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Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Farewell 2016....


 

So my friends,  another year is almost at an end, and we will soon move into 2017. I hope you all enjoyed the festive season amongst those you love.  I don't think 2016 has been one of our better years. So many famous people left us, starting right at the beginning of the year, and continuing right up to the end of the year. Many died far too young, and that is always a cause for sadness. 

There was political upheaval, particularly in my Country and the United States of America, and I'm sure there is more of that to come in other countries around the world. Then, of course, we had the terrible atrocities caused by terrorists, with so much loss of life.  Major terrorist attacks occurred in Brussels, Nice, Syria and Orlando.  These are the ones that made headlines, but there were, in fact, more than 100 terrorist attacks in 2016.  

We can only pray that there will be more peace and understanding in the year of 2017. We must all stay strong and continue to believe that good will overcome evil....it has to...for the sake of  our children and our grandchildren. One of my favourite words is 'kindness' but, at the beginning of a new year, the word 'hope' always springs to mind. 

 

Anyway, as you know, this Blog isn't supposed to be all about doom and gloom. We get enough of that when we watch the News every day, don't we?! Why do the Media almost always dwell on the bad things that are happening around us. Why aren't all the good things celebrated?  All the unsung heroes....ordinary, everyday people, that spend their days doing good and caring for others in their home or in their communities.  

I suppose, at the end of each year, we all feel a little reflective, thinking of times gone past, and family and friends that are no longer with us. Perhaps we should all learn to 'seize the day" or Carpe Diem as a Roman poet said back in the dark ages!! As for me, on a personal level, I will be celebrating (if that's the right word!) my 70th birthday in April.  I have lost many friends who have died far too young, so I feel blessed to be approaching that age.  I still like to think that I'm young at heart, and I don't think that will change!  I think we all know people who seem to be middle-aged when they are  only in their thirties, whereas there are other people in their 90's who are an inspiration to us all.  Me? I intend to wear purple, and grow old disgracefully. 

So then, at the end of this Post, it only remains for me to wish you all a happy, healthy, peaceful and fulfilling New Year.  Let's make this year an  amazing one  for all of us.  We can do this!

 

 

 

 
New Year quotes courtesy of Pinterest.com

Saturday, 17 December 2016

Keep Calm... it's Nearly Christmas!

 
Image courtesy of Pinterest.com

If you can avoid all the crowds in the shops, there truly is something quite magical in the season of Advent and Christmas. I suppose I am blessed, because my two grandchildren are eight and six, and they live  just five minutes away.  This really is the very best age, and I feel very fortunate to be able to share in their excitement and to see the magic in their eyes. I went to see Ruby in her little school Nativity play on Thursday. What a treat that was. It's so funny when all the little ones are trooping onto the stage - you can see their eyes anxiously surveying the audience to see if they can spot mummies and daddies, or grandmas and grandads. Then, when they see them, their little eyes light up and they start waving furiously!!  Here are a couple of photos from 2013...

 

 
Although we are still allowed to take photos at the Nativity Plays, we are only allowed to share photos of our OWN child on Social Media.  I remember a couple of years ago, the Headmistress asked if anyone objected to photos being taken. One lone mum stood up and did object, so the rest of us weren't allowed to take any photos of our little ones that year. Such a shame, but they seem to have got round that. 

 

The little ones have finished school now for the Christmas holiday, so I'm sure we will be visiting Father Christmas during this coming week. Ho! Ho! Ho! 🎅🏻🎄.  

In December last year, I had a long weekend in Madrid to celebrate my eldest granddaughter's 18th birthday, as she is at University in that lovely City. Here is a photo of the Christmas tree in Plaza Mayor, the main Square. 

 

And here is my lovely granddaughter ...

 

Here are a few of my favourite Christmas images from my Christmas Board on Pinterest. I hope you enjoy them. 

 

 

 
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Well, this will be my last Post before the big day, so I'm taking the opportunity to thank you so much for your friendship and support of my Blog, and to wish each and everyone of you, along with your families, a very Happy and peaceful Christmas - I hope you will be surrounded by love from your family or friends. Look after yourselves and I'll be here again in the new year.  ❤️



Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Mince Pies & Sherry, Mistletoe, all Christmas Traditions 🎅🏻

When I first told my American friends about mince pies at Christmas, a few years ago, they thought i was talking about meat pies!  Although these delicacies used to be filled with meat, such as lamb, they are now a sweet dish and filled with an assortment of dried fruit, with perhaps a hint of brandy. They are best served warm, in my humble opinion, and here in Devon, we serve them with a dollop of clotted cream. Yummy scrummy! 

 



 

I usually partake of a glass of sherry with mine, to really get me into the Christmas spirit. This is ideal for when you're writing your Christmas Cards or wrapping the presents, with Christmas music playing in the background. 

 
 
The mince pie in the photo is a tiny bite-sized one, but they are usually larger than that. I have tried all sorts of shop bought ones, but I much prefer the ones I make, using my own pastry. Here in the United Kindom, in the Stuart and Georgian times, mince pies were very much a status symbol at Christmas. Hard for us to imagine that now. Rich people would serve them to their guests in all sorts of different shapes. Having pies like this meant that you were very rich and had truly made it in the world, as you were able to afford the most expensive pastry cooks. 

Sometimes, when watching Downton Abbey and period dramas like that, I often think that I would like to have lived in those days, when sherry was served out of decanters and your clothes were all laid out for you. In truth, I fear I would have been the poor little housemaid, getting out of bed at 3.30 in the morning and cleaning out the grates, before the Lord of the Manor  came down for his breakfast in the morning!  Oh well, a girl can dream. 

On Christmas Eve, little children over here usually leave out a mince pie and  a glass of brandy, for Santa when he calls, along with a carrot for his reindeer. 

