Thursday, 25 November 2021

Astrid's Photo Scavenger Hunt for the week ending - 26/11/2021

 The word this week selected by Astrid really had me thinking.......Traditions.  My first thought that is something seen more in US than here but then when I thought seriously about it I realised that we all have traditions, some bigger than others but still something that means something to our family.   To quote the dictionary the definitions is The passing down of elements of a culture from generation to generation.  Then I realised that one tradition we have first started by my parents, then carried on through us to our young family who are now grown up and have grown up children of their own is 'The Table Present at Christmas'.

My mother first saw it in a Homes and Gardens type magazine in 1960 and thought it a good idea.  Originally it was a snowball tied with a red ribbon with a little present inside at each persons' place at Christmas Dinner.   We patiently put papier mache  over slightly inflated round balloons, removed the balloon, cut the paper balls in half and covered them with cotton wool.  I remember my first snowball contained a lipstick, very much appreciated.   Over the years I have made my own 'snowballs' and put them away with the Christmas decorations to use again until they looked rather sad and replaced them a couple of times over the years since then.  I eventually chucked them out and we now just wrap a small present in pretty paper and put it on the table. (Not easy to find something small enough to fit into a snowball.)   I might add that all the time we were using 'snowballs' we were living in Central and Southern Africa where the heat was so great at Christmas but we still had the traditional roast turkey and ham, Christmas pudding and trifle. 

I've searched through my archives and managed to find a few photographs showing the Table Presents ready for opening.

Here a couple wrapped in silver paper are showing. 

I've just realised that only a couple of presents show.  Kate and I shared supplying the presents between us.  I have put mine out but taken the photographs before she arrived. 

One year we held the dinner at our son and daughter-in-law's flat, a few yards from ours.

All of these pictures were taken on Christmas Eve.  Over the past 20 years this has become a new tradition for our family.  Everyone meets at our home for the traditional Christmas Dinner (no longer so much turkey and ham as three of the  eight of us have become vegetarians so other dishes have become traditional fare too).

Then later that evening, when everyone has gone home B and I go to our local church for the midnight service.  

On Christmas Day itself we take plates of ifits *** to Kate's home where she has gorgeous home made soup, jacket potatoes and a fantastic selection of party food which we have after a family gift exchange.  The little children used to play with their toys but now they are there with their girl friends, all grown up and we often collapse after two days of overeating to watch a film on TV..  

*** leftovers are called 'Ifits' in our family, a name coined by a catering friend of mine who used to say of the left overs from a catering job, if its edible we eat it. 

The final tradition that is a sure sign that Christmas is nearly here is the annual get together to make wreaths at Kate's house.  It was originally a large get together in the village hall but now has been whittled down to a select few who arrive with a large selection of greenery and contributions to the Jacob's Join lunch.  (No idea why it's called that but its the Northern equivalent of a 'bring and share' meal.)  So we gather around a large workbench set up in Kate's dining room and are surrounded with greenery, ribbons, florest wire and all the bits that make up a successful wreath. We nibble mince pies, home made shortbread and drink gallons of tea and coffee with a break for lunch.  It is always a lovely tradition sadly missed last year because of the ban on meeting in other peoples homes. 

Now off to see how others have described their family traditions. 

Friday, 19 November 2021

Astrid's Photo Hunt Challenge for the week ending - 19/11/2021


This week's selection by Astrid is 'something we see everyday.'  After a bit of thought I realised that what we see daily is the view outside our window.  So I have selected a few pictures reflecting the changing seasons and sometime interesting things we see out of our window. 

Starting in early March  the farmer fertilizes his fields.  He grows hay here each year.


After heavy rains in early March a lake forms on the other side of our view.  We always love to see 'our lake' as it brings in masses of bird life, often mainly gulls  but still lovely to see in the distance. 

Then later in the month, if the weather is mild enough,  the 'gypsy' cobs and their wagons often pass by.

Occasionally we are lucky to see something quite unusual like the year these two gentlemen decided to land in 'our' field.

Sometimes the council decides to work right outside our window.  They always cause amazing traffic jams!! 

Here a policeman is redirecting traffic due to an accident and the air ambulance landing - further down the road. 

Then there is the haymaking each June.  Often the farmer manages a second cut later in the year.

The cooler autumn weather brings mists over the canal on the other side of 'our fields'.

and colourful rainbows but sadly the end of the rainbow is never in our garden so we have not found the pot of gold.

As the weather cools down  Autumn creeps up on us and the trees start to take on their gorgeous hues.  I love the colours but know it means the year is ending and winter will be here soon.

Inevitably winter arrives and we  watch the snow getting closer across the hills till it reaches us.  Sometimes a light dusting and sometimes a very heavy snowfall.  Each year it is different, but it has not been so heavy lately. 


We have wonderful sunsets and stormy skies too. Each one different, no two the same.  

 So many things, happenings and gorgeous sunsets and skies, all out of just one window.  Keeps things and life interesting, how can one not be moved by some of the lovely views out of our window,  something we see every day and never take for granted.    There are of course grey days, wet and miserable days but then who wants to photograph them!! 

Now off to see what others have chosen to represent things they see every day. 

Thursday, 11 November 2021

Astrid's Photo Scavenger Hunt for the week ending 12/11/2021


This week's word chosen by Astrid is 'Apple'.  This surprisingly was not an easy one for me.   B does not like cooked apples so I don't have lovely pictures of gorgeous home made apple pie or have an apple tree in the garden.  So after wracking my brains I suddenly remembered a couple of pictures I could use.   

