Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Favourite Christmas Recipe - Advent Day 13

In Holland and Germany special brews of beers come out for the Winter, stronger flavours more suitable for cold weather.  And among all the different tastes, smells and flavours that we traditionally have at this time of year, our own special drinks are equally perfect for Christmas and I get all excited when I see Baileys on the shelves.  

However, my favourite is sloe gin - homemade in Autumn, or leftover from the previous year.   On its own over ice, or a small drop in the bottom of a glass of bubbly is the ideal Christmas flavour.  


This is the remains of last year's Sloe gin - still yummy

The sloes were ready very early this year - we picked these on 1st October
They're still in the freezer but I'll get around to them early in the new year
and have a new bottle ready for next winter.
I'm joining in this month with  Julie's Advent Scavenger Hunt  

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Christmas Bauble - Advent Scavenger Hunt Day 12

I always think of baubles as being round, so this is technically not a bauble, but it is my very favourite tree decoration.  I bought it at a Christmas market in Germany 15 or more years ago.  It's a mini pyramid and works fully - if there is a heat source underneath it the blades at the top turn around turning the little roundabout below.

For three or four years in succession Tom and I did a December tour in Germany and over the years I bought many of these wooden ornaments.  I'm torn between wanting to get back to the Christmas markets and the other side of it - travelling in very cold conditions, including doing concerts outdoors ... not sure that I'm fit enough for that anymore.

I'm joining in this month with  Julie's Advent Scavenger Hunt.

Monday, 11 December 2017

Nativity - Advent Scavenger Hunt Day 11

I love the day of the Nativity Pageant in  Rostrevor - these photos are from a few years ago.  
We had a similar event on Saturday, although the donkey was double booked this year!  He had to do a pantomime up the road instead of bringing Mary up Bridge Street.  

Singmarra, the singing group that I direct have done the carol singing for the past few years - all our practices pay off in the end.  

Singmarra leading the way 
Mary and Jospeh being turned away from the Inn by the local butcher

After the parade

 I'm joining in this month with  Julie's Advent Scavenger Hunt


Sunday, 10 December 2017

Bells - Advent Scavenger Hunt Day 10

Yesterday is the start of Christmas here in our village - a craft fair in the Primary School, the nativity pageant, Santa's arrival and then the turning on of the lights.

The local handbell ringers were doing their bit to add to the atmosphere at the craft fair


The higher bells are played by young children, so I've kept them out of the picture, but all the teams are new to this and it's great to hear the lovely gentle tinkle. I tried doing a video of them but there was so much noise in the hall it was hard to hear them properly.  




I'm joining in this month with  Julie's Advent Scavenger Hunt - a post a day (more or less) leading up to Christmas.
You can check in here for the details of the prompts and the list of who else is playing and to join in yourself if you fancy playing along.




Saturday, 9 December 2017

Christmas Toy Sack - Julie's Virtual Advent Calendar Day 9

One of my favourite things to do when we're travelling is to have an hour to go in to local charity shops.   I spotted this sack in the corner of the Sue Ryder Shop in Jedburgh.

There's something about the treasures you find in charity shops - a bit of glass, or pottery, or clothes that are much more interesting than anything in the huge shopping centres which just drive me nuts at this time of year with Christmas music blaring out incessantly.   Don't get me wrong, I love Christmas music, but not for 2 months solid ... The child in me deep down expects Santa to arrive that night, every time I visit the shopping centre!!


I'm joining in this month with  Julie's Advent Scavenger Hunt - a post a day (more or less) from now until the 24th.
You can check in here for the details of the prompts and the list of who else is playing and to join in yourself if you fancy playing along.

Friday, 8 December 2017

Holly and Ivy - Julie's Virtual Advent Calendar Day 8

A few of us spent a very leisurely Sunday afternoon at the weekend making Advent wreaths.   Two of my friends are German and this is a big tradition from their part of the world.   I love going around taking things from my garden - bits of everything that's growing, including lots of Holly and Ivy.  



