better stop now and refill it.  Have a great day, whatever you have planned.

Saturday 28 December 2019


Good morning!  Another damp morning although it's not raining, just misty.  The mist may clear, says the Beeb weather, but it will be a dull day so I guess it will feel damp all through.

Yesterday was a restful day.  Dad left after a leisurely breakfast and it was sad to see him go.  It's been lovely to have him here and I missed his company.  However, over breakfast we sorted out the weekends for January and February.  He had an easy drive down; there was very little traffic on the road and not much surface spray.  By the time he emailed me, the heating was up and the house warm, he was unpacked and the washing machine was on.
There have been a few health worries in recent weeks but I am reassured that he is now pretty much as fit as he can be, given certain medical issues.  It's a huge relief.

I had forgotten that the cleaners never work from Christmas Day to New Year's Day (quite right too) so they didn't come and I spent most of my time knitting and watching telly.  Eileen, I had some good guffaws over Would I Lie To You but I never have really 'liked' Sharon Osborne and now I like her even less! 

I also watched the Queen's speech and found it thoughtful and very wise, loving the little segment over the Christmas puddings at the end and laughing at the way she moved hastily out of the way when George attacked the mixture with his wooden spoon, bless him.

Beth came over for a while to do some tidying up and some accounts.  That was nice.,

I feel very lethargic this morning so I'm not going to push things.  The only thing I really HAVE to do is sort out the last bits of the turkey, portion meat and stock out and get it all into the freezer.  I think I have the space - well, I will have to, won't I?

Poor old dustmen or whatever one must call them nowadays.  Our collection is this morning rather than the usual Thursday (and won't be back to Thursday for three weeks).  No complaints - they do a grand job and probably don't get much of a break.  But I looked out this morning to pop one more item in the green box and all round the cul de sac bins are bulging, card sacks are overflowing and green boxes (glass and metal) are full while I hate to think what's in the food recycling bins!

Apart from that, sorting out the guest room with clean sheets and doing some washing, it's going to be another easy and restful day (I hope).

What are your plans for today?

Friday 27 December 2019


Good morning, everyone.  What a damp day it was yesterday but it was bright and warm inside so I counted my blessings and was content.

Yesterday, we had a very quiet morning, Dad and I, although mine started very early as I didn't sleep at all well.  I came down, sorted out the turkey bits (all but the 'crown' part) and got them into the instant pot where it all bubbled away most of the morning, making the place smell like Christmas all over again.  I then felt sleepy again so got a few more hours in bed before starting the day properly.

Beth and Al came round for tea and then Beth challenged me to another game of Scrabble to get her revenge (ooops - I won again, but only just!).  We neither of us play a very good game; no high scores on triple word squares or anything like that, but it's good fun.
The Scrabble set is actually Dave and Anna's and I must get one for myself.

Today, Christmas is pretty much over really, although I keep the decorations up until Twelfth Night, just putting away a few little bits and bobs in the meanwhile.  At some point this morning, Dad leaves so I will have bedding to wash, dry and iron and I need to slice the other half of the turkey breast as he's taking home some pots of one-portion turkey in gravy to keep in his freezer for future meals.  No stuffing or pigs left, sadly.  He's also taking some Christmas cake and I hope to persuade him to take a pack of cream crackers home, not because I don't like them but because I do!!

Then I have a few hours to myself and I intend to sit down in front of the telly and catch up on all the things I missed and set to record, probably starting with the Kings service as I was popping in and out like a yo-yo cooking dinner as it was on.
I've just remembered - it is Friday so the cleaners will be here at some point.  Well, the house is pretty tidy really so I won't have much to do to get the place ready for them.

Well, better go and sort out that turkey breast for Dad and have another coffee before I get dressed.  Have a good day, whether your Christmas is continuing or not.

Thursday 26 December 2019

Thursday - Boxing Day

Good morning!  It's pretty chilly outside and we have a bit of a frost but the temperature is due to rise fairly soon and the day is supposed to be wet and dull, unlike yesterday.  Wasn't it a beautiful day yesterday, all sunshine and clear, blue skies.
Christmas dinner isn't usually a challenge in terms of cooking but it is a bit of an organisational challenge so I have my little list of Times In, Times Out and Other Things to Do.  I thought it worked well until the moment I sat upright in bed in the middle of the night realising that somehow the parsnips hadn't made it to the table.  Sure enough, they were still in the (cold) oven in their serving dish!  Ah, well, that's one thing I won't have to cook today and no-one made comment about them not being there.  There was certainly plenty without them.

The turkey was a doddle to cook - Kelly's turkeys always have been.  However, I swear it was heavier than I'd ordered.  They always err on the generous side anyway and I well remember with a certain amount of horror the year there was a note in the box saying that the turkeys had grown well that year and there was a bit of extra and free weight - it was so huge it was too big for my largest roasting pan and I had to phone Mum, comparing oven and tin sizes so that she could bring over her largest tin.  Even then, we had to cut the legs off before it would fit!
This year, there's an awful lot of leftovers, especially as brother John, who usually takes a fair chunk home with him, wasn't here this year.  It's lucky I love turkey leftovers, isn't it.  I shall go on a Google recipe hunt later on.

We played two games of Scrabble and, most unusually, I won both but the latter one was so close it was down to the fact that I finished first so got the leftover tile scores.

