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Holidays…

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For the first time in several years, my husband and I hosted Thanksgiving at our house. It was small by our family’s standards, with eight people total. However, we all fit at the table and I didn’t have to rearrange … Continue reading

The Grand Reveal

Drum roll, please. For today is the day I can finally unveil the new lounge and dining room. Yes, we’ve finished! Well, almost. We’re waiting on new patio doors to the rear and then we can buy new blinds but until then, it is with great relief we are back to normal and sitting comfortably.

Although it doesn’t show in the photos, the chimney breast has sparkles in the paint; not a great deal but enough for our liking, as has the wallpaper. The rest of the walls are plain pale grey. I admit I was dubious of the colour at first, as it is such a marked changed from our usual taste and I thought it would look cold. It doesn’t. Dave was worried in case the wooden floor would be cold too as opposed to carpet on our concrete floors, but again, it feels warm to walk on, and I quite often find him walking around in bare feet.

He’s worked incredibly hard. He’s done everything with the exception of the plastering and hanging the wallpaper either side of the chimney breast – that was my job as he’s never hung a strip of paper in his life. And I have to say for what are two small walls with no sockets or fiddly bits to cut around, it was the most expensive paper I’ve hung and the most difficult. An absolute nightmare. And never again am I ever hanging another strip. Dave knocked down the tired and space-filling stone fireplace, allowing me to take the first swipe with the sledgehammer, he’s done all the painting, laid the flooring throughout and fitted new skirting boards as well as humping and retrieving our furniture from storage, with the help of a man with a van. It’s such a joy to be able to sit in our own chairs once more. We’d really had enough of sitting on stiff, unforgiving garden chairs.

The photos don’t really do the rooms justice, particularly today when it’s cold and wet outside so the lighting inside isn’t very good. I did turn on our new overhead lights to take them, but they were too bright so I hope you get the idea.

So now to relax and enjoy Christmas. And taking this opportunity to wish you all a safe, happy and fun-filled time.

Happiness is…a mince pie

It might still be November, but I’ve already started on the mince pies. I blame our local supermarket cafe who are now offering discounted mince pies with any hot drink. Crikey. There goes my diet!

toa-heftiba-174051-unsplash“A mince pie is a sweet pie of British origin, filled with a mixture of dried fruits and spices called “mincemeat”, that is traditionally served during the Christmas season in much of the English-speaking world.” Wikipedia

According to a feature on the TV news, us Brits will consume over 200 million mince pies during the festive season. One of the country’s largest producers have to employ an additional 350 seasonal workers to keep up with the demand for 720 pies a minute at peak production. One look at the supermarket aisles and you can see the whole array of pies now offered, even some with added chocolate, but I admit to preferring the traditional recipe I grew up enjoying.

Apparently, in medieval times mince pies were filled with meat (thank goodness that’s no longer the case, or I’d be sunk – vegetarian here). Soon, cooks started adding sweeteners to the mix and the pies became a kind of status symbol. Spices and dried fruits, such as saffron, figs and dates, had to be imported and were therefore only available to the wealthy. By the twentieth century the meat had given way entirely to the spiced fillings.

The association of mince pies with Christmas seems to date from the 17th Century when the rich liked to demonstrate their wealth at their yuletide parties. Pies made in different shapes like stars and hearts added a further demonstration of wealth and status as it showed that these people were able to afford the best pastry cooks.

A custom from the Middle Ages says that if you eat a mince pie on every day from Christmas to Twelfth Night this will ensure happiness for the year to come. Well, that’s good enough for me. Oh, and tradition says you should make a wish on the first mince pie of the season.

Enjoy!

 

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LEJOG The Last Leg

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Peter’s 70th Birthday Challenge seems a long time ago and unreal in a weird sense.  It is hard to remember all the details as highlights surface and become treasured memories but he did it! I left you with the awful … Continue reading

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Bloopers

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I love watching the bloopers when they put trailers in movies.  And, looking at old photo’s when we weren’t at our best is fun.  Well, at least they are if the photos aren’t of me. Years ago, at the suggestion … Continue reading

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Happy November

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Sorry to be late today. My days are all out of whack. November started off with a bang. I caught some virus that took me almost 2 weeks to get over. But I’m happy to say I’m better now. Our … Continue reading

Welcome to My November

Jillian here. I hate to say my life is dull compared to some of you. Laurie with her cider making, Jane with her bike/car adventures, Lavada with her hidden state treasures visits, Kit’s gardening and Tricia’s trip all sound so much fun. I’m here trudging along with the day to day grind. Working the day job and writing on a new story for NaNoWriMo on my lunch hour and at home in the evenings. I was supposed to go to New York City in October but my traveling companion had an emergency arise with her mother in law so we postponed.

My older son is in for a visit this weekend so that’s a very nice thing. He’s always a pleasure to be around. We both have long been Liverpool football fans and usually both watch the matches and text each other while they are being played. This week, at 6:30 am central time, we’ll be up and watching in the same room for the first time in ages. Looking forward to it.

I have a new Christmas anthology out that was a lot of fun to write. I am working on this NaNo story that’s a pretty heavy subject matter and is much slower going as the level of angst is pretty deep. My inspiration for the story is the true experiences of Oney Judge. She was a slave owned by George Washington. She escaped and he never freed her -even after his death, so she technically died a slave even though she’d been living in a free state for years at the time she passed away.

The law in Pennsylvania at the time George was president was that if a slave lived there for six months, that slave became free. A lot of owners removed their slaves just before the time ran—even for a day or two—as that act would start the six months running again. George did the same thing.  It was a shameful time in our history and I’m tackling it in this story. It’s clearly not a romance though she does eventually find happiness as the true life lady did. It’s difficult to write how the slaves were treated as less than human. I can only hope I’m doing them justice.

Happy Thanksgiving to those who celebrate. And bless the families who lost loved ones in WWI as we come up on Veterans Day and the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day. Would that their sacrifices in the War to end all Wars had been true.