ADVENT -anniversaries,decorations,visitors, extras, Northernpowergrid, tables and trees

Yes, I know, it’s been a long time so sit tight ready to get engaged with the goings on at Green Lane; perhaps a cuppa (or something stronger!) might sustain you through the marathon that is both updating and December.

What a find! Whilst browsing in the local Hospice Shop I spotted a rather brilliant geometric fabric still on its cardboard pole. £2.00! Surely not! It was – wow! I had no idea what I would make with it but at that price I had to have it. Later I turned it into a Roman Blind for Chris’s Room, edging it with the remnants from two other projects both of which I had used in Chris’s room; so, wonderful coordinating. Chris was pleased with the results but he had no idea what I had lined up on my ‘list’ of things pre-Christmas.

Later in the month, I used the cardboard tube for the base of my garland decorations – waste not want not. Then recycled once the decorations came down.

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Little did I know that Chris also had plans of his own …

Having been inspired by the progress made as the downstairs started to look so much better and more finished, he decided to try his hand at plastering. The door that we had replaced in the kitchen had remained an eyesore for over a year but as can be seen it started to improve as Chris re-routed electric cables, put up new lights and plastered the window surrounds. I later painted it and it all looked great for Christmas. Thanks, Chris, job well done.

But this was just the start of his madly creative period – he then looked at my design ideas for my room and translated them into reality. I am REALLY thrilled with my almost finished room. It looks just as I imagined it. It is a light and calm room filled with photos and sentimental knick knacks.

Following this I took a quick look around the charity shops and found two rugs – one for Chris’s room and one for mine. Job almost done. I now have another purpose built shelf under my desk area for the printer and space for a basket holding files and stationery – perfect!

Well, you must be asking yourselves, what have you been up to since Chris seems to be doing so much. Glad you asked. I had been busy preparing for Christmas – making and sending Christmas cards, sewing, crocheting and knitting gifts and buying presents, as well as making Christmas puddings and cake – catch a taster from the following photos:

Yes – I know there are two tea cosy covers but when I had made one my sensible husband suggested that there might be further demand for said item so he advised that I made another one, which I did. The cake was decorated using my Mum’s original cake decorations from the 1960’s. I just had to use them all.

Well, is that all you did, I hear – no, on the second weekend of December my Mother was volunteered to help the grandchildren and me wrap and label all their presents that they had bought for family and friends.They had saved their pocket money, made lists of friends and a joint list for family and we hit the shopping heights at Skippingdale Retail Park which seemed to provide nearly all their requirements. Each grandchild had their own basket and I had three envelopes filled with their saved pocket money.

What a marathon – 6 hours of cutting, wrapping, sticking and writing. Thank heavens that Great Grandma was there …

Look at Madeleine’s gift bags already done and arranged on the window sill – still more to go though. Daisy wrote every single one of her gift labels but we did have to stop her writing her name in full – we felt that everyone already knew that it was Daisy Sullivan giving the gift (so no need for her surname, even if it was written in her best handwriting!) Matthew quietly got on even though we did have to do a bit of top up shopping in the Barton charity shops – Aunty Lucy was the lucky recipient of one such bargainacious find!

On the other hand I had to wrap all our presents on my own …

Not bad, now what’s next?

The first fortnight of December was quite full on as we celebrated Daisy’s 6th birthday on December 10th and Lucy had her first birthday celebration as part of our family on December 11th.

A perfect start to a great birthday. Birthday breakfast followed by a trip to Normanby Hall as a family for tea, feeding the reindeer and a visit to see Father Christmas.

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What a lovely day and we know that James organised lovely things for Lucy but perhaps not a trip to see Santa!

On Thursday 14th December Chris and I celebrated 39 years together – I know, where does the time go? Also, Northernpowergrid turned up as scheduled, to remove the redundant electricity pole outside our driveway. This was the final part of a request I made when we first moved in – so, only three years. Worth the wait though. Everyone was efficient and the pole was removed quickly – it just took another week for the hole to be filled in. Oh well!

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Of course Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas without a tree, or two, or three – oh heck four! It started as it always does with my usual refrain, “Chris, I’ve had an idea …” so, the pallet that had been part of our cast iron radiator delivery was cut up into tree shapes ready for painting and using in the gardens. Chris really is getting great use out of his reciprocal saw …

… as if this was not enough I had also asked him to construct a Christmas tree shaped log-store from the leftover lap-edge fencing. I think he enjoys the challenge.

I think you’ll agree that they really added something to our garden.

Usually being the person who arranges and organises things I was completely unprepared for what occured on my birthday – Thursday 21st December rolled around, James and Lucy had arrived on the 20th and we were all starting to get into the swing of things; David and Heather were due later on so all was going to plan. Hannah had asked if she and the children could come over for breakfast – of course, we were delighted. I was amazed and thrilled when my sister Suzanne and my niece Samantha turned up from Harrogate with bubbly, salmon, caviar, bagels and cake! What a beautiful and loving surprise. Thank you so much. We were all having such a great time that no one took any photos so you will just have to imagine how lovely it was. It doesn’t hurt to say thank you again though, so a very big loving thank you.

Just before this I had ‘another idea’ which my lovely husband undertook with a great deal of faith. Apart from wooden trees I persuaded him to make a new table to accommodate all of the visitors we were expecting over the Christmas period – to increase the imperative, I donated our dining table to the local British Red Cross shop which is where I had bought it from three years previously! So, look what my clever husband made:

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Yes! I know! It is brilliant!

And look at how well it fits the dining space and that it will seat eight people comfortably and ten if needed. Just what I wanted – a table fit for purpose. Hairpin legs bought online and scaffolding boards from B&Q. Excellent.

The cheery Christmas vibe is definitely apparent now – decorations up in the dining room and in the front and back gardens, lights twinkling and of course the real Christmas tree (number 4).

In the front room I put up my LED tree with the jolly Santas and delicate Angels as well as the polar bear ornaments for the grandchildren.

Like us the ‘children’ had been busy decorating their homes, creating DIY Advent calendars, making unusual Christmas trees and making festive goodies to give as gifts or to share throughout the Yuletide. All were a great and delicious success.

The granddaughters not to be left out had decorated and labelled a dozen little cress heads. Over a period of time Chris and I had collected egg shells in preparation for Daisy to grow mustard and cress in them; about ten days before Christmas she seeded the eggshells stuffed with damp cotton wool and watered them regularly until they had all grown a fine ‘mop of green hair’. Hannah suggested that they make place names out of them. Carefully the girls illustrated and coloured and labelled each ‘hairy egg’ – fantastic and what a great addition to the Christmas table. Well done, girls, I can’t wait to see what you do for next Christmas.

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I think they tailored each one to suit the recipient!

By the afternoon of the 21st December the family had all arrived – from Hastings in East Sussex and from Edinburgh, Scotland and how delighted we were to see them. Did they come for a free ride and a laze about? Certainly not. They had planned to take over Christmas and make it a culinary delight and a hands on cooking experience for all. It truly was a brilliant and wonderful Christmas – beautiful people, wonderful food, great games, lots of loving and sharing. Yet another big thank you these wonderful people for making Christmas exactly what it should be – magical xxx

No mistletoe necessary!

Christmas dinner which we had at Prospect House with Hannah, Matt and family was superb. The food looked beautiful and almost jewelled and it tasted divine; what a menu and what a great team of cooks working together. Who can forget the garlic /lemon prepared Turkey, the delicious stuffings, vegan offerings, pickled red cabbage, the gravies, sauces, custards and special Islay Marmalade Pudding! Phew! What a blowout!

Despite it being half way through January we want to wish you all a very wonderful 2018.