19 December 2014 @ 11:24 pm
We don't really do candy canes in our house. Except that they did make a guest appearance on the Christmas cake last year;

Cake 2014

I parcelled up a smaller Christmas cake and posted it to my cousin today. He had been quite disappointed that Slightly Goth Niece's wedding cake wasn't 'a proper one' but only layers of sponge cakes, so we made him 'a proper fruitcake' for his Christmas gift.


It was decorated in something of a hurry and I've got two small ones left to do. I'm not sure when D-d and I are going to have time together do the big one...
Current Mood: busybusy
18 December 2014 @ 07:39 pm
Sometimes the only thing to do with stockings is wear them....Collapse )

Today I had a day off, and got up as early as usual so I could go up to Mum's and then back to Douglas to get her to the hospital for a 10.00am appointment at Eye Clinic. Where the consultant basically said, as she knew, that there was little that could be done about the sight in her right eye, but her left one was still fine.

From the hospital we headed West to deliver a Christmas gift to a friend of hers, then back to Ramsey to buy some wrapping paper and some filled baked potatoes for lunch, back to her house, ate the spuds, wrapped some presents for her, and I got back to our house by 3pm. Only to go out again to do some odds and ends of shopping, and pick up some gift vouchers from a favourite eatery for family members as gifts.

Quite a productive day - but I don't seem to have much to show for it! And I still have cakes to marzipan and ice to give as gifts - guess that's the task for the rest of the evening, really!
Current Mood: busybusy
17 December 2014 @ 09:52 pm
I think I might get away with two birds and one stone this evening... just!

I have been making up these 'cookie jars' as presents;

And if you want to know the recipe....Read more...Collapse )

They look nice in the jars anyway - I'm guessing they'll taste good simply by reading the recipe!
Current Mood: busybusy
16 December 2014 @ 09:48 pm
We don't have any outdoor lights ourselves apart from a fibre-optic wreath for the front door, which I have just realised I haven't found yet!

But here is a picture of some outdoor lights I see quite often as I drive through the village of Laxey.

Week 43 Thursday

(That is Happy Christmas in Manx.)

I seem to have been quite productive this evening - I have

  • Cooked two dozen white chocolate and cranberry cookies from dough made a couple of weeks ago and put in the freezer,

  • Finished betaing the_winterwitch's Secret Santa fic for her.

  • Sent off e-mails to do with the Nativity Service on Sunday so that the young man who is helping us narrate has his words, and the lady who does the hand-outs every week has the order of service and the hymn numbers.

  • Sent an e-mail to see if I can get gift vouchers from a local 'bar and bistro' to give to various family members for Christmas (not sure what I'll do if they come back and say they don't do them!)

  • aAnd been mean to my poor husband and berated him for his lack of observation that means if he isn't driving he doesn't take any notice of his route... which then makes it really difficult to give him directions to somewhere he does need to drive himself. Poor brow-beaten husband...

Current Mood: productiveproductive
One of my favourites is a song in Manx called Oikan Ayns Bethlehem.

I found four or five versions on YouTube - from a faster version than I am used to, to it sung by large choirs and as part of a Celtic Service in an American cathedral.

But the version that is closest to the way I think of it sounding is actually this one -

Which is by the Hall family in a Christmas Eve service at Westborough MA Unitarian Universalist Society.
Current Mood: amusedamused
14 December 2014 @ 10:23 pm
Two in one today.

Family - This was taken on our first family Christmas...Collapse )

And for Tree Our Tree...Collapse )

But for a really upmarket tree you need Nudity....Collapse )

Or even A flock of life size sheep...Collapse )
Current Mood: amusedamused
13 December 2014 @ 03:20 pm
Here is the next chapter of my Éomer/Lothiríel story. I'll post today's bit of the Decememe with tomorrow's.