I'm joining in this month with  Julie's Advent Scavenger Hunt - a post a day (more or less) from now until the 24th.
You can check in here for the details of the prompts and the list of who else is playing and to join in yourself if you fancy playing along.

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Mid Week Musings

I love that there are still leaves clinging on to the branches,
even though they are now brown and ready to fall.
and even inspite of last night's fierce wind.

Today as I write, I'm watching the seabirds struggling to stay aloft in this fierce wind that started blowing last night. We wound up our Singmarra Choir practice very sharpish as the trees looked like they were at right angles to their roots.

It was carol practice last night as we're taking part in the village pageant on Saturday - I'll post photos afterwards.  Always a lovely event to take part in, we lead the children from the local integrated school (yes, we still have segregated education here so it's necessary to give the integrated schools special status) up the street, Mary on a donkey led by Joseph and a collection of tiny angels and shepherds, up to the crib which is at the Christmas tree.   Then Santa comes to turn on the lights and hand out sweets to the children and we head to some warm hostelry for a quick scoop of something liquid.
There is snow forecast, so the evening should be perfect, as long as this wind dies down.



Don't forget as you get ready for Christmas, we have CDs for sale.  Every CD we sell goes towards us making another one.  There is still time to post anywhere in the world for items to arrive by Christmas. 





Angel - Julie's Virtual Advent Calendar Day 7

I'm a bit out of sync with the list Julie put up for following this fun Advent Scavenger Hunt - but things aren't happening in the right order here.

I love this angel.   She was a Christmas present from a friend a long time ago made by a lovely Polish girl who used to be part of the local Camphill Community staff.


I'm really enjoying this little daily focus on something seasonal - it's a joyful reminder of how lovely this time of the year can be.   Thanks Julie for organising it.  
You can check in here for the details of the prompts and the list of who else is playing and to join in yourself if you fancy playing along.

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Robin - Advent Calendar Day 6

This year has been very cold, but usually at this time of year and towards the end of November, I'm still out planting bulbs.  And this chap followed me around while I got some last minute daffodils planted - three years ago.  He practically posed for the photos ... really funny.

We have a few robins in the garden this year too - I love seeing them, they're so cheeky.



I'm joining in this month with  Julie's Advent Scavenger Hunt - a post a day (more or less) from now until the 24th.
You can check in here for the details of the prompts and the list of who else is playing and to join in yourself if you fancy playing along.

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

First Christmas Card - Advent Calendar Day 5



Some friends are very organised - this arrived on Saturday in the post - a fun start to the month :)

I'm joining in this month with  Julie's Advent Scavenger Hunt - a post a day (more or less) from now until the 24th.
You can check in here for the details of the prompts and the list of who else is playing and to join in yourself if you fancy playing along.


Monday, 4 December 2017

Christmas Book - Advent Calendar Day 4

I spotted this book at the gift shop in Woodbury Mining Museum last week - looks interesting - full of lots of useless information - the best kind :)  It might be a present for someone else, but it may equally well be a present for the house.



I'm joining in with Julie's Advent Scavenger Hunt - a post a day (more or less) from now until the 24th.
You can check in here for the details of the prompts and the list of who else is playing.

Sunday, 3 December 2017

Saturday, 2 December 2017

Something Handmade for Christmas - Advent Calendar Day 2

This is something I knitted for the holidays for a friend - little fuzzy jumpers for some baubles - pity about the less than imaginative box, but hey ho we can't have everything - maybe next year lol





Do you fancy joining in?   Then the list is on Julie's Scrapbook and I'm sure she'd love to have you join in.


Friday, 1 December 2017

Letterbox - Julie's Virtual Advent Calendar Day 1

I almost squealed with delight when we passed this cafe yesterday in Ponteland in the Cheviot Hills I finally know where the Cheviots are now - just in case I ever go on to The Chase!).

Not only was there a big red letter box outside it, but look at the name of the cafe.  We were en route to our last gig in Denholm last night so we only had time to stop for a take away coffee, which was excellent.  But it was as pretty and inviting inside as it was outside.




