Sunday, 29 December 2013

The Art of Letter Writing

Having left a comment on a blog that I have recently started following with regards to sending Christmas Cards and led on to the discussion of writing letters and fountain pens got me thinking, how many of you out there still write letters?  If you do what is your writing instrument of choice?

Mine is definitely writing with a fountain pen.  There is something special about writing with ink and nib, the pen seems to flow much more smoothly over the page and I love how it looks.  I had a very special fountain pen that I always used, but unfortunately DS2 got hold of it one day and it is now ruined.  I have a new 'cheaper' one that does the job, but would really like to get another special one some day.  Perhaps that is what I could have asked  for Christmas!

I have always written letters and had pen friends as a very young child, through my teenage years and into my early twenties.  I used to always write thank you letters and letters to relations and friends.  Sadly over the years this letter writing has diminished somewhat as perhaps the advent of it being easier to keep contact through phone, emails etc...   I still find something rather special though about receiving a good old fashioned letter, opening it and reading the wonderful hand written pages.  The sheer act of putting pen to paper and taking the time to sit down and write means just that little bit more I think.  It is not done enough in my mind.

Sadly I find letter writing rather a painful process nowadays so don't do it as often as I should and this is rather sad really.  I still send letters, but they are mostly of the typewritten variety - or rather done on the computer. This is not my preferred form of medium, however it makes it easier for me, and far less painful without the resulting flare up I get when having hand written a letter.  The letter is still sent with love and feeling and good will, but I still feel it is missing that little extra something.

I remember taking a couple of aerogramme letters to the post office a few months ago - they were rather shocked as hadn't seen one in years!  I like this form of letter - postage is already prepaid and was a handy way of sitting down and writing a letter - not too long, and not too short.  Once bought you can sit and write your letters and you don't have to queue up at the Post Office to send it.  I hadn't used one in a number of years it seems (which is why I checked), but fortunately they were still valid and I do believe they got to their destinations...At least I am hoping they did, thinking about it I am not sure I got a reply from one of the people I sent one to!

I do worry though that the art of letter writing is dying out.  We were taught in school how to write letters, both personal and official, although by then I had already learnt from my parents.  Nowadays I don't think any youngsters are taught how to write letters.  I taught my boys, but they certainly didn't learn at school.  A lot of people I would think would find it difficult to write a 'proper' letter, if some of the emails and texts I see are anything to go by! 

Would love to know others thoughts on this.

Saturday walk in the park

It was such a lovely, day yesterday, even if it was rather cold!  The rest of the house were sleeping so I took myself off to the park with Percy.

Some flowers left on a memorial bench.

Percy on alert.

I was amazed to see blossom coming out on some of the trees in the water garden.

I am sure they are far too early, but this is probably a reflection of the weather & temperatures we have been having.

Oops, he almost fell in here!

What?  My tongue ain't long! isn't long at all!

Ducks on the lake

Sitting down taking in some of the sunshine while Percy has a look at his surroundings.

Such a fun little companion.

More birds on the water.

Some geese enjoying the water.

It is another lovely day here today as well, although must be a lot colder as there is now frost on the ground!

Thursday, 26 December 2013

Christmas Day Food & Gifts.

We had a lovely Christmas Day - everyone seemed to enjoy the meal I cooked and the gifts they received. 

It is incredible to think that it was 19 years ago Christmas Day that we arrived in the UK for what I thought was going to be a four week holiday!  How life changed, and how time flies! 

So the menu for yesterday was:

Roast Turkey with cranberry sauce
Roast potatoes, parsnips & carrots
Broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, peas
'Pigs in blankets' and stuffing
Yorkshire puddings & gravy

For desert we had Trifle and Pavlova.

I'd also made a fresh fruit salad and had a Christmas pudding - but they didn't make an appearance we were so full!
For later we had a buffet style meal
Sausage rolls, sliced ham, sliced chicken
Salad leaves, carrots, spring onions, celery, cucumber, tomatoes, red, yellow & green peppers,
Freshly home made bread, crackers & cheese.

