I have been a bit quiet for a week or so. Work has been busy and taken up much of my time. Travelling to it also utilises extra time in bad weather. Ice, snow or fog will slow me down quite considerably....
However, I have also been busy on some seasonal type things. Firstly, for the first time in years, I decided to bake a Christmas cake! Once I had baked mine, I decided to also make one for my Mum and Dad. I usually buy one as a Christmas present for them but having bought a whole load of ingredients, I thought that this year, I would try to make some extra effort! However,my cooking skills are a lot rusty!
But, it was nice to have cooking smells in my kitchen. Cake mix, spices and brandy have a unique Christmassy smell that I had almost forgotten. I used a recipe out of an old cookery book from St Michaels. It says it all really, Marks & Spencer has long since ditched that tag!
I am hoping it has turned out ok, trouble is with cakes, the outside cannot really provide an indication of what is on the inside. It always reminds me of a passage from A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens regarding pudding!
"Hallo. A great deal of steam. The pudding was out of the copper. A smell like a washing-day. That was the cloth. A smell like an eating-house and a pastrycook's next door to each other, with a laundress's next door to that. That was the pudding. In half a minute Mrs Cratchit entered -- flushed, but smiling proudly -- with the pudding, like a speckled cannon-ball, so hard and firm, blazing in half of half-a-quartern of ignited brandy, and bedight with Christmas holly stuck into the top."
I do love the story and for those that live locally...well of course there is a fabulous version that was filmed in Shrewsbury with George C Scott which I never tire of seeing ~ but perhaps that is because I recognise lots of my childhood haunts!
Artwise, I have also been working on some festive type scenes and have been photographing and painting Holly.
The holly and the ivy,
When they are both full grown
Of all the trees that are in the wood
The holly bears the crown
O the rising of the sun
And the running of the deer
The playing of the merry organ
Sweet singing of the choir
I seem to have amassed rather a lot of examples....
As you can tell, I am almost in a Christmas spirit. But, I do think that may be down to the unusually cold weather, certainly for the end of November. So far here in Bridgnorth, we have evaded the big snowfall that has fallen on some but the cold is biting and the frost is severe.
I took a photo this morning of some berries and as you can see here is a little snow that has fallen overnight but also a heavy frost over the top....
This evening the temperature is plummeting yet again and I think we are expecting -9 or something silly. So to all of you that are also experiencing cooler temperatures, keep warm and for those of you that are not....well at least we are providing a little Christmas spirit!