16 January 2022

A Good Read

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

A murder...A tragic accident...or just parents behaving badly?

The story deals with ex-husbands and second wives, mothers and daughters, schoolyard scandal, and little lies that can become dangerous. 

The main protagonists are Madeline, Celeste, and Jane. Madeline is outspoken, funny, passionate, and a force to be reckoned with.

Celeste is rich and beautiful, the kind of woman who makes people stop and stare, but she is hiding a dark secret behind the facade of perfection.

New to town, single mum Jane is running away from a mysterious past with her son, Ziggy. She is younger than the others and harbours a great deal of sadness. 

They meet at the kindergarten their children attend, and although disparate the women befriend each other. As their friendship deepens, secrets are shared, issues surface, and someone dies.
It's an ok read, I wouldn't say rush out and buy it. I thought parts of it were a little weak.

∼ Happy Reading ∼ 

Polly x

12 January 2022

The Last Igloo


Yesterday I watched a BBC programme called 'The Last Igloo'. Described as a "meditative and poetic sensory immersion into the world of a lone Inuit hunter" it's a beautiful documentary following a lone hunter in Greenland as he hunts, fishes and constructs an igloo. 
The stunning image above was captured when he lit some candles and cooked the fish he had caught earlier in the day.
It's achingly poignant as it depicts a way of life that is rapidly disappearing due to changing times but mostly due to climate change.
At times it seemed a tad slow, but I think it added to the charm. It's well worth watching.

∼ Be safe and well∼
Polly x

9 January 2022

January

 January

the first month of the year in the Julian and Gregorian calendars and the first of seven months to have a length of 31 days. It is, on average, the coldest month of the year in most of the Northern Hemisphere, and the warmest month of the year in most of the Southern Hemisphere. 
January was named for the Roman god Janus, known as the protector of gates and doorways who symbolize beginnings and endings. Janus is depicted with two faces, one looking into the past, the other with the ability to see into the future.
The Romans often made promises to Janus and exchanged good wishes, which is probably where new year's resolutions came from.

A few traditions
In Scotland, December 31 is known as Hogmanay. “First footing” (or the “first foot” in the house after midnight) is still common across Scotland. To ensure good luck for the house the first person to cross the threshold into the home should be a dark-haired male bringing with him a piece of coal (to ensure the house would never be cold), bread (to ensure a full larder), and a wee dram of whisky.
In Spain people attempt to eat 12 grapes during the 12 strokes of midnight! Tradition says that if they succeed before the chimes stop, they will have good luck for all 12 months of the coming year.
❄ In the southern US, black-eyed peas and pork foretell good fortune. 
❄ In Dutch homes eating any ring-shaped treat (such as a doughnut) symbolizes “coming full circle” and leads to good fortune. Fritters called olie bollen are served, and diving into the North Sea, lakes and canals is popular.
❄ The Irish enjoy pastries called bannocks.
❄ In India and Pakistan, rice promises prosperity.
❄ Apples dipped in honey are a Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) tradition.
❄ In Swiss homes, dollops of whipped cream, symbolizing the richness of the year to come, are dropped on the floors—and allowed to remain there!

Did you know?
❄ New Year’s Day was once the time to swap presents.
❄ Gifts of gilded nuts or coins marked the start of the new year in Rome.
❄ Eggs, the symbol of fertility, were exchanged by the Persians.
❄ Early Egyptians traded earthenware flasks.

Some customs and beliefs are simply passed down through the ages. A few favorite age-old sayings and proverbs are:

❄ On New Year’s Eve, kiss the person you hope to keep kissing.
❄ If New Year’s Eve night wind blow south, It betokeneth warmth and growth.
❄ For abundance in the new year, fill your pockets and cupboards today.
❄ If the old year goes out like a lion, the new year will come in like a lamb.

"Begin the new year square with every man" [i.e., pay your debts!]
Robert B. Thomas, founder of The Old Farmer’s Almanac

So, whether we resolve to return borrowed farm equipment (as did the Babylonians) or lose a few pounds, we’re tapping into an ancient and powerful longing for a fresh start!

∼ Be warm and well ∼ 
Polly x

6 January 2022

A Good Read

The Accidental Apprentice by Vikas Swarup
Sapna Sinha works in an electronics store in downtown Delhi. She hates her job, but she is ambitious and determined to succeed, and her family depend on the money she brings in, without it they won’t be able to survive. 
As she leaves the shop on her lunch break one day, she is approached by a man who says he is the CEO of one of India's biggest companies. He tells her he is looking for an heir for his business empire, and that he has decided it should be her. But first she must pass seven tests.  And then the biggest lottery win of all time will be hers.
The story started well but it soon became contrived and predictable, I quickly picked up that the tests were just snippets from news broadcasts. The characters were likeable though, and I enjoyed the descriptions of Indian culture.
It was a little disappointing but It’s a quick read so I didn’t feel I had wasted too much time.

∼ Happy Reading ∼ 

Polly x

3 January 2022

Rufus' Diary

Hello dear reader. I hope you've had a good Christmas and new year.
It was quiet here, good food and wine, delicious desserts, chocolates
and some good films, the most notable being Daniel Craig in "No Time To Die"
Polly was happy.

I got some nice treats and a new squeeky, that green ball that I'm carefully guarding.
We haven't been out for many walks because it has been almost non stop rain since
Christmas eve 😞 We had a nice walk yesterday, it was an organised village walk, lots of people turned up, the weather was lovely to start with but then - yes - more rain. It was almost 4½ miles, we're not used to that distance, Polly had to recover on the sofa!!

