Sunday, December 21, 2014

Good things # 4: cards, solstice, and another marvellous machine

And of course I had nice cards for my birthday too. An odd thing is that the half-dozen or so I generally get are often thematically quite similar every year, though they are sent by different people who don't generally know or see each other. The themes vary from year to year; one year it might be bold blocks of jewel colours, another there might be more photos; this year it was fine line work with subtle, somewhat 'dirtied' colours (which I love), foliate forms, repeating small motifs and insect wings - butterflies, dragonflies and a saucy Victorian naked fairy! (I also had a Quentin Blake illustration and a primary coloured bit of typography, but I've left those out of the picture for aesthetic consistency).

But the cards are down again this weekend, as we tend to put up the Christmas ones and fairly simple amount of decoration around this solstice time, and light plenty of candles. Tea lights and glasses are so cheap and plentifully available, there's no reason one couldn't do this all the time over the winter, yet it feels like a luxurious extravagance.

As I say, not oodles of decoration and only from the solstice to Twelfth Night, which is about the right length of time, I think. We have a very small artificial tree which we've had since our first Christmas together, some twenty-two years ago, and a collection of bits and pieces of varying degrees of charm and tawdriness. Seeking out holly, despite our village being named for the tree, is a bit of a waste of time, as the birds have usually stripped any berries off it long since, but ivy is most certainly not in short supply, and I do bring in a bit of live evergreenery.  I was rather taken with my own tastefulness in the arrangement over our Chartres labyrinth:

And finally, not to be outdone by the cider press, Tom got out the new garden shredder, which is fortunately a much quieter and more compact thing, and made a start on the mountain of hedge cuttings. Half and hour and several large bin bags of minced up leaves and branches later, there was no noticeable dent made in this, but we have high hopes, and Tom had fun, as can be seen in this wonky little video.

A very happy solstice to all.


Zhoen said...

Glad you had a happy birthday. Your cards look festive enough for the Yule as well. Nice greening, indeed.

Love the shredder, could use one here.

Catalyst said...

Please tell Tom not to poke the branches in with his hands!

Happy solstice and other holidays.

Rouchswalwe said...

Hurrah for lights and wonkiness! Happy Solstice to you both!

marly youmans said...

Happy short day to you, Ms. Festive!

Nimble said...

Happy solstice! If he keeps putting the cuttings into the contraption some progress is inevitable. Here's to results and satisfaction in the new year!

marja-leena said...

Happy Solstice to you both! Love the cards, would fit with Christmas even, and candles are great anytime.

Ah, laurel... lots of that here too but fortunately we get curb pickup of garden waste.

Enjoy your Christmas week!

the polish chick said...

a handsome shredder and a handsome operator. love the candles - there is such quiet warmth to candlelight. glad you're enjoying the season!

Roderick Robinson said...

I've hivered and hovered over getting a shredder, worried inter alia by the symbolism. Trouble is I'd want the biggest shredder in the world. Congratulate Tom on having hurdled that barrier, his face says it all.

Thanks for existing in a difficult year.

Meanwhile: “The best reason for a knitter to marry is that you can't teach the cat to be impressed when you finish a lace scarf.”
Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, At Knit's End: Meditations for Women Who Knit Too Much

HKatz said...

I looked up the Chartres Labyrinth and now wonder - have you ever visited and walked it?

I hope you keep enjoying a warm and happy winter, and a wonderful year to come.

Lucy said...

Thanks all.

Z - I did! The shredder is really very approachable, and the product useful.

Bruce - it's quite safe, the shredding bit is a long way down, you couldn't easily shred your fingers!

R - wonkiness rules!

Marly - the late mornings seem to go on for a long time yet, but it is on its way up.

Nimble - yes, and it's quite easy really, so we are optimistic!

ML - and the same! I'm not sure any kerbside pickup would ever cope with the volume we have!

PC - Bosch is best! The operator appreciates the compliment.

Robbie - the chap who sold it to us said it is known as the 'mange tout', and was amused when I said that is our word for les pois gourmands. It seems a good model and is not noisy or unwieldy. Thanks for the S. Pearl-McPhee quote, I think I know and like her blog and patterns. 'Thanks for existing in a difficult year'; just what I'd have said to you if I'd thought of it first.

Lucy said...

HKatz - you slipped in! Yes, I have! We were very lucky in going on a day when it was uncovered and open to be walked, my post on it is at