Another tradition at Christmas time is the hanging of mistletoe. Believe it or not, this tradition goes back to the days of the Druids - that is, long before I was a twinkle in my father's eye! It was supposed to bring good luck and ward off evil spirits. It was also used as a sign of love and friendship in Norse Mythology, and that's where the tradition of kissing under the mistletoe comes from. 

 

 
Mistletoe images courtesy of Pinterest.com

I hope all your preparations are going well for you at this very special time of the year, and I look forward to being with you again soon. Meanwhile, thank you so much for taking the time to drop in to read this Post. 

Sunday, 11 December 2016

Not Many More Sleeps! 🎄🎄

I love Quotations - quotations about love, kindness, thankfulness, to name but a few, so I thought I would share a few of my favourite Christmas quotations. This first one is my very favourite, and it was spoken by none other than that happy fellow (!)...the Grinch, from How The Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr Seuss.  (Talking of quotations, you will find some lovely ones in my new Featured Post today. I'm sure you will really enjoy them. Just click on the link at the top of the right hand side bar). 

"Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a Store?  What if Christmas....perhaps....means a little bit more?"

 
 

"I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year,". Charles Dickens. 

"My idea of Christmas whether old-fashioned or modern, is very simple ... loving  others.  Come to think of it, why do we have to wait for Christmas to do that?"  Bob Hope. 

"He who has not Christmas in his heart, will never find it under a tree."  Roy L. Smith.

Did you know that the custom of sending Christmas Cards was started right here in the U.K. in 1843. The very first Christmas Card had three panels - the two side panels showed people caring for the poor, and the central panel showed a family enjoying their Christmas dinner. 

 

Christmas Cards didn't appear in America until the late 1840's, but, because of printing costs, they were very expensive and not many people could afford them. It wasn't until 1915 that John C Hall, and two of his brothers, created Hallmark Cards, who we all know today as one of the largest card makers around. Here are a just a few of the pretty Christmas stamps that have been produced each year, here in the United Kingdom. 

 
 

I must admit, I have always loved browsing through cards, and I love sending them, even if it is only to let people know that I am thinking of them. I just think it's lovely to take the time to do this. In this electronic age, I still get a thrill from receiving a card or letter in the post! 

 

So, once again this year, I will be waiting for the Christmas Cards to pop through the letterbox and enjoy trying to guess who each one is from, by the writing on the envelope.

 

 Meanwhile, here is a little card from me to you, wherever you may be in the world. 

 
The above images are all courtesy of Pinterest.com

I thought I would finish today by sharing a photo, taken by me, of an old fashioned Christmas at the magnificent Saltram House, a National Trust property very close to where I live. The new header photo at the top of my Blog today, was taken last week at Dartington Gardens. 

 

Toodle pip for now 🎄








Sunday, 4 December 2016

The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year!

 

Here we are then, in the season of Advent, leading up to Christmas, and I hope you are all decking your halls with boughs of holly! 

My trees and decorations are all up, and I just love all the pretty fairy lights all around, especially on these shorter Winter days over here in England. Two of my grandchildren are aged 8 and 6, and they only live five minutes away. This is so lovely for me as I get to share in all the excitement of the lead up to Christmas. 

I have always loved Christmas and have fond memories of when I was a child. Mind you, there wasn't the commercialism back then. Every Christmas Eve, my dad and I used to go to the Market to collect the goose for Christmas Day, and we would also buy my mum's Christmas present at the same time. Happy times my friends 🎄🎄.

I just love anything with a vintage theme, and this includes Christmas Cards, so I thought I would share a few with you today. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
All pics courtesy of Pinterest.com

Don't you just love how the ladies are all decked out in their gorgeous gowns as they prepare for Christmas?! Love it!

I'm foregoing my Sunday Solace feature just leading up to Christmas, and will start it again in the New Year. 

A glimpse of my house all ready!  Although we haven't got a thing on our American friends, who really go to town when it comes to decorating! 🎄🎄

 

Wishing you all a peaceful week ahead as the preparations get under way.  There is also a new Featured Post up today.

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

My Hometown Of Plymouth - Britain's Ocean City

My hometown City of Plymouth is known as Britain's Ocean City. It is a vibrant waterfront city which is surrounded by water, and with the hills of Dartmoor close by. 

 
The magnificent Plymouth Sound with the art-deco lido, where I learnt to swim, some fifty years ago. Seems like only yesterday 😂😂.

Today I thought I would take you on a tour of the historic Barbican, with its cobbled streets and Elizabethan buildings. To me, it has always seemed remarkable that these buildings are still standing after the continuous bombing, known as the Plymouth  Blitz, during the Second World War. The city suffered  a series of bombing raids, which flattened many parts of my home city. My parents were involved in one of those  raids. In March 1941, my dad was returning home on a short Leave from the Army.  As darkness fell, he turned the corner of the street where they lived, and the house was gone, reduced to a pile of rubble, and my poor mum was buried underneath. Neighbours were scrabbling at the bricks with their hands,  desperately trying to get to her. Fortunately, she survived,  but her back was badly damaged and she suffered for the rest of her life with severe back problems.  After the Blitz, very little of Plymouth remained, and the whole City had to be rebuilt. During the 59 bombing attacks, 1,172 civilians were killed and 4,448 were injured. King George the sixth is pictured  here visiting the devastated City. 

 
Image courtesy of Daily Mail archives. 

But now it's time to continue with the tour. I hope you will enjoy these photos, which were taken on a glorious Summer's day earlier this year. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The quality of the following  photo isn't particularly good (I took it from Plymouth Hoe looking out to the Sound) but I thought the old with the new was pretty cool 😊.

 

I do feel very blessed living in this little corner of heavenly Devon!  On that note, I'll love you and leave you until the next time.