It wasn't a noisy or boisterous day, a little bitter-sweet at times but it was lovely.
Today, Boxing Day, should be more or less the same (apart from pressies).  Beth and Alex are turning up for the tea I had planned yesterday but, because we were so full, we didn't have!  Until then, I expect Dad and I will snooze the day away, him because he does and me because I haven't slept well.  Too much buzzing around in my mind.  It doesn't matter, there's plenty of time to catch up.

I have a turkey to deal with although I think I will do it in stages.  Today I will boil up the giblets and what bones and bits I can cut off and tomorrow I will deal with the white meat, remaining leg, etc.
I have this - well, I suppose you'd call it a tradition or a habit, that I make some quality stock after The Day and freeze a portion of it to make the gravy the following Christmas.  It's such a useful thing to do and saves hassle the other end as all it needs is thickening.

Lunch will be leftovers.  All the veg went apart from a few little roast onions and those poor parsnips so I will do something green and a few more roasties but all the rest - meat, sauces, gravy, dessert - is all ready and just needs re-heating.  Easy!
Then tea will involve such healthy items as sausage and not-sausage rolls, crisps, ham, cheese and, as a sop to Slimming World, a bit of salad.

Once the leftovers are all cleared, it will be back to normal.  It'll be a relief, I think.

I hope your day went really well and was everything you wanted and expected it to be.  Thank you for your lovely comments.
Happy Boxing Day!

Wednesday 25 December 2019

Wednesday - Christmas Day

And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
Luke 2:7

And here's the last Christmas music clip and it has to be . . .

I've really enjoyed posting some of my favourite Christmas music to share with you and I hope I've included some that you enjoyed as much as I have.

Tuesday 24 December 2019

Tuesday - Christmas Eve

. . . and here we are on Christmas Eve.  If you're anything like me, the fridge is bulging and you have a list as long as your arm.  No, a slight exaggeration there, but I do have a list!
Yesterday I walked to Morrisons and I'm glad I did as the car park was absolutely full and nowadays I feel guilty about parking in the school car park, even supposing it's still the same code.  Anyway, I didn't need much.  As always, I had several chats with people on the way round and another good chat with another friend on the corner by the pre-school building.
When I got home, I was just putting it all away when Beth and her little friend, L, turned up.  Beth had come prepared with parcels and a few activities.  We started off by decorating baubles, two of which are now on my tree and will have to go into the 'specials' bag when it all goes away again.  Then we put The Snowman on and opened a few pressies.  L loved the Father Christmouse so that was good.  hen it was lunch - a festive mix of cocktail sausages, chips and peas followed by Christmas cake and with crackers on the side.  Te sausages were Morrisons best ands were really very nice indeed, the chips were home made actifry ones and the only thing left were a few peas which went straight into the ham and lentil soup (now in the freezer).
While Beth and L played with the mini bowls set in one of the crackers, I cleared up and found, much to my annoyance, that the dishwasher needed rinse aid and I didn't have any.

So after they had gone, I had another healthy walk to Morrisons, had a few more chats as I went round and came home with the rinse aid and a - cough - few more items that I didn't need!
The turkey arrived and is now in the fridge ready for getting ready today.  I've decided not to brine it, I never usually do and it's fine, so it will just be a case of herbs, onion and citrus up its bum!  I think I'll do the giblets in the slow cooker; that way they are out of the war and won't need watching.
Today's list contains such exciting items as 'get food out of freezer pm' and 'ironing', do online cards, sideboard (candles need sorting out), make a few mince pies, etc.  Nothing too hairy really.  Usually I prepare the vegetables in the afternoon but I think I will leave the ones that need to stand in water until early tomorrow morning.  It's only for four so won't take too long and works better with the space I have available.  I'll just do the sprouts today.

Just before lunch, Dad arrives.  I've planned two light meals.  Cheese and crackers for lunch and one steak between the two of us with sweet potato chips and vegetables for dinner.
Today's Christmas music is that most traditional of traditional carols to start a Christmas service.  I love the way the soloist at Kings doesn't know that he is the soloist until the very last moment.  It's supposed to stop them worrying.  I suspect it just heightens the nerves for all the possibles!
Which reminds me - it's the service of lessons and carols this evening.  I always watch the telly one because, with my less-than-perfect hearing, the live radio one is lost on me, sadly.
Anyway - here it is.  Once in Royal David's City.


Monday 23 December 2019


Good morning, everyone.

Yesterday was very pleasant.  I did a bit of clearing up after the family evening but there wasn't a lot to do as I did most of it on Saturday evening.

Then I remembered I hadn't finished the Father Christmouse I was making for a dear little friend so I got that out and done.  I'd put a lot of stuff I needed away so had to get it all out again.  Never mind!
This time I used a sparkly yarn called 'tinsel' for the fur and I think it's worked really well.  I rather fancy making one for myself as well but not for this Christmas.
You can see why it's called tinsel, can't you?

Once that was done and wrapped, I got on with my other knitting, watching DVDs while I did so.  Very pleasant and very restful.

Today there's various things happening.
At some point I need to walk to Morrisons - there's always something, isn't there?
Beth's bringing the little friend around, they'll be staying for lunch and we will be giving a few pressies.
The turkey is being delivered.  I won't deal with it until tomorrow but my turkey arrangements are usually very simple so won't take long.  I'm thinking I might brine it this year as it's a small one and I think I might have a box big enough but for the rest it's just herbs, citrus and onion in the cavity and that's more or less it.
The cleaners are coming in the afternoon.
I must set the telly to record various things over the next four days.

Hopefully, the evening will be quiet and peaceful.

