Saturday, 31 December 2011

The Month of December

Started with Christmas shopping in full swing. Hopeful awaiting of parcels, marching through the crowds, trying not to buy presents for me...
A visit to Mortlake to see Warmth's brother and wife's new home with the other brother and his wife. A fun evening of laughter and then tapas lookng forward to many more in their home.
Meeting up with university friends in Browns for our annual Christmas lunch.
Meeting Warmth's brother and wife who live near us in their newly renovated local pub.
Getting ready for a family Christmas gathering. Lots of cooking, cleaning and decorating in advance. Much fun on the day. And many left overs to nibble on afterwards.
Travelling back to West London and back in time to leaving drinks for a former colleague. Lots of memories and catching up.
Meeting up with a dear friend to discover she and her family are going to be moving to Singapore in the summer. We don't see alot of each other but I will really miss our six monthly meet ups in Angel over supper and a bottle of wine.
A quiet weekend together ending with Sunday afternoon tea at Warmth' s parents. Mince pies, tea loaf and warming tea.
Finally the end of term. Celebrating by meeting a dear friend for mooching, Wahaca and cocktails.
Meeting my dear old colleagues for a celebratory supper and catch up. Each time we meet we say 'oh I miss you'. Then a hop across the river to catch up with other dear friends reuniting. Finally the last train home.
A lovely Christmas Eve with Warmth. Leisurely morning then into town to Dickens' house for a reading of A Christmas Carol, mulled wine, mince pies and a good old nose around his house.
A cold and quiet walk to London Bridge to meet Brother for drinks. Alas chosen pub was closed. Off to where they live. Alas their local pub was closed. So back home for a Christmas Eve drink.
Christmas Day. Opening gifts in front of the fire with a delicious cup of tea. Part of the Warmth family, with Granny Warmth came for bucks fizz & biscuits. Then some of us walked to the other brother's so we were all together for a lovely delicious family Christmas day.
Boxing Day a drive to Kent to my family. A cold Christmas meal, more pudding, brandy butter, fizz, wine, laughter and family.
Meeting friends in Blackheath for lunch, just a salad for me please, at The Railway.
Meeting Warmth for a Friday Late at Tate Modern viewing Gerhard Richter and then on for tapas at Brindisa
A re arranged New Years' Eve. Now just Warmth and I. We're going to the matinee of The Pitman Painters then a cocktail before being back in our new home for spaghetti carbonara and bubbles to welcome in 2012.

Baking for Christmas gathering shepherd's pie. Nigella's courgette fritters, Yule log, a rebake of the plum and orange cake from River Cafe Easy. Mother kindly brought along the family favourite of Bethlehem Star Pie. Nigella's Gold Dust biscuits as gifts for friends with a glittery bird attached just incase there wasn't enough sparkle. Chestnut and Lentil soup for Christmas Eve. Stilton and walnut biscuits for Christmas Day.
Books read The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides for book club. Little Women and Good Wives by Louise May Alcott for Florence Finds book club.

Wishing you all a very Happy New Year x

Sunday, 25 December 2011

That this is the best time to dream

For, after the gospels,
After the human and divine comedies,
After the one thousand and one nights,
After crime and punishment,
War and peace, pride and prejudice,
The sound and the fury,
Between good and evil,
Being and nothingness,
After the tempest, the trial,
And the wasteland,
After things have fallen apart,
After the hundred years of solitude,
And the rememberance of things past,
In the kingdom of this world,
We can still astonish the gods in humanity
And be the stuff of legends,
If we but dare to be real,
And have the courage to see
That this is the best time to dream
The best dream of them all.

Ben Okri, last stanza 'Mental Fight'

With Christmas Love x

Friday, 23 December 2011

This time in December

Today it's Carol Ann Duffy's birthday and so any excuse for some Duffy. This piece comes from her 'Another Night before Christmas'.

Then she watched as the room filled with magic and light
As the spirit of Christmas made everything bright
And suddenly presents were heaped by the tree -
But she didn't wonder, which ones are for me?

For the best gift of all is to truly believe
In the wonderful night that we call Christmas Eve,
When adults remember, of all childhood's laws,
This time in December will bring Santa Claus.


How will you be spending today?

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

It's like Tiffany's

'It's a little inconvenient, his not having a name. But I haven't any right to give him one: he'll have to wait until he belongs to somebody. We just sort of took up by the river one day, we don't belong to each other: he's an independent, and so am I. I don't want to own anything until I know that I've found the place where me and things belong together. I'm not quite sure where that is just yet. But I know what it's like.' She smiled, and let the cat drop to the floor. 'It's like Tiffany's...' Truman Capote Breakfast at Tiffany's


Over on Florence Finds Breakfast at Tiffany's is being discussed. Do pop over read and add your thoughts...

