Monday, January 17, 2022

Monday, January 17th, 2022 A dreary day, - the clouds envolope the mountain that rises across the valley. Move along, move along, - nothing much to see here except a little of the sturdy green ankles that indicate something towers above them.... Somewhere up above the January sun shines brightly, but well hidden from valley dwellers, - a trip to Penticton might take one over the top where the sun speaks of spring coming. Or am I being overly confident, - sometimes even the Pass is hidden by mist and clouds and to be truthful January is not known for its sunny days.... I understand that the early early, early spring bulbs are showing some sign of life, pushing their little scarlet stubs through the earth, but snow still clings to the hills and along the sides of the roads. In order not to upset the dear and caring wardens I have not ventured outside where I could evaluate the situation properly!!!! Mothers in their nineties are confined t0 kitchen duty, or loom work, or reading. Reading is good!!! I have a little stack of half a dozen books to inveigle me into spending time in the easy chair, underneath the lamplight..... Occasionally I press the button that raises the feet and settle back to read, - but then there is always the danger of falling asleep!!! I am in the midst of Clare Hunter's "Threads of Life" (a Sunday Times bestseller.) "An eloquent blend of history and memoir" as it says on the back cover of the book.... I was expecially interested to read in it about the Bayeux Tapestry. I spent time studying this magnificent piece while in France - but not as much as I would have liked to, as I was in the company of others. This book, in describing the tapestry and remarking on its history, was not terribly kind as to the quality of the embroidery work involved, but I didn't figure that I had the qualifications to make any judgement!!!!

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

January 12th (Wednesday - I had to go to the calendar to see how far into January we had progressed but here we are, on the 12th.) All the early January birthdays are over and we await the ones that pop up in the last two weeks of the month - so many of them. It makes one wonder just what goes on in March and April!!! I have been so remiss in paying attention to the computer, - busy at the loom, and today I gave serious thought to taking up the baking of my own bread.....serious thought, I say. I haven't yet put thought into action, but the idea pleases and intriques me. Maybe tomorrow, - perhaps the sun might shine and I could put the silvery tin bowl full of dough in the sunshine to rise. This is being hopeful, - the sun hasn't shone for any length of time recently, and January is being quite dull and grey, with only a little skiff of snow to brighten up the world. However we have had a few birthdays (mine included) and a few dinners out and celebrations to pass the time until the February thaws and the March winds bring spring, - oh spring! Glorious spring!! I used to love winter when I was young - spent so much time skating, and occasionally toboganning. But now???? Oh now, the sun doesn't shine here like it does on the prairies and the days are inclined to be somewhat gloomy (if mild). And I am much older!!!! That is a factor which one must take into consideration, - I'm sure young people these days enjoy winter as much as I did many years ago. Well, now you know how it is!!! The knees get old and don't know how to manage icy spots that the feet keep getting them into, and one is so happy to have the arm of a child whose hand you used to hold and lead around. I thought about that the other night when I was out for dinner at No. 3 son's, and when it was time to leave I was happy to have the support of my two youngest sons as we glided over the icy spots. All this, of course, makes indoor living the norm, and luckily I am able to find many things that induce pleasure. Lots of books to read and a nice sturdy warp on the loom that inspires all sorts of things to shuttle away at.... I keep thinking of putting a nice linen warp on and weaving a colorful krogback rug for each of the families (you will note that I have forgotten how to spell krogback properly and am using the modern method as spelling it the way it sounds - or maybe you don't know that word and I can get away with my version of spelling it!!!) Oh, when I read this over and consider how many families that would entail, I am not so sure that I have the time available to venture taking this on. Well, if I do, I will let you know!!!

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Up-date, at last..... When I was out for dinner last night, in celebration of our youngest son's sixty-third birthday, I was reminded that I have been very neglectful in keeping this blog up to date, - in recording life daily, - or even weekly. So I must make yet another resolution to pay attention to each day as it passes, and write about how precious it is at this advanced age of 97!!! Well, breakfast awaits, so I will just publish this little reminder and see how well I respond to it!!!!

