Sunday, 31 December 2017

Happy New Year

Just calling in to wish you all a very, very Happy New Year and to let you know I will be away from my blog for a while.  I’ve so enjoyed visiting all your blogs this year, and I thank you for visiting me here. Your comments always make me smile and sometimes laugh out loud. More often than not, they make me think and send me off to do more research! I’ve learnt so much from each of you, and I’m immensely grateful to be part of this great big blogging community. Most of all I thank you for your friendship which I value more than you can know.  I hope 2018 brings you all much happiness and love.

Vintage cards from my collection.

Sunday, 24 December 2017

Advent Calendar Day 24: The Night Before Christmas


I offer you this little poem with humble apologies to Clement C Moore whose words I’ve abused.

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the hen-house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung on the rafters with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;

The sheep were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of silage danced in their heads;
And cat in her basket (not on a lap),
Had just settled down for a long winter's nap,

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
The chickens sprang from their beds to see what was the matter.
Away to the door they flew like a flash,
Tore open the catches which was rather rash!

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,
When what to their wondering eyes should appear,
But a wily old fox who filled them with fear,

He was a little old fox, but lively and quick,
With sharp little teeth and a tongue that could flick!
More rapid than eagles he charged through the door,
Creating a clang and a clatter and such an uproar.

A quick-thinking chicken jumped on his back,
And the sheep and the cat went on the attack.
To the top of the hen house! To the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!"

They sprang through the door to make their escape,
Leaving the wily old fox far behind (in their wake).
But they heard him exclaim, ere he slunk out of sight,

With thanks to our friends and neighbours Mary and John for the Christmas card which inspired this post.

The Christmas tree in the corner of the room is twinkling away, presents wrapped, shopping done and feet up!

Our grandson Tris is spending a few days with us, and tomorrow the three of us will join Terry’s parents for a slap-up meal in a pub close to where they live. 

(Vintage card from my collection)

This will be my last link to Julie's advent calendar (thank you Julie), and all that remains now is to wish you all the very happiest of happy Christmases. Thank you to everyone who visited my blog in 2017, to those who left comments and those who didn’t. 

Saturday, 23 December 2017

Advent Calendar Day 23: Nativity

I’ve always loved school nativities and never more so than when our son and later his sons were in them. I don’t think our little granddaughters in Australia have taken part yet, but I’m sure it can only be a matter of time. It’s a lovely tradition and one I hope will continue long into the future.

Christmas 1996: Our grandson Kip is the little boy on the far left of the picture (third row from the front).  

I'm linking with Julie over at Julie's Scrapbook.  More from my Advent Calendar tomorrow. 

Friday, 22 December 2017

Advent Calendar Day 22: Father Christmas

This piece of sheet music brings back so many memories. I’m five years old the Christmas tree in the corner is twinkling with lights. More lights are strung along the beams. Sprigs of Holly are on top of all the pictures and in a big vase on the piano. The Christmas cake is iced, and the turkey is in the oven. The Beverly Sisters are on the radio singing about mummy kissing Santa Clause, and my own mum is joining in on the piano. As much as I loved the song, I always wondered why mummy would be kissing Santa Clause. It was some years later when I worked out Santa was actually daddy in a Santa suit, for a while there I thought mummy was up to no good. 😅

How I remember the song 

but these days you are more likely to hear this version.

These images come from a scrapbook which belonged to a little boy by the name of Teddy. I never knew him, but from an inscription on the first page, I know that his mummy and daddy gave him the scrapbook in 1933. I shared some images from it on the 1st December, and today I would like to share a few more...

And finally, Christmas 1981 with our son Steven playing Father Christmas.

We are meeting our grandson at Bristol airport this morning so please forgive me if I’m a little slow at replying to comments or visiting your blogs. He is flying down from Edinburgh to spend Christmas with us before leaving again for an overseas posting. He joined the British Army earlier in the year and has done very well. I will visit you all as soon as I can. 

I'm linking with Julie over at Julie's Scrapbook.  More from my Advent Calendar tomorrow. 

Thursday, 21 December 2017

Advent Calendar Day 21: Winter

I wander in a valley full of mist today, In cloud so low I feel its breath.

If you are a regular reader of my blog, you might well recognise the above photograph. I first shared it in January of this year, along with several other photographs taken by my husband.  If you would like to see more, please visit

I'm linking with Julie over at Julie's Scrapbook.  More from my Advent Calendar tomorrow. 