Chapter Eight - Who's that Girl?
Rated PG
Word count, this chapter - 1,970

Previous chapters are HERE

Read more...Collapse )
Current Mood: busybusy
Current Music: Madonna. Whos That Girl?
12 December 2014 @ 09:37 pm
Today is the 10th anniversary of my first ever post on LJ!

The subject for today in the Decememe is 'A Beautiful Sight' and I thought that the very first picture I ever posted on LJ might just about count and so it is under

This cut...Collapse )

The subject for yesterday was green, and I missed posting anything - so under the next cut there are a couple of pictures to illustrate green -

under here...Collapse )

And now for the prompt 'beautiful sight' again - not terribly festive - but beautiful, certainly -

Under here...Collapse )
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Current Mood: nostalgicnostalgic
10 December 2014 @ 09:20 pm
We've reached day 10 in the December Meme. Meep! 14 days until Christmas Eve!

So - today the prompt is Wrapping Paper.

This is the paper this box came wrapped in -


But I think it looks better wrapped in this paper...


What's in it? One of these for my mum to save her having to lift the kettle every time she makes a drink.

In other news I had my hair cut today - very short! I think S2C's might be longer at the moment!
Current Mood: busybusy
09 December 2014 @ 10:16 pm
This -


Which opens to reveal this -


Actually, what I am currently reading on my Kindle is this - which is really interesting. The last few things I read were all fantasy of once sort or another and this is a nice contrast.
Current Mood: cheerfulcheerful
08 December 2014 @ 07:48 pm
The theme today is decorations. I am only just beginning to get some of mine out of their boxes - so far there are a couple of odd things here and there - but I do have my main nativity, and my Kracow nativity, out.



Yes - that is a dwarven axe behind the nativity - see it as a meeting of diverse cultures...

And, of course, the infant won't be added until Christmas morning.
Current Mood: tiredtired
07 December 2014 @ 03:18 pm
Today's prompt is 'Bright'.

Here is our Advent Ring at church with 2 brightly lit candles, although you can only really see one of them well. But you can tell it is a bright day, too, by the shiny brasses behind it -


I am about to sit and write Christmas cards - but I have a problem; I went to the place in the spare room where the wrapping paper, ribbons & bows,cards and the Christmas book live.

Paper - check
Ribbons & bows - check
Cards - check
Christmas book.... nope!

It has my lists of who to send cards to, and their addresses, in it.

I actually have quite a few addresses in a file on the computer - but even so I feel lost without my book! Goodness knows where it is - it must be up there somewhere. So either I write cards and address those I can, or I disappear into the spare room and get side-tracked so no cards get written. Bother!

Also IE insists it can't load LJ; Firefox can, but I've been using IE as Firefox kept freezing on me. So my current, LJ access is dead slow or stop.
Current Mood: crankycranky
06 December 2014 @ 10:03 pm
Shopping - I did go shopping this morning - D-d and I went up to Mum's, collected her shopping list, and shopped for the routine stuff for all three of us, bought some very nice peppered steak pastries and some salad for lunch, ate them with Mum, did a couple of odd-jobs for her and then came back to Onchan.

Then D-d went for a walk with her friend and I went and did something much more interesting than the weekend shopping!

It was Messy Advent today - Read more...Collapse )
I'm afraid my phone isn't brilliant indoors for taking pictures - but they are still more interesting than shopping!
Current Mood: tiredtired
05 December 2014 @ 11:19 pm
So - first the picture -


And yes - that would indeed be a twelve foot high loughtan sheep you can see through the windscreen - I live in a strange place!

But the picture is only the beginning of the story. I took that on my way to Ramsey, at a point where I could pull in. About 3 minutes and a couple of miles further on the temperature dropped to 1C and it began to sleet. But once I got into the town it stopped and the sun came out and I thought no more about it.

