31 December 2022

Happy New Year

Dear reader, I wish you a happy and healthy 2023
✶ Polly 

22 December 2022


Merry Christmas
Seasons Greetings
Happy Holidays

Courtesy of freepik

Christmas is coming, the geese are getting fat,
Please put a penny in the old man’s hat,
If you haven’t got a penny, a ha’penny will do,
If you haven’t got a ha’penny, God bless you!
Beggar’s rhyme.
The musical sheet belongs to the writer Edith Nesbit (Bland) (1858-1924), the author of popular children's literature.
Here in England turkey has been the favoured traditional Christmas dinner for a few decades. At the turn of the century though not many people could afford turkey so goose was the popular choice. Often a family would raise a goose, fattening it up in time for Christmas.
The song also talks about the charity of the Christmas season. Beggars would hold out their hats for a penny from people walking by. If you didn't have a penny on you, you could always give a half penny (pronounced ha'penny). If you didn't even have a "ha'penny" then you needed some blessing because you were just as poor as the beggar!


Prince Albert, Queen Victoria's consort, is usually credited with having introduced the Christmas tree into England in 1840. However it was actually his wife's grandmother 'Good Queen Charlotte', the German wife of George III, who set up the first known tree at Queen's Lodge, Windsor, in December 1800. Charlotte was born and raised in Germany, where the tradition of bringing a tree inside at Christmas time, decorated with lights and sweets, is believed to date back to the 16th century. As a child, Charlotte’s family always decorated single yew branches and laid presents for each other underneath. When she married King George III in 1761 she brought the custom with her to England.

The Trafalgar Square Christmas tree has been an annual gift to the people of Britain from Norway as a token of gratitude for British support to Norway during the Second World War.


In 1647 Oliver Cromwell, an English Puritan leader, banned the festivities of Christmas for being seen as immoral on such a holy day. The ban was lifted in 1660. He was a dour man.


Santa visited the village this evening

accompanied by fairy light tractors.

Dear reader, I hope your Christmas/Holiday season is full of happiness.
πŸŽ„ Be safe and well πŸŽ„
    Polly x

20 December 2022

My Great Mince Pie Survey

Hello dear reader, it's that time again, I love mince pies, but you probably know that by now!

Aldi all butter infused with brandy, dry cider and ruby port.
Delicious and nice firm pastry.

Co-op basic short crust pastry and spiced mincemeat. Not very nice, I didn't finish it.

Co-op irresistible all butter pastry filled with a rich spiced fruit and brandy mincemeat.
I didn't find it irresistible and didn't finish this one either.

Waitrose brown butter mince pies with cognac. This year's favourite.
 Rich beurre noisette pastry filled with rich mincemeat made with apricots,
glacΓ© Amarena cherries and almonds, laced with cognac.
These are gorgeous, beautiful pastry and a lovely strong taste of cognac.
We don't have a Waitrose in Chelmsford which is just as well
because if we did I would eat far too many of them!!

Asda luxury shortcrust pastry with vine fruits, Valencian orange oil,
spices, rich ruby port and a splash of cognac. Very tasty.

Marks & Spencer melt in the mouth all butter shortcrust pastry deep filled with vine fruits, cranberries, clementine and cognac. Very tasty with nice firm pastry.

∼ Be warm and well∼
    Polly x

16 December 2022

A Good Read

Everybody Died So I Got A Dog
by Emily Dean

Emily Dean is a writer and radio presenter. She is Frank Skinner's co-host on the Frank Skinner Show. Her story is heartbreaking. From 2012-2015 she lost her sister Rachel followed by her mother and then her father. 
Emily’s father was a BBC broadcaster and her mother an actor. She and her sister Rachel survived a childhood of intellectual chaos. Bailiffs were invited in for tea, final demands were used as coasters and granny was on amphetamines. But it was never home for the dog Emily craved, “dog families” represented the stable family life that Emily yearned for. Her beloved older sister Rachael was her rock. Over the years the sisters' bond grew close and strong. 
Then, tragically, Rachael was diagnosed with cancer.

Despite the distress it is a good read. It's written with a lightness and wry humour.

∼ Stay warm & well ∼ 

Polly x

12 December 2022

A Celebration Of Christmas

Last Wednesday the Essex Federation of Women's Institute hosted a concert of Christmas carols and readings at St Mary's Church in Saffron Walden. 
My village WI group started our day with a late breakfast at a restaurant near home and then journeyed to the church.

It's a beautiful huge church, more like a cathedral. We sang traditional Christmas carols, there were readings from the Bible, seasonal related readings and a lovely whimsical reading from a child's interpretation of the Christmas story. The highlight for me was the solo soprano singer Nancy May her beautiful voice was incredible, I was captivated. 

The church has a very good toilet block, why am I telling you this? well.....
I know town twinning has been around for a long time (I never understood it though, I thought it seemed pointless), but I had never heard of toilet twinning! This one above is to be found at Lusaka, Zambia, latrine no. 45160. Supporting toilet twinning helps to flush away poverty. 


How sturdy are these little marigolds, thriving in all this frost.

It looks pretty but it's mighty cold brrrr...
And now the marigold is covered in snow!

And we have a cheery snowman across the road 😊

∼ Be warm and well∼
    Polly x

7 December 2022

Christmas Tree Festival

Wow December seems to come round quicker each year, and with it the Christmas Tree Festival hosted by the church in the village down the road. Local groups, shops, individuals enter their trees. Lets walk around the church and admire the brilliant and innovative ideas.

A Christmas Dinner by the village Infant School
with a roast turkey, how cute are the pigs in blankets,
and the carrots and brussels!
prawn cocktails
Christmas pud and mince pies which looked so realistic
they displayed a note saying they weren't edible!

Christmas Carols

by My WI group

Thank You Ma'am, by a milliner

garden party tribute was lovely

No Electricity Needed by the village hairdresser, simply beautiful

Dressing For Christmas
I really liked this one, and 
The Fashionable Foliage Tree

Blesma, the Military Charity for Limbless Veterans

Walking In The Air
a thank you to Raymond Briggs by the Library volunteers


Barrow Farm Riding School For The Disabled

always do a lovely display

Marmalade Sandwich Tree
by my village church

Aiming Higher, brilliant rocket tree by Highwood Village School

The Crafting Year by a sewing and crafting group

Re-Tyred Snowman, very clever, from the village garage

Guiding Spirit by The Guides

My Favourite Things

Christmas Choo Choo Tree

Lonely Pup In The Christmas Shop

Writtle Singers, photos of Singer sewing machines, how clever.

There was also a craft exhitibion and refreshments.
After a cup of tea and cake we went back into the church to watch the Morris Dancers

∼ Be safe and well∼
    Polly x

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