Therefore all seasons shall be sweet to thee,
Whether summer clothe the general earth
With greeness, or the redbreast sit and sing
Betwixt the tufts of snow on the bare branch
Of mossy apple-tree, while the nigh thatch
Smokes in the sun-thaw; whether the eave-drops fall
Heard only in the trances of the blast,
Or if the secret ministry of frost
Shall hang them up in silent icicles,
Quietly shining to the quiet Moon.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Two Little Angels

I hope everyone had as good a Christmas as we did. These are just a few photos from Christmas Eve - not great as there were a lot of people around in a small space and it was a case of snapping what I could. A local farm does a Nativity play which the children take part in during the few days leading up to Christmas so I booked tickets for Steve, Hannah, Juliette, myself and the two girls. It was a surprise for Kaitlyn and Lucy as they had no idea where we were going when we set out. First of all the children are dressed up so that they can take part in the play. Kaitlyn and Lucy both chose to be angels - along with pretty much all the other children:)

The nice thing was that there were real animals - an 'ox' in a stall, real lambs for the shepherds and a real donkey for Mary to travel to Bethlehem on.

Afterwards the children were all able to ride on the donkey if they wanted to which Lucy definitely did!

Holding one of the lambs was fun too though the lamb seems to be more interested in Aunty Juliette's hair than anything else.

Finally came a visit to Father Christmas - Kaitlyn seems very happy with this part:) Lucy is more interested in what the parcel might contain! Grown ups weren't left out - there was a glass of mulled wine and a mince pie for us. It made a great start to the holiday.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Here we are again with my traditional Christmas Eve post:)

The Night Before Christmas was always my children's bedtime story on Christmas Eve.
So for all of us who still feel the magic of this night......

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled down for a long winter's nap,
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,
With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.

More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;
"Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! on Cupid! on, Donder and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!"
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too.
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.

As I drew in my hand, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.
His eyes -- how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook, when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night."

May I wish all of you a very Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Happy Winter Solstice!


So the shortest day came, and the year died,
And everywhere down the centuries of the snow-white world
Came people singing, dancing,
To drive the dark away.
They lighted candles in the winter trees;
They hung their homes with evergreen;
They burned beseeching fires all night long
To keep the year alive,
And when the new year's sunshine blazed awake
They shouted, revelling.
Through all the frosty ages you can hear them
Echoing behind us - Listen!!
All the long echoes sing the same delight,
This shortest day,
As promise wakens in the sleeping land:
They carol, feast, give thanks,
And dearly love their friends,
And hope for peace.
And so do we, here, now,
This year and every year.
Welcome Yule!!"

- Susan Cooper, The Shortest Day

These are still the most perfect words for the celebration of Winter Solstice that I've ever found so here they are again:) I have been so busy recently with preparations for the winter festival and life in general that I'm afraid that the blog has taken a back seat. My son and his family are over from South Africa and for the first time in three years they will be spending the holiday season with us so it's a very special one for us. Hopefully in January I shall have more time and will be back to posting regularly. Meanwhile I wish you all a very Happy Winter Solstice!