The second picture has the road on which my Mother grew up. It's in the middle of nowhere, she used to have to run down all those fields to go to school, and later to catch a bus to work.
And this is the village where I grew up, possibly more of a small town now- a lot of new houses have been built. We went to the coal yard yesterday to stock up, the snow progressively lessened the farther away and lower down we got. There isn't a silly amount yet, but it is very cold.
On Friday evening it was the town Christmas lights switch-on ceremony. Only marginally spoiled by the fact that all the lights were on in the afternoon in any case...
We trundled down to the Pavilion Gardens in sub-zero temperatures and plenty of layers. The band and choir were in full flow belting out carols in the bandstand.
There was a lukewarm build up to the big switch on, performed this year by the town's current main claim to fame- Bruno Langley (starring in the panto).
A good half of the lights failed to come on. maybe it was the cold. Let's be charitable. So the lights were a let down, but... someone had also seen fit to hold a Christmas Grand Bazaar. Which was a bit of a farmer's market-cum-craft fair, and it was very good indeed. This was inside the Octagon hall and the cafe and shop were open as well.
We bought some artisan cheeses and I gave in to some cashmere yarn from The Threshing Barn. It's lovely... I could have gone mad with the yarns they had there but had to bear in mind I do have the stash to deal with as well.
The atmosphere was good and there was plenty on for children. So apart from the lights it was a pleasant evening. We walked home along Broad Walk, a wide pedestrianised sort of boulevard (I'm talking it up a bit here) which runs down one side of the park. It has its own lamp lighting, which is as good looking as any festive offering.
It snowed overnight on Friday, a reasonable amount, so no prizes for guessing what this week's Sunday Scrapbook will feature!!
A second pair of the handwarmers. The colour is just not right at all on the photos, I took dozens. It's much deeper and like claret- like the colour in the cabbage in fact. Which is why I pictured them together in the first place, and it was natural daylight for once.
The ribbon matches almost exactly, which again doesn't seem apparent in the photos. Most annoying, and I have no idea why it's happened. But there you go. And I just don't have the time to fiddle with all the settings at the moment...
The cabbage is an artwork in itself. We all like cabbage, especially shredded and tossed in a little garlic butter in a frying pan. I love brussels sprouts as well, and am enjoying them with lots of meals at the moment.
I've been doing a bit of micro knitting as well recently, in a seasonal manner. I'm going to show those pictures in December, when I intend to try to rev myself into a festive frenzy. As I have only made half hearted attempts at Christmas shopping so far I will need an injection of enthusiasm.
People are being very tedious this year and asking for most unglam presents. If they will actually give any hints, that is.
This is the new sweet shop that's opened up in town. I'm pretty sure there is no Mr Simms on the scene but it has been done very well.
I was passing just as it was going dark, all the lights were blazing and it looked old fashioned and inviting.
I'm sure they will do good business all year round, they are on a busy route home for schoolchildren, but more so now on the run up to Christmas.
When I was at school there were a few sweet shops in town, but one especially sticks in my mind. It was a tiny place, big enough for only two or three customers at any one time. There was a very limited choice but I think this was due to the proprietor knowing her onions (ie the limited budget and palate of the average schoolgirl-it was near the girls' school).
I'm not a big sweet eater but I used to like treacle toffee in winter occasionally and what we always called American cream soda. Which was a pink powder you dipped your finger. I'm sure I wouldn't be able to stomach it now.
My Grandma used to come to tea on Thursdays and she always bought two sweet items each for my sister and me. I remember clearly the first time we had a curly wurly! Biscuits were a treat as well.
This makes it sound like we were hard done to, but it never felt like that. It was just normal then that people didn't eat sweets and chocolate as a matter of course. The kids at school these days bring cans of fizz and sweets into school for their breakfast, they live on sweets and crisps.
In a science lesson one day we were discussing healthy eating, vegetables in particular. One 12 year old proclaimed herself a lover of veg the way her mother makes it. When asked what made it so special she answered 'Oh, she puts lots of sugar in.'
This bar of chocolate arrived in the post the other day. In a little box addressed to MrH, a present from his mobile phone provider. The box sat in the porch for a few days until curiosity got the better of me. I don't usually open his mail, by the way, as I wouldn't thank him for dabbling in mine. But if the box wasn't sealed, then technically I didn't open it did I? (Rhetorical question there folks)
The company I have been paying to for years has sent me diddly squat over that time. If you don't count invoices.
I'm not a fan of Green and Black's milk choc. But MrH is away about his business and someone has to deal with the post...
Ok, so it's not the best photo in the world...but I have mentioned how little light there has been lately and this just proves it! Snow has been forecast and that would at least brighten things up a bit.
Anyway, I was looking out of the kitchen window and saw that the sky was teeming with rooks, hundreds of them, and I grabbed the camera. Of course.
By the time I'd got outside they'd dispersed a little and were higher up but you get the idea. It was like Hitchcock's The Birds. Only without Tippi Hedren, or bloodshed and, strangely, without any sound. Which was the oddest part. Usually when a rookery is stirred up the birds make a real racket, probably to scare off the intruder.
Thanks for all the kindness regarding my parents. My Mother seems better, though very wound up. Which is not unusual. There are many hospital appointments in the pipeline. Again.
And as for IKEA, it seems a festive visit is quite the norm. I hope everyone else has had some lucky finds. Or at least a plate of meatballs!
On taking stock of my purchases I find we need not worry about any power cuts in the near future. We could probably provide candlelight for a small village all by ourselves. And wrap all their Christmas presents...
