Friday, 23 December 2011

Christmas Lights in the Neighbourhood

Deep inside all of us is a child that is waiting to be delighted. I am a sucker for lights. I would not put them on my home, but I love to scout the neighbourhood every year to see what has been shared. This blog is a small taste ( and tasteless ) experience of our exploration a few nights ago.

Some choose white.

Some delight.

This house is one of my favourites and I long to walk the little tree-lined path.

Some choose bright.

Another one that touched my heart.

The next four photos are the same house.  Families were stopping by to show their young children the delights. There was even a Santa's Grotto in the garden.

Next door the neighbours have toned it down a bit.

We had a fun evening with lots of laughter. Thank you to all those who took the time and the trouble to share and display their Festive spirit so freely.

Wherever you are and however you decorate your home, have a happy Festive Season.

Monday, 19 December 2011

Winchester Christmas Market

In the Close of the beautiful Winchester Cathedral, (this is one of my favourite places), a Christmas market is held every year. There is also an ice rink and I watch the participants longingly but the Saint has banded me from it until my hip co-operates.

I could not resist sneaking in these two photos of the interior of the cathedral. It is such an extraordinary place.

 For three months after Christmas each year, the chairs are removed to allow folk to experience the cathedral as it would have been used when it was originally built. People used to stand for services.

It also allows one to feel the vastness of the space. If you place a golf ball in the floor here, it will roll to the back of the cathedral as the floor sunk down at the far end.

Most years, the crypt floods as the Cathedral is built on a wetland. It had to be shored up a couple of decades ago as it was sinking. There is a wonderful story about the diver who worked at this but I shall leave that for another time.

The statue is called Sound II and is by Anthony Gormley. I love it. 

I will digress no more and return to the market. I entered from the back of the cathedral and this was my first view.

Through the arches is the ice rink.

This dress is made of magazine pages. Isn't it gorgeous?

The array of stalls and the quality of the work is outstanding.

The Christmas tree is really special. It has messages and decorations made by the children and their siblings from the Naomi House Hospice.

Here people are concentrating on keeping their balance, to not fall on their bottoms on the ice hence no one noticed me.

These are collapsable fruit baskets

and some beautiful handmade leather goods.

One year I bought some of the pottery from this stall for Trudi's Christmas present and we eat from it every time we visit her in France. I believe it may have featured in this blog before as 'still live photography' or 'breakfast in France'.

The stalls market are placed around the ice rink, which holds centre court.

At this junction is the food court where I am off to have a crepe made by the lovely lady who comes over from Brittany every year. I also get to practice my very averagely poor French and we laugh together at it. The corrects me very prettily and I say, 'Merci'.

On my way to her stall I found an organ grinder.

At last, my mission is accomplished. Can you see my crepe behind all the delicious toppings. It tasted wonderful.

Suitably fortified, I can now enjoy some more market stalls.

One of my favourite stalls has these card in them. I love this one with the caricature of the skating rink.
One year there was one of the Choir Boys skating which was such fun.

Sadly, it was at this point that my camera's battery died. I hope you enjoy this little vignette of a wonderful yearly event.

Happy Holidays Everyone!!! Enjoy the time however you choose to spend it. May you be richly blessed.

Sunday, 11 December 2011

The gloomy Forest

This morning after taking the lovely daughter to a market in the New Forest, the Saint and I had breakfast at our usual haunt, the Old Farmhouse in Burley and then managed a walk in the woods without getting rained on.

With winter closing in, the woods are wet and gloomy but still have amazing beauty to share. As I had left home inadequately prepared, without my walking boots, we gravitated to the gravel paths.

The trees have all but lost their leaves which carpet the ground to form a warm protective covering for all kinds of creatures during the winter to come.

Moss adorns tree trunks adding life to the winter colours.

There are still all kinds of fungus to be found along the way.

For a brief second the sun broke through the clouds. It lit up this lovely little robin who was looking for its lunch on the path in front of us.

Oooooo... er..... which way should we go? The clouds are starting to build up again.

We chose the pine forests where the scent of the trees hung heavily in the air. (I wish I could add a 'scratch and smell' here).

There is spoor of the local wild life on the paths. The New Forest ponies were wise enough to be seeking refuge under the trees.

The Forest is a working woodland and we walked passed timber stacks. Can you spot the smiley face?

On our return, two pony traps passed us bringing a happy jingle to the end of our walk.