The Christmas music is a jolly carol, much enjoyed form childhood onward.  As children, we had a sort of running competition to see if we could do each line of the chorus in one breath.  Once I was into choral singing, I enjoyed singing the underlying alto part.
This is a version sung by King's - Ding dong, merrily on high.

Sunday 22 December 2019


Good morning.  Happy day before the day before the day before Christmas!
Yesterday turned out to be a very busy morning, a nice easy afternoon and a lovely evening.

I was so glad I went shopping early.  As planned, I went at six thirty; there were a few other hardy souls around and no stacks of stuff waiting to go on shelves.  By the time I was at the checkout, it was starting to fill up so I felt a bit smug.
I managed to get everything on my list except for mushroom pate which I couldn't see anywhere.  I like to have plenty of things that Beth can have, you see, and I know she likes mushroom pate.  No problem though, I remembered that I have a very simple recipe for the thermomix so I made sure I added a box of chestnut mushrooms to the pile of things in the trolley.

Basically, you zizz up some bread and onion into crumbs and set aside.  Melt some butter, zizz up some mushrooms and cook them in the butter, then add the onion and breadcrumbs and set aside for fifteen minutes.  Then add some soft cheese, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, garlic granules, salt and pepper, spoon into a container and chill.  I filled a mini kilner jar plus a small ramekin and the contents of the jar totally disappeared during the evening.  I kept the other back for another day.
When I got home, I managed to find room for everything somewhere or other.  OK, there's a stack of boxes in a corner in the kitchen but they'll go soon enough.
Then I got going with things for the family evening.
I had previously bought a gammon ham - not a big piece but enough for more than one occasion so what I did was cut it in half and cooked one half for the evening, sliced some and popped it in the fridge.
And forgot to get it out!  Guess what's on the menu today.
The other half can be cooked on Christmas Eve or, if not, it can go in the freezer for another time.  The boiling water was really nice, not too salty and with a good hammy flavour, so today I will use it to make some soup.  Ham and lentil, ham and pea, mixed bean and veg . . . lots of options.

While that was boiling away, I made the mushroom pate as above, dead easy, put the sausages in to cook and mixed up a glaze, putting the two together and finishing them off just before they were needed.  The glaze was honey, mustard and other bits and bobs and it was nice.

On Friday I had served a bit of my cranberry sauce with the bread and cheese Val and I had and, while it was nice, I felt there was something a bit lacking.  So I popped it back in a pan, added a bit more sugar and boiled it up and then added some orange oil which improved the flavour out of all recognition.  Much better.

I got out plates, cutlery, etc, etc, etc, all of which made life a lot easier later on.  The rest of the morning was spent happily wrapping a few pressies and writing a few cards and in the afternoon I had a snooze.

It was a lovely evening!  I am so lucky to have both of my offspring living nearby.
I meant to take a photo of the table but forgot.
We ate and drank way too much and then Dave, Anna, Beth and Al played board games while I read and generally relaxed.
The Christmas cake was cut and was delicious.  I'm glad; I had visions of it being either under or over cooked and you can't tell until you cut it, can you.
And I love my dishwasher!

Today there's nothing scheduled so I will make the most of it and be lazy because the next four or five days will be quite busy one way or another.  There's a few things that disappeared during the evening that I need to replace but generally I reckon if we don't have it, it's not the end of the world and we certainly won't starve!

Today's music is a beautiful carol, sung angelically by Libera.  What a voice that young soloist has!  I rather like their performance robes too - all they need is some wings and a halo each.

Saturday 21 December 2019


Good morning.  I have no idea what the weather is like because I haven't looked.  I'll know soon because shortly I am off to Morrisons for a very early shop.  It opens at six but, knowing Morrisons, half the stuff won't be out so I'm leaving it until about six thirty when it should be OK

I had a great time with Val.  She brought her knitting over so we both worked as we knitted, making the occasional mistake as we went, lunch was very much enjoyed and I am glad we stayed in rather than going out for lunch.

Victoria brought round the table decoration she made.  She's the lady who made my wreath and she has a small floristry business.  I do like to support local initiatives when I can and especially if they are 'ex-parents' which Victoria is.  It's a lovely decoration, just what I asked for.

The cleaners turned up and worked their usual magic.  I always love coming down on a Saturday morning because everything is clean and shiny.  I think I've already mentioned I have gifted myself one more downstairs clean on Monday - what a lazy thing I am but it takes a lot of the pressure off.

Today, after the big shop, I will need to find places for everything.  A few days ago I cleared out the fridge and some old jars and bottles got chucked.  I'm a bit ashamed really; it wasn't awful but I should have used up the contents ages ago.  The rest was mainly just making it all tidy and organ ised and that, in itself, created space.

The rest of the morning is for being lazy before I set to this afternoon and get everything ready for the family coming round - those who live round here, I mean.  I'm doing a sort of cheese and wine thingy so it's going to be fairly easy.  I have some sausages to glaze and cook and a camembert to melt in the oven at the last minute plus doing the part baked bread but the rest is just putting things out.  On Beth's advice, I will put out the Cake so it may get cut this evening.

I'm onto carols for today's Christmas Music.  Today is a personal favourite, the Holst setting to the Rosetti poem, 'In the Bleak Midwinter'.

Friday 20 December 2019


Good morning! It's a damp start to the day and pretty mild too.  Yesterday evening the temperature was into double figures and it feels similar right now just before seven am.

Jeff turned up and did the usual good work so now my garden is pretty presentable, both front and back.  That's it now until; after the start of the new term.  Very little needs doing in these winter months anyway.

