Thursday, 30 December 2010


Have you seen it?

Each year there is a Nativity crib at the junction of Eldon Square and Eldon Gardens; this year it ain't there! so where is it? Let me know if you see it elsewhere and I have just missed the relocation. I have emailed the Council who said it is nothing to do with them (really?!!!)so I should contact Eldon Square owners- which I have done- to no avail so far. So I have emailed the Evening Chronicle and wait...... If you want to add pressure please send some emails/letters too. I already resent Christmas lights not being allowed as that is 'politically incorrect' so now we have Winter Festival and winter lights.

I feel a crusade coming on....

Hopefully the stamps mission to have the option to buy religious postage Christmas stamps has registered a little with the powers that be.

I have another crusade going with Interflora who reckon they have not seen my dozens of emails (which I have kept!!) regarding the July engagement 'bouquet' I sent to D2-I showed you photos of the pathetic bunch Interflora delivered.

I am delighted to say I have at last (4 months it has taken- but I have never yet given up on a book, though I was tempted with this one) finished 'The Dante Club ' and can now start on 'Blood Royal' by Vanora Bennett. I shall register Dante with Bookcrossing and set it free in the wild......

A walk along the beach at Druridge Bay has cleared the cobwebs and a cuppa at Deans and Daniella's has girded the loins so now to put the house back to rights; I should unearth the missing (hidden!) Dyson and hoover up the debris below the disintegrating wreath.

I do hope you see him tomorrow- 'The man with as many noses as there are days in the year'; keep your eyes open for him!

Hogmanay tomorrow- I need to find a silver coin (for wealth), coal (or fuel of some sort- signifying warmth), a piece of cake/sweet food (to wish plenty to eat) and a wee bottle of alcohol (to give us drink) to put in a bag to leave for the First Foot- to be brought in by who ever happens to be the first person (preferably & traditionally a tall, dark, handsome male)(but it might have to be H1!) to step over the threshold of the front door after midnight at New Year; they bring 2011's luck in with them.

Happy New Year when it comes!

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

'God bless us, every one'

Happy Christmas to all my readers. I just wonder who and where.

It is almost a year now since I started to blog; I hope I have given you a taste of Northern England- places to go, people to see, gardens.....

I wonder what happens when the year ends- do my months condense into a year 2010 just as my day blogs are squeezed into a month? I look forward to seeing what happens! In fact I am uncertain of whether to blog on into 2011- it does seem a bit arrogant to blog about one's life!

I have had a lovely Christmas, doing all our usual things with the whole gang here- plus some! I had lots of lovely gifts- especially soap- what are folks trying to tell me? Between Fenwick's window, All Saint's candlelit carol service and the County (without the mulled wine they say they have!) with friends, D3 and I didn't get time to track Santa on the internet! Stockings and Santa's tray /church /sausage sandwiches /drinks at friends /chocolates /turkey dinner and flaming Christmas pudding/charades and board games.... we do it all!

Lie-in with a Boxing Day book, Boxing Day fry-up, more games..... I have always liked the feast of Stephen.

Now 'The 2010 Wall' has to come down to prepare for the Wall of 2011.... to clag or not to clag?..... the vote is to have a 'Wall' again next year. I might get a number of wedding pics for it in 2011(hint- K&J,J&M, G&M, G&H,P&R.......)

Like Narnia's Dawn Treader, we are careering towards New Year- thinks...... will I come up with some New Year resolutions? losing weight is a permanent resolve; writing more.... sending off some writing to publishers (how?)...Going to bed earlier.... Are you going to make any resolutions for 2011?

I would love some captions for a picture!

I wish you a happy, healthy New Year.

Wednesday, 22 December 2010


Light and warmth are now on their way back! Hurrah! I greet the dawn of December 21st with a cheer every year; my 'electric light syndrome' (now everyone calls it SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder?) has always caused me to get a bit down in winter months for all I love winter as much as every other season in Britain.

Last week D3 and I were invited to the Tyneside to see 'In Our Name'; the Tyneside is a lovely Art Nouveau picture house, bar and cafe; we met cast and crew of the young persons' film which was largely filmed in the North East of England; the film showed different forms of post traumatic stress symptoms (and their effects) as revealed particularly in a female returning from a war-zone. Wow!

The snow is picking its way from the heavens which are full with the promise of more to come. The birds are desperately hungry. There are more tracks in the garden.

Will folks get home for Christmas?

Monday, 20 December 2010

Preparing for Christmas

One fine winter's day when Piglet was brushing away the snow in front of his house, he happened to look up and there was Winnie-the-Pooh. Pooh was walking round and round in a circle, thinking of something else, and when Piglet called to him, he just went on walking.
'Hallo!' said Piglet,'what are you doing?'
'Hunting', said Pooh.
'Hunting what?'
'Tracking something,' said Winnie-the-Pooh very mysteriously.
'Tracking what?' asked Piglet, coming closer.
'That's just what I ask myself. I ask myself, What?'
'What do you think you'll answer?'
'I shall have to wait until I catch up with it,' said Winnie-the-Pooh.'Now, look there.' He pointed to the ground in front of him. 'What do you see there?'
'Tracks,' said Piglet. 'Pawmarks.' He gave a little squeak of excitement.'Oh,Pooh! Do you think it's a-a-a Woozle?'.........

'It's a very funny thing,' said Bear, ' but there seem to be two animals now.' .........

'The tracks!' said Pooh. 'A third animal has joined the other two!'.........

Another snowfall or two or three has brought more chaos and cancellations. D1 is really poorly and in bed. Lots of bad coughs around but D3 and I managed to warm through people at church with mmmmulled wine and mmmmince pies.