So about 15.45, when I had done my last visit in the north, I set off back to base, using a smaller road that joins that main road at the point where I took the picture. As I approached the main road I realised it had actually snowed up there since 14.09! The main road was slushy but not too bad - however only about 1/2 mile along it there were a lot of red tail lights and blue flashing ones... Someone had miscalculated in the unexpected slippery conditions.

We found the road closed, and the police directing us along another small road, similar to the one I had come up - only this one actually climbs UP from the main road - and so got snowier and snowier! Eventually we drove out of the snowy area, it was quite small really, but this road took me right across the island from quite near the East coast, where my base is, to the West coast, before I could start to make my way back to Douglas. It was now dark - and the snow started again.

Fortunately I was now back almost to sea level, so the snow wasn't sticking, and there was more traffic, too. Eventually I got back to Douglas at about 17.00 - about 40 minutes later than expected and after a 20 mile detour!
Current Location: home!
Current Mood: busybusy
04 December 2014 @ 10:03 pm
engarian was asking on her journal about people's traditions at this time of year. This evening D-d and I did something together that we always do if she is on-island in the first week of Advent, and it is something joyous; we went to the annual Women's Advent Service organised by the Catholic Women's League and attended by Catholics, Anglicans, free church, Salvation Army... possibly others, we are all invited.

There are four or five advent hymns/carols, a couple of short readings, the lighting of their Advent candle and some prayers. Followed by mince pies and tea. It is our tradition that these are our first mince-pies of the season!

Particularly relevant to today's prompt, too, was the prayer containing the lines;

May hardened hearts be softened, and straying steps guided home, by the touch of God's hand and our love, so that those exiled from their homes by violence and terror may soon exchange the garments of sorrow for the robes of rejoicing.

And to add a joyous picture here is one of my favourite small people making play-doh stars and holly leaves -

Messy Christmas 2012 photo MessyChristmas2012012smaller.jpg
03 December 2014 @ 04:30 pm
The subject for today is 'red'. I'm guessing the expectation is for Father Christmas, but I fear he is not here.

Instead let me take you with me for my shopping trip this morning. I have a few days of annual leave to use up and so I am having a day a week off at the moment as a sort of practice for being retired.

I got up, had breakfast, pottered a little and then put on My Red Boots and set off in search of other red things...Collapse )

And since I got home I have been baking fruit loaves to give away as gifts, and mixing cookie dough which is now in the freezer ready to be baked as required over the next few weeks.
Current Mood: contentcontent
02 December 2014 @ 08:37 pm
Like spikereader I realise it was Christmas 2012 when I last did this;


And it is worth doing again, alongside the other people who are also doing it this year.

I'm posting 1 & 2 today.

This was the view from the room where I was doing a clinic -

 photo a7f25fc7-d8a2-4631-8660-d1951796a41e_zps7623e989.jpg

Which is pretty boring. This is the view of the outside of our house instead -


The pansies are sweet, I think. And you can see the cracks that are developing in the front of the house :(

DAY 2; Favourite Festive Film. My icon gives you a clue to one of them; The Muppets Christmas Carol. But I also love The Nightmare Before Christmas. And doubtless our festive viewing will include an episode or two, or three, of Peter Jackson's Tolkien films.
Current Mood: tiredtired
It is the first day of Advent - an important day for those who look forward towards Christmas.

It is part of my role as the Children's Elder at church to make sure the Advent Candles are ready for the first one to be lit today. I am always afraid I will forget, so I have a reminder in my diary to buy the candles in the first week of November, and then another one on the Sunday before this to put the ring together, make sure we have a list of who will light them each week, and so on.

Good thing, really... Our minister rang me up about 4pm yesterday saying "I've just realised it is the first Sunday in Advent tomorrow! What do we do about the candles?" (Last Christmas was her first one with us and was probably a bit of a blur.)

Friday evening I went out for our regular 'girls' meal' with a couple of old school-friends - good food and good company - I realise I am lucky to be able to get together with people who share those same early memories.