I enjoyed my chat with C, my neighbour over the cul de sac.  We have a number of shared experiences and get along pretty well really.

Tuition was great fun.  I found an online 'Advent calender' that involved solving riddles which we really enjoyed working through and then we set to to write our own riddles for other Christmas things.  The time went so quickly.

There weren't many people at SW - it's not the right time of year for being careful with your diet, is it?  We had a good time though and it will be so busy after the new year.  At present, it's the lull before the storm.

I've finished my shopping list and was planning to go this morning but, as I have everything for Val's lunch here, I have decided to leave it until tomorrow.  I'm looking forward to seeing Val again and catching up on all the latest news.
After that, the cleaner should come.  Today it's the whole house and I have an extra clean on Monday, just downstairs, as a gift to myself.
Apart from that, I need to sort out the extra food things and get it all away and just make sure no little piles of clutter have built up amongst the decorations, candles, etc.

One Rutter carol after another.  This is his 'Star Carol', very different to yesterday's gentle lullaby mood.

Thursday 19 December 2019


Good morning.  After that frosty car-icing start, it turned out lovely and sunny most of the day, a beautiful winter day.  Fingers crossed that today is more of the same.

I'm definitely feeling so much better now; I didn't cough or sneeze once yesterday and I woke with a clear nose this morning.  Bliss!

I got the cake iced.  It epitomises everything about my 'artistic' ability.  I have the ideas and the results look OK but my sense of design and layout is not great.  To me, it doesn't look quite right but I'm not sure why.  Never mind, it was a first go and I bet it will taste good; it certainly smells great.

Sooze, those gingerbread biscotti are absolutely delicious, thank you very much for the recipe.  After I'd made them, I gave the fridge a clear out and found I did have some stem ginger after all.  Never mind, there will be another time (maybe even today), and the pineapple and peel worked really well.  I do like 'bits' in biscotti.
I gave some to Lindsey, my personal trainer and got an email later saying "Oh my goodness! That gingerbread biscotti is Incredible xxx"
Definitely one to make again, maybe before Christmas, maybe with stem ginger this time.
In case you're interested, here's the link to the recipe (thanks again, Sooze)

I went round to Lindsey's for my training and found it went better than I thought it would go.  I really get a rhythm going now and yesterday I achieved much more than I had expected.  I do hope I'm able to keep it going in the future.

And then my ex student came round with mum and it was so lovely to see them.  They're very happy at secondary school and was full of what's been going on in their life.  So much confidence.  It did my heart good.

Today starts off busy and then tails away into not much before it heats up again.
Jeff is coming at around 8:15 as it's not raining.
When he has finished, I'm off over the cul de sac to my friends for a pre-Christmas coffee and chat.
Then the time's my own until tuition and in the evening it is Slimming World.

Today's Christmas music is a John Rutter carol, Nativity Carol.  I learnt it as a version for ladies and I love it.

Wednesday 18 December 2019


Morning, everyone.  It's pretty cold this morning, maybe just touching on a frost, which makes a nice change from the damp dullness of yesterday morning.  In fact, yesterday was wet pretty much all day and Jeff didn't come to give the garden a pre Christmas tidy up.  Weather permitting, he will come on Thursday but we will see.

The main event, the girls' meal, was great fun.  We laughed a lot, ate a lot and swapped lovely pressies.  And all totally without alcohol!  It can be done (slight sarcasm alert!).  The only problem was that the venue had problems with their heating and it was a bit on the chilly side but the good company and food made up for that.

I was back well in time for tuition which was the last for that family until after Christmas and New Year.  Just one more now before my 'holiday' starts.  I came home with an interesting looking carrier bag which I am working very hard not to open until Christmas morning!

Today is designated Christmas Prep day although a few things have come along to interrupt that and anyway I'm more or less ready as far as making things is concerned.
The biggie is icing and decorating the cake which I will take slowly and carefully.  I also want to make some gingerbread biscotti from a recipe recommended by Sooze, who comments regularly here.  Thanks, Sooze.
I also intend getting the Christmas shopping list finished.  I'm pretty much there but am having a family meal on Saturday, for which I will need to get stuff and a friend around on Friday for lunch.
And lastly, I need to make up the guest room for Dad, which just involves a quick dust round and making up his bed.

As well as this, I have my personal training sessions over lunch time and then, after school, one of my ex students (and his mum) are coming round for a chat.  I'm very much looking forward to that.

I've gone back to classic carol with today's Christmas music.  The Willcocks arrangement of Away in a Manger with its beautiful underneath running quaver parts.  The altos can't lament about this arrangements.
Sung, of course, by Kings.

Tuesday 17 December 2019


Good morning.  It's rain, rain, rain all the way this morning.  Jeff is due to come and do a bit of a tidy up this morning but he may not.  He'll make a decision just before setting out.

My trip to the dentist yesterday was stress free, amazingly.  I had Xrays, an examination and we (me and the dentist, Anthony) discussed implants.  The good news is that the middle of the three teeth can continue to be on a bridge which reduces the cost a bit.  The bad news is that the process will start with two extractions.  Eeeeek!!
Anyway, he is sending me an email with all the info and detailed costings but I think I will go for it.  Even if I decided on a plate instead of implants, I'd still have to have what remains of the two teeth out so I may as well go for the more permanent option.
He also said they could make me a temporary plate to wear through the whole process.  It's a long one, what with complete healing and then time for the implanted implants (that sounds odd) to 'take' before finishing with the top bits so I might go for that option.  I think I will have to see how expensive that will be because it's a very short term thing before I decide.  It is very awkward having such a big gap at the front.  Apart from feeling self conscious when I smile, it does affect my speech somewhat.
So - I have a date to start the process - the beginning of February!  Time to get good and stressed!!!