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

December 21at, 2021 Ribbons and bows, - ribbons and bow.... I have been knee deep in ribbons and bows this morning, but it is time to leave them for a little lunch, Too early for a small glass of sherry but a little lunch time respite would be nice! I am gradually contributing to the 'filling of the bags' but there does seem to be an awful lot of them. Part of the pleasure of having a large family. There are all sorts of books stacked beside me, awaiting Christmas wrapping, and the scarves I wove this fall are disappearing into Christmas boxes to spend the rest of their lives around others' necks. It was great fun making them, and great to have family to give them to!! The sun is shining today, - lots of blue sky. A change from the mild but dreary days that mid-December has brought us. I was up in the night and lingered to look at the high moon of this winter solstice. We have had snow, and will welcome a white Christmas, but I know that underneath the snow the little scarlet stubs of the spring bulbs will soon be pushing their way through the frozen earth.... I think the cookie making is a done-for-job this year, and there is a lovely big tin of shortbread available for cookie snatchers who pass through the kitchen. No pudding this year, but it was never a favourite really, and just got made for tradition's sake - my grandmother's recipe, passed through to me from my mother..... I have fond memories of Christmas at Grandmas, but they don't include the pudding or the six year old's sulking when she didn't get the "dime" Grandma hid amongst the fruit and raisins..... I find myself confined to home, - not only because it is a recommended thing to do but also because the icy paths are not favourable once you get past ninety - or maybe even eighty. Oh dear, - time is always with us, and I watch the fancy ice skaters with great pleasure, but also with memories that make me sigh when I recall the community skating rink on Alberta Avenue (still there) and the many happy hours we spent twirling around on the ice.... Well, that stack of Christmas presents isn't going to get any smaller unless I move them from the unwrapped pile to their proper place in a Christmas bag, duly signed and recorded.... As the afternoon wears on the possibility of raiding the sherry cupboard grows sweeter, so I must get on with it!!! I hope you are all enjoying these days of activity that lead to a happy Christmas, - I guess that only a housewife and mother knows the joys of preparation!!!! When I open the fridge door it does my heart good to see the little jars of lemon curd waiting patiently to turn into tart filling. And the candied cherries, dancing to decorate the shortbread - unless you are really traditional and prefer your shortbread just nicely pricked with a fork..... I hear the sherry, calling from the cupboard. Plaintively. I just know it wants to be part of the preparation!!!!!

Friday, December 17, 2021

Friday, December 17th, 2021 It has been a while since I posted here - have been busy with Christmas cards, Christmas presents, and dressing the house up to celebrate the season. Time to stop a minute and answer the phone (my daughter, who brings me news of the day each evening) It is very icy here - we had snow, a bit of melting, another bout with cold and the ice came back to hopefully make everyone careful how they walk, or shuffle. I don't venture out myself, - it is enough to keep upright and mobile in the house. Eenings, and I am attracted by good TV programs, or a lovely read. I have been reading Robert Macfarlane (still) but new books that I purchased to give away as Christmas gifts. The one I bought for a son (I do not mention which one of the four!)is called "The Wild Places" and I quote the front cover....."An eloquent and compulsively readable reminder that, though we're laying waste the world, nature still holds sway over much of the earth's surface" Macfarlane questions whether they are any truly wild places left, but he goes on to describe journeys through some of the remarkable and amazing landscapes he walks through. I have to hurry and finish this book before I wrap it, - I shall take it to bed with me tonight!!! I also purchased a little book to go with it, called "Holloway" by Robert Macfarlane, Stanley Donwood and Dan Richards. He describes the holloway thusly, - "the holloway is absence; a wood-way worn away by buried feet......a hollow way. a sunken path. A route that centuries of foot-fall, hoof-hit, wheel-roll and rain-run have harrowed deep down into bedrock" It reminds me of a path we used to take to get to school, through tall trees and bushes. Christmas comes closer and closer..... I still have a card table laden with books and scarves and mittens, awaiting either a careful and creative wrapping or a stuffing into a Christmas bag, if I don't get on with things while there is still time before the final countdown! I find mornings when I can be most creative and 'with it' - but I will lay out the wrapping paper, the tape and the holiday ribbon before I go to bed tonight, so it will catch my eye, my fancy and my will to get on with things! I looked contemplatively at the rest of the shortbread dough that I had wrapped up and saved for another session with the oven, and probably will squeeze that into the morning agenda, too! In the meantime, I shall take my tablet and a couple of soda crackers (my dear one would have viewed frightfully the idea of taking soca crackers to bed - and it is true that I would sooner have him grumbling than any cracker crumbs!!) However, one must praise what comes to make life bearable!!!

