Well, winter has finally got us and that is OK with me being as it's Christmas next weekend. I must admit though, it has rather caught us out. We've had the longest of summers and mildest of springs and autumns and I was beginning to forget what cold was. Then - wham, a dump of snow and we're plunged onto the set of a Christmas card.
Nature seems to have been a little taken by surprise as well. My roses, fuscias, lobellia and marigolds were all happily continuing to bloom. Time to make way for the holly and mistletoe - which, by the way, grows here in abundance and is free!
I love popping round to friends' houses to see their preparations in full swing. Lovely Linda is making chutneys and pie fillings (thanks for the mincemeat and apple and cranberry chutney): S has a half decorated tree as her children aren't as yet tall enough to decorate the top section and INSISTED they trimmed it alone; and B dried her marzipan with a hair dryer after her husband added too much egg!
We visited our local patisserie this week to order our yule log (buche) which is the French Christmas cake. We were assaulted by the smell of gingerbread as we entered the shop and left with a chocolate log, three ginger bread men, a chestnut macaron, chocolate fancy and a partridge in a pear tree.
So, Christmas tree up, presents wrapped, Eddie cat slumped in front of log fire, food bought. I think we're there!!
I never tire of walking the lanes close to my home and did so this afternoon to catch a bit of freshair whilst walking off fruit cake, mince pies and fudge picked up on a recent trip back to the UK. In all the excitement that is Christmas, it's nice to take a bit of a breather. My tip for staying calm is to find a lovely location, stop still, close your eyes and don't move again until you've identified ten sounds. In no particular order I heard cows mooing (this is the Charolles); Bon bon my neighbours (not so) baby donkey braying in anticipation of his first Christmas; something, probably a mouse or bird, scurrying around under the hedgerow; a car - yes, two or three do pass our house each day; a pigeon calling from the wood; children screaming (in a good way) as they came down a field slope on a sledge; a womans voice directing her husband as he strung fairy lights over an ancient barn; my neighbours dog, Vanille, barking as someone must have come up to the front door; the village church bell striking 20 minutes past the hour and the dripping of snow as it melted from the holly bush where I had stopped. Deep breath - aaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.
Hope you have a very merry, joy filled, fun and magical Christmas.