Finding work for idle hands: making, baking and more.

The white Christmas December 28, 2010

Filed under: Christmas — lauravw @ 2:21 pm

We spent Christmas in Somerset, where the snow was very deep. In the days before we set off, we debated back and forth about whether to cancel our travel plans and stay at home instead, but in the end, the trains were running and the roads were passable, and so off we went.

Our journey from Nottingham down to Somerset took us through Derby, Birmingham, Bristol, and plenty of other places – and every single one of them was covered in snow.

Once we arrived in Somerset, we were able to go for snowy walks through the fields – it’s been years since I’ve walked through snow that deep! And the icicles were incredible – hanging from every building. I don’t think I’ve seen icicles like that since I lived in North Yorkshire as a little girl. When we showed my mum the photos, she said exactly the same thing. Here’s a photo of some of the icicles we saw – hanging from the church we went to on Christmas morning. (And here are the rest of my photos of snow-covered Somerset.)

I hope the snow and ice didn’t disrupt your Christmas too much. Now we’re safely back home in Nottingham, there’s not a snowflake to be seen. Happily all the icy pavements are clear now too – which means I can walk around freely, without fear of falling over. (I did manage to fall over in the snow in Somerset, but the snow was so deep that it cushioned my fall and so only my pride was injured.)

I’ve still got a few days off work, and I like to use the last few days of the year to tidy up around the house, getting rid of the clutter so that we can start the year afresh. I’ve been checking through drawers and cupboards to see what can be donated to charity shops, and I’ve decided to get rid of three of my earliest sewing projects: a couple of bags and a skirt. I’ve put little labels on them to indicate they were handmade here in Nottingham, and I hope they will find a new home somewhere.


The best laid plans… December 22, 2010

Filed under: Christmas — lauravw @ 1:54 pm

I’ve wrapped all my presents. I have written all my cards. I’ve been on a few Christmas meals out with friends and colleagues and neighbours. So from a distance, our Christmas may look orderly and well-planned. But the weather has been making a nuisance of itself, with plans to see relatives being affected by the new batch of snow that arrived this week.

It now looks as though our original plans for seeing family this Christmas are going to happen (unless the weather holds any more surprises), but my parents, who were due to visit us today, weren’t able to make it – which means I am having to eat a whole tiramisu that was destined for them to enjoy. (Don’t feel too sorry for me – I think I will manage to get it down!)

Whatever your plans are, I hope Christmas turns out the way you want it to. And thank you for visiting me here at Busywork this year – it’s been lovely to have you around.





The end of the start of winter December 12, 2010

Filed under: Christmas — lauravw @ 4:24 pm

I feel like I have been hibernating. It’s dark when I go to work, it’s dark when I come home, and for two weeks, the pavements have been covered with ice and snow to such an extent that just walking to work or the shops is quite an effort. And the temperatures! It was minus 12 when I walked to work one day last week. I’ve been getting up a few minutes early each day to make sure I can top up all the birdfeeders, and I really worry about how all the birds and animals cope when the ground is frozen hard and covered in snow.

But on Friday, it all started to melt. By the time I went out on Saturday, it had all melted, and there wasn’t even a trace of the snow and ice left anywhere in our garden or on the streets surrounding us. I can now walk around freely, without fear of slipping on the ice and breaking a bone. It feels like it’s the end of a long dark winter, and I have to keep reminding myself that this is only the end of the start of winter – there is so much more of it to come.

On Saturday, that first snow-free morning, I went into Nottingham to do a tiny bit of Christmas shopping and to visit the Nottingham Contemporary art gallery, to see their latest exhibition. I had hardly any shopping to do – I just felt like being amongst the atmosphere of the rush towards Christmas, without actually feeling swept up in it. I don’t know why I wanted to go to the gallery – the current exhibition is of modern art, and it’s not something I tend to get on well with. I was there early, and so for a time in one of the halls it was just me and the guide/assistant person. I decided to be brave and ask her to explain some of the pieces to me, since to my eyes there wasn’t a great deal of art going on. She was polite and helpful, and said there was one piece she would explain to me first, since that would help me understand the others. At this point I knew I was in out of my depth: she led me to what I thought was a blank wall, and started to tell me about the art on it. After a couple of minutes I realised that the wall had a long and very neat line cut into it. This was the ‘art’. And then it got worse: the line had apparently been injected with meat (I’m sparing you the gory details here, it was a lot more graphic than that). I’m sure to some people works like this send a very powerful message, but they are lost on me. I headed off to the safety of John Lewis instead!

This Christmassy photo shows my friend’s new kitten, making a good effort to climb her Christmas tree. I love it when other people’s pets are naughtier than my pet.