Sunday, 26 December 2010

Season's Greetings.

Yesterday morning when I got out of bed, I saw that Santa had been to visit our house during the night. It made me laugh with joy as it was just so unexpected. Our children are all grown up and have not begot progeny (Borneo's addition - rug-rats) of their own yet.

This was the sight that greeted me at the bottom of the stairs and lead into the sitting room.

As we had our family Christmases in South Africa where there is seldom snow especially in the middle of summer, when the kids were small, we made Santa's foot steps in talcum powder from the fire place to where the presents were under the Christmas tree. It caused great excitement and became a family tradition. As the children grew up and Santa was known, this tradition was no longer used. We spoke about it from time to time and laughed.

Robyn decided to surprise us with it this year and it was delightful. When I stepped into the sitting room I also found a table with Santa's left-overs and even a carrot nibbled by Rudolf. It made me laugh again with delight.

Here are the foot prints right to the Christmas tree and there were even more presents than there had been the night before! It was magical. We use gift bags for our presents that can be used again each year.

The best bit was tearing up the stairs and bursting into Robyn's room , where she was still asleep, shouting, 'Santa's been. Get up. It's time to open presents.' I am not sure she expected that part of the deal.... She did wake up smiling though.

After breakfast and calling absent family, we opened our presents. We all got a great deal of lovely loot. I got six books. Amongst them was one on weaving and a sock knitting book too and then there was the delicious yarn.... and the spindle.... and the fibre..... but I digress.

Borneo loved his hat, his Golden Crown.

I spent the morning spinning on my Christmas spindle.  It was such fun. Later when it was time to begin the Great Christmas feast, while I set the table,

two elves were busy in the kitchen preparing the meal. These elves are welcome in my house to do the Christmas preparations henceforth.

Borneo cooked an apricot stuffed pork belly in the weber (kettle barbecue) outside, which was done to perfection apparently. I have no interest in these types of food. Look away now if you feel the same way.

We sat down to the usual Christmas gastronomy. It was doubly delicious as I had done none of the preparation or cooking.

I retired to the sitting room to spin once again while the dishes meticulously cleaned themselves and the kitchen. I do like these elves....

There was the sound of a steam puddling gently bubbling in the background.

I am so proud of my daughter who took over the next family tradition, the steamed ginger pudding. This is the first one she has ever made and I now know that I never need to to this again either as she did a stirling job of it.

It was delicious and I enjoyed every bite! This is to taunt all of you who make me make it when you visit us and those of you who missed it this year.

It has been a wonderful Christmas here, one of the best I have had.

Thank you, everyone, for your kind wishes and support through the year. It has helped to keep me cheerful through a difficult year and I am truly grateful.

May the New Year ahead bring the fulfilment of your truest dreams. Peace be with you.

Saturday, 18 December 2010

The Forest dressed in Festive Fun.

This morning we awoke to a world blanketed in snow once again. It was peaceful with few venturing out. As my hip is not being agreeable currently, Borneo and I had to plough through to Waitrose early to buy groceries as I will not be able to do this by myself next week and preparations need to be made for the festivities at the end of next week.

I have had a miserable 48 hours with constant pain and have been grumpy and low. Upon our return, after sitting and resting for a couple of hours, this lovely man in my life, took me off into the Forest. He knows how much I love trees.

I was able to take my big camera because he drove me everywhere. He stopped just outside Lyndhurst  for me to take this. I love the way the snow lies gently on the bare branches.

On the other side of the town, parents and children where sledding down the hill and building huge snowmen in rows. It made me smile. There was nowhere to park the car and photograph the snowmen which I would have loved to do.

We pulled over into the gateway of a farm and there were gorgeous views out over the fields.

The horses were huddled in their blankets.

We drove on to Rhinefield Ornamental Drive. We have always loved the Tall Trees Walk where the Redwoods tower above one. This is a small one. It looks like it is covered in lace.

Across the road along the foot path is a lone bench seated with snow.

In front of it, some one has done this on a slice of tree trunk. It made us laugh. Robyn says it looks like a decapitated snowman.