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Advent Calendar Day 20: Wrapped Present(s)

Don’t you just love this image from the front cover of Our Darlings a children’s annual published in the 1920s?  It makes me smile because the presents are not so much wrapped as unwrapped. I wonder if Santa was in a hurry that year or just running out of time.

I'm linking with Julie over at Julie's Scrapbook.  More from my Advent Calendar tomorrow. 

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Advent Calendar Day 19: Stocking or Christmas Sack

I had to smile at this;
Image: Etsy

The seller obviously has a sense of humour describing the sack thus;  A funny Christmas sack for everyone who has ever tried to recreate the elaborate gift-wrapping you see on Pinterest. Even if your efforts are a bit shoddy in comparison, this modern rustic sack should make up for it.  A really nice touch on Christmas morning, to spread some laughter as you unwrap your presents.

I'm more a sheet of wrapping paper and some sticky tape kind of about you?  Have you ever tried any of these ideas from Pinterest?

Remember there are only six more sleeps until Christmas. Time to get on with wrapping those presents. 😉

I'm linking with Julie over at Julie's Scrapbook. More from my Advent Calendar tomorrow.

Monday, 18 December 2017

Advent Calendar Day 18; Mistletoe

Did you know it’s possible to 'grow your own' mistletoe? You need a suitable host tree such as an apple, hawthorn or poplar and some fresh mistletoe berries and a little luck. My dad grew some in an old apple tree, and I’ve done the same.  

Mistle Thrush in an Apple Tree - photo Pexels  (Image licensed under the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license).

Gardeners will tell you to cut a little nick in the bark leaving a flap and then squidge a berry with its seed between the bark and wood. I simply rubbed some squashed berries along the branches just as a bird would do when it cleans its beak.

Mistletoe in our apple tree

Months went by, and I forgot all about it, and then tiny green shoots began to appear. It took a good four to five years for little leaves to form, but then it grew rapidly, and today I found a single shining berry! It’s taken nine years, but I couldn’t be more delighted.   

 I’m rather hoping there will be a few more berries by Christmas Eve when I will bring a bunch into the house – unless the birds get there before me!  

I'm linking with Julie over at Julie's Scrapbook More from my Advent Calendar tomorrow. 

Sunday, 17 December 2017

Advent Calendar Day 17: Wrapping Paper

I love this 2006 photo of little Rosie knee-deep in wrapping paper.

Rosie came to live with us when our son, daughter-in-law and grandsons moved to Denmark and subsequently Australia. It was either that or put her into quarantine for six months, and as she was already an old lady, it seemed kinder to leave her with us. I’m sure she missed her ‘real’ family, just as we did, but we smothered her with love and attention, and she gradually settled into her new life. This all happened more than ten years ago, since then our grandsons now in their twenties have moved back to England. Our son and his wife divorced, Steven remarried and remains in Australia with his second wife and their two little daughters. Rosie lived out the autumn of her life with us and repaid our love ten times over. She really was the sweetest girl, and we miss her still.

Present opening done, wrapping paper cleared away.  Rosie is asleep with her new Father Christmas toy beside her. Kip is watching TV and Tris (you might be able to see him on the right of the picture) is looking something up on Google. This was a rare moment of calm, between the presents and Christmas lunch.

I'm linking with Julie over at Julie's Scrapbook More from my Advent Calendar tomorrow. 

Saturday, 16 December 2017

Advent Calendar Day 16: Tree When Dressed

Today I’m turning back the clock to 2012. We were in Australia for Christmas, and it was such a privilege to decorate the tree with our two little granddaughters. Zoe took tree decorating very seriously as you will see in this series of photos.  Lilly enjoyed it too but more than anything she liked scooting around in her little car scattering tinsel and baubles as she went. It was such a lovely Christmas and one we will never forget. 

Hang on a minute wouldn’t these look better on me?

OK perhaps not!

Nearly done but I do need to straighten these baubles.

Other photos from that wonderful holiday here.

I'm linking with Julie over at Julie's Scrapbook 

Friday, 15 December 2017

Advent Calendar Day 15: An Undressed Christmas Tree!

A little tree lived in a wood
As sad as he could be,
He wanted more than anything
To be a Christmas tree.