This is Day 1 of Julie's Advent Scavenger Hunt - a post a day (more or less) from now until the 24th.
You can join in here for the details of the prompts and the list of who else is playing.

November 2017 Scavenger Photo Hunt

It's the end of another month - the year is passing fast - and it's been so good to be back out on tour again.   I'd forgotten what hard work travelling and performing each night is, but I'd also forgotten the sheer delight of being back on stage.  So all my photos for this month's Scavenger Hunt come from this trip through England and the Scottish Borders.  
Thanks as always go to Kate at I live I love I craft I am me for hosting this delightful bloghop each month.   As well as the fun of finding photos to match the words it's also a chance to get a glimpse into friends' lives in other parts of the world.  

So here's mine.  

1. Blue

The mining museum at Woodhorn near Ashington in Northumberland.   The sky was so blue - perfect early Winter weather, freezing cold but thankfully dry.  I loved the architecture of the wheels against the sky and the museum, which has an interactive mining experience as well as an exhibition of the Washington Pit Painters, really brought alive the tough tough life of the miners and their families, from the earliest days right up to the Miners Strikes in the 80s.  Very interesting and sobering afternoon. 


2. Me

Well wrapped up and freezing cold at the Christmas Market in Chester.



3. Starts with a ...... W 

The Pit Wheel at Woodhorn



4. Rainbow

Driving through the Lake District last week this beautiful rainbow popped up - right on cue.


5. Arch

The ruins of Jedburgh Castle in the Scottish Borders - how about that for arches..




6. Toy

Every folk club holds a raffle to help with their funds and for nearly 30 years Tom has been buying raffle tickets - at every club we play at.   When he won his first bottle of wine years ago we reckoned it probably cost him about £200!!  
The raffles are always fun - whoever wins the box of chocolates or sweets has to share them around, usually under the nose of the singer , humph
This was the result of his winnings one of the nights this trip - a Kinder egg!  which produced this crocodile when opened and put together - "Don't forget his fish!" was the retort behind the drivers wheel! 

7. Swirl

Isn't this lovely?  We went to a folk club concert early this week and the singer was playing this guitar...  I thought it fitted perfectly.   Some of you may have seen him - Stanley Accrington.   It's the funniest evening I've spent in years.   A real belly laugh.    Stanley's a hoot - a clown, a jester and a very clever wordsmith.  A comedic commentator on life and all its anomalies and quirks, skilfully dropping in some very poignant thought provoking songs that kicked our emotions back into touch, and then rescuing them again with some hysterically funny observations.  




8. Brush

I love these everything shops - whether you need a brush or a beach ball, an egret or a lampshade, this is the place to find it.  You might even find a pair of leggings !   A heater would have been top of the list this week - this pic was in Jedburgh.

9. Nail

Back at Woodbury - these are Dog Nails (spikes) - large headed thick, mild steel nails for fastening rails to wooden sleepers.  
I have to confess this prompt had me stumped and after searching for weeks looking for a really impressive and imaginative photo for nail, this one arrived just in time.
the exhibition followed a young lad of 13 becoming a man and going down the mine for the first time, the experience of going underground, the ribald humour of the men, the desire to get the top job of the hewar - a man who basically stayed crouched down in a space smaller than one metre high for his entire working day and working life.   What a life!   When it came to reading about the strikes in the 80s which I remember very well, I felt so sorry for these people who's lives were totally controlled by the establishment and the strength with which they fought back.  
But, in spite of the lack of jobs, I'm sure there's very few would wish to be back underground.  

10. My own choice

A guy was making huge bubbles at the Christmas Market in Chester last weekend - I managed to catch this one before the children burst it.  What is it about bubbles that makes everyone smile - such a simple delight.  





So that was my month.   I'm writing this on the ferry heading homewards, head full of ideas and plans, and looking forward to this month at home, getting Singmarra ready for the village pageant and taking part in the various events that lead up to mid Winter.

Head over to Kate's blog to check out the other Scavengers and we'll reconvene in January sometime.