In the week leading up to Christmas we had some lovely frosty mornings

I like frost because I don't get muddy and don't have to be hosed down when we get home!

The badgers have been busy again.

There are some fresh holes in the field.
I don't think the farmer will like that, he ploughed over some last year.
The horses are wearing their winter coats, this is a pretty one.

"You lookin at me"

🐾 Be warm and well 🐾 
Rufus x

31 December 2021

29 December 2021

Buster

Dec 2010 -  Dec 2020

Dear sweet, gentle Buster. I've thought about him every day.

23 December 2021

Christmas


πŸŽ„πŸŽ„πŸŽ„


πŸŽ„πŸŽ„πŸŽ„


πŸŽ„πŸŽ„πŸŽ„


However you're spending the Christmas season I hope you will be happy and healthy.

πŸŽ„ Be warm and well πŸŽ„ 
Polly x

20 December 2021

My Great Mince Pie Survey

Hello dear reader, yes here I am again conducting my mince pie survey
for market research, and because I love mince pies!!

Marks & Spencer classic all butter £1.90 for 6
no alcohol or extras but a tasty pie

Marks & Spencer vegetarian all butter shortcrust pastry, deep filled with vine fruits,
cranberries, clementine and Cognac. £2.50 for 6. Delicious served
warm with a dollop of cream, and accompanied by a glass of mulled cider.

Marks & Spencer 9 mini pie selection. 3 topped with fruit and nut topping, 3 filled with vine fruits, cranberries, clementines and cognac and 3 filled with rich sticky toffee sauce and vine fruits, topped with a Viennese biscuit. These little beauties are gorgeous. This year's favourite.

Mr Kipling deep filled mince pies. £1.50 for 6. A basic price for a basic pie.
Just ok, a bit doughy, I didn't have a second one.

Morrison's the Best all butter pastry with brandy and cider infused mince meat
and a warming blend of spices. £2 for 6.
Not bad but I tasted more pastry rather than alcohol and spices.

Aldi all butter infused with brandy and cognac. Very tasty with nice firm pastry.

 Be warm and well  
Polly x

15 December 2021

A Good Read

The Silence of The Sea by Yrsa Sigurdardsttir

An abandoned yacht, a missing family, a chilling crime. 'Mummy dead, daddy dead, Adda dead, Bygga dead.' The child sighed and clutched her grandmother's leg. 'All dead.'

Waiting on the dock at Reykjavik harbour is an elderly couple with a small child, they are waiting for the rest of their family - their son, daughter in law and twin granddaughters. Their son was working for an insurance company detailed to ensure the safe arrival of a yacht. He thought it would be a nice treat for his wife and twin children to join him.


The luxury yacht, repossessed from its crooked wealthy owner arrives and crashes into the harbour. There is nobody on board, the vessel is empty. What has happened to the crew, and to the family who were on board when it left Lisbon?

The police investigate but are baffled and unable to provide answers. The elderly couple are looking after their youngest granddaughter and are worried about her future. They hire Thora Gudmundsor to investigate the disappearance, and to collect on the large life insurance policy, the money to be put aside for the child. They hope that because Thora isn't police she will have easier access to information.

Thora is soon drawn into the mystery. What should she make of the rumours saying that the vessel was cursed, especially given that when she boarded the yacht she thought she saw one of the missing twins? Where is Karitas, the glamorous young wife of the yacht's former owner? And is the body that washed up further along the shore connected to the yacht?

A well written, very absorbing story, alternately narrated by Thora as she investigates, and the story of those that started out on the yacht. Clues abound, discoveries made and eventually the truth is revealed.

∼ Happy Reading ∼ 

Polly x

9 December 2021

Christmas Tree Festival

A neighbouring village has hosted a Christmas tree festival in their church for a number of years now. They didn't have one last year but it was back again this year, and very well attended. As well as all the lovely imaginative entries they also had a raffle (didn't win this one) and refreshments - tea and cake.
Join me as we wander around and marvel at all the lovely trees.

Cat - tas- tro - tree. Cats in all manner of poses.
Made out of pipe cleaners, wool and felt. One of my favourites.
That note at the bottom says "Can you spot the intruder?" 
I think it was this mouse

How adorable is this tiny Mad Hatter Tea Party tree. Another favourite
It looked better than the photo, the lighting was difficult
also I think my phone camera has seen better days

The Land of Sweets

The Tree of Sisterhood celebrating some inspirational British women

All Things Bright And Beautiful

The Wheatsheaf, another favourite
clever use of beer mats and corks

A Clangers Christmas by the bell ringers

Pom Pom tree

This was lovely
The village church needs a new roof, work has begun

the builders are making good progress


My WI group's entry, The Lockdown tree, photographs showing what we did during lockdown

 arts and crafts, gardening, dog walking, dolls house work, quilting, dressmaking,
reading, baking and drinking gin! not all of us, I don't like gin!

Starry Night


Upcycled tree

 decorated with ring pulls, plastic bottles, buttons and a host of other recyclables.
A cheery snowman made with bottle tops

This Father Christmas was another favourite

Embroidered Scrap Fabric tree

A Christmas Carol by the garden and allotment society

Faces by the Portrait Group. I've done some sitting for them,
one of the photos is a painting of me that one of the ladies did. 


Beaver Tree by the Beaver Scouts

how cute are these little beavers

Another small and beautiful one. The Knowman snows your library


How gorgeous is this, it was my overall favourite.
Barrow Farm Riding school for the disabled

Forest Tree was really lovely, much better than the photo shows


This was part of the church decoration.


It was so good to have the tree festival back, and to see it so well attended.

∼ Be warm and well ∼ 
Polly x

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