Thursday, 22 December 2016

Early Morning Mist & Mincepies


The Marsh Tit returns


Christmas preparations continue apace here, mixed in with GCSE revision and running. Yesterday I made the mincemeat and then, when it had cooled, 46 mince pies. It took three batches of pastry (luckily I had enough eggs). We've eaten some already, they are A Bit Lovely. Made with the usual raisins and sultanas, but I add cranberries, almonds, apple, hazelnuts, various spices and a generous sloosh of brandy or two :o)

We had some bad news last night- poor Uncle Charles has been taken to hospital with Pneumonia. We were supposed to be taking them out to lunch on Christmas Eve. Hoping he'll soon be home as he's such a character and very much loved by us all.

I got up early this morning in order to run before driving down to Bournemouth. The dogs and I were out in the fields a little before sunrise, threading our way through ribbons of mist snaking in the valleys, startling the buzzard who has got used to us appearing after eight not before it, and admiring the cold pink flush of dawn smudging the skeletons of the trees. Poppy disgraced herself by running off into the wood after pheasants and not coming back until I'd roared for her for several minutes, thereby shattering both the ethereal peace of the morning and my own transcendental calm induced by running steadily through a wild landscape with no one else about, the air cold and the grass crisply frosted under my feet. I was Not Very Pleased. Fortunately, it was another mile or so back to the car and by the time we'd done that I was settled again. Teddy stayed with me the whole way, occasionally glancing up at me as if to say You see? I'm still here. I haven't been naughty and run off.

I've been doing a lot of dusk and dawn outings this week. Two walks as the light faded rewarded me with a flock of starlings a thousand strong singing in two oaks across the fields one day, and the same flock flying directly over my head the next. The collective whispering from their wings was quite something. We were also treated to dark-time flying of a small flock of Lapwing, who came unseen and unexpected out of the night and played in the air around us calling to one another. They are such acrobatic birds, far more so than their blunt-winged silhouettes suggest. It was quite eerie, watching their outlines framed against the brilliance of an indigo sky one minute, then seeing them disappear into the all-consuming identity of night the next. I heard them calling long after the light had gone.

I hope you're all well and feeling peaceful as Christmas approaches. We've got Parkruns on Christmas Eve morning and Christmas Day morning to cancel out all the feasting. Should I wear fancy dress, is the question. What do you all think? And if so, what should I wear? (fully acknowledging that I may regret asking that question!).

CT :o)








38 comments:

  1. Sorry to hear that Uncle Charles is not well, I hope he will be better soon and back home again to enjoy New Year festivities with you. Wishing him well! Poppy is risking it getting up to tricks so close to Christmas isn't she. I fear that her Father Christmas points may have dropped by a few dozen. As for the fancy dress, well yes, of course! Santa suit and a silly hat perhaps? Or just a santa hat and a bow added to your usual running attire might be easier to handle! Enjoy both runs and have a happy Christmas!!

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    1. Thanks Amy :o) Yup, Pop hasn't thought it through at all, has she? Great idea re the Santa hat, I have got one. Happy Christmas to you both x

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  2. Curious to see a long tailed tit on a bird table like that! A lovely sight.

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    1. We're so lucky we have a biggish flock who visit regularly.

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  3. Elf or fairy I think, depending on whether or not you have a tutu to hand. I have ALWAYS wanted to wear a tutu. Never have yet. Still haven't given up on it though. My time will come. Very sorry to hear that the delightful Uncle Charles isn't well. I'm wishing him godspeed for a swift recovery. Oh Poppy, early morning pheasants are so tempting aren't they. And there is all that fresh new overnight energy to burn off. Dear Ted must despair. We have similar problems with the littlest boy, he's a devil for vanishing completely. I too have shattered much peace with the yelling. Well done on all of those mince pies. I made 14 and of course they disappeared in a trice. Luckily I have a couple of jars of mincemeat left. Better get cracking and whip up some more. CJ xx

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    1. Should I admit to having two tutus? I'm envisaging a punk fairy in a Christmas hat.... I'm quite sure photos will follow, to be critiqued :o) xx

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  4. Those mince tarts look yummy. I only made 1 doz. this year since I'm the only one who eats them.

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    1. Homemade is always nicer than shop bought :o)

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  5. I can only say my mouth is watering with looking at those mince pies. Really.

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  6. Hope your Uncle recovers soon, my sister had the same and has only just come out of hospital, she ended up in intensive care, they just got to her in time.
    I have seen several long tail tits here, there are about 7 or 8 which go round together, I just hope one day they will pop in and see me.
    Have a lovely Christmas
    Marlene xx

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    1. Hoping he'll be home soon, but it won't be before Christmas. Good luck with the LTTs, such wonderful little birds. Have a great Christmas x

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  7. Oh My Goodness, I envy your peaceful run. Bad gud dug Poppy.
    Gud Dug Ted !
    The mince pies look fabulous, I really would like one right now with my coffee.

    Have a lovely Holiday.
    cheers, parsnip

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    1. I'm sending you one over the internet right this minute :o) Happy holidays to you and thehamish, Parsnip.

