Slowly easing towards the end of the year

Holy Trinity Church,Bradford on Avon taken by Simon Howell

Some Christmas traditions change; some remain.  But there will always be a craving to get outside, seek the light and to curl up later with some heat in Midwinter. This year there has been no trifle and no mince pie making, no holly and no huge get together with friends on Boxing Day. There has been a magnificent Christmas dinner, Monopoly and Cluedo, log fires, cake, crackers, homemade chutney and cheese and new books to enjoy.

Today we took ourselves off to Stourhead for a midwinter tramp around. Later I planted a new hellebore underneath the laburnum in the front garden at dusk, then scuttled back indoors for some heat in the form of cumin,paprika and chillies stirred through mashed sweet potatoes and steamed buttered kale for an easy supper.

 

The Christmas Chronicles Part IV – Hunkering down on Boxing Day

After the last minute gift wrapping and cooking of Christmas Eve and the traditions of Christmas Day family down-time takes centre-stage, today involving a muddy yomp to nearby Avoncliff along the canal towpath and chilling on the settee watching favourite films, drinking mulled cider (or honey and lemon in the case of those with Christmas colds). I’m starting to think about plans for the New Year. Good ideas come to those who are still and have time to listen to that inner voice

I love the quiet time between Christmas and New Year when there’s nowhere to go and friends might pop in on the off-chance. Country rambles, fireside browsing of seed catalogues and impromptu coffee and hot buttered crumpets shared at the kitchen table sums up the best of what this time of year has to offer and sets me up for the busy weeks ahead at school with the looming demands of finishing GCSE and A level syllabus and giving students a bit of help to deal with the post-Christmas blues.

Oranges, cloves, cinnamon and star anise feature in the puddings of days like these and, for now, I’ve turned my back on the Christmas leftovers. A pot of vegetable chilli bubbles on the hob to take to Grandad’s later. There’s a new beautifully illustrated 2018 diary to fill in and books by Nigel Slater and Monty Don to read. Father Christmas has been good to me.

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