This is my attempt at artistic photography today. It is not as successful as I hoped it would be.

We drove on towards Burley and the forest was decked out like this along the way.

The colours are just awesome.

The sun came out and the late afternoon light had that magnificent beautiful golden tint.

On the other side of Burley, there are open fields leading down to the local hotel.

On the way back to the highway, Borneo pulled over into a driveway and sat waiting patiently for me to take my final shots of the day.

These final ones were some of the best of the day.

A forest decorated in Festive glory. What do you think?

Friday, 17 December 2010

A morning out.

Last week, I had a wonderful morning out in the New Forest with a lovely knitting friend. We started at the 'new' local yarn shop.

We were disappointed by the lack of local (as in UK),  luxury yarn or just good plain natural yarns. It appears that the smaller local shops believe that there is not a market for this which really surprises me. Other than a select stores in cities, it seems that knitters in these areas don't knit 'natural or luxury'.

We have quite a substantial knitting group that meet in Southampton who knit with these kind of yarns, most of which are being acquired by internet transactions  Many of the members are willing to travel a good few miles to find a good yarn shop where yarn can be stroked, fondled and purchased. These are sadly few and far between here, so another average yarn shop disappointed us once again. There is no reason to return.

We withdrew to a tearoom in Beaulieu to knit in public, chat and find solace in coffee and Devon Apple Cake (with a dash of cream). My friend had her back to the room so did not see all the looks of interest we stirred. I think the waitress was the most fascinating to watch. She kept on stealing peaks our way, trying to figure out if we were really sitting there knitting. It looked like she did not know whether to be highly offended or amused. It did make me smile.

After my friend left to fetch her children, I drove to the church yard to look at the beautiful old church. It is a really different shape. Unfortunately, it was locked so I could not go inside.

Next to the church is the 'hobbit-like' gatehouse entrance to Beaulieu Estate where the motor museum is.

It was an icy day and the pond was completely frozen. The colours are still gorgeous against grey skies.

Earlier when I arrived in the town, the tidal river banks were frozen and icy too. By the time I left, the tide had turned, filling the basin with a reflective sheen. It was very peaceful.

I drove to Lepe to see the Solent and the Isle of Wight. Even though it was a very grey dull day, there was such beauty everywhere I looked. It is inspiration for the soul.

Driving home, I mused on the beauty of this country that I love living in.

Season's greetings to you all.  Have a wonderful time celebrating the holiday season with friends and family. May the New year cherish the fulfilment of your dreams.

Thursday, 2 December 2010


As soon as the world is dressed in the white magic of nature, I am happy. I have no reason for this. It is just beautiful and I love it. On discovering very little snow in our area yesterday, I took a slow long drive alone my old cycle routes in search of snow.

It was a beautiful crisp morning out. First I called at the Corner House in Winchester to gain sustenance and to see some old friends.  From there, as I am not able to walk too far, I moved the car to the other side of town to visit the Christmas market in the Cathedral Close for a very slow amble through a lovely quiet but very cold market. Very few were out yet.

The Art and Design market is on Sunday and I hope to visit this one too. I drove off towards Romsey and swung right into the countryside outside Hursley. In the distance, on the left is the Horse Memorial, barely visible against white skies and spotted white fields. There are the tiny remnants of the night's snow.

I drove on towards King Sombourne where the high fields behind the village were finally covered in snow. This is the view looking from the top of the hill on the other side of the village.

I visited a weaving studio outside Stockbridge where the snow lay thick on the ground. The firs held snowy decorations.

I am very pleased that I sated my need to dispel cabin fever yesterday. After Borneo had arisen for his daily commute this morning. He informed me that we had 3 inches of snow last night. The world here is still and quiet. It is thick with snow and no one is moving except my mad wonderful man who spent an hour on the platform waiting for the train that never arrived. 

The back yard is a picture of serenity and beauty. It is still snowing.

Buddha is dressed in his snowy winter coat, deeper than he has ever been covered.

And prayers are still holding up under the snow.