Monday, 19 December 2011

My day in books

This really caught my attention and so I had a go myself.

I began the day with Breakfast at Tiffany's.
On my way to work I saw Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire
and walked by Union Street
to avoid Mrs Tim and the regiment
but I made sure to stop at The Moon and Sixpence.
In the office, my boss said "Excellent Women"
and sent me to research Chocolat.
At lunch with The Third Miss Symon's
I noticed The Cat
under Miss Buncle's Book
then went back to my desk All Passion Spent.
Later, on the journey home, I bought Snowdrops
because I have Round about a pound a week.
Then settling down for the evening, I picked up The hand that first held mine
and studied The Virgin Suicides

before saying goodnight to The Ladies of Lyndon.

Christmas Reading

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Persephone Secret Santa

Last week a parcel arrived. On the back was written 'Persephone Secret Santa!' And inside.....

A lovely card, holly Christmas tree decoration and Elizabeth Cambridge Hostages to fortune from Simon at Stuck in a Book. What is so lovely is that I gave to Simon last year for Persephone Secret Santa, and he mentioned this in his card.

Thank you Simon for the gifts - I look forward to finding time to read this inbetween Christmas and New Year.

And thank you Claire and Verity for organising it again this year.

What did you receive/give for Persephone Secret Santa?

Monday, 12 December 2011

The pleasantest week

"...and the second week in December, when she chose her Christmas presents for all her nieces and nephews, was the pleasantest week in the year to her." F.M. Mayor The Third Miss Symons

Some how I don't think Miss Symon's would buy this many, wrapped in pink and piled high on a car - but maybe she'll suprise us.

How is your Christmas shopping going?

Wishing you all a most pleasant week.

Friday, 9 December 2011

A feast of cake

'She remembered the great decorated kitchen, with holly hung from the rafters among the salt-rimed shrouded hams and puddings, a fiddler on the back stairs, and a feast of cake and fruit and pasties, wine and whisky.' Winifred Holtby South Riding
cake, fruit
What are your Christmas memories of food?

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Delight in human relationships

'But her heart was so generous, her range of acquaintance so wide and her delight in human relationships so unstaled, that she could have spent a national income without difficulty. As it was, she was put to desperate straits to accommodate her lavish tastes to her narrow fortune.' Winifred Holtby South Riding

If you want to be stirred up for Christmas do go and read the whole of this passage. it's Book v11 Chapter 1 Mrs. Beddows Receives a Christmas Present.

A few instagram images from Liberty's and Fortnum & Mason's Christmas windows. I should think Mrs Beddows would have loved to do her Christmas shopping at these two shops.

Monday, 5 December 2011

Scarlet Tulips

As you know I read South Riding this year and there were so many lovely Christmas quotes that I've decided to have a week of South Riding Christmas quotes to truly get in the festive spirit. Let's start with the gift of flowers.

'On the wet pavement women stood selling flowers in odd-shaped curving baskets; chrysanthemums, vivid dyed crimson leaves, holly, tight little bunches of scarlet tulips and roses in buds hard as porcelain.
She stopped before a basket of red and yellow rosebuds. 'Oh,' she thought, 'I must have some for Pattie.'
Winifred Holtby South Riding


What flowers would you like to receive this Christmas?

Friday, 2 December 2011

Knowing a person

I'm meeting up with university friends for lunch this weekend. I realise we've known each other for over 20 years. Re reading my letters last month, there are many from them. Letters written whilst on holiday, on gap years after university, thank you letters, good luck in new home, sharing the excitement of engagements. Many memories. Our lives are quite different somehow, I don't know about their day to day thoughts and emotions. They're not the friends I would go to in a crisis. But they are friends I've known for a very long time.

'Well, this is one way of knowing a person, I suppose; to know the outline, not the detail; to sit on the veranda and look at the contour of the hill - that shoulder, such a jagged shoulder it looks, running down steeply into the silverwater of the loch. I know Mrs Anstruther in that way - just a few jags, sticking up into the blue sky, just a rounded piece of hill with a few pine trees on it. Some day I may climb the hill and feel the smoothness of the jagged rocks, and find a piece of bog-myrtle in a crevice, or move a stone and see the ants and beetles wriggling amongst the pale roots of grass.' D.E. Stevenson Mrs Tim of the Regiment
Thankfully we no longer need to snuggle by the fire to keep warm as we did in student days. What are your thoughts on friendship over time?