Ready for Christmas

Tree is up; we’ve gone for no tinsel and “less is more” with the ornaments 🙂

But there are some new baubles, as always – the one on the top right was hand painted by my friend Karis of Oh My Glass Crafts

This year we’ve also Christmased up the hallway.

And I’ve even made mince pies! I’m using a Nigella recipe, but substituting 50g of flour with ground almonds, as Felicity Cloake recommends. Also, I keep forgetting to buy the orange (for juice) so I’ve been using vanilla essence mixed with water, which seems to work fine.

It’s been snowy over here, and it looks like we’re on track for a white Christmas.

How’s it looking where you are?

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Looking back at the summer

We moved house in April, and it’s been a busy summer getting settled into our new home in Inverurie, as well as getting up to a few other things!

There were some really lovely, hot, sunny days

Fresh berry ice cream at Barra Castle Farm Shop

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Bennachie

Having moved to Inverurie we’re now much closer to Bennachie, a set of forests and hills managed by the Forestry Commission. Rather enthusiastically, we’ve visited Bennachie Centre two weekends in a row now.

The visitor centre has plenty of information, kids’ activities, a great wildlife viewing section, and a stunning tapestry at the entrance.
2017-05-28 Bennachie Continue reading

Happy New Year (better later than never)

What a funny old year 2016 has been…I’m not even going to talk about what’s been going on in the rest of the world, but in my little world it felt like a very long year indeed; many other friends and family seem to have felt the same way too. Nothing bad has happened, in fact there have been many opportunities, particularly at work – they’ve just been quite challenging. One thing in particular is that in September I started a part-time course through work. It’s a certificate course at undergraduate level, in Petroleum Data Management – which is what I do, but after this I’ll have something official that says so 🙂 It’s been going well, but of course it does take up quite a bit of time in the evenings and weekends. It finishes in May, so more regular blogging and knitting will resume soon.

In the meantime we did get up to other things through the year:

An amazing honeymoon in Japan – did I mention there were cherry blossoms…?
2016-04-15 Nikko Continue reading

Meanwhile, back in the UK…

So things happened, and have been happening, and the UK is a fragile place at the moment. I was very much for remaining in the EU, and even after a few days the Brexit outcome is no less sad, painful, and worrying. Mostly because of the circumstances leading up to the vote – lies, nastiness, xenophobia and outright racism. What’s really sad is the people who voted against the EU were really voting against a UK government who has marginalised them for years. Meanwhile, just hours after the result was announced, key figures in the Leave camp were dismissing their major promises, one by one. I can’t help but feel they never really wanted to leave the EU, it was all about manipulating people in desperate situations to advance their own careers. Isn’t it astounding that product advertising is held to more accountability than election campaigning?

So now we have a new buzzword – Regrexit. We have a Prime Minister who’s washed his hands of this mess, government leaders focused on vying for power, an opposition party doing nothing but tear itself apart, cracks across the UK nations getting wider, and EU leaders calling for us to hurry up and get out already. Meanwhile, the council in Cornwall, an area that voted strongly to leave, has made statements about their funding fears, asking for assurance that the EU subsidies they receive will be matched by the UK government in the brave, new future. Irony really is a sick joke.

So what happens now? Keep Calm And Carry On? The next few weeks and months will certainly bring a lot to consider; technically the referendum result is not legally binding, so if there is any way the government can wriggle out of this and keep a few shreds of dignity they probably will. And if not, well, the one good thing about being out of the EU is that there is absolutely no one else to blame this country’s problems on, so how’s that for accountability?! All we can do for now is hope for the best, and when the time comes, engage with the whole process as much as possible. And then, que sera, sera.

I’ll end with a happy look at the garden, which has been coming along slowly but surely, now that the battering rains have given way to sunshine. Back to Japan next time!

2016-06-18
Pink lupins

2016-06-18
Purple lupins

2016-05-28
Pink and yellow aquilegia

2016-06-26 Cut flowers
First garden bouquet of the year – lupins, daisies, and day lilies