For which I apologise.
But this week was always going to be my Mad Week.
Now that it's finished (or almost) I can relax a bit and get on with Other Things (like picking up the turkey on Monday, carol concerts in the market square, making more mince pies - the previous batch having mysteriously disappeared from the tin without me noticing where they went - and nursing poor old L who has come down with a sore throat and is feeling rubbish as a result).
College has now finished for the holidays. Our first assignment came back on Thursday- moment of trepidation, unfounded as it turned out, huge relief. And we had a great day on Wednesday learning the traditional way to Lay A Hedge. I think this has been my favourite task yet. The hedge looked great when we'd finished and it was very satisfying work. The other half of the group had been coppicing and we all met up at lunch time for sausages cooked over the bonfire.
|Cutting into the hawthorn tree (pleacher) with the billhook|
|The pleacher ready to be bent over into the hedge|
|Bending the pleacher|
|Knocking the central stakes in to give the hedge some strength|
|Winding the hazel binders between the stakes|
|Close up of the binders|
|The finished article. We were all pretty chuffed with it.|
|The Obligatory Bonfire, which was Useful to Fend Off The Cold|
|Sap bubbling out of the burning wood. I was Quite Captivated by this for a while|
Thursday being the last day of term I made some cakes for everyone to celebrate with. We ate them after sitting a mock-exam (all in need of a chocolate-induced endorphin rush by then).
After that we all went out for a drink in Winchester to celebrate surviving the first term. Parking was a Complete and Utter Nightmare and it took Ayla and me half an hour to find a space. What idiot thought it would be a good idea to go into town late on the Thursday before Christmas?? (oh, that would be me). Anyway, it turns out if you throw Christmas and a pub into the mix perfectly sane ecologists-in-the-making turn into this.....
Luckily, there are no photos of me (phew). But I will, however, share with you my new Christmas Jumper, which I wore. What you can't see on the pics is that the nose flashes. L looked at me askance when we set off together in the morning but refrained from commenting. He's probably given up wishing he had a normal mother.
I remembered I hadn't taken any pics of Winchester's German Christmas Market last time I was there so got some for you on the way to the pub to meet the others.... It was packed, as per.
|My First Christmas Dinner of the year|
|Two Midwives Together: Mrs M and her sis C|
I went out with the camera this morning because Jack Frost had been in the night and left some Interesting Ice Crystals on M's car...
|I thought this one looked like someone had sketched it|
It was while I was doing this that Pops decided to make a Bid For Freedom. She zoomed down the drive, scootled under the gate and legged it off down the road before I could grab her. And all this mere seconds after a car had gone hurtling up the lane (people drive way too fast round here).
I felt sick, and had to exert ENORMOUS self control NOT to chase after her, which she would have considered a worthy game and responded accordingly to. Instead, I squatted down and pretended I had some Really Interesting Biscuits in my hand. Fortunately curiosity overcame the desire for freedom and she rushed back to me. I scooped her up and returned her to the house, plonking her rather unceremoniously in front of the fire with Ted, who gave her a Very Disapproving Look. Naughty, Naughty, Naughty.
However, censure bounces off Poppy extremely quickly and it took her appox 2.3 seconds to recover from her telling off and steal Ted's cow, which he had been quietly chewing. A tug-o-war then ensued which entailed a large amount of growling and a fair bit of climbing over Teddy, who either no longer minds this treatment, or else doesn't care any more.
|Butter wouldn't melt|
|The Lovely and Long Suffering Teddy|
|I want it!|
|Climbing Over Teddy|
Apologies for that rather Marathon post- I will try and keep it shorter next time. I'll leave you with some pictures of our lovely Robin, who is obliging Tremendously with photo-opportunities in a kind-of Frenzy Of moments worthy of Christmas...
Hope all are well?