Saturday 29 December 2012

A 21st Century Fairy Tale

Claudia by Sophie Anderson 
Four photographs taken in 1917 during the dying days of WWI of the Cottingley fairies. They were taken besides Cottingley beck (stream) near Bradford. I am sure that most of you have come across these photographs, which many believed to be real until as recently as 20 years ago. The girls who took them, cousins Elsie Wright and Frances Griffiths, then old ladies, admitted that they were a hoax.  
However, do you believe in fairy tales? - trust me, when I say that they can and do happen.
Once upon a time one of my dear friends had a lovely daughter, a sweet natured girl with black hair and almond eyes.  She became a teacher, and married her young love with whom she had two children - a girl and then a boy. Sadly the marriage faltered and failed.
Life was very hard for her, paying the mortgage on her cottage, raising two children alone, and going out to work each day. My friend and her husband were loving, caring, grandparents, and did all they could to help ease the burden on their daughter's shoulders.
One day she met a kind prince, he was charming, attentive, and a wonderful substitute father to her now growing children. They became a solid little family group, enjoying each others company, raising lambs and chickens on the land that he owned and generally leading a happy good life.
Little did my friend's daughter know that her knight in shining armour was also heir to a very large fortune.
Out of the blue she is soon to be whisked away to a country estate that he has purchased. 
A large area in the Highlands of Scotland with shooting and fishing, their nearest neighbour, a Duke. A fine mansion house in a mature wooded setting, a walled garden, a productive farm, several houses and cottages. I have seen the photos and it is stunning.
illustration by John Bauer - Swedish illustrator and painter - 1882/1918
So you see, if you believe in fairy tales, they can happen, and like all good fairy tales I really do hope that this story has a very long and happy ending.
images via wikipedia

Thursday 27 December 2012

A piece of paper, a bit of string, and balls of wool

Grandson has been busy making little bits of magic with paper and string.
The tools of the trade
A flat piece of paper starting to become something more three dimensional
His mother too has been busy with coloured wool and a crochet hook making funky cacti.

Tuesday 25 December 2012

Christmas Day 2012

We have opened our presents, feasted, and listened to the Queen.
Lovely daughter-in-law made crackers, and handmade gift wrapping for some of the presents. My cracker present was this linen shopping bag showing one of youngest son's linocuts which I am delighted to have.
A beautiful sky at the end of a lovely day. Hope you have all enjoyed a wonderful time.

Friday 21 December 2012

Happy Christmas Everyone

Today is the Winter Solstice, the shortest day and longest night of the year, but from tomorrow the days will gradually get longer - what a lovely thought.
This is my last post in the run up to Christmas and the New Year. Sending you all my warmest wishes for both a Happy Christmas and New Year. Thank you for your friendship and thoughtful comments throughout the year. 

Monday 17 December 2012

A Norwegian Spruce

For the last 65 years a Norwegian Spruce measuring over 20 metres tall and with a suitably matching girth has arrived on these shores.
Gifted by the city of Oslo to the people of London since 1947 as a token of gratitude for British support of Norway during WWll.
The tree is prominently displayed in Trafalgar Square during the Christmas season 12 days before Christmas until just before Twelfth Night after Christmas on the 6th January when it is taken down for recycling. The tree is chipped and composted to make mulch for the London Parks.
The tree provides a focal point for Christmas carolling groups and for many in London it signals the countdown to Christmas
1947 - The first Christmas Tree from Norwayimages via wikipedia

Saturday 15 December 2012

Christmas card

Ever since youngest son's children have been able to hold a pencil the whole family have created their own christmas card. They decide on a theme - snowmen, christmas trees, or robins for example, and then each contribute to the card.
At first we could pick out who had done what, and then as the children got older it became more and more difficult, until now it is really a matter of guess work. We shall be able to check up with them in person at Christmas.
Christmas card 2012 on a theme of owls - the three grandchildrens' ages range from 14 years to 19 years

Thursday 13 December 2012

Hoar frost & only 12 more days

On the first day of Christmas 
my true love sent to me:
12 Drummers Drumming
11 Pipers Piping
10 Lords a Leaping
9 Ladies Dancing
8 Maids a Milking
7 Swans a Swimming
6 Geese a laying
5 Gold Rings
4 Calling Birds 
3 French Hens
2 Turtle Doves
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

Monday 10 December 2012

Winter berries/seeds/flowers and a Big Thank You

An opulent aromatic scent has arrived, bringing with it the golden glow and warmth of a festive fireside Christmas. The air richly pervaded with the smells of Labdanum, spicy Cloves and Exotic Amber.
Wikipedia informs me that Labdanum is the brown resin obtained from the Cistus shrubs that grow in the Mediterranean - a species of rockrose. The Cistus has a long history of use in herbal medicine and as a perfume ingredient.
image courtesy The Magical Christmas Wreath Company London
A Christmas candle from The Magical Christmas Wreath Company beautifully wrapped in tissue Toile - thank you Paul for your very generous Giveaway.
Snow berries
Leycesteria formosa - Himalayan honeysuckle
Sweetly scented Mahonia japonica - 'winter sun'
Garrya eliptica catkins - Silk Tassel Bush

macro photo of the fluffy silk tassels
Grasses catching the Winter sunshine
Clematis vitalba - old man's beard - wild clematis - seed heads