Sunday, 28 December 2014

Project 52 week 52 ( and a little bit left over)

I always enjoy Christmas week.  I light lots of candles, invite friends round for coffee, and curl up by the fire with a good book.

Monday 22nd December

 We have two modern chandeliers in our house, but the one in the sitting room, with 5 lights, is never switched on as it gives off a cold light. We usual use the one in the dining room, which has 7 lights, as it is right over the table. Otherwise we use uplighters in the corners. At this time of the year it is nicer to use candlelight. I spent a lot of the day on the phone trying to trace a missing gift which was looking increasingly like it wouldn't arrive in time for the big day.


Cathy came to visit today and she brought me a basket made-up of her jams and chutneys. She makes wonderful things with fruit from her garden, and herbs from mine. She brought me the cutest plant pot in the shape of a cat. As she has the mother cat of my two, she is instrumental in making sure my cat collection continues to grow. I put my poinsettia in it and tucked it up on the top of the TV cupboard, away from the cats.


Christmas eve. The first good thing happened when the parcel, which had gone missing without trace, turned up. Cairis was at work, as was her father, so I wrapped it quickly and put it behind the sofa. We always give each other a gift at midnight before we go to bed, and mine was really special. M bought me a replacement wedding ring for my silver wedding anniversary. I thought he had forgotten. It was exactly the same Celtic knot design as the original, and also came from Skye Silver. The only difference was the width. The first one was too deep for my short fingers and I rarely wore it- and of course it got mislaid. The new one is perfect.

Christmas Day

I set the table for lunch and lit the fire and the candles before the others woke up. It was our turn to host the morning (drop in for a drink and exchange gifts) session. We take turns with our friends each year. We were eating venison, which needs very little cooking time, so I wasn't stressed. Father Christmas brought me a table-top hostess trolley, which I'd had my eye on for a while. It was well used during the day. Miles bought me a lemon tree for the garden. I shall have fun deciding where to plant it when the weather warms up.

Friday, Boxing day

Boxing Day is big in the Morris calender so M was up with the larks, ready to dance in town. Cairis decided to go down too, so that she could try out her new camera. I woke up with a tickly cough, and, thinking I was brewing a cold,opted for staying by the fire. I had a very peaceful day, with the cats for company and a good book on my kindle. I decided to tidy up my paperwork, which was starting to look like a mountain. I thought that I could just scan it all and throw away the paper, but I had help- or hindrance, from my little black furry friend. She has taken to using her paws to scoop paper up which is not funny when there is work to be done.


The tree has been up for over a week now, and the cats hadn't shown any interest in it until today. I wonder if it was because I hadn't yet switched the lights on. Ebony climbed right into the middle of the tree, and Maisie had a tentative go- and deciding she was too heavy, erred on the side of caution.
 My cold is now at the sneezing and streaming stage, so I have been upstairs in the office by myself for most of the day. I did go down to watch  Inspector Montalbano  for a while though.
There are still a few days to go to the end of the year, so there will be another week's worth to come.
I'm looking forward to what 2015 will bring.

Monday, 22 December 2014

Project 52. Week 51 the penultimate one:-)

We really are getting to the end of this project- I wonder what the next one will be.....

Monday 15th December

My first day of leisure, and I decided to do very little today. A couple of colleagues came for coffee, and we enjoyed the fact that the tree was up and the room was looking festive. Ebony was doing exactly what I wanted to do- chill! I am hoping that their new winter beds will arrive soon. At the moment they seem to prefer sleeping on our sofas- I think their doughnut beds are too draughty.


Quite interestingly, neither cat has shown much interest in this year's tree. Ebs did try to climb it while it was still netted, but then wasn't bothered. Maisie likes looking at the lights reflected in the bay window. Again, the sofas are popular. Today has been a day of postal arrivals. I did a fair bit of shopping online. My family all wanted things which are not easy to come by on the island. I also had to go down to the East to help Carl  do things with his Mac. By the time I have finished I will know my way around it as well as I do with my own Windows PC. It sometimes takes a little to work out though, so I can only help when I'm off work.


