Sunday, November 5, 2017

Fifth of November Ramblings xxxx

This week I have started the Word + Image eCourse by Lucy Pearce

Temperatures dropping, the crisp cold hits as you leave the house. The smell of bonfire was lingering as I came back from today's dog walk; applewood smoke is THE essence of November - if only I could bottle it.  And still no sign of the elusive first frost. Even watching fireworks was a cardigan affair this year, sat perched on the bumper of the landrover with the night sky exploding overhead. Of course, dutifully Instagramed and shared... click here   I think it was a first, no sign of the usual gloves, waterproof layers or glances through the window from the safety of the warmth.  And yet, if you look, the marked changes are there that the month has well and truly turned. The spidery fingers of the lime trees can be sighted over the neighbours roof tops, the deep red of the Virginia creeper like garlands hang down walls, the bulb like crab apples of red and yellow just about hanging on to the now leafless carcus of the trees. Time has turned.

By the way, it has arrived.

The C related tunage.  A well known coffee shop chain dared to have 'Simply having wonderful C******** time' playing. I love this season, I love Yule but tunes before bonfire night? Even I am not too sure about that one, however I don't mind munching on the Malteaser chocolate reindeer! And ok I may have dug out the Medieval Baebes album... if you can handle it have a listen here

The other half, he calls it consumer terrorism. We are all held to ransom by this one day where we have to buy, eat and buy yet more. I am more than guilty of this, I will buy lots of gifts that really, we could do without.  Like the pre-filled stockings I bought as extras over the last few years.  A wonderful idea at the time. Until the summer holidays, when I unearth them like a highly trained archaeologist, emerging from under the childrens' beds with many items not even opened. So this year, more home made, making and doing rather than bought plastic rubbish from a shelf. 
I remember when I would get a few gifts, and it was more about the tradition.
We would stay at my Nan's, watch the Two Ronnies, The Queen Speech, Christmas dinner, my Nan's homemade sausage rolls and tomoatoe chutney. Boiled gammon a staple in all households for Christmas tea of course.
Even before the day itself, the build up. The wonderful memories of wandering around the village carol singing, traipsing up the unlit lane through potholes and mud to the big house.  Wellies and coats would be piled high outside in the porch, and then we would enter through the huge wooden door into a magical world. Bright glowing yellow windows with music enticing us in from the cold dark, the big just cut tree with sparkling treasure, garlands of fresh holly and ivy,  the piano played by the church organist, warm mince pies and sausage rolls fresh from the oven. Mince pies that I might just add, that were made using shortbread pastry ...  And then we would sing.  The household dogs hoovering up all crumbs helping us to leave no trace as we booted up and wandered back through the dark singing.
The village church was an occasion too, a place where everyone would appear and catch up, often from the last Christmas. The nativity stable would be put together by the font, most of it comprising  of statues that all us children would help place and decorate, the tree decorated to the ceiling and then the readings of which we were all given a part. 
At my other grandparents the small plastic tinsel tree would appear.  The red nylon stockings would be placed methodically, their white wave pattern around the top growing greyer every year! Plastic elves would be strategically placed and rows of received cards covering every surface possible in their flat.  And then there was the annual Tunis cake. 
This is all going back well over thirty years, but fresh in my mind as if yesterday. And  writing this I realise how food does actually dominate the season! I do like my food ha! But they actually hold memories somehow, a bit like music and that smell of applewood bonfire when out on my walk earlier.
But more to the point what traditions and memories are there for my children? What will they look back on and remember?
And this really made me stop in my tracks.Yes we have the Yule twig but what else?
And so, that is where I will start this year for the festive season ahead.
Maybe stir up Sunday will be revived; making the cake, then feeding it. 
Something to ponder for the week ahead amidst all the other to-do items. Maybe Pinterest will be revived too for some seasonal inspiration. Best have some de-icer on standby too. Oh and we have the arrival of Mr. Twiggles the new guinea pig...