Inspiration at the Sage gave the best performance they have ever given..... and the signer was mesmerising again!

Pre snow we made a start on the Christmas preparations so the free- range turkey is ordered. A trip across the shire to North Acomb Farm filled the freezer with both gluten free and pork free sausages ready for the annual onslaught of offspring with appetites!

The cupboard-under-the-stairs is freed up from all the recycling collections-magazines at hospitals, specs at opticians for Vision Aid Overseas, stamps at the friends who collects for the local Hospice- room for Harry Potter now!

Deck the hall with boughs of holly.........
D1 & D3 and I went to Jesmond Dene Centre and made wonderful Christmas wreaths with all the natural materials collected from the woods by the rangers- I loved it- but D1 was so ill we had to bring her home to bed. She tries.....

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

St Lucy

Isn't it strange? All the things/people which kept me busy when I was already busy with offspring and work- are disappearing out of my life at a time when I thought I'd be less busy and have more time with them. Friends have moved, fair trade and church are less absorbing than when I ran lots for them; I see distant friends and extended family less..... come to that I think I paint, decorate, clean, iron, cook less..... so why am I so busy now that finding time to write and read has become difficult?

Why, if I have been marooned inhouse by weather, is my house more of a tip than it usually is? Maybe this fortnight it has been because I have spent so much time shovelling snow and being an ice breaker so the bin men can get in the road after 3 weeks of missing our court out.

H1, D3 and I went to Arbeia for a candlelit visit to the Romans!

P, C and I did not embarrass ourselves at a charity quiz.

Then a very select group of us went to Gateshead's, annual 'Enchanted Parks' at Saltwell Park; magical! Even though my pictures probably won't reflect the lights,art and drama etc., well enough. Some photos are blurry close up (when you click -or even click twice on the photo)

December 13th is St Lucy's day. In many countries, especially Sweden and in our neighbourhood, the youngest daughter dresses in white with a red belt (to commemorate purity and martyrdom) and gives out buns! St Lucy used to carry food (to persecuted Christians in the catacombs of Rome) so she used to stick her candle on her head- thus the lights and evergreen crowns of today's celebrations. I know now that a lot of our friends will giggle as they recall the lighting of a candle ......

According to legend, St Lucy is now the brightest star in the sky; methinks there is another roast parsnip-loving, young man who twinkles alongside her. Check out the back of the seats in the Theatre Royal!

Ice defeated the Ladies walking capabilities so we snuggled down to watch' Its a wonderful life' instead!

Friday, 10 December 2010

A don't like these tights!

Oh no I don't!

I've been to the pantomime 'Robin Hood' at the Theatre Royal and the children I was with loved it; the 3D part was screamingly funny! Such an initiation into theatre. I love watching their surprised faces as the audience erupts into baddie boos and hisses and the traditional calls of 'Behind you' and 'Oh no you can't ' etc. Robin hated his tights and I disliked my thermal, long johns the following day- I know- too much information.

N&N's meeting on Lord Armstrong at the Rugby Club was local and walkable in the deep midwinter snow; better still was our group's walk from the Hearth through Horsley Woods, skirting along the banks of the (frozen) Tyne; we circled back to hot pea and ham soup and a brilliant Christmas party; so much variety and talent in the 'party pieces' which were offered- poems, flute, northumbrian pipes, concertina, readings, carols and a quiz.

It must be bitterly cold here when the national media put out requests asking Geordies to put on coats if they are going out gallivanting for the night (cos we're hard us!!) Certainly, icicles decorate every gutter and dirty snow heaps decorate every pavement (often by drivers who forget about pedestrians)

The city is feeling embarrassment and disgust at the way Toon manager Chris Hughton has been so badly treated; his loyalty and hard work have brought stability and teamwork back to United but his reward is to be finished by Mike Ashley. I dream of Ashley walking into St James Park to find the stadium is completely EMPTY

Wednesday, 1 December 2010


Outside it has been nonstop blizzard and the sky is still full. Everyone is staying local; under scuttling umbrellas there are plodging, multi coloured wellies. D3 is yelling for help to get out of her wellingtons....

Hats are pulled down over ears and gloved, hooded figures scurry home to get warm. All the buses from the Haymarket have stopped (unannounced) at 7pm each evening. Lots of ice-filled, heavy gutters have fallen from their 'moorings'.

The muffled sound of scraping, bonny-coloured snow shovels punctuates the patter of hail on the window. I am going back to sipping mulled wine and writing Christmas cards.

I always used to buy my mother a poinsettia on December 1st; and she always used to give the offspring an Advent calendar- but no more; so we now buy them! Oooh! and D3 has rewarded me for the wellie haul with my very own Advent calendar.

Outside, footprints disappear like all our yesterdays.

and more snow......

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village, though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Robert Frost

I studied 'Ten Twentieth Century poets' in fifth form and enjoyed so many of their poems; I loved this verse and thought Robert Frost's name so appropriate!
Snow is pattering on the window again and I haven't really slept for two nights; why I don't know... maybe last night because the heating occasionally but noisily burst into life; for the first time in years , we left it on overnight.

I think I am becoming typically British as I am talking weather. The snow is pattering on the window again; clouds keep building high in a blue sky and soon the flakes will start picking and the cleared path will disappear again.

Several nights ago I took these 3 photos at midnight as an eerie, peach light lit up the sky; I couldn't capture it without shake but it gives you an idea of what it was like. We have had paparazzi-flashes of lightning and cracking thunder; I didn't know these came in deep winter- I associate them with balmy August days.

... and miles to go before I sleep.....