Tag Archives: wreath

Thinking of Christmas

Yes, it’s that time of year again. August, the traditional start to the Christmas season.

I’m not sure what stops people in the middle of the summer holidays and makes them think of Christmas, but it never fails. Julia started talking of her Christmas plans two weeks ago. She is preparing to raise funds for new polytunnel covers as the current ones are opaque, apart from the holes. We are going to be taping the holes soon but it is, at best, a forlorn hope. Personally I think “waste of time” is more accurate.

Here, as ever, is a selection of the Christmas that we will be  forcing parents to buy via the tried and trusted method of emotional blackmail.

In addition, she is forming plans to attend Christmas Fairs. As they are usually on Saturdays, a day she works, these plans are likely to involve coercing some unwilling soul into doing the Fairs. So far she hasn’t said more, but I do feel the metaphorical noose tightening. I am not really at my best in an environment that involves knitting, felting and quilling.

After a morning in the garden Julia went to the main building, where the conversation turned to Christmas. So it’s not just her…

 

Christmas Decorations

It was Tuesday so we went to a care home to make Christmas decorations. It’s not quite the jet-set lifestyle which my younger self anticipated, but it’s better than sitting in a bus shelter with a plastic bottle of cider.

We made garlands, table decorations and baskets. No doubt you are now stepping back, amazed, at the breadth of my talents, but that might be a bit premature if I’m honest. I have no talent for floral decoration, I merely have stronger fingers than the average lady of 80 years, so I can set things firmly in the oasis.

It’s actually amazing that two bin bags of garden cuttings (bay, rosemary and holly) and a box of dried poppy heads and statice harvested during the summer can do when added to a selection of second-hand baskets and willow hoops.

Fortunately, Julia and our neighbour Angela, do have some talent with floral decoration so it they made up for my deficiencies and the afternoon passed off without problem.

On the way there we drove through an industrial estate built near woodland, and saw a Jay on the footpath, which I’m always happy to see.

The way back was not so kind to us, with broken traffic lights and a traffic jam. A 30 minute journey took us an hour and a quarter. As I sat in the queue I couldn’t help thinking that life with a bottle of cider could well be less stressful…

 

 

Seven days to go

Yesterday we mixed the Christmas Cakes (using a Mary Berry recipe) and tied up some loose ends. As the day closed it started to sink in that we only have seven more days with the group. It’s starting to sink in for them too, as the rehearsals aren’t going too well and they are starting to worry about it. I’m not sure why – we’ve never bothered with high standards before and people still clap and enjoy it. It’s about the effort, not the quality.

The dancing is making progress but the Technicolour Dreamcoat number isn’t going too well and we haven’t even started on I’ve Got a Lovely Bunch of Coconuts. Fortunately this is our Christmas party rather than Britain’s Got Talent so there’s nothing but enjoyment at stake. Having said that, if we did enter BGT I don’t think we’d actually come last; bad as we are (and I personally can’t carry a tune in a bucket) I have seen worse.

We’ve had a rest from pom-poms as they all made their wreaths last week and took them home (before I was able to photograph them). I just need to make a few more then I may make a wreath, or I may allow the ladies to use them when we visit the Care Home for a wreath making session (though we keep saying we will call them garlands – same thing but without the funereal connotations).

Then again, I may just concentrate on cookery for the party – I want to make sure we go out with a good spread. We have a plan for a gingerbread wreath so I may make that instead.

The group did the poultry work as usual and replaced a faulty drinker, had a couple of walks through the trees, found a dead sheep, made a few individual craft projects, put up some Christmas decorations and did the composting, so it was a reasonably full day.

As part of the process of closing down we have given everyone their folders to take home. Some of them are inches thick with things they have done while they have been here, others (depending on how long they have been here, and how industrious they have been) are not quite so thick. Even so, there are a lot of memories in those folders and I’m beginning to feel a little maudlin at the thought of breaking up the group.

Feels like time for a bit of Housman. Nobody does maudlin quite like Housman.

Into my heart an air that kills
From yon far country blows:
What are those blue remembered hills,
What spires, what farms are those?
That is the land of lost content,
I see it shining plain,
The happy highways where I went
And cannot come again.

 

 

Like eating soup with a fork…

After an active morning, with a lot of poultry work and watering, we had lunch and settled down to some serious outdoor education with a trek in the woods and the making of nature memory sticks. I would say “and picking blackberries” but someone has got there before us, for the second year in a row. The sticks are on willow, but despite repeated soaking most of them stayed defiantly unbent.

Here are the results. They look pretty good in real life, though possibly not quite so good in the photos. The sticks, that is. The group, of course, when faced with a camera look shifty, bored or anywhere but the camera. That’s what suggested the title. I’ve just deleted about half the group shots because people moved, looked away, closed their eyes or opened their mouths unsuitably wide. The surviving shots then needed weeding for ones where they have greenery sprouting from unexpected places.

As you can see, it wasn’t the most successful of group portraits – long on character but short on technical skill is a kind way of putting it.

Part of it was my fault, I suppose, as I kept asking for different sorts of cheese to encourage them to pay attention. It may not have worked, as shouts of “Boursin!” and a discussion on paneer proved not to be advantageous to the job in hand.  So, by the miracle of coincidence and cheap digital photography,  here are some pictures.