Saturday, December 31, 2016

December - damp, dark, dirt and disappearing dogs.....

Garlic is up!
Chilly village walks
Frosty fern in the garden

This month I have been mostly:

- Covering the hole in the hedge so Eddie (the escapologist) can't hide in our neighbour's garden.
- Discovering a fab new pub - 'The Black Swan' in Devizes.
- Going to the panto.  
- Meeting old friends at a cheese and wine party - so 1970's!
- Having coffee and cake in In-Excess - my coffee shop of choice.
- Driving in fog.
- Enjoying 'Music Night' at the Fox & Goose, Coombe Bissett.
- Singing carols in St Thomas's Church, Salisbury.  Why are carols so high?!
- Gardening in the mud.
- Eating cooked breakfast.
- Dog training.

As is customary on Maisie's birthday (Christmas Eve) we had chocolate log, instead of birthday cake.

Frank helped blow out the candles.

Sarah made mince pies - with an audience.

We had our office painted bright pink and lime green - wakes you up in the morning!

Christmas Day - thank goodness for my trusty hostess trolley!

And go.....

The dogs have settled in nicely - here is Eddie catching some rays.

Ez (my little fire starter) has kept an eye on the log burner

We have had some lovely frosty walks with our new pooches.

They seem to like living here.

One day we took them to Hengistbury Head - they were so excited.

I don't think Eddie had been to the beach before - even the seagulls made him jump!

Sophie made it to the top of the hill behind our bungalow and round the circuit

So we've taken them on longer and longer walks and there is certainly life in the old dogs yet!

An action shot of Eddie

It has been so nice to have the time to be able to go on a long dog walk every day over Christmas AND do some gardening.  Sarah has even tidied her sock drawer.


Throope Bottom

A frosty fern in the front garden

We have taken the dogs on their first visit to Grovely Woods.  Eddie found a dead, huge, and very stiff squirrel to run off with.

Gorgeous Grovely

Today we took our friend Basil on a dog walk - I hope it won't put her off dog sitting!

We spent most of the time looking for Sophie's ball

We put the veggie patch to bed today.

And I just looked like Eric Morecombe.....sigh

Well, whilst the majority of the population get dressed up in their posh gear and head out for a night of debauchery we are eagerly awaiting the kitchen tinger to go off.  This will signal that the home made rice pudding is ready, mmmm......  2017 affirmations have been written, woozy bums are on, elasticated waist bands at the ready for an evening of drinks, nibbles and a film.

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

November - a doggy month

In November I have been mostly -

Acquiring two new pooches!
Trying to train the above
Admiring trees
Baking cakes
Visiting the Cathedral
Lighting our first fire of the season
Staying in
Watching old black and white films
Clearing leaves
Celebrating the beginning of Advent

Our tulip tree in full glory - it is now naked

Myself and my colleague Sarah have enjoyed many sunny walks across Old Sarum Airfield in our lunch break. Sometimes we see mad people jumping out of planes and screaming on their way down!

Don't think I am....

No, don't want to.....

Old Sarum Airfield is one of the few grass airfields in the country and the second oldest having been used continually since 1917.

The airfield is half a mile long

and was designated a conservation area in 2007

A memorial dedicated to the Old Sarum air squadron who flew over enemy lines in light, unarmed aircraft during the Second World War

These tiny helicopters are being used to train Chinese search and rescue pilots

A 1914-1918 Grade II listed hanger

I enjoyed a charity shopping expedition in a very wet Devizes one day.  At one point I came out of a changing room to see my mother teetering around the shop in a pair of stilettos and clutching at clothing rails to stop herself falling over - can't take her anywhere.....

Little Sis doing a bit of 'show and tell' - notice granny trolley!

I have been sweeping customers' leaves.

A sunny day in Alderbury

We got two doggies from the Dog's Trust.

Here they are - Eddie and Sophie

Sophie is 11, has cataracts, ongoing medication and snores!

Sophie has made friends with Frank after staring at him for a whole week.

She also likes Frank's rather small bed

She likes to lie in front of the fire

Eddie is 9 and a heart stealer and, as we found out, has a penchant for sherry - here he is on Sophie's new blanket

Here's Sophie (looking guilty) on Frank's new blanket

And here's Frank (looking confused) on Eddie's new blanket

We thoroughly enjoyed singing Durufle's Requiem in the Cathedral and the choir even got a cheer which is unheard of in the normally restrained Cathedral audience.

On our way to the Trinity Chapel to get ready

Waiting to start rehearsing and having a chin wag

We also enjoyed the Advent Procession (from Darkness to Light) at the Cathedral.  It was wonderful and a shame that we had three fidgety, bored boys behind us kicking our chairs - grrrrrr.....  The service started in complete darkness and ended with the entire Cathedral lit by around 1300 candles. The Cathedral Choir sang beautifully, there were bible readings and congregational hymns.  It is free and you don't need a ticket so we were right at the back (surprise, surprise) but it didn't matter as the procession moves past you - so atmospheric. 

At the end of the service we saw the 'Star of Bethlehem' light installation by Jason Haebich

I have been shifting my work hours to try and get at least one dog walk a day in the light!



Beautiful misty morning

Pops of autumn colour in the village

The Old Post Office

Our neighbour, Welsh Bill's, lovely sumac tree

Bit 'Close Encounters'!

Where are the little green men?

Our new pooches on their first walk at Hare Warren

Lovely candlesnuff fungi

The autumn leaves.....

We hadn't let the dogs off the lead at this point!

Eddie can be bribed by treats and will come back but Sophie is selectively deaf and likes to walk, ears back, just that little bit too fast for you to catch her! 

First walk up the hill - leadless!

I have made some carrot and garlic chutney but am REALLY in to baking at the moment.

Yummy apple cake

It didn't last long and was nice hot, straight out of the oven, with a mug of black coffee!

One of my rock buns bathed in a golden light on my desk at work - one has to have some treats to pass the hours.....

What else can you do in these long, dark evenings but try new cake recipes?   I've just got these two bad boys out of the oven and can't wait to try a bit!

Lemon, Blueberry and Polenta cake - one for me, one for the freezer

Well, December tomorrow - better look interested in Christmas I suppose!  I am reading Miss Read's 'Village Christmas' in the hope that it may induce feelings of great joy.  No, nothing yet!  If we could only get rid of Black Friday, Cyber Monday, adverts, Christmas traffic queues and the constant reminders I might just get excited.

I am off to read my nice book....and try the new cake with a glass of sherry!

'The darkness throbbed with the clamour of church bells.  The six sonorous voices of St Patrick's peal chased each other, now in regular rhythm, now in staccato clashes, as the bell-ringers sweated at their Christmas peal practice.

The night was iron-cold.  Frost glittered on the hedges and fields of Faircacre although it was not yet eight o'clock.  Thatched roofs were furred with white rime beneath a sky brilliant with stars.  Smoke rose in unwavering blue wisps from cottage chimneys, for the air was uncannily still.'

'Village Christmas' by Miss Read 1966