Just before we all sat down - older son playing the fool!

Some of my gifts:

From my older son I got this great book and bird feeder (below)

From my MIL, these two furniture kit sets for my project.

She also gave me some 'smellies'.

A joint present from DH, DS1 & DS2 was rather a totally unsuspecting shock!

A leather case, sim card & iphone!

Leather case from DH

Sim card from DS2

Mobile phone from DS1 - he had refurbished his old iphone for me.  
I would never have guessed as it came in its original box and looked brand new!

I'm guessing they didn't want me to be incommunicado (which actually I quite liked) for any longer!

So now I've just got to learn how to use it!

And for the most unusual and perhaps unusable gift....

From my MIL....

My Aunt also got given some and we had a great old laugh at how on earth to actually use them!

It is now mid-day Boxing Day and I am the only person in the house up and about...

Very quiet and peaceful.

Sunday, 22 December 2013

A Pause in Advent - Four

Joining Floss from Troc Broc & Recup  and friends in taking time out from the rush and panic of Christmas to pause, reflect and enjoy Advent.  

So for the final Pause...things are starting to come together.  The carol concerts have been sung and enjoyed, the presents have been bought, the house is starting to look like it might be ready for Christmas Day.  I have planned the meal and written a list of groceries we need to purchase in order to make it happen.

The Rotary Club Sleigh has done its rounds and was up our street this evening - I have photographed it nearly every year and gone out to watch it make its way up our street playing the Christmas Carols.  To me this always seems to mark the beginning of Christmas.  It was later this year than previous, but I think I like it later...

Our dining room table has been cleared and is waiting...

Just a few more little jobs to see to - the house you can see needs moving out of the lounge to allow more room on Christmas Day for our family who will be coming round to share the day with us.

During these 'Pause for Advent' posts, there have been no profound or deep thinking messages from me, just a simple reflection of our quiet approach to Christmas.  

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

A Pause in Advent - Three

Joining Floss from Troc Broc & Recup  and friends in taking time out from the rush and panic of Christmas to pause, reflect and enjoy Advent.  

Here is my belated third Pause in Advent, having had a busy, by not too busy few days.

Things are slowly coming together, gifts have been ordered, or thought about... the little wooden Advent tree is filling up and the elf has been discovered in various places.  

The town Carol Concert was last night and I enjoyed singing in the choir for that - brings a lovely feeling and meaning to this time.  Another concert this afternoon which will be a lot of fun I am sure.

My eldest son comes home on Thursday for a couple of weeks over the Christmas period which will be lovely.

I need to start planning the meal and associated shopping list for Christmas Day.  It is not a mammoth affair fortunately, just a special family time.

I should have turned the Christmas lights on!

Friday, 13 December 2013

A catch up post!

Well a bit of a catch up post as far as the Advent tree and Christmas Elf go.

Day 11 saw yet another snowman put on the tree.

Day Twelve was a little boy (I think) 

Day Thirteen a Christmas caroller?

The Christmas Elf has been busy finding places to perch. 

11th - In the leaves of the pot plant.

12th - On top of the Queen...surprised DH didn't notice this one!

13th - Nestled in between Mrs and Santa Claus.

Yesterday while down in the town centre I popped into a couple of charity shops and came home with four books - they were 2 for 50p!

I've heard good things about these children's books, so look forward to reading these as a bit of light relief between my more 'serious' reading.

Couldn't resist this lovely little well known book either.

I also saw this wooden carved figure in the Antique shop.

 I have no idea of the age, but there was something about her that appealed to me.

Today I said goodbye to one of my musical instruments.

As it is still very unlikely that I will be playing again - it has been almost five years now since the operation that stuffed up the nerves in my arm - I put the first of my instruments up for sale.  It sold today and is going to a 17 years old young lady who has been playing a few years and wants to also play soprano saxophone.  It is very sad to see it go, a kind of acceptance, but it pleases me to know it is going to budding young musician.  I wish her much enjoyment.