Wednesday 28 December 2011


All is fairly quiet in the playroom today. Belinda is busy recycling festive wrapping paper. She carefully presses each piece and then passes it to Posy who hangs it neatly on the laundry rack. Several tiny dolls are having great fun playing 'hide and seek' behind the sheets of coloured paper.

The weather outside is wet and windy but the Christmas tree lights are filling the rooms with a warm glow. The tree in the hall stands at the foot of the stairs.

The sitting room tree as ever is draped with many old and much loved decorations. The tiny Santa below is perched on a white swan. When gently pulled the spring allows the swan to bounce up and down and its feathery wings move to create the illusion of a magical flying Santa. My mum bought it from a large London store in the 1950s and I don't think I can ever remember a Christmas without it. Each January it is lovingly packed away until the following December.

I like the repetition that Christmas brings and make no real effort to do things differently. The mantel is always draped in greenery and when night falls the candles are lit.

On the old oak table in a corner of the dining room I always arrange the same items. A bible, a brass chamber stick and a pewter plate in which I place a few Georgian and Victorian coins. These coins were in circulation when Jane Austen and Charles Dickens were alive and I like to think of them rattling around in peoples' pockets and hope that maybe some made their way onto church collection plates and were then used to help the poor and needy.

How lucky those of us are with warm comfortable homes. I thought I'd leave you with this picture that for me typifies Christmas. It depicts a quiet English village nestling below the ancient church. Lamps are lit, fires glow and the smoke from chimneys rises high into the frosty air. The picture is an illustration from my 'Wind in the Willows' book which I'll tell you about in the new year.


From my home here in England I send warm greetings and may next year bring health and happiness to you all.

Thursday 22 December 2011

Christmas greetings to you all

Christmas greetings friends. Autumn days here at Flutterby Patch seems to have passed in a flash of frantic and frustrating activity. It all began in early October with the arrival of a smart new woodburning stove for the sitting room. We were told by the stove fitters that installing it was a fairly simple job and would take a couple of days (famous last words). They spent the first day lining the chimney and by day two were ready to connect the stove. However, after much pushing and shoving they were eventually forced to remove our large sitting room fireplace so that the stove could be securely linked to the chimney liner. The room was emptied of furniture and the carpet taken up. Plaster was removed from around the wooden surround, then out came the fireplace; in went the stove; back went the surround; the wall was replastered and all was made good again. . . . We prepared to light the fire. . . . . . but, wouldn't you just know it, there was a problem with the chimney and so the fireplace had to be taken out once more and this time part of the brick wall was removed. I can't begin to describe the mess and chaos. The whole procedure that was to have taken two days eventually took two weeks. When the stove fitters left we found plaster and brick dust in every corner of the house. And so we've spent the last few weeks cleaning and in some cases redecorating and have finally completed three rooms. . . . The good news is that the woodburning stove works beautifully and is keeping us toasty warm.

You won't be surprised to know that I've not had time to knit during the autumn. For several weeks the dollies remained in the playroom with the door firmly shut (dollies and brick dust don't make good companions).

This week we have been preparing for Christmas. I still have much catching up to do but thought I'd accompany my Christmas greeting by showing you this book by Brian Wildsmith. I know many of you love his illustrations and so I think you'll enjoy his version of the Christmas story.

The book 'A Christmas Story' was first published in the late 1980s and is widely available from used book suppliers.

The story begins with the birth of a baby donkey in a stable in the town of Nazareth.

One day a man and lady (named Joseph and Mary) took the mother donkey from the stable and set out on a long journey.

The baby donkey felt very sad all alone without his mother by his side.

Rebecca, who lived nearby, agreed to care for the baby donkey. But the little donkey was so sad that in the end Rebecca suggested that the two of them should set out in search of the donkey's mother.

The roads were full of people travelling to various towns and villages. Many of them had seen Mary and Joseph and were able to guide the two friends on their way.

Suddenly glorious music filled the sky and an angel appeared.

Shepherds in a nearby field pointed towards a brilliant star shining over the town of Bethlehem.

Rebecca and the little donkey followed the star and were guided to a stable.

On entering the stable they found a new-born baby lying in a manger. Richly dressed kings had brought splendid gifts for the child. They stood alongside poor shepherds and all were giving thanks for the arrival of this very special baby.

The little donkey and his mother were happily reunited and they remained with Mary and Joseph and carried them and their precious baby into Egypt.

Meanwhile, Rebecca rode back home on a splendid camel owned by one of the kings.

Thank you to everyone for creating the wonderfully colourful and interesting blogs that I've visited throughout 2011 and thank you for visiting me and my little dollies here at Flutterby Patch.