Today the Christmassy thing is our Girls' Lunch Christmas Dinner.  We're off to somewhere the other side of town, Great Baddow Barn.  We fixed it ages ago but for the life of me I can't remember what I ordered or even if I went for two or three courses, as L organised it.  I know I didn't go for the trad Christmas option.  Fortunately, L will have all the details (I very much hope).
So, the pressies are all ready, the Christmas jumper is out and I have concocted a pair of clip on bauble earrings.  Ho ho ho!

Today's Christmas music is much closer to home.  Pete and Nicki Sims are leaders of a local and very active church and they are also musician/composers.  This is one of their songs; Love Came Down.

Monday 16 December 2019


Good morning!  No frost this morning but no rain and we have definitely had no snow.  Fine by me, it makes going out and about so much easier.  We're supposed to have a bit of rain much later but it'll be pretty much dark by then.  Nice for rush hour!!!

Yesterday turned out to be a lovely day.  I pottered around in the morning, making another batch of biscotti as it's proving to be a perfect match for the drinking chocolate as a really nice little gift.  I also decanted off the damson liqueur and now I have a pile of alcoholic damsons which I will boil up, de-stone and see if it will jam when I add some sugar.  Well, I can but try and all I will lose is a bit of sugar if it doesn't work.  Plums are good setters.

I also did a bit more wrapping and more 'little' gifts are done and dusted and are sitting temporarily under the tree before being handed out.

Then it was in with the potatoes and I was ready for the family.  The dinner went down well - jacket potatoes with toppings of bean and veg chilli, tuna mayo and grated cheese plus a simple salad.  There wasn't an awful lot left and what there was Beth polished off later for supper.
I shall have to make that chilli again; it was very nice.

Well, the tree is done and now it looks like an explosion in a bad taste factory (see the photo) but it is oh, so Christmassy.  I have 'special' ornaments - ones I have bought for a special reason or have been given or have really jumped up and shouted 'buy me, buy me'.  I try to get something when I go on holiday (if possible) so on the tree are reminders of Southwold, Derbyshire, Bury St Edmunds, France, etc.  Then I fill the spaces with red and gold baubles, etc.
It hasn't photographed all that well, it's darker green really, as the banner above, but here you go.

I started making that Father Christmouse for a little friend, using some sparkly, tinselly yarn for the white fur.  However, after I had done the body, I discovered it was well nigh impossible to pick up stitched from the bottom (where the tinsel yarn was) to knit the base and making a separate base just didn't work so, in the end, instead of doing the base last, I started with the centre of the base and knitted/increased out and it seems to have worked well.  The tinsel yarn certainly works well.
In fact, if I am completely happy with it, I may very well write it out and attach it to the pattern, using it each time I make a mouse, whatever the yarn.
(the above probably sounds like gobbledygook but if you've made one, you'll know what I mean)

Beth has stayed here overnight so she's still asleep upstairs.  Apart from that, there's nothing in the diary until the afternoon when I'm into school to help out in Foundation Stage (and to take my little gifts in) and, after that, to go to the dentist for my 'implant consultation'.  After that, I should know more about time-scale, cost, etc.

So this morning I will change the sheets so the guest room is ready for Dad next week and then I MUST do some ironing - the basket is full and overflowing.  The Christmassy thing is getting on with the Christmouse.  I'd like to get all the bits knitted today so I can start stitching it all up and stuffing it which takes pretty much the same time again.

Today's Christmas music is another one you learn at school that remains with you.   Also a favourite at the King's carol service.
Peter Cornelius' 'Three Kings From Persian Lands Afar'.  Gorgeous.

Sunday 15 December 2019


Good morning.  We've had a very wet night but it's all clear now and feels a bit chilly.  Yesterday ended up sunny with just a few showers and, hopefully, today will be the same.

Yesterday was a really nice day.  Town wasn't too crowded and I did what I needed to do which was pay in a cheque and get a few little presents.  I didn't hang around though because while the streets were fine, inside the shops it was more than a little packed

The Christmas cake is now marzipanned and is drying out ready for the icing on Wednesday.  I'm glad I watched video clips beforehand and the marzipan looks pretty nice and smooth really, apart from a few 'wrinkles' around the bottom.  It'll all be covered by the icing anyway!  It was quite theraputic smoothing it all down, top and sides, with a tool and with my hands.

I had bought some 'good quality dark chocolate' (to quote our Jamie) as I wanted to make another batch of his chocolate mix for presents.  When I got home, I found that what I got was mint chocolate, darn it.  Oh, well, give it a try thought I so I did and the end result was absolutely delicious.  Next time I will try a different flavour of chocolate - after all, there are so very many nowadays.
Here's the recipe I use.

I wrote a few cards, did some wrapping, tidied the kitchen and generally pottered around before going to Morrisons for things for today.  I left it until late afternoon, after dark, and although the carpark was a bit full, it was OK inside.

Today Beth, Alex and Dave are here for lunch.  Dave has found some old family photos he wants to show us.  After the tree is finished, Dave and Alex are leaving and Beth's staying here for dinner and overnight (I think) which will be nice.  We will watch Christmas films and have a good chat.

