Hello! Did you have a good Christmas? I hope so. Ours rushed by in a blur but it was all good, if a little busy. I was lucky enough to receive some great presents; useful things like some excellent new gardening tools - my mum actually wrapped up a hoe in wrapping paper - and luxurious things like new jumpers, posh chocolates and necklaces. I also received a cheese plant. How I love my new cheese plant! (If you think that's random, my mum bought my dad a chainsaw, for his wood store. He is delighted.) Bella and Angus had a lovely time and basked in the attention of adoring grandparents. Angus's crocheted chimpanzee was finished at 10 pm on Christmas Eve. We all ate a lot. Molly has quite a taste for roast turkey, it would appear, and is shameless in her attempts to steal turkey legs (straight off the joint resting on the kitchen work top), turkey sandwiches and leftover meat chopped ready for a risotto.
I do like these days between Christmas and New Year. With every year that goes by, I've come to appreciate and value them more and more. The build up to this time of year is hectic, often frantic. The main event - especially if you're hosting - is plain exhausting. But Boxing Day I look forward to every year; delicious leftovers to eat up, a long walk on the beach or in the woods, presents to enjoy. And the days that follow are even better as we settle into a quiet rhythm of gentle pottering and relaxing. Today our house guests left and while we were sorry to see them go, I did enjoy slowly straightening up the house, looking at and putting away lovely gifts, opening windows, vacuuming and mopping, sorting out the fridge and planning meals that use up all that turkey and ham. The children drifted off to do their own thing, play with their new toys, read their new books. The dog slept in her basket. It was, for the first time in many weeks, peaceful.
I realise I am very lucky not to work over Christmas and, having worked through many exhausting Christmases in retail, I know that not everyone gets to sit around eating chocolates and watching TV at this time of year. But I am so looking forward to the next few days before our next lot of guests arrive for New Year. I have some new books that need my attention, and a jigsaw to keep me quiet. I love jigsaws. Our daily dog walks continue to be a joy (the frost in the woods today!) and we are out and about every day. The weather the last few days has been perfect, cold, clear and still with frosty mornings and beautiful sunsets. I'll leave you with a photo of a frosty umbellifer I snapped on my phone this morning.