Tuesday 30 December 2008

Into Perthshire

The festive season is passing well, we've open parcels, eaten lots, been out to friends, had friends round to us and I've really enjoyed and appreciated our home, decorated, cosy and comfortable.
This morning when I got up Mr FF had already packed Brie and cranberry chutney sandwiches and made a flask of coffee so we could go out for the day. We drove over the Forth bridge into Perthshire, which was looking beautiful, not as cold and frosty as it is here but slightly misty and mysterious.
We stopped off briefly at the House of Bruar near Blair Atholl, a retail shrine to all things expensive, Scottish cashmere, country clothing and luxury foods. No credit crunch there, the place was heaving and people were shopping, we just looked with wonder at the array of goodies.
Our picnic was taken at the side of Loch Rannoch as the sun tried to break through and the temperature stuck at zero.
The day was a reminder of what a beautiful part of the world we have on our doorstep, sometimes we forget just like we forget how much we love our home and how fortunate we are.

Wednesday 24 December 2008

Christmas Eve

Wishing you a very happy Christmas

Tuesday 23 December 2008

Trimming Time

Our Christmas tree is still growing in the front garden, for the last few years we've been able to provide our own not always ideal specimen, good enough for the season and later for the stove. I got the box of decorations out at the weekend and had a good look through, its always nice to re-discover these once a year items and remember why I keep them. We start out with a tree decked in white baubles, silver beads and white lights that we think is quite sophisticated, then we add the important things.
The little bell our niece made us at nursery, she is in her mid twenties now.
The golden fish that I bought in Glasgow one year with Helen, in the happy times when we used to take a day off work for a girlie trip that involved more coffee, cakes and trying on of clothes than it did Christmas shopping. I hope she still has hers.
This pretty fold out card that came from friends in Taiwan, its 3 dimensional with cut out santas, I couldn't bear to throw it away and put it up every year.
And of course what would Christmas be without an armadillo. I bought this for Mr FF the year he'd been in South America and it still makes me smile.
So not exactly a designer tree, and as Christmas progresses we do tend to add more bits and pieces, ribbon from parcels, pretty tags etc, but we like it for the tradition and memories that we've created. I hope you tree holds as much magic for you.

Thursday 18 December 2008

A stitch too far?

I'm not sure if this isn't wrong. I bought a couple of balls of gold Rowan Shimmer in a charity shop with the intention of using it to tie up Christmas parcels but then I was looking through the latest Rowan magazine and found a pattern for knitted ribbon in exactly that yarn. Knitted ribbon does seem a bit beyond what I want to produce but I've done it now, at least of a couple of metres of it. I think, in my more festive moments, that I might drape it on the Christmas tree, if we ever get round to putting one up, we don't always, or on the mantle piece if I ever get round to putting up the holly swags, I did one year. My cold is a lot better now, apart from a hacking cough that prevents me sleeping so my activities are returning to normal. I still have to knit some of the little stockings for myself, no urgency there, and am not knitting any more Christmas gifts so I've started a pair of socks using the yarn I bought in France.
Its a silky soft combination of 39% wool 48% cotton and 13% polyamide. I'm really enjoying the spring like colours, the perfect antidote to my excess of festive nonsense. Knitted ribbon indeed.

Tuesday 16 December 2008

Man flu/cold

Oh dear. Last week Mr FF had a cold, aka man flu, which meant whilst he was able to attend the various office lunches he is invited to at this time of year, he was unable to do much else and certainly not venture near the kitchen. He moaned a lot, constantly reported his symptoms to me and made spectacular noises, it was so bad he even put the central heating on. You will gather I wasn't that sympathetic.
Then at the weekend I started and this cold has been a killer. I felt really awful on Sunday but I'd planned to get the kitchen ceiling painted that day as Mr FF would be out with his walking group and he promised to bring me a fish supper so I didn't have to cook, just paint. I decided that since I already felt bad, a bit more bad wouldn't make much difference and at least the job would get done. I took my time and drunk lots of orange juice to keep my vitamin C levels up, promising myself a hot bath with lavender and tea tree oil when I finished. I did get the job done, it looks great and I'm so pleased its finished but my goodness I've been unwell since then. I had to take to my bed early Sunday evening and stayed there until Monday afternoon. I hardly slept Sunday and when Mr FF brought me tea in the morning, I sat up in bed to drink it, promptly fell asleep and poured the lot over me and the duvet. My joints are achy and I've been really weak, haven't felt like knitting or reading. Its always the way isn't it, you imagine some time in bed will be good but when you do get that time you are just too ill to enjoy it. And as for sympathy, not much around I'm just getting reminded that I was extremely rude about the man flu.

Thursday 11 December 2008

I'm doing it OK

Yes I do know what time of year it is, its bah humbug time again.

I've written the cards, they are ready to post

I've wrapped the parcels to go down to Yorkshire with Mr FF next week

I've knit and knit and knit - socks, gloves, cowls and I'm extremely pleased with the amount of yarn I've got through, its really tidied up the stash. I am still producing those little sock decorations that are nice pre-Christmas gifts, I've made and given 12 so far but I'd like some for me too. So just a bit more knitting, the kitchen ceiling to paint and the excitement of moving out of our kitchen for a few days. How festive.

Monday 8 December 2008

Quiet days

Things have certainly been quiet around here this last week, its been too cold and snowy to be outside in the garden and to be honest I haven't felt like doing much inside. Which is bad because we are having new kitchen worktops and sink fitted next week and we'll need to move everything out of the units but before that we want to paint the kitchen ceiling. I've got half of it washed down, its an awful job so to cheer myself up I got out one of my favourite tins.

I bought this in Italy a few years ago, complete with Christmas panatone and carried it home in the days when you could carry sizeable things on flights. Its fortunate for us that when we first bought our house in Lazio we were able to take out so many things in our hand luggage, several sets of crockery, cutlery, teapots and kettles, all wrapped up in bedding and towels for the house. We were also able to bring back bottles of our own lovely olive oil, now we chance a bottle or two in the suitcase, worth the risk and so far no disasters.

I've got my first panatone in the tin, I expect we shall get through several over the holidays. I love panatone with a good strong coffee for breakfast and having it in my international Christmas tin makes it even more special.
Thank you for all your kind thoughts since we lost Cleo, people have contacted us via the blog and directly, it does help and we really appreciate it. Later this afternoon we have been invited up to Peaches' house for mince pies and cat cuddling, I hope that will help get me back on track.

Tuesday 2 December 2008


We had Cleo put to sleep this morning and she is buried in the front garden wrapped in the white baby blanket that was round her when Jacquie and the twins brought her from next door to live with us all those years ago. Over the weekend she stopped eating, even fresh haddock, prawns and salmon wouldn't tempt her and she was surviving on water, cat milk and a little beaten egg. David our vet agreed that it was the kindest thing to do and her death was very peaceful, he was always so kind and gentle with her.
We miss her terribly, the house is so empty, but we are trying to remember all the happy times and all the naughty things she did, like bringing six mice into the house in quick succession and eating them all.
This is the cat dish we brought her back from Palm Springs last year, she liked it a lot, she was a beautiful cat, good girl Cleo.