I think it's going to be a lovely day.

I think this piece of Christmas music is fantastic.  I love acapella anyway and have admired the work of Glad since their appearance at Spring Harvest, the standing ovation and a hastily put together and absolutely wonderful concert in the Big Top.
(were any of my readers there on that occasion?)
This recording was made when they were still five in the group so quite old and the quality is necessarily the best but, even so, that last chord still send shivers down my spine.  Powerful singing!

Just come back in to say that at last, finally, I have hit a hundred followers.  I know more people read than follow but it's nice to hit the hundred, all the same.  Thanks, everyone.

Saturday 14 December 2019


Good morning!  We've had a wet and breezy night but it's supposed to clear up soon.  I do hope so as I'm off into town.

The Christmas tree now has more pressies under it and they look very nice and exciting, despite knowing exactly what's in them!  We have definitely cut back on gifts this year.
All it needs now is the decorations to go with the lights and they will be done tomorrow.  It will be quite a family time with Dave coming round for lunch (and perhaps Beth too) and then Beth and Alex staying for dinner. 

Yesterday was definitely an 'I'm getting loads better' day.  Such a relief and I didn't need to take the antibiotics either.  I'll check their life expectancy and put them away safely.

I took my drive out to the couple of garden centres but, really, it was quite disappointing.  Yes, they did have Christmas things but not very many and nothing that I actually wanted to buy.  However, I managed to get some bits and bobs for a hamper gift and some other bits and bobs for Dad so it wasn't wasted time.

When home again, I did some ironing and some housework and then got on with my knitting.  Another pretty gentle day really.  As it was Christmas Jumper Day, I wore mine and went online to make a donation to Save the Children.  After all, governments may come and governments may go, but there will, sadly, always be children and their families who need help. both here and further afield.

I blitzed the guest room and now it is tidy and ready for guests.  I just need to take a poinsettia up there but I'll leave it downstairs until just before my guest arrives as I might not remember to water it!  There's not really much left on my 'to do' list now.

Today, as mentioned earlier, I shall take the bus into town.  I hope to get the 8:48 as it's Saturday and I can use my bus pass before nine.  I have a list of bits and bobs and a cheque to pay in but really it's just to stroll around and enjoy the sights.  I guess it will be horribly crowded but at least I won't have to queue for a parking space.

This afternoon, I will marzipan the cake, I think, as my Christmassy thing for the day.  Then, on Wednesday which is my official Christmas Prep Day, it will be all ready to ice.  I've never iced a fruit cake before so I am hoping I don't make a dog's dinner of it.

Today's Christmas music is another Kendrick song that I find very thoughtful as well as lovely.
Thorns in the Straw.

Friday 13 December 2019


Morning, everyone.

Yesterday, I forgot to say that the Christmassy thing was making stollen.  I started with a BBC Good Food recipe but altered it considerably - milk instead of apple juice and loadsa butter - bad me.  But this is Christmas stollen, not a nice, healthy fruit loaf.  The whole of downstairs smelled lovely and it worked really well.
Looks good, doesn't it?  It's now all wrapped and in the freezer.

I did my duty as a respnsible citizen and voted. No other comments to make as I keep off politics in here.

Although the tree isn't properly decorated yet, with the lights and everything it was looking a bit sad round the bottom so I wrapped up a few pressies to pop around and it looks much more cheerful.  It's not a big pressie time for us nowadays, but a few to tuck under is festive.

It was the last pottery session of the term but, as the day went on, the aches, sneezes and snuffles got worse again and I ended up not going  I'm sad about that now but there is next term to look forward to.

Today I ought to be off to Dad's but we have made a mutual decision that I won't.  Apart from still not being 100% and possibly still carrying a few bugs around, I'd have to come back Saturday afternoon and Dad has a few festive things booked that wouldn't involve me.  I'm sorry because it's been weeks since I saw him but it's sensible really.

In my original plans, before several changes, I was going to London today to look at the lights and decorations down Oxford and Regent Streets but I really don't feel like it one little bit, I'm not up to it so I'm not going.  After all, it was supposed to be fun!  So what I might do is take a drive out to a couple of garden centres where they probably have some lovely Christmassy things on the shelves.  If I'm feeling lavish, I might even have a coffee there as well.

Apart from that and my lovely cleaner working her usual magic, there's nothing on the page for today so I think I will snuggle down with notebook and sheet of paper and write down the things I will need to get.  Things like milk, cheese, fresh veg, fruit, etc.  And then I will sort out the spare room as it might be needed over Sunday night.

Today's song isn't specifically about Christmas but, for me, it encapsulates one of the purposes of and reasons for Christmas.
I've chosen this clip because it's better quality that the others I found.  The song starts at around 1:20.
You Raise Me Up, sung by Josh Groban and Lee Mead on the programme 'Any Dream Will Do'.  Remember that?

When I am down, and, oh, my soul, so weary
When troubles come, and my heart burdened be
Then, I am still and wait here in the silence
Until you come and sit awhile with me
You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains
You raise me up to walk on stormy seas
I am strong when I am on your shoulders
You raise me up to more than I can be

Thursday 12 December 2019


Good morning!  It's a cold and frosty one.  I know because I woke with a jump realising that I had forgotten to put the bins, etc, out and they come very, very early.  It's all out the front now and it's definitely cold and frosty!

Yesterday started off with Sharon working her usual magic with my hair and with Beth's too.  I feel so lucky to have someone who comes to ones home and who is so good (I think she is, anyway). 

