Saturday 30 November 2019

Festival of Christmas Trees 2019

Hello Friends!

It's the last day of November, all the big Autumn festivities are at a close and now we herald Advent tomorrow, December 1st, and before we know it, it will be Christmas Day, and the next thing it will be 2020.  How did this happen so quickly?

Sixteen years have flown by since I first introduced the concept of a Festival of Christmas Trees to my village.  Oh, boy! You should have seen everyone's faces, their expressions, when I first presented this concept to the Christmas Tree Association.  You could see what each person was thinking, "What is she going on about?" or "What mad scheme is she concocting now?" But, I must have done something good because they let me run with it; that first year we only had nine trees centred in the City Hall, but on the first day you could hear pennies suddenly dropping across the village as requests to "put me down for a space next year!" came pouring in!  The following year we had twenty trees, and the event is now an established part of our Christmas social calendar in the village.

I no longer have a part in the organising, as many of you know I was a care giver for several years and reluctantly I turned over the reins to others.  Everyone is doing a first rate job and the event continues to gather momentum.

This year, a very creatively minded lady suggested introducing a new category, A Decorated Christmas Wreath, to the event and it's a huge success!  The response has been superb, and the wreaths are all beautiful.  More on those in a second blog, as I do not want to overload this one, and the wreaths are all worthy of their own entry, so check back in a few days for that one.

I am always amazed at the imagination and creativity of everyone across the village.  Each year every tree is different, and while sometimes a theme may be repeated, the interpretations are all so different. We see real trees, fake trees, trees made out of trees, and trees that are not trees at all but highly imaginative installations.  It's all good, and it's all good fun!  I love to listen to the comments and see the smiles on people's faces.

So, here are the photos I took of this year's entries, or is that ent trees?

A local hostelry promoting their wares

Hand felted Robins by Menevia WI Craft Group

Tiny hand wrapped wreaths from Coffee and Chat

I wonder what the Ladies' Netball Team has under their goalpost tree?

An ocean theme tree

The Holly and the Ivy

Hand made gifts and surprises in a handmade Advent calendar

Remembering the past through reading in the Welsh language

Stitchy Witches Red and White handstitched tree

Eisteddfod Handmade Tree with Welsh themes

A seaweed tree

National Trust interpretation of the Cross Square with recycled and natural materials

Remembering the Moon Landing 50th Anniversary

Reading at School

 Local Playgroup recycled tree from clean used milk bottles

Recycling theme

All Wrapped Up!

A tree made using the new local doorstep recycling collection scheme boxes


I would love you to tell me which is your favourite, and why, in the comments.

I do hope you have enjoyed seeing all the hard work and creativity on show from my small village, and don't forget to pop back in a few days to see the dedicated decorated wreath post, will you?

Until next time
Deborah xo

Tuesday 26 November 2019

Remembering and Giving Thanks

Hello Friends!

I haven't made an entry for a while, for as I began this month with a post on remembering, so I am winding up the month with one of similar note.  November for me, this year particularly, has been a month of remembering my family.  It's crammed full of anniversaries, of births and deaths, so a month of mixed emotions.

It is over a year since I lost my beloved Mum, but finally this month I found the strength to think about starting to go through her many boxes of china and bits and bobs in the attic.  There's nothing of any particular value, but to me every precious object has meaning and value beyond the price of jewels and precious metals.  I will share some of my finds here with you, but before I do, I wish all my friends, followers and readers who celebrate

A Very Happy Thanksgiving

Enjoy your festivities celebrating with your families surrounding you as we all give thanks for family, friends, and the bounty provided to our tables.  Travel safely if you are on the road or in the air.

I will be remembering, fondly, many Thanksgiving Days spent in America, and on American bases across the world.  Some I was alone and my good neighbours invited me in to share {and learn about} this tradition, but for many more we opened the doors of our own home to the Single and Unaccompanied from the Barracks to escape the base for a few hours, sit down with friends and share a home cooked Thanksgiving dinner.