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  8. oh dear, poor Uncle Charles. i wish him the speediest of recoveries.

    i'm sat staring at my jar of mincemeat, wondering if i can muster the energy to actually translate it pies. i think i've hit the Chrimbly wall -- whereby all of my energy and inclination has deserted me. but you've inspired me with your pics....and really, it's not a difficult thing.

    naughty Pop. Ted must feel so virtuous when that happens. she really is pushing her luck this close to the Festive Event...FC is still watching...

    xoxo

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    1. Thanks, Lovely Mel :o) Christmas preps seem to have gone on forever here too, am now quite keen to reach the actual day and go onwards! Ted is milking it for all it's worth, even telling his Dad all about it when he got back from work last night!
      Love to all your gang xx

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  9. Have a good Christmas. Those mince pies look delectable.

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  10. Sending get well vibes to Uncle Charles! I do hope he makes a swift recovery!
    Mince pies look delicious- enjoy!
    Fancy dress....I'm not sure how but you could be the jogger blogger!
    But if all else fails gawdy xmas decs, vibrant colour clothes - and tinsel! Boom! ๐Ÿ’ฅ
    Have a ๐Ÿ‘Œ๐ŸŽ„ with lots of ๐Ÿท๐Ÿป and good ๐Ÿ˜€ And have fun ๐ŸŽ‰๐ŸŽ‰๐ŸŽ‰๐Ÿพ๐Ÿพ๐Ÿพ❤️

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    1. Thanks Sally :o) Loving the fancy dress ideas, jogger blogger tee hee! Happy Christmas lovely friend xx

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  11. I think you should dress up as one of your Tv boyfriends! ;)
    So sorry to hear about your Uncle, sending good wishes that he makes a good recovery.
    Have a great holiday, cant wait for the photos of the park run.xxx

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    1. Now that would be a challenge! Which one to choose? Thanks re Uncle Charles, he'll be in hosp till after Christmas at least as he can't walk, poor love. Happy holidays to you all. Photos will follow of the fancy dress effort :o) xx

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  12. Let's hope Uncle Charles is back home again soon. Your mince pies sound delicious. Have a great Christmas. x

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    1. Thanks, Karen. Happy Christmas to you too x

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  13. Fancy dress sounds great fun and I think as they feature on your blog from time to time you should go as a Great Tit:) Sorry couldn't resist. Hope Uncle Charles makes a full and speedy recovery. Have a wonderful Christmas and I look forward to reading about your exploits in 2017.
    Jean

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    1. Am giggling at the thought. No dressing up required, perhaps?! Happy Christmas to you too x

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  14. So sorry to hear about your Uncle Charles - hope he recovers soon

    Mince Pies look delicious - still have to make mine (very behind this year with Christmas preparations!) although at least mincemeat already made!

    Hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas.

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    1. There's always so much to do, isn't there? It seems to have gone on for ages and isn't even here yet! Merry Crimbo to you all x

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  15. Fancy dress-oh yes and something christmasy...I once dressed up as a giant xmas cracker. The only problem was sitting down as it was made of card! Hope your uncle is ok. Happy Christmas to you all.

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    1. You did give me a giggle imagining the cracker and the not being able to sit down! I think running in it could be interesting....:o) Happy crimbo to you too x

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  16. Lovely photo of the long-tailed tit and such an evocative description of your run, CT. I can just see you hollering at Poppy and sweet Ted looking anxious. I do hope Uncle Charles makes a speedy recovery and is home to celebrate with you all asap. Wishing you a wonderful Christmas and even better New Year. Sam xx PS Delicious-looking mince pies – I have eaten far too many already...

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    1. Thanks, Sam. Hoping he'll pull through and be home soon. The LTTs are such great little birds, so much character. Hope you guys have a lovely Christmas and New Year too xx

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  17. I can almost smell those mince pies. Hope your uncle is better soon. Sounds like you are going to be active this Christmas. Have a lovely time. B xx

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    1. Hopefully burning off all the food and drink! Thanks, Barbara, and happy Christmas to you too x

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  18. Hey CT,
    I am envying you your dawn running. ThecDr tells me that I have most likely torn a muscle in my calf, after going for a low shot playing badminton. I heard a pop, and just knew something nasty had happened. Anyway I've been forced to rest it until today (because I have food shopping to do), and been advised not to exercise for at least 6 weeks. I am gutted. I'm hobbling around the house and snapping at everyone.
    I hope Uncle Charles gets well very soon. I remember him from previous posts. Enjoy your park runs over Christmas. I shall cheer you on from my elevated position on the sofa!
    Leanne xx

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    1. Oh NO! What rotten luck! The plus side is you were so fit before it happened it'll heal quicker and you won't have lost much in the way of ability to clock up the miles in only 6 weeks. It'll soon flow back. Think about having some physio- it made a huge difference when I wrecked the soft tissue in my hand falling off a horse who'd gone into a bog at a gallop (boy, did that hurt). Merry Christmas to you all down in Cornwall xx

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  19. The Mince Pies look great. I made my mincemeat in August (nearly knocked my socks off when I opened the cork on the jar!) but haven't made ANY mince pies yet - and dang it, it's Christmas Eve now.

    Have a lovely Christmas and I hope Uncle Charles gets better soon.

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Thank you for leaving a comment. I always enjoy reading them and will try my best to reply to every one. CT x