Friday, 31 December 2010

From ice flows on the river to dull drab and damp

All round this has been a strange Christmas. Finally after five weeks of snow and ice has really started to disappear and we can finally get about fairly easily again. In the weeks leading up to Christmas it looked like all the best laid plans would come to nothing. Our Christmas invite for this year involved people arriving from deep within the Highlands where they were icicles longer than 3 feet hanging off their roof, someone’s mother trapped up an inaccessible road covered in ice, the hostess and her daughter somewhere in Germany where for the first time in living memory transport was being disrupted by the snow and  us constantly digging out our driveway to get up to the road only to wake the next morning and find it just as bad as before. I have had lots of exercise recently! It has ruined my nails!
This is an austerity Christmas, we could have just put up a fake tree which I saved from the dump a few years ago but this year I decided to dig up the tree from the front garden which has been growing for about 10 years and for the last four or five has had permanent mirror balls hanging from its branches. I’m not a great fan of Christmas decorating the tree has always been an interesting focus for the time of year and feels quite pagan  which is more where my sympathies lie. A couple of weeks ago there was a two day mild period when the snow finally left its branches and I was straight out to dig up the tree. It was a lot tougher than I had anticipated with the ground being so hard and thick roots heading off in every direction, branches being low to the ground didn’t help and I wanted to look of a natural tree rather fun the stereotypical symmetrical Christmas tree. I certainly got that and at just under 8 feet tall is quite impressive.
I used to like to collect glass ornaments to supplement the ancient decorations from various childhoods which fill the decorating box but this year the only addition is a cute blue plastic dolls shoe which I found in a buried sandpit from Julie’s childhood over half a century ago. It is the sky blue Cinderella number three for any collectors out there. Decoration of the tree took 2 ½ CDs though most of the work got done during Marianne Faithfull’s broken English! Something a little punkish certainly speeded  me up.
Everyone managed to the Christmas dinner which was mainly a reunion of friends whom managed to get out to France for the opening of my exhibition in May. As agreed token presents were exchanged, there must be something in the air that caused us all to go out and buy fine porcelain mugs of varying designs, each saying something about the person who bought the  mug and what they thought of the taste of the person they were buying for. An interesting game! I also handed out certificates each offering a souvenir picture of their choice from those which remain from the French exhibition, that way as they have to visit me again fairly soon!
At home we gave each other a supply of gas for the heating which has been running fairly hard for the last five weeks. I did get a real present, not really a Christmas present that a birthday present which took over two weeks in the post and only arrived on Christmas Eve. From a very understanding sister I received a small Chanel bag containing a bottle of nail colour, a little bit more adult than my normal choice this time “509 Paradoxal”. I thought I had seen my last bottle of Chanel, quite my favourite was a superfine ground pigments. Shame that the snow clearance has take it’s toll on the nails which had been cosseted for this round of socialising.
Normally we would walk around the town to distribute cards to friends and days would vanish with impromptu bottles of wine and meals but this year few ventured forth on the ice and those who posted all their cards found that they took two weeks or more to travel a couple of streets away! Two arrived today, one posted on the 11 th. The other yesterday and further away. Now that the snow has cleared from the roads except where it is piled in hills of ice there has been a sudden rush of dinner invites. The one where one of the other guests was a bishop stands out, nice guy and happy to laugh. At one point I complained about some of the kindergarden versions of the bible in use now instead of the ancient poetic versions from the past then stood back to watch. I don’t care about the bible just the language! The Queen had been on about the 400 year old King James version which they seemed to like but tended to use some other intelligent translation of greater scholarship… By then I was deep into hair and shoes with the hostess…
Our turn to stage the new year’s day lunch party so had better get up and go shopping, well in a few hours time this morning.
I am trying to think if I did anything interesting this year for a round up post, shall sleep on it.
May this New Year bring my readers all they wish for.


  1. There is a certain beauty to the barren bleakness of your seaside town in winter. You even have pack ice! I haven't seen pack ice, since I sailed into the North Sea out of Bremerhaven in February of 1956, on the SS America, enroute to New York City!

    I just love your pictures! Your tree is beautiful!

    Happy New Year, Caroline!
    Melissa XOXO

  2. I remember watching ice floes floating gently down the Don, with cormorants squatting on them, the day I fell in and was sick for a fortnight. Happy days. Happy Nooyur!

  3. From -15 to +12C in 48 hours= lots of slush, dirty snow, and water everywhere except in the pipes!
    Lovely tree.
    A guid new year to wan n'all, and many may ye see.

  4. Noting so exciting here. The Thames froze, but not that impressively.

  5. It's so much prettier than out dreary desert (although we had a snow flurry in the middle of the day that my son went crazy over).

    Have a wonderful new year.


  6. Happy New Year, Caroline!

    Calie xxx


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