Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Cat wrapping, Charlie Brown's Christmas tree and lots of snow

We went to get the Christmas tree on Saturday.  I'd left it a bit late because I was debating whether we should buy a real tree, and whether, in an environmental sense, it was a good idea to buy a real tree.  I was thinking of decorating some twigs instead, but when I went to the allotment I couldn't find anything suitable.  So I decided to buy a real Christmas tree still growing in a pot, which after Christmas we could plant at the allotment and hopefully dig up again each year.  If nothing else it will absorb carbon dioxide throughout the year, and give birds and insects somewhere to live.  But we were snowed in as of Friday night so I couldn't use the car to get a tree so we had to find one on foot.  We went to Asda which is only 10 minutes walk away and they'd sold out.  So I asked a member of staff if they had any more and he said they'd got one left, but it was in the back, and it'd been reduced to £5, and he said he wasn't sure what condition it was in, but would go and get it for me.  So whilst I was waiting I was thinking about the Charlie Brown Christmas cartoon where Charlie gets the last Christmas tree and it's a dead looking tree with a few needles on it.  

Luckily, when he brought it out from the back it looked fine, it was just wonky in its pot, so with a careful bit of pot tweaking when we got home I managed to get it to look straight.  Which means we got a bargain tree for only £5, and it’s a living tree so we can replant it after Christmas.  Chris dragged it home through the snow, it was pretty heavy. 

I decorated the tree whilst watching National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.  It's full of lots of birds, wooden ornaments and candy canes.  We've already a few presents underneath it.

We've had this knitted Father Christmas since I was a very little girl.  I love him.  He always sits underneath the Christmas tree and he has tinsel from Christmasses years ago in the sack over his shoulder.  Whoever knitted him did a really good job.

I started my Christmas holidays this week and got all the presents bought and wrapped, the house tidy and the shopping done.  Steve helped with the wrapping. 

Because of the snow and freezing weather there's been a bird feeding frenzy in the back yard.  I made sure I put some fresh food out for them each day, including some Christmas cake, which the blackbirds seemed to enjoy, and some cheese for the robin.

I took a picture of a pied wagtail.

These 2 cats are outside every morning.  The white one likes to sit on the sign.

The town looks very wintery.

The allotment looked lovely and snowy too.

Brian has a huge Christmas tree on his plot.

My leeks look cold.

I got a wool ball for the birds at the allotment.  I thought they might be able to use it to insulate their nests.

The greenhouses were dark inside because they're covered in snow.

So Chris brushed off the snow.

We had a few icicles.

Chris made me a custom built spice rack for inside one of the kitchen cupboards.  I love it!

I made a scrummy macaroni cheese on Monday night.

We had a gathering for the winter solstice on Tuesday night. Four of us got together at my friend Leah's house and she lit her open fire and we had a chat, drank whiskey and ate cheese and biscuits. It was cool to get together.  Leah’s Christmas tree was lovely and big.

On Wednesday night I went to Duckworth Hall with some colleagues from work for a Christmas meal.

Thursday was my big tidy day, and I made sure everything was spick and span.  I made some toffee fudge cookies using the cookie recipe from Nigella Kitchen.  This is now my favourite cookie recipe.

I made some of Nigella's salty peanut and chocolate bars.

I also made a vegetable and lentil shepherds pie which we reheated again on Christmas Eve.

And I finished off knitting people's Christmas presents.  It was a big task knitting 5 pairs of gloves.  Now it’s time to knit some things for me and Chris.  His Freddy Krueger striped style wool hat is next on the list.

Friday was Christmas Eve and I made French Toast for breakfast.

Then I went to see my Grandma with my Mum and we helped her open her presents.

On Christmas Eve in the evening we had quite a few friends round for a drink.  I made the big mistake of making marguerita cocktails and I was foolish enough to have one myself.  We were up till 2am drinking and playing music.  I'm going to make a vow now - never to drink on Christmas Eve!   On Christmas morning I went to the allotment with my Mum to leave a holly wreath on my Dad's memorial garden.  I felt rough on Christmas Day and started with a cold at 2pm ish. I don't know if I felt rough because of the drink or the cold (to be fair I didn't drink that much).  But the cold kind of spoilt Christmas Day, and we stayed at home Christmas Day evening and Boxing Day because of it.  This meant we didn't go to Bolton to see Chris's relatives.  Thankfully the cold was more or less gone by Monday.

Some of my Christmas present haul.

My presents included the Baraka bluray, a slushy maker, the Earth Pathways 2011 diary, lots of socks, loads of goodies off my sister including a cool bag, a gardening calendar mug, a necklace, some arm warmers, Jamie Oliver’s European cookbook (can’t remember the name, and can’t be bothered Googling) and loads of make up. 

I got a dress and too much money off my Mum, as well as the gorgeous ring and necklace off the Christmas markets when we went a few weeks back. 

My friend Andrea got me a cool Yummy Donut keyring.

Our friend Emma made us a cushion with our cat on it.

I also got a pizza stone, a mini chopper and a bird-feeding book off Chris's Mum.  My friend Nina made me some wing earrings and an owl necklace.   Plus loads of other stuff I can't remember right now.

I made Steve a big pom-pom out of my wool stash.  He loved it.  My friend Andrea also bought him a catnip filled mouse which he loves too.  He was playing with his pressies all Christmas.

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