The cat beds arrived. I had to build the supports for them- which were very user friendly. After I put them in the corners, Maisie decided to investigate the one on the left- and promptly curled up in it. That left the other for the black monster- and she didn't make any fuss about it. She also curled up and went to sleep. They have been a great hit. I chose red tartan to go with my decor, but the catalogue which came in the box showed some other amazing beds. We also had the final #ELTchat of the year.


Today I decided to get out our nativity set. It is made of Maltese Crystal and I bought it years ago when I was training in the island in December. I also brought back some beautiful glass tree ornaments, which haven't seen the light of day since Ebony arrived as a small kitten. I thought perhaps this year I could try them on the tree.

Friday and Saturday

Every year the Joint Charities do a Christmas appeal for the less well-off amongst us. My friends and I go Carol singing round the pubs and restaurants, with a collection bucket. We started on the West of the island on Friday evening, and did the East on the Saturday. By the end of the evening I would have killed anyone who played Jingle Bells! When we counted up the money we had collected, there was almost £1,250.00. Not bad for a small group of singers and musicians. St Aubin looks lovely at night.


We were asked to play for the Zoo in the afternoon. Not more carols- although we did do a couple. We started at 2 and played until nearly 5pm. Cairis stayed home to make gingerbread. Her recipe seemed a bit odd- but..... she made gingerbread unicorns. Lol. They looked a bit strange but tasted like brandy snaps. Perhaps I'll make my recipe tomorrow.
 Apart from a few candles, I am now ready for next week. Everything is wrapped and stored. The venison is ordered and the menu is written.

Monday, 15 December 2014

Project 52 Week 50

This was my last week at work for the year as our students were all returning home. I still have some private classes to finish, but they are only a couple of hours a week, so won't have much impact.

Monday 8th December

The students are getting demob happy. At least Monday is a short day, and they were going to the Zoo in the afternoon. I was happy when I got home from work to find a mug I had ordered online had arrived. I'm going to use it for work. I'm sure my colleagues will be amused too.


A wet and windy start to the day, which didn't get any better. I had a conference call after classes had finished, to discuss importing a Diploma course for some of my colleagues who want to move up the ladder. When I left work, it was so dark it was difficult to find my car.
In the evening my neighbour came round with a table decoration she had made for me. It was a lovely surprise.


We ordered enough coal and logs to do us over the winter. Ebony decided that the bag was a great hiding place. She is a terrible one for getting into places where she shouldn't be.

 I put out the new draught excluder I found. It matches my decor for Christmas, but I will recover it afterwards so that it can be used for longer.


The tree was delivered today. We normally leave it in the hall to acclimatise for a day or two, so that all the needles don't fall off. I got it from the local garden centre and they charge a couple of pounds to deliver, so it is the easiest way to do it. I am a bit disappointed: I only bought a 7' tree and normally I have a 9'. It should fit into the bay easily, but won't reach the top as it usually does.
Maisie has spent most of her time asleep on the back of the sofa. She likes the fleece.


As many of our students were on the morning ferry, I had small classes today. In the afternoon, I was the only teacher with any students- so I was the last man standing. We chose our course provider, and thanked the others for their time. It looks like we will be starting in January, so we have had to move the visit to the 'Stans'.  When I got home we stood the tree up in the holder and filled it with water. There was a tiny hole in the side of the netting, and Ebony, of course!, decided to climb in it.



Today started with a visit to the doctor. I knocked my knee, and couldn't flex my leg this morning. With some anti-inflamatories I should be fine quite soon. The doctor thinks it is Bursitis, which is also known as 'Housemaid's knee'.

I stayed home to decorate the house a bit more, leaving anything that needed a ladder until Cairis or M came home. I removed the netting from the tree, but this time Ebony showed no interest in climbing into it.


Well, today I decided to decorate the tree. Cairis had invited her father to see the final Hobbit film at the cinema, and I had the afternoon to myself. As I suspected, the tree looks a bit short, but you can see the star for a change. Normally it is so high that you can't see it from outside.

This year I didn't buy any new tree baubles, but I did enjoy my tour round the garden centres with my best friend. We do it every year, and make a day of it.

Two more weeks to go and I am now officially on holiday. M has taken a week off as he still had some holiday time owing. I shall be waiting to squirrel away anything which arrives by post, so that no-one sees what they might be getting from Father Christmas.