I was given by a Lovely Lady a big bag of Crab Apples to make jelly.  I have never made it with Crab Apples, just Guavas which grew all around where we lived in Natal, South Africa.  I checked recipes for quantities of sugar etc and followed the instructions.  When it came to straining the cooked pulp and liquid through a muslin cloth I needed somewhere to hang the bag.  B came to my rescue, as usual, and lent me his mini workbench.  It worked very well.  We clamped two pillowcases filled with the cooked crab apples onto the bench and put two bowls underneath.  


and then added sugar and this was the result!!  It was delicious.  We used it instead of red current jelly.

My next apple picture is of a brass apple made by B and our son.  It is part of a set of fruit in a leaf shaped bowl. There is a pear, banana, plum and the apple, all moulded from real fruit.  I used to find it fascinating to see all old bits of brass being put into the crucible then watch it melt and eventually be poured out into the prepared sand moulds. 

Our son and his wife have the set in Scotland where they live so I urgently messaged them asking for a photograph.  So this is not one of my photographs but taken by J. 

And finally....................a simple bowl of English Gala Apples. Delicious. 

Now to check and see what delicious apple pies (my favourite pudding, covered in custard)  others have posted.  

Thursday, 4 November 2021

Astrid's Photo Treasure Hunt for the week ending 05/11/2021


This week's word chosen by Astrid is Bonfire.  November 5th or Bonfire Night, is a famous date here in the UK though sadly being overshadowed by Halloween.  But I'm sure others will remember how important it was to us.  I still remember seeing two young boys some years ago here with a sort of stuffed Guy figure on a Go-cart with a sign reading 'A Penny for the Guy'.  Though thinking about it, they must have written '1p' for the Guy, though it doesn't have the same ring to it!

For any American readers of this blog, Guy Fawkes,  or Guido Fawkes as he was known while fighting for the Spanish, was a member of a group of provincial English Catholics who was involved in the failed Gunpowder Plot of 1605.  This was a conspiracy to assassinate King James VI and members of the Houses of Parliament.  

A farm just down the road always had a growing pile of wood in a field for Bonfire Night but not this year.  Maybe the farm has changed hands or the children grown up and left home.  Our local town  has a public fireworks display each year and when we first moved here in 2001 we could see them in the distance but trees have done what trees do, they have grown taller  and we can't see the display anymore  but we do enjoy a show someone has each year on the hill opposite us.

I don't have any pictures of bonfires for this week's post but I do have a lovely set of photographs taken by Katie at a bonfire night at their home in 2007.  


I see Parliament are considering a debate on whether fireworks should be banned here to all except for public displays.  It will be sad for those who buy sparklers and a few crackers for their children and perhaps a harmless Catherine Wheel but considering how much the noise and bangs frightens cats and dogs and the harm they do to ponies and horses in nearby fields it maybe a good idea.  

Just typing 'sparklers' now has brought back memories of the year we had some sparklers left afterwards and B lit two for the grandsons when they were very little.  He held them out for them to take and somehow they both grabbed them too high up and they burnt their little hands.  There was much screaming in pain and tears afterwards and a very remorseful  Grandfather but the boys (and their mother hopefully) forgave him. 

Now off to see if others have a more successful search for 'bonfire' pictures.   Have a safe Bonfire Night and take lots of photographs in case we need them again!!! 

Thursday, 28 October 2021

Astrid's Photo Treasure Hunt for the week ending 29/10/2021

This week's word or words chosen by Astrid is Halloween or Choose  Your Own.  I have searched my archives and don't have a large selection to use for Halloween so have decided to add an amusing set of pictures as My Own Choice.

First a selection of carved pumpkins taken over a few years.  The first two were carved by B and the third by Katie. 

This is a neighbour of Kate and Himself really getting down to the bare bones of the occasion.  He really glowed in the dark.

Now for my own choice.

I have finally managed to get my sewing machine working again.  I found a very willing local sewing machine mechanic who came to our house and serviced and sorted out the tension problems I was having with my old machine.    As usual I was using my late mother-in-law's old sewing needle case and as always smiled as I did so.  Let me tell you why.

It is a lovely old good quality red  leather case, the cloth insides are getting a bit thin after years of use first by my mother-in-law and then myself.

Many years ago my husband, when an 8 year old boy living in present day Zambia, wanted a piece of leather for his homemade catty as children called their catapult, he looked around to find a useful piece.  He tells me that boys at that time usually used the tongue of a shoe but he could've find any to use, so being very resourceful he did this......

He says  he was in such trouble, and I'm not surprised,  I would have been furious, especially remembering that at that time living in Central Africa things like this would be very special and hard to come by.  To make matters worse, it was too small to use so he threw it away.

Little boys....................

That's my lot for this week.  Now off to see what others have done.  Have a good week.

Thursday, 21 October 2021

Astrid's Photo Scavenger Hunt Challenge for the week ending 22/10/2021


This week's word search brought up so many pictures that I could use for 'Costume' and next week's Halloween that I have had to just select a few or I would have none left for next week.  

The first picture is of our son and daughter-in-law's dear Roxy being 'cool man, just cool' in her cowboy hat and shades. 

The next picture is of a fabulous Viking warrior in an annual Garden and Scarecrow festival in a local village.  Such a lot of work has been done making this costume.

Papier-mache on balloons was used to make these Viking helmets.  The things I did for my grandchildren when they were younger.

What a wonderful headdress this is.  This is our son-in-law wearing a fantastic costume for one of their many Halloween parties.

A tradition started some years before had the men dashing down the hill late at night on the grandsons scooters, wearing their full fancy dress costumes.   This is not the local vicar but a friend wearing a borrowed cassock. 

Warming up for the big scooter challenge.

Unfortunately I do not seem to have a picture of 'the local vicar' in full flight down the hill as well but here is this brave warrior at full speed with his robes flying out behind him. 

That's my lot for this week.  Now off to see what other fantastic costumes others have found to use.