Last night S2C, D-d and I were at a concert that was part of the Norwegian Manx Collaboration of traditional music. Not only was there music, but also traditional dancing - from both traditions. The first thing about the dancers were that, as D-d said, they were dressed like normal people, not in some fancy dress 'traditional costume' - the second thing is that the styles are not all that much alike. Our dances show some kinship with Irish dancing - the Norwegian style is very different.

So - here are Grainne and John, who danced last night in a much more confined space -

Then Margit the Norwegian singer danced a couples dance with Vetle who is a well known dancer in Norway. We learn quite quickly that in their dances the man is more 'athletic' and the girl spins a lot! Then later Vetle danced alone - a style called Hallingdans. I couldn't find any footage of Vetle himself - but here is someone dancing in a very similar style

Again, Vetle had much less space - and when he did the trick with the hat it landed quite forcefully in the lap of a lady at the opposite end of the front row to us!

S2C reckons Hallingsdans would easily adapt into a martial arts form.

And Fruitbat? I usually use Mozilla Firefox as my browser. A long time ago someone here said that her mother called it Mozzarella Fruitbat and the name stuck in my brain!

But oh I have been having problems with Firefox. Has anyone else? It has been sooooo slow - and kept freezing regularly so that doing anything online over the past week or so has become more and more difficult. I found a suggestion online to reset it - and did it even though I knew I might lose a lot of my bookmarks.

Result - lost bookmarks and crawling Firefox. I removed a few programmes I wasn't using to see if that would help; no.

So this afternoon S2C worked some magic to find my bookmarks again for me - and exported them into IE, and I am back using that. And it moves at the right speed, and I am so happy to be able to move from page to page, and to be able to hit 'Post comment' or whatever and it does it, rather than freezing!

But - I now have adverts. I haven't seen an advert anywhere for years, since I started to use Firefox as my default browser, with Ad-bocker. Does anyone know of a good ad-blocker for IE? Before I go nuts?
Current Mood: confusedconfused
Current Music: Hardanger Fiddle Music
27 November 2014 @ 06:58 pm
This is chapter seven of my Éomer/ Lothiriel story.

Cushion, Chapter Seven; Dinner, With Some Dancing....
Rated; PG
Beta; Speaker2Customers
Word count 2,170

Previous chapters are HERE

Read more...Collapse )
Current Mood: tiredtired
I had a day off today - I have a few days in hand that I need to take before the end of January (when I retire \O/) - and S2C and I met D-d for lunch, which was nice.

Then a quick trip to the electrical retailers to 'window shop' for a couple of Christmas presents, then home in time for a visit from a builder. I think he may well become 'our builder' over the next few months...

There has been a crack in the front of our house for a while - but only a fairly small one that we were pretty sure was in the render. But over the past year or so I noticed another couple - and in the past few months I began to think that they were getting bigger... and were not just in the render. S2C couldn't see that it was any worse than it had been, until I took him out to the front garden and made him actually look closely at the widening cracks - and he realised I might have a point.

So - I contacted a builder who had done some work for us previously - but 2 weeks and a couple of messages later and we were still waiting for him to get back to us, and I think at least one of the cracks was getting deeper. So I asked a couple of people for recommendations and they both came up with the same name - which is good enough for me and I rang.

A nice guy said he would come to look this afternoon, and he did; again a good sign! And, rather sadly, he agrees that I am right, and we have a problem with subsidence. But, he said "the front isn't going to come off the house tonight, anyway," which is reassuring. He also pointed out that most of the work would almost certainly be covered by our insurance, which simply hadn't occurred to me. For some reason I thought they would only cover it if it was caused by a storm or something - but we looked at the policy, then rang up the insurers, and they will ask an engineer to get in touch with us in the next 48 hours - things are underway.

Mind you, from what the builder says, it is going to be a major piece of work. Not sure how we will cope living in the house whilst the work is done!
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Current Mood: determineddetermined