Sunday, 7 December 2014

Project 52 Weeks 48 and 49

Getting ever closer to the end....

Monday 24th November

It felt cold today, for the first time. Although we have had our fire on at night for a few weeks now, we decided to put the underfloor heating on in the bathrooms. You can tell - we now have to negotiate past the cats if we want to use the loo!


Today was windy  and the trees are suddenly starting to look bare. The trees in our car park still have a few leaves and they don't quite look as though the winter has arrived yet.


One of out students gave us a present of truffles today. They were amazing- a real HIT of chocolate. I think I might buy some more to have wrapped up as extra gifts for unexpected visitors. This week isn't as wet as last week, so it is less of a chore to get out and about.


This morning I had time to take some pictures on my way in to work. The view changes every day, so it is nice to capture it when possible.


I was looking forward to this afternoon. I went through to play with next door's kittens, Nina and Nala. They are a bit like stripy Siamese- but little monsters. I had forgotten how much devastation they can cause in a house! They have such sharp teeth and claws too. I was happy to go back and give my big girls a hug, I can tell you.


I spent a lot of today helping Lorraine unpacking her things at the new flat. As she had been working all day and teaching in the evening, she hadn't had a lot of time to organise herself- and it really is easier with an extra pair of hands or so. In the evening, I popped round next door with a book on kittens that I found when I was clearing out a cupboard. This time the terrors had worn themselves out and were fast asleep.

Sunday 30th

Today I fed Armagnac to the Christmas cake, made some Cock-a leekie soup and prepared my haggis. It's St Andrew's day, celebrated in Scottish, and Greek, households around the world, so I had to do my bit:-) We were only feeding the family and Miles, so I didn't have to go overboard. Afterwards we watched a programme that we had recorded about the occupation of the islands. We knew that Miles would want to see it, and he had been away when it was shown.

Monday 1st December

I put out the advent calendar on the top of the cupboard in the sitting room and found a few candles. having painted the floor, we were conscious of the fact that the rest of the paintwork looked a bit yellow. As this week the students had exams, I wasn't needed, so I took time off to help M paint the rest.


 There was not so much preparation needed, but I had to take all the books off the bookshelves and find a home for them until we could put everything back.

The white looks nice and fresh and it will really brighten up the dining-room, which has no natural light. I hang a mirror opposite the big windows to try to help.


 I had forgotten how many doors opened into the dining-room. There is the one to the hallway, one to the kitchen, and one to the utility room. That doesn't include the enormous  Victorian double doors which separate the dining and sitting rooms. We don't normally close them, but they still looked yellow! Now they are brilliant white:-)


Today I'm going to put the room back together again. I have changed the picture on the wall so that I could hang up the advent stocking. I then started looking for all my tea-light holders and candlesticks. The ones in here won't be lit until Christmas morning, but they look festive. I am holding off on the tree, as Ebony will just climb in it.


Cairis and her father have gone to The Opera house to see a comedian. I don't find him funny- but my sense of humour is different from theirs. I lit the fire and stayed in, chatting on Facebook and curled up by the fire, with lots of candles on the mantlepiece.


Today is the day of my office party, and we are also saying goodbye to Caroline the Office Manager, who has found a new job. In the afternoon I wandered down to have a look at the markets. We have the Vier Marche and the French Market with traders from Jersey and Normandy. There is also the craft market in the Royal Square. I might need to come back tomorrow for a better look.

Sunday 7th December

I walked back down to do some shopping at the French market. They sell the most wonderful cheeses, saucissons and soaps. I also got some solid honey and some frangipane biscuits. While walking between the markets I noticed a headstone in the Town Church which I had never seen before. I didn't even know that we had had the Russian Army stationed in the island in the 1800s. The man had an interesting career, but his wife wasn't buried with him- maybe she wasn't important enough to have a headstone in the churchyard. I also took a picture of the statue for liberation in front of the hotel which was Gestapo headquarters during the occupation.
Its the second Sunday in Advent- so I put my wreath on the front door too.
This is my last week of work for the year. All our students will be going home on Friday or Saturday.  There are only a few weeks left until 2015. I wonder what will be in store for us then.