He dreamed of all the coloured lights,
the sparkling tinsel, too.
And all the joy that he could bring
to little folks like you .

One day some children came for him.
To take him home, and there

They dressed him in some pretty lights,
and shining Angel hair. 

He made the children happy,
for they loved the way he shone --
This was the NICEST Christmas time
that they had ever known!

Now hope YOU have a lot of fun when you dress up your tree,
Sure hope it makes your CHRISTMAS TIME as happy as can be!

Vintage Christmas card from my collection published by Hallmark Cards in Great Britain.   

I'm linking with Julie over at Julie's Scrapbook 

Thursday, 14 December 2017

Advent Calendar Day 14: Christmas Crackers

Love them or hate them corny cracker jokes have become something of a tradition. In 2016, UKTV's Gold compiled a list of the best Christmas cracker jokes of the year, and today I'm going to share the top ten. Please feel free to groan your way through them, and if you know any better ones do share!

Image: Pixabay: public domain photo

Here are the top 10:  

1. How will Christmas dinner be different after Brexit? No Brussels.

2. What do workers at Sports Direct get for Christmas dinner? About 5 minutes.

3. How do you recognise a Christmas tree from BHS? All the branches have gone.

4. I bought my mum Mary Berry's cookbook for Christmas. I tried to get Paul Hollywood's but he'd sold out.

5. What's David Cameron's favourite Christmas song? All I Want For Christmas is EU.

6. Why has Hillary Clinton asked Santa for a 23-letter alphabet? Because she is sick of F.B and I.

7. Why didn't Roy Hodgson go to visit Santa at The North Pole? He couldn't get past Iceland.

8. Why are Jeremy Corbyn's Christmas cards on the floor? His cabinet collapsed.

9. Philip looks out of the window on Christmas Eve: 'That's some reindeer' he says. The Queen replies: "63 years. Yes, that is a lot." 

10. What's the difference between the Clementine in your Christmas stocking and Donald Trump? Nothing, they're both a little orange.

I'm linking with Julie over at Julie's Scrapbook

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Advent Calendar Day 13: First Christmas Card Received in the Post

Not just a card but a card that looks like a book and pressies too...

Sent by our dear friends Nicole and Martin. You may recall me mentioning Nicole in previous posts but if not you can read about her here

Nicole is an author/illustrator. This short video features one of her delightful books, with music composed by Martin.

The first snowflakes flutter down and over a village shines a bright star. 

I'm linking with Julie over at Julie's Scrapbook.  

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Advent Calendar Day 12: Angel

If you like vintage Advent Calendars, you might enjoy this one from the 1950s. 

Behind one of the doors is an angel which ties in perfectly with the prompt for today. Can you see her?

I don’t think she is all that easy to find so I’ve added an extra picture.

I'm linking with Julie over at Julie's Scrapbook.  

Monday, 11 December 2017

Advent Calendar Day 11: Snowman

Each December, Terry and I meet up with my sister and brother-in-law to swap Christmas presents, catch up on gossip and share a nice lunch. This year we decided to meet at Rosebourne a garden centre on the outskirts of Andover.

After a delicious lunch and much laughter, we spent some time walking around looking at all the lovely things on offer, and found a group of snowmen and snowwomen. Is there a collective noun for a group of snow people?   I can’t think of one although a family seems to fit the bill.

 I had to smile when I saw these two. Can you feel the love?

I'm linking with Julie over at Julie's Scrapbook

Sunday, 10 December 2017

Advent Calendar Day 10: Holly and Ivy

The Holly and the Ivy: Robert Shaw Chamber Singers. From the album, "Songs of Angels, Christmas Hymns & Carols."

I'm linking with Julie over at Julie's Scrapbook.  

Saturday, 9 December 2017

Advent Calendar Day 9: Christmas Bauble

In this short clip Rowan Atkinson aka Mr. Bean visits Harrods in search of Christmas ornaments – enjoy!

I'm linking with Julie over at Julie's Scrapbook.  

Friday, 8 December 2017

Advent Calendar Day 8: Sleigh

I was going to share a photograph of a sleigh full of toys, but then I remembered this jigsaw puzzle and thought…aha!

It came from a charity shop, so I shouldn’t have been surprised when I found it was missing a few pieces. What confused me was the ‘jigsaw complete’ label attached to the box. It would have made it a whole lot simpler had I realised I was never going to find the tip of the dogs tail or the little bird in the tree!

