Something we have never considered before - a winter break between Christmas and New Year. We stayed at an old coaching inn at Snettisham for a couple of days. Was this a good idea, considering the weather forecast for heavy rain and gales, yes it was. The rain never materialised until Saturday afternoon - and although the wind was strong enough to take you off your feet - it was reasonably mild. Although windproof waterproof coats and fleeces were needed it was great to be out in the elements - being sandblasted!
After stopping off for turkey and cranberry sauce sandwiches and a glass of ale at the Globe Hotel in Wells, we made our way down to the quay for a quick look, only to be surprised at how many holidaymakers had braved the elements. We British are hardy folk, neither wind, nor rain, nor snow or blow will stop us visiting our lovely coastline in the depths of winter.
We then carried on with our journey back down the coast to Snettisham which is inland and separate from …
The Christmas wrapping paper has gone into the recycling bin - the left over cockerel nestles safely with all the other Christmas dinner leftovers in the refridgerator -
presents of books are waiting to be read,
a beautiful tapestry waiting to be sown - a beautifully soft cashmere scarf for keeping out the winter winds - a hanging bird bath
complete with rusty iron birds is waiting for water - that's it - Christmas is over for another year.
Hyacinth bulbs planted in the hope of them blooming on Christmas Day - almost made it.
Now for Boxing Day - my favourite day of the year. Dinner of cold meats, freshly baked ham and pickles of every description, lots of fresh salad and pork pie. Perfect. A day to relax after all the cooking and anticipation, watching repeats on tv and winding down.
And now a bright, sunny morning - thinking of taking a walk to get rid of all those Christmas calories.
I don't think I'll have much time for posting between now and Christmas - so I would just like to say a big thank you to all my followers and to those who have left encouraging comments over the year - I do hope you all have a good Christmas. See you next year, hopefully.
My winter blues continue - this time of year affects my mood quite drastically - I am one of those people who need light - lots of it - so I look forward to the winter solstice - the turning of the year - when the daylight hours lengthen little by little - day by day. The winter solstice was always celebrated by ancient peoples when the fear of starvation during the winter months was always close at hand.
Looking back at my garden pictures over the last year has helped to lift my spirits - here are a few of my favourite photos.
The garden was full to bursting in June after all the spring rains - I love the way everything is so prolific and jumbled together.
June has got to be the best month in the garden - I love the overcrowded beds with purely accidental co-ordinated colours.
I hope these photos have helped to lift your spirits too on a wet, gloomy winters day. Roll on Spring.
I found this article in an old copy of the Country Living magazine which I thought I would share with you, about robins, as they are very much a part of the Christmas season.
"When we think of Christmas, we think of the robin. Its association with this festive time of year is an essential part of British life. There are five and a half million robins in the UK and it is one of our most common birds with numbers remaining fairly stable. They were hit by the harsh winter last year but a good breeding season has enabled them to recover. As a regular visitor to the winter bird table and with a liquid warbling song, it's not surprising that the robin's cheery presence and its reputation as a domestic bird have seen it become a symbol of Christmas.
But there is another connection: with the very notion of postage and so, specifically, with Christmas cards. In Framley Parsonage, Anthony Trollope refers to the 'robin postman' - he had worked in the Post Office in 186…
Living in England we have come to expect changeable weather - every day is different - you never know what to expect. This was the view from the bedroom window yesterday - bright, clear and sunny but very cold. This morning - totally different - freezing fog, heavy ground frost.
The mornings take forever to get light - this was taken at seven thirty. Every morning I go up to the plot to feed my two sheep, put some hay down for them and break the ice on their water buckets. Every morning without fail Alfie is waiting at the gate looking forward to his breakfast.
Look at that face - how could I refuse him?
After licking their bowls clean the sheep wander down into the frosted field, keeping to the hedgerow where it is a little more sheltered, and munching on nettles till the grass thaws out a little.
The horses in the field next door all have their winter coats on - this one looked expectantly at me hoping for tit-bits - I had none.
Tomorrow the weather will be different again - no…
At this time of year I go into a kind of torpur - my hibernating instincts come to the fore and I hardly seem to leave the house. Any visits to the garden consist of hurrying up the garden path to the compost bin, averting my eyes and carefully avoiding looking at the flower beds which need attention. The not-so-statuesque seedheads which, according to most professional gardeners, should be left over winter to look beautiful when frosted, only look rather sad and soggy.
The only time I perk up is when it is time to look around the garden for foliage and berries to bring indoors for decorating the house for Christmas. Luckily, I have a plethora of plants with berries and interesting foliage and lots of ivy - you know, things that you wouldn't necessarily notice at any other time of year.
For me, reds and greens epitomise Christmas and I like to make full use of what is available a couple of days prior. I won't be bringing the foliage in too early as it tends to dry out …
I have a secret to confess - I have a 'thing' about ivy. Yes, I know, boring old ivy, that has a bad reputation for eating into bricks and mortar and bringing your house tumbling down about your ears. But I can't get enough of the stuff.
I use it in the garden to disguise things - like fences (they don't rot so quickly when they have ivy as protection).
It gives a good background for other climbing plants
It grows anywhere and doesn't mind the shade
Here it has grown through the trellis and is starting to disguise the coal bunker
The new leaves are beautifully marked
and come in a variety of colours
I let it trail over the ground where it keeps the weeds down and acts as a mulch to keep plants moist.
The garden would look terribly bare without it, and yes, I do have it growing on the walls of the house, two trims a year keeps it in check. The birds nest in it, as do insects - and the berries are a good food source for them. I definitely wouldn't be with…