Sunday, 28 November 2010


I read somewhere that it takes 21 repeats for a habit to be formed. I am working on a new one. Today was Sunday No 2 and there are 19 more glorious ones to look forward to, hopefully!

We went back into the Forest for breakfast this morning. It is very cold. The air is very crisp. The ponies are foraging for their daily requirements to keep warm. Not one of them would pose for a photograph. Did I say that it is cold out there?

We are still awaiting the snow that has been promised and the ponds and ground water are all frozen and iced over.

Surprisingly, behind this pond, the gorse is still in flower (the bushes with the yellow tops).

We knew there was a warm snug place luring us, all newly decorated for Christmas, The Old Farmhouse.

This is what it looked like when it was a tea room in the area called the Manor House Tea Rooms. This photo hangs on the wall in the front room, decorated with the refections of happy people and Christmas lights but you can still see the road and the beautiful old cottage style building.

Here is the front room where we sat down to await our feast.

On the table are all the requirements for the perfect breakfast experience. That is Cookie A's Cubist sock that I have started knitting.

Two happy souls, smelling that scintillating coffee aroma. The family behind Borneo is happily tucking in.

The scrumptious breakfast arrived and I am afraid I forgot for a while about recording any details so the glory of its presentation is excluded. This is the 'almost finished" stage.

All too soon the table was empty however the bellies were beautifully full. 

Peter came out for the usual chat, hanging his head at England's defeat to the South Africans in the rugby game yesterday while Borneo beamed broadly trying not to look too smug. I guess you know who he was supporting.

When we left there was the obligatory face pulling at the kitchen window, however, the camera did not focus quickly enough to catch Peter in the act. He wagged his finger at me for trying to catch his actions on camera.

It is quite astonishingly beautiful in the Forest today. Even though the skies are muted shades of grey, the sun is making a valiant effort to break through. The autumn colours are dulling down into their winter shades. 

 Towards Bournemouth, the clouds are building again.

This is the view back to Burley.

We came home to the household chores that are necessary now that I am supposed to be 'taking things easy'. I am not good at this. I am happier when everything is in its allotted place, clean and tidy. However, as in most families, as any mother or wife will understand,  I seem to be the only one who knows where these places are. The rest of the family suffers from selective amnesia.   

While Borneo tidied the garden, I cleaned the kitchen which was all I could manage before retiring in defeat to the sofa to rest again as he walking behind me scolding me all the way, chasing me with the vacuum cleaner.  The leg and hip are very weak and it was easy for him to catch me. (Secretly, it was fun to let him.)

So, I sat down to watch him vacuum and to write this. Have a happy week ahead.

Sunday, 21 November 2010


I am married to a very special man who knows me well. This morning he transported me to another world to revive my spirits after Friday's deed. I thank him for this rich blessing.

We headed into the forest to have breakfast at the old Farmhouse in Burley. Peter, the owner, knows us well as old customers and always seems delighted to see us. He cooks my unusual orders to perfection and then heads out from the kitchen to come and chat with us to see how we are. I always feel welcome and special. We end our visit by passing the kitchen window, pulling childlike faces at each other as we leave laughing and waving goodbye. It is a fun experience.

From there we headed to the water at Mudeford. The light was amazing. I had my little camera with me today. Yay.

 The yachts near the Needles were highlighted

and there were swans swimming in the sea at the harbour entrance. It was high tide and the water was right up against the wall.

They made me think of Eala Bhan. I have only knitted 4 rows but the yarn is fabulous, called Pebble Beach. I love it and it is flecked with all the beautiful colours of a pebbly beach that reflect different shades in various lights.

I managed a walk across the parking lot to the other side where the boats are moored. It was cold a fresh out but beautiful and very uplifting.

So, this is a little gift of all of you who have phoned, emailed, messaged and hugged me. I am doing okay, thank you all very much.

My leg is weak and at the moment it deteriorates when I walk any distance as I discovered with my short hike across the parking lot this morning. However, I am not in a lot of pain and it will recover with the suitable rest and recuperation. Patience and loving kindness will take care of this.

We saw old Harry on Coast last night. I am dreaming of walking that coast path in a couple on months time....