I'm still full of cold so, after making the biscotti (delicious), I settled down to some reading, knitting and telly watching with the occasional snooze until it was time to walk round to school for the Infants' Christmas Show which was a delight from start to finish, mistakes and all.  I've been involved in enough shows in my time to know just how much sheer hard work goes into them so well done, everyone.  It was jolly nice to be able to walk out at the end with no responsibilities, knowing full well the chaos back in the classrooms and that the hall would need to be sorted out.  I smiled all the way home!

Today the diary is empty until tuition and then pottery.  That's nice because the aches haven't gone so I'll be good to have time to rest.  However, I definitely will be walking round to the polling station to vote like a good citizen, even though I am dreading the outcome!

It's a double treat of Christmas music today.  I have many 'favourite' Christmas songs but one, I think, stands a few inches above all the others and that is the carol 'In Dulci Jubilo'
So here's the first version.  The so, so happy interpretation by Mike Oldfield.  It makes me want to laugh, sing and dance and I love that every instrument was played by him.

But here's the best one.  It was a standard choice in the school Christmas concert when I was a teen and so, so singable.  It's Pearsall's arrangement of the carol, sung by Kings, so different from the Oldfield interpretation, more thoughtful and 'deep' and it's just wonderful.  

Wednesday 11 December 2019


Good morning!  It's another chilly morning out there but not cold enough for a frost.  It looks as if it will be a fine day according to the BBC - that would be nice.

I have a new decoration.  I do like my Christmas wreath, made by a friend (I taught her son in Y1 ages ago now) who has her own business.  I try to support local initiatives as much as I can, especially people I know.  Victoria does courses and 'wreath days', it seems, although I have missed all the news about these.  She's going to make sure I get info about them next year so maybe the photo in twelve months time will show a home made one!

The GP appointment.
Blood pressure up, cholesterol up.
Ho hum!
Blood pressure meds have been increased and I'm going to try lowering the cholesterol by diet for six months and then we will be reviewing the situation, as Fagin sang.
I have to do another five day blood pressure check starting on Friday for five days and then get back in touch if it's either not gone down or it's gone down too low.
Also I 'probably have a bit of a chest infection' and have an 'in case' prescription to take if I start having temperature spikes.  They don't like you taking that sort of thing unless it is really necessary (and nor do I) so it's down to my common sense really.
As I said above, ho hum!  At least it wasn't a waste of time going.

I felt quite wiped out when I got home so had a pretty restful day.  Apart from tuition, there was nothing on the timetable so that was good.

Today is good hair day as the lovely Sharon is around to make me look civilised again.  Then, in the evening, I'm going to watch the Infants' Christmas Show.  I'm really looking forward to that and it's my Christmassy thing for today.  In between, I am making that biscotti that I didn't make yesterday and will be investigating the whole lowering cholesterol thing.  I must do something!

Today's Christmas music is a carol I knew as a little girl, brought up on the Methodist hymn book, as 'Jesus, good above all other'.  When I got to secondary school I had to re-learn it as 'Quem pastores laudavere.  I love it because of the flowing melody; it's actually a very old song at heart, from the fifteenth century.
This version is a Rutter arrangement.  His harmonies can be wonderful and I'll be posting a few more of his carols in future posts.

Tuesday 10 December 2019


Good morning, everyone.  It's been a colder night and it looks as if we might have a bit of a frost.  Nice.

I'm a happy bunny this morning.  Six months before my next check up!  Actually, that's not true as I have an implant consultation (that's what they call it) next Monday but it won't involve any treatment yet and is quite a different matter anyway.
I walked into the room and she said, cheerfully and brightly, 'I won't numb you for this.  The nerve has already been taken out of one tooth and the other requires hardly any drilling,' whereupon I nearly bolted right back out, down the stairs and away!  Eeeeek.
But she was right.  Hardly any drilling (I hate the drill) and only one really teeny little twinge at one point.  Because I hadn't been numbed, I could chew straight away.  I always thought the 'don't bite on it' thing was so the filling could sort of settle in but it seems to be because one can bite one's cheek or tongue quite badly if you can't feel them.  And, I have to say, it's really nice to have a proper chew again without food getting stuck.

The rest of the day was taken up with picking up a parcel BD (before dentist) and tuition AD.

Today I have to be out early to get to the GP surgery as it opens.  Last week I had to do a five day blood pressure check thing and my GP wanted to 'see me' (sounds like a summons from the head teacher, doesn't it) about a recent blood test as well as looking at the results of the test.  Obviously there's an issue there somewhere.  However, she's fully booked so the receptionist said to get there first in the queue and ask for a same day appointment - Dr Singh is, presumably, duty doctor today.

After that, I have nothing in the diary so I will probably make some biscotti for presents.  It keeps well in an airtight container and maybe I will only do the first bake on some so I can then freeze it.  That can be my Christmassy thing for the day.

Today's Christmas music is another children's song.  There are so many good Christmas songs for children nowadays, they (and teachers) are absolutely spoilt for choice.
This one comes from the Out of the Ark stable and is from 'Songs for Every Christmas'.  The kids used to love it!

Monday 9 December 2019


Good morning, everyone.  It's a bit damp out there but not actually raining at the moment and feels pretty mild too.  I'm missing the frosts but it's nice not to have to turn up the heating.