Friday, December 03, 2021

Friday - the end of the week..... I still have tidying to do in the kitchen, and it is only 7.43 p.m., but I hear my bed calling (only faintly to start with but it's bound to become more pursuasive!!! The house looks different this Friday night than it did last Friday night, as the Spirit of Christmas has descended upon me and caused me to haul out all the celebration's decorations. Which is lovely!!!! Today I rescued the Christmas Card List from the file where I had put it last January, and I opened the package of Cards youngest son had brought me from the pharmacy (which, like all pharmacies, sells many, many things besides drugs). All the sweet, old famliar names, but it tore at my heart to have to write deceased by far too many. And things keep happening to remind me that even though the spirit might be ready to celebrate Christmas chores the old body is all ears when it comes to the bed calling out!!!! For the last few years I have foregone the personal letter and written to one and all by computer, the same news of the year, adding to it my personal scrawl of love and remembrance. I think that is allowed when you hit ninety five, and if it is not allowed, well, I was always one for ignoring rules if they didn't make any sense. The drawer of Christmas ornaments also contains a whole pack of memories, and so when I open it I also let our all those remembrances. A mixture of sadness, gratitude, and some humour..... I notice that some of the ornaments seem to be showing their age, but it is a lovely maturing and in the candle light of Christmas Eve they look quite O.K. Youngest son brought home some mince meat from the store, - I may have mentioned before that I have given up "mincemeat from scratch" but I might add a few few apple slivers to add that final touch. And a raisin or two...... I am somewhat moved to make pastry, tomorrow, and tuck some tart shells away in the freezer until they are ready for mincemenat and lemon curd and maybe some strawberry jam. However, I say this in the evening, and who knows what the morning might bring that discourages me from baking again another day..... Which reminds me, - I still have dishes in the kitchen sink and I learned early in life that 'dishes in the sink' are not the thig to get up to in the morning.....so I am off to make order out of chaos!!

Monday, November 29, 2021

Monday,November 29th, 2021 We are coming to the end of November, - that gloomy month and that day which dawned this morning with low hanging clouds and a most Novemberish attitude. But somewhere, someone called the sun forth to remind the people of earth that December was almost upon us - that month of gladsome celebration!! I have started making mittens already to put under various family Christmas trees! It keeps me busy each day and evening as I watch curling and dream dreams of Christmases past....... Youngest son came upon a Christmas wreath and hung it by the door as a reminder to get out the tinsel and the decorations that foretell the coming celebration of the arrival of both the Son of God and Santa Claus Time for me to dig out the boxes of glittering balls and greenery and keep the knitting needles clicking. Son-in-law Frank has laden with twinkling lights the branches of the evergreen that is gradually taking over the eastern half of the front yard. Charles warnecd of this, but alas, nobody can prune trees like he used to! In years past I would have thought the date called for the mixing of the Christmas pudding, but I have given that up. Nevertheless it is past time when the Christmas cake should be shrouded in linen and set to absorb the brandy that was so generously added to it. Ah dear, at ninety six much of Christmas bustle lives in my memories where it reminds me what a wonderful life it has been. And how many glorious Christmases we celebrated when our last task Christmas Eve was to fill the children's stockings "hung by the chimney with care" .......and with Mum and Dad having a last sip of Christmas Brandy. More on Christmas and its preparations coming.....I think the next reminder will be the big red bow fastened to the front door.... In younger days, when we lived on the hill in Cawston, Charles had constructed a large star on the west side of our house. It was lit by strings of lights, and it shone each Christmas above the orchards all planted and occupied by veterans of the second world war.... They were lovely years with young children and dear friends all around.......good memories!