Remembering and Giving Thanks

So, a few weeks ago I intrepidly set foot in the attic for the first time in a couple of years. I found the first box and it was full of tiny balls of forty year old and older newspaper, yellowed with age and full of once newsworthy stories now long forgotten, each piece wrapped tightly around something that has not seen the light of day for over forty years.  As I carefully unwrapped each one, I became overwhelmed with the sudden realisation that the last hands to touch each of these trinkets were my dear Mum's.  Suddenly, each one became more precious, and I clung to each one, pulling it tight into my chest, near to my heart.  Tears of joy and sadness mingled and burned as they fell against my cheeks as I carefully unwrapped one precious treasure after another.

It's going to take a while, it's cold up in the attic this time of year, and I am in no rush, but I have found some fun things, and some that have made me wonder who owned them, which of my forebears bought them, and why.  Maybe they were gifts to celebrate a birthday or Christmas? Who knows now?  Questions to which I will never know the answers, but are good to ask and ponder.

Here are some of my finds

How many of you remember Hornimans Tea?  At first I thought Mum had absent mindedly packed away a quarter of tea, but no, she'd used it to protect a fragile, tiny piece of pretty china.  My Great Grandmother only used Hornimans and the precious leaves were kept in a tin on the mantel above the open coal fire to keep them dry.  A tea kettle was always on the side of the fire ready to make a brew at a moment's notice.

The stamp on the side of the pack is missing, and I know Mum kept them to surrender for gifts, a bit like Green Shield Stamps which I know many of you, like me, will remember, maybe not too fondly.  My memory is licking endless stamps to stick in the books which took forever to fill!

I love these two turkey plates by Johnson Bros, Barnyard King and Wild Turkey, both in near perfect condition and both will be used.  These must have belonged to my Grandmother.

Barnyard King

Wild Turkey

This banded butter dish is unmarked, but I think it dates from the 1950's or 60's.  As soon as I found it I fell in love, so I washed it and put it to use that afternoon with organic Welsh butter to fill it.  We cannot get the circular pats of butter here, but I am quite happy to cut my butter to fit.  It's lovely to see it in use again.

There are a plethora of saucers without cups.  I am so happy that Mum did not throw them out when the matching cups obviously broke as I love to repurpose, and I now have several very pretty drip trays for my tea infusers.  This one is my favourite and I would love to see the cup that matches.

She looks like she means business! I love her clothing and would like an outfit like that myself!

A tiny Aynsley china blue tit. This is from their Wild Bird series; I used to collect Aynsley Animal Kingdom, so this will join my small collection.  I looked them up on eBay and they now sell for less than a tenth of what I paid for them, but I don't mind, it makes them easier to keep, I bought them because I like them.  That's what matters.  Marie Kondo I am not but they bring me joy.

I love how you can see each brush stroke, and I wonder about the hands that carefully and skilfully painted this little dainty bird.

And finally, this mug which amazed me as I was unwrapping it around the time of Remembrance Sunday.  The emotion flooded in, for surely this was my Great Grandmother's.  Maybe bought for her by one of her sons who fought in the trenches?  She sent five sons off to two World Wars, and thankfully all five returned to her as safe and sound as they could after the horrors of war, but it affected Ma badly and she never got over it.

I have done a little quick research and this is a Royal Doulton Peace mug made to commemorate the end of the Great War.  Not that I would part with it, these are selling for next to nothing on eBay right now and I find that somewhat disquieting that they seem to have no value when you consider the lives that were laid down to bring peace across Europe.

I have cradled it in my hands, sat quietly and contemplated on it many times since I found it,

Remembering and Giving Thanks


Until next time
Deborah xo

Friday 1 November 2019


Hello Friends!

Outside my cottage door the plaintive cry of a new born month howls and piteously moans "Let me in! Let me in!" begging to be fed from the welcoming, life giving warmth of my fireside.  Leaves, once green and full of life now fall, brown and shrivelled into heaps of mouldering damp along the verges; the wind blows raw and cutting keen, chilling weary travellers to the bone; fast falls the rain in laden torrents from charged, fraught clouds that swim above our unsuspecting heads; the fading light is all but spent; and so the year drifts quickly by; and slowly we open the door to welcome in November.

November.  All Saint's Day.  All Souls Day.  Remembrance Sunday.  For some of us a month of anniversaries.  A month of quiet remembering, perhaps the most fitting month of all to sit in silence and reflect upon another year that's nearly spent.

Until next time
Deborah xo