Yesterday went pretty well.  I set to in the kitchen after a trip to Morrisons and made the vegetarian sausage rolls that the whole family loves so much followed by bread sauce, both of which are now in the freezer.  I think that's all the savoury bits and bobs made now and crossed off the list.  It's amazing that, in these days of celebrity chefs and their 'how to have a fantastic Christmas' programmes, articles and books, I almost always end up back with good old Delia whose recipes are practical, sensible and reliable.  And they taste great!
Here are links to the recipes I used yesterday:
Bread sauce.  Dear old Thermione comes into her own with recipes like this.
Vegetarian sausage rolls. (I used shop bought puff pastry!)  I fill mine more than the illustration show and they do cook very well from frozen, if needed.

Now I need to start on the sweet things (mostly, but not entirely, gifts).
marzipan and ice the cake
decant the fruit liqueurs I am making into little bottles
None of that will get started today.  I keep watching YouTube clips of How to Ice a Christmas Cake and I think I've got the general idea but I'm sure it's not as easy as they make it looks and, frankly, some of the end results are not great - all lumpy and uneven - so I guess some time will need to be spent on smoothing over the surface.  In some ways, it reminds me of slab pottery!!

Back to yesterday, after prepping everything for dinner and a tidy up, I sat down, snoozed and knitted and generally had a restful time.

Dinner went well for me, Beth and my little guest.  I have bought a shop vegetarian pie for Beth as I was feeling a bit rough - a Pukka Pie leek and potato one - and she said it was delicious.  Good oh!  L and I made great inroads into a chicken fillet, roasted and sliced and she confided in us that roast dinner was her absolute favourite, especially with broccoli and she had seconds of everything so we ended up with empty dishes and plates.  Just what a cook likes to see.

I made an effort with candles on the table (lit) and festive napkins; after all, everyone likes a bit of Christmas 'bling', whatever their age.  It was very cheering.
I was cheered up again later as the Strictly result was just how I wanted it to be. 

Today, the clouds are gathering.  Yes, it is dentist time and for treatment too.  Two fillings.  Not nice at all so please send me big girl vibes around midday.
It means I will miss my time at school but, hopefully, I can still do tuition later on.  After all, what are pain killers for?

I don't think I will have time for any major Christmas stuff today although I will go into the spare room and sort out the mess in there as it's going to be needed as a bedroom, not as a dumping ground.  I also need to think how I can jazz it up a bit for Christmas.  I think I need a little, shiny, silver tree or something.

Ah, I have thought of something.  L loved the little mice, especially the Father Christmouse one so I have time to make her one as an additional gift.  I'll start that today.

Looking around, I am surrounded by Christmas candles so I think today's music will be the simple and sweet 'Candlesong' from Graham Kendrick's The Gift.  It's another that takes me back to Christmas at school.

Sunday 8 December 2019


Good morning

In between bouts of feeling hotty-cold and giddy, I actually managed to get quite a lot done yesterday.

I made the pigs in blankets, all twelve of them and they look more than we will need but then - you know, leftovers - and used the other six chipolatas to make sausage rolls with some bits of puff pastry from the freezer.  I added a bit of cajun spice to the sausage meat but nothing else as they are, I mean were, good quality sausages and managed to make eleven without feeling I was being stingy with the filling.  That's more than enough!
Then I dug out the packet of stuffing.  Yes, I have made stuffing from scratch before but, honestly, I really don't think it's worth it.  I got a Sainsbury's Finest sage and onion stuffing mix and when I had made it up it smelled really sage-and-onion-y.  To half, I did what my mum always did and added some re-chopped chopped pork and a handful of dried cranberries before spooning it into a greased ovenproof dish and topping with the bits of bacon I didn't use for the pigs.

To the other half I added cranberries and melted in some butter.  Half of that is the vegetarian stuffing for Beth and the other half is for dinner tomorrow when I have a visitor or two (I hope).
The Christmas bits are now snuggled in the freezer and crossed off my list.  Cheers

I was shattered after that, snowflake that I am, and was very thankful that the dishwasher dealt competently with the mess.  I was equally thankful for the washing machine that sorted put my heap of whites, including much needed hankies.  There's a lot to regret in the passing of old customs and habits but washing by hand is definitely not one of them.

In the afternoon, I felt well enough to get the boxes of Christmas stuff from the garage and, bit by bit, out they came.
The new tree is now up and festooned with lights.  I thought it would be easier than the old tree and, to be fair, I suppose it was easier but it took longer.  It looks really nice now although the photo doesn't do it justice.  The decorations will go on next weekend on Christmas Tree day

The Guardians of the Christmas Tree took their rightful place.  The bear on the left is Tubbalina and she's nearly as old as me.  The other is my brother's, three years younger.  Mary Christmas keeps them both in order, you understand!
One of these days I might ask the Repair Shop to consider Tubbalina for a makeover - she's so battered but she still has her voice.

And the other toys are keeping warm on the radiator.  If I make any more mice, that's where they will go.

Aaaah - family traditions, eh!

I'm up desperately early.  I woke, coughing, and once that had sorted out, couldn't get back to sleep again so I've come down for a warm drink and a bit of conversation!  I'll go back up once sleep returns.

Later on, I have a bit of shopping and a lot of tidying to do and then Beth is bringing a little friend over for dinner tonight.

Today's music goes back a long way.  Victoria's version of O Magnum Mysterium, just the sort of music I loved to sing as a teen/young adult.  The harmonies are amazing.

O great mystery and wonderful sacrament, that beasts should see the new-born Lord
lying in a manger. O blessed virgin, whose body was worthy to bear the Lord Jesus Christ.