It took a long time to complete partly because of the missing pieces and partly because it has an iridescent finish which makes it difficult to do in anything other than natural daylight (something we are short of in the winter).  

I still love it even with the missing pieces, especially as the design is by Janet and Anne Grahame Johnstone.

Photograph of Janet and Anne Grahame Johnstone 
from Dean & Son Ltd, via Wikipedia

Janet and Anne were prolific illustrators, and their work is now eagerly collected. I put together a bibliography of their books back in 2013. It's not been updated for a while, but you will find it here should you be interested.

I'm linking with Julie over at Julie's Scrapbook.    More from my Advent Calendar tomorrow. 

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Advent Calendar Day 7: Bells

Ding dong merrily on high, In heav'n the bells are ringing: Ding dong! verily the sky Is riv'n with angel singing Gloria Hosanna in excelsis!

With thanks to Pexels for the image.  (All images licensed under the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license).

E'en so here below, below, Let steeple bells be swungen, And "Io, io, io!" By priest and people sungen Gloria Hosanna in excelsis! 

Pray you, dutifully prime
Your matin chime, ye ringers,
May you beautifully rime
Your eve'time song, ye singers
Gloria Hosanna in excelsis!

Title: Ding Dong! Merrily on high
Composer: Anonymous (Traditional)
Lyricist: George Ratcliffe Woodward (1848-1934), English composer.
The carol was first published in 1924 in The Cambridge Carol-Book.
From: The Choral Public Domain Library

I'm linking with Julie over at Julie's Scrapbook.    More from my Advent Calendar tomorrow. 

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Advent Calendar Day 6: Robin

Our Thrushes now are silent,
Our Swallows flown away,
But Robin's here, in coat of brown,
With ruddy breast-knot gay.
Robin, Robin Redbreast,
O Robin dear!
Robin singing sweetly
In the falling of the year.

From Robin Redbreast
By William Allingham

With thanks to Pexels for the image.  (All images licensed under the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license).

I'm linking with Julie over at Julie's Scrapbook.

The lovely Sue from Extrawurst shared a link to a song by Bing Crosby. As Sue said it’s not White Christmas, and it’s not even seasonal, but she thought I would enjoy it. I’m listening to it as I type this, and I absolutely love it, do have a listen if you have the time. 

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Advent Calendar Day 5: Stained Glass

The bells of waiting Advent ring,
The Tortoise stove is lit again
And lamp-oil light across the night
Has caught the streaks of winter rain
In many a stained-glass window sheen
From Crimson Lake to Hookers Green.

The holly in the windy hedge
And round the Manor House the yew
Will soon be stripped to deck the ledge,
The altar, font and arch and pew,
So that the villagers can say
'The church looks nice' on Christmas Day.

Provincial Public Houses blaze,
Corporation tramcars clang,
On lighted tenements I gaze,
Where paper decorations hang,
And bunting in the red Town Hall
Says 'Merry Christmas to you all'.

And London shops on Christmas Eve
Are strung with silver bells and flowers
As hurrying clerks the City leave
To pigeon-haunted classic towers,
And marbled clouds go scudding by
The many-steepled London sky.

And girls in slacks remember Dad,
And oafish louts remember Mum,
And sleepless children's hearts are glad.
And Christmas-morning bells say 'Come!'
Even to shining ones who dwell
Safe in the Dorchester Hotel.

And is it true,
This most tremendous tale of all,
Seen in a stained-glass window's hue,
A Baby in an ox's stall ?
The Maker of the stars and sea
Become a Child on earth for me?

And is it true? For if it is,
No loving fingers tying strings
Around those tissued fripperies,
The sweet and silly Christmas things,
Bath salts and inexpensive scent
And hideous tie so kindly meant,

No love that in a family dwells,
No carolling in frosty air,
Nor all the steeple-shaking bells
Can with this single Truth compare -
That God was man in Palestine
And lives today in Bread and Wine.

Christmas: John Betjeman.  From John Betjeman's 'Collected Poems', published by John Murray.

With thanks to Pexels for the images (All images licensed under the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license).  The Dorchester Hotel image from Moments Blog: Dorchester Hotel.

The poem 'Christmas' by John Betjeman performed by Lance Pierson

I'm linking with Julie over at Julie's Scrapbook.  
More from my Advent Calendar tomorrow.
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