I finished the second, and final, batch of Christmas shoeboxes yesterday. I'll take them to school today and add them to the collection already there. I'll also put the hand knitted hats and mittens in, these are all at school in one of the offices. Two ladies have been knitting all year just for these boxes.
They contain a toy, coloured chalks, modelling clay, a recorder, skipping rope, toothbrush, soap and flannels. And there'll be hat and mittens.
I usually really enjoy making up the boxes but my Dad came round on Sunday morning to say my Mother was in hospital. Heart problems again, and she was just getting back to being really independent after the last operation, going out on her own and such.
Dad was very tired as he'd had several conflicting messages from the hospital during the early hours, saying she could go home and could he come for her. He'd set off only to get a call on his mobile saying to not come as they were keeping her in. I worry about my Dad as well, he whittles and isn't getting any younger himself. Eventually he picked her up last night.
Saturday had been a visit to IKEA for some fabric, candles (of course...) and to see what they had in for Christmas. Turns out there was some nice stuff. Bought lots of wrapping paper and some unusual baking items, more of which at a later date. The final bill was, as usual, extortionate. I blame it on the new drinking glasses I couldn't resist. Or maybe it was the gingerbread-house-making kits...
It takes an hour to drive there, forever to get around, an unbelievable wait at the checkout and a brief respite for meatballs. Then an hour back. Now I have to actually make curtains with the fabric and bake things with the tins. So I basically bought myself more work!!
I've been lucky both with finds and lovely people looking out for things and sending them to me. The pasta jar is the latest. A bit of a departure form the norm, but hey, a change is as good as a rest!
It's a case of grabbing photos while you can round here. It is so gloomy at the moment, hardly light even in the middle of the day. I don't like using the flash, I feel everything looks a bit fake. (Lack of technique, I know)
Lesley has scrapbooked this week and her pictures are really inspiring. And not of weird pottery collection. Janet's scrapbook has a really lovely story to it.
If you are joining in please leave a comment and I'll add your link.
This may very well be the last of the fun from Berlin, but I thought we'd finish on a bright (one may even say garish) note.
This is a picture of a shop window that was not untypical. I think you're unlikely to find such a display in this country, though in Russia it would be considered subtle and modest.
What is it with rococo? So much going on in each item, and all liberally clad in gold. Or at least a simulation of such. You want a closer look?
I can see it now... The English Picnic. Layby, fold out chairs and table, Thermos flask, sweaty sandwiches and... the golden picnic hamper! A must have for all serious outdoor types. No-one would stare, I'm sure.
At this point I will say this is all a matter of personal taste and if you're the proud owner of just such a set, or indeed a rococo revival mansion, then enjoy. It's just not for me. So don't send hate mail, please.
Anyhow, if you want a gold conch shell, gold stacking pineapples or gold plated fruit bowl, then I can recommend a good shop...
Have you ever done that thing when you're abroad, when you go off the beaten track and wonder where exactly you've ended up?
We did that in Berlin and rocked up in an area I suspect visitors don't usually go to. The building above was painted all over and was possibly some kind of club, although it was in the middle of housing, so may possibly have been a community centre...
I won't show you a closer view as the picture on the side is, er, rude to say the least!
Round the corner on the other side of the building there was a sign that said 'Paint for All', and here's what that meant...
It was a sort of DIY graffiti wall, where you grabbed a paint can and got stuck in on the bottom portion of the wall, it was very popular and the smell of paint fumes was incredible.
The upper part of the wall was painted (professionally I'm guessing) to look like a stack of TV sets.
I'm not completely sure where I stand on the graffiti issue. I hate it when buildings have been defaced, but can also see the value of urban art in the right place. But the right place, of course, is a matter for discussion as well.
There didn't seem to be the same aversion to fly posting over there either.
As I wandered down these alleys to get photos of the layered walls, MrH in his own gallant fashion said 'You're on your own down there', I did mention it wasn't the most salubrious of areas. I remained unmolested and got the pictures...
On Sunday I went to The Dome (part of the University of Derby campus. For an outside view see here) where a Christmas shopping weekend had been advertised.
It's not often you go to something like this and it turns out to be really very good, this was such a case. All the stalls had something I would have bought.
The stalls were all local businesses, a lot of it was handmade, and a lot was totally new to me which shows what is out there that no-one knows about.
The only real problem was money. As in they only took cash and cheques in most cases (only one I saw took debit cards and had a machine). Why on earth didn't the adverts state that fact? I'm sure people would have taken more cash if they'd realised... and bought more stuff as a result.
We have two current accounts and one of the banks no longer issues cheque books. Cheques will all be phased out by the end of 2018 and I think the bank is getting us used to it! But really, how many people carry a cheque book as a matter of course nowadays? And the campus doesn't have an ATM, the nearest is a good stride away.
I got a couple of Christmas presents, some cards and a few nice goodies for crafting. I spent all I had with me and would have bought more but the funds ran out.
The picture makes it look like no-one was there, but I was there early and it soon filled up. Food was also being served and it was a really good event. Why aren't there more like this?
I don't know how reservoirs fill up in other parts of the country, but here it's simple.
It rains. A lot. The rain falls onto the hills and soaks into the ground, it seeps through the rocks and then emerges later in the form of waterfalls.
These in turn run into the bottom of valleys... if the valley happens to be a reservoir all the better. Otherwise it's known as a flood!
There are natural springs all over the Peak District, some of the water has been underground a very long time before it emerges, and is full of minerals which give it a distinctive taste.
Buxton water is bottled and sold all over the world. It's available completely free at the spring in town, you just need your own bottle to collect it in. Plenty of people do collect it themselves, averse as they are to paying for a natural resource.
Take a look at the link, it's interesting... and if nothing else there's a prize to be won!!