Friday, 20 December 2013

How To Lay A Hedge, Christmas Parties and Ted and Poppy Do Tug Of War

I know, I know, it's been ages.

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 like this jumper so much I have been wearing it for all my patients this morning too, and no-one has said a word. This either means that a) they all think I'm bonkers already and therefore nothing I do surprises them any longer, b) Christmas Jumpers are so de rigueur this year that no-one bats an eyelid at someone wearing them, (not many having flashing noses though.....) or possibly c) they think it looks ridiculous but are too polite to say so.

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.

It's been a social week as it turns out. I met up with Mrs M and the Romsey Colllective for a Girly Christmas Supper on Tuesday. There were lots of sparkles in attendance (of course). Food was delicious, company was great and we had bubbles, because my friend Saz can't do a meal out without them.

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?

CT x


  1. I LOVE the frost pics and your singing Robin best.

    M did a hedge laying course a few years go but has never had one to practice on since! Not posting so often is good for me as I just can't keep up and keep missing important ones (I think!) from everyone. xx

    1. I thought the frost was brilliant, such gorgeous swirls. I'm dying to make a hedge in the garden now!! x

  2. It's amazing how much Poppy has grown. Almost as long as Ted now. She may not fit in his basket much longer.
    Love your flashing jumper!

    1. She is growing but I think will be an on-the-small-side JR. However, this does not relate remotely to her ferocity, or determination! :-)

  3. Christmas jumpers are very de rigeur this year, and all the best people have them. After 48 years sans Christmas jumper I now have two - a cute penguin in a bobble hat and a Rudolph Red Nose Reindeer (sadly, he does not flash). The bobble on the penguin's bobble hat is rather embarrassingly situated right on my left embonpoint (is that how you spell it?) so I spend a lot of time when wearing this jumper adjusting the bobble so it doesn't look either ridiculous or suggestive!

    Lovely frost pictures, smashing Mr Robin pictures, adorable Teddy and Pops, and hurrah for end of term is what I say! Xx

    1. I think we should see pictures of your Crimbo jumpers Mrs Denise (although perhaps laid flat on the table instead of in situ on your embonpoint).
      Indeed: hurrah for end of term. It couldn't come soon enough here! :-)

  4. Hi CT. Poppy is lovely and growing up. Love thr frost and the different colours. May I wish you and your family a VERY HAPPY CHRISTMAS. I won't be posting and commenting so much over the festive time. will be with family

    1. Merry Christmas to you too Margaret. Hope you have a wonderful time with your family x

  5. You must have got so much satisfaction seeing the finished hedge. I love your Christmas jumper - they are so popular this year! The frost looks amazing. Your heart must have been in your mouth with Poppy glad the thought of biscuits lured her away from danger.
    Sarah x

    1. It was really satisfying seeing the hedge take shape. I love the way they fit so easily into the landscape.

      Yes, terrifying moment with Poppy. We're going to dig the ground out beneath the gate and put an extra board on it so she can't get under it again. We were so lucky nothing was coming. Doesn't bare thinking about. x

  6. It's always the little dogs that seems to be the most courageous. Great jumper-they are all in apparently. Love the frost, robin and cakes.

    1. That's so true about small dogs. I think JRs in particular have a reputation for toughness- she's far more that way than Teddy is.

  7. The hedge looks great - no wonder you were all chuffed. I love the frost photos, they look like frosty leaves. I know that feeling of panic when a puppy runs off - it really is about keeping calm and coaxing them back. If only they knew!
    Love the little Robin, too.
    Have a lovely Christmas!

    1. Ice fascinates me just as snow flakes do- all those crystals making intricate patterns, so beautiful.

      We're taking Poppy's escape as a warning to get the gate sorted so she can no longer escape. It all happened so quickly that coaxing her back was the only way to retrieve her. The worst bit was I'd witnessed the aftermath of a little dog being run over in Romsey earlier and it had been in my head all day. It was too close for comfort to see Pops disappearing off down the lane.

  8. I just love that jumper :) I want one :)!!!!

    I am so glad Poppy escaped unscathed - what a worrying experience :(

    I love your frosty photos - we've only had one slight frost here.

    The robin is very festive and great photos :)

    1. £30 at New look... :-)

      Have learnt my lesson re Pops and the gate. Fixing WILL occur this weekend! x


Thank you for leaving a comment. I always enjoy reading them. CT.