Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve

Well, all is sorted. Or sorted enough, at least :-)
Hope the Season is safe, snuggly and simply magical.

Merry Christmas, all :-)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Pre-Christmas Miscellany

Christmas shopping is nearly done. I probably would have got more done today, but I took refuge in Peter's Pub with a friend: chilled out conversation, toasted sandwiches and hot ports left us both feeling a smidge sedated :-)

In other news, it's Day 4 of Max's absence. Knowing that cat, he's probably been adopted at Farmleigh, and is currently being fed kitty treats whilst reclining on a chaise longue. Still though, the conditions out there are severe... I hope he's okay.

Anyhoo, here's a few piccies from the weekend, when my brother and sister-in-law had us over for a scrumptious lunch. The photos make one thing clear: if you ever want to steal the show, wear a tutu :-)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Thicker than water

Snow snow snow... the city is transformed. Flying buttresses of cathedrals are traced out in white; wrought iron railings and slender rowan branches bear their own thickness of snow, like negative doubles laid over.

Yes, there were snowstorms to walk through, but today - before it turns to ice - the snow created a beautiful cityscape.

Yet families are kept separated, countries apart. Or kept together, but in the wrong county, figuring out how best to spend an unplanned Christmas on the spot. Plans are being made and adjusted and re-adjusted.

Thoughts of families enduring reminded me of a sculpture by the very fabulous Liam O'Neill. At the weekend I saw it dusted with snow for the first time. The white really outlined the four figures, harmoniously snuggled in together.

The sculpture is called 'Family'. Of course :-)

Monday, December 20, 2010

The darkest hour, before

For those skywatchers and solstice folk, tomorrow marks something unusual. A lunar eclipse will coincide with the winter solstice.

Over at you can see how the moon will move through the eclipse, taking on shades of coppery red for a brief time.

Apparently the solstice/eclipse has only happened once in the last two thousand years, in the seventeenth century. You'd wonder how people must have seen it thousands of years ago: coming out to witness - to capture or invoke - the sun on its shortest day, and seeing the moon turn red. Whether auspicious or not, it was probably not a sign to be ignored.

A NASA article on the eclipse is o'er yonder:

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Many Faces of Eve

Yesterday evening was a festive delight. My timing for babysitting meant that I got to decorate the Christmas tree - boxes of baubles, tinsel and hand-made decorations awaited :-)

We made a start, both of us pausing before hanging a decoration, assessing where it might best go. 'Are you strict about decorations?' the babysittee asked.

I thought of how we trimmed the tree as children. To the music of John Denver and The Muppets: A Christmas Together, we set about it with gusto. We all pointed out empty branches, baubles were shifted because they were too much, too little, the wrong colour. And at the very end, the angel hair was put on strand by strand.

Over the years I experienced other trees, other habits. The first time someone flung clumps of angel hair at the tree I had cried 'wait!' before I knew what I was doing. These days, I reckon whatever your decorating methodology might be, the tree ends up looking pretty magical.

Which was how it looked last night :-)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Away Day

I took today off work to babysit my nephew & nieces. They've grown in all kinds of ways since I was last with them. Little bundles of high-energy delights.

Which of course means, I am about to flump the Great Flump :-)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Birthdays: All Wrapped Up

I was at a friend's third birthday party on Sunday - a fabulous party featuring oodles of fantastic kids, scrumptious food, very lovely adults, delightful hosts, and a glass of refreshing prosecco after my morning of meringue baking :-)

Anyhoo, my point is, the star of the day was the toilet roll.

Somewhere online, in some discussion group on party games, the game of Mummy was set out. It's a Ronseal-kinda game. We had two volunteers (in bunny ears), who assumed patient, bemused stances as we set about wrapping them up to create some Mummies.

The wrapping was only half of it. The hulk-esque breaking out was fun too, and then there was the wallowing in the debris. Which led to a game of Zombies ('') and various other hi-jinks.

When it was time to sing happy birthday, a trio magically formed (cello, violin, mandolin) to lead us in. (I realised that I hadn't heard live informal music since Baltimore - it adds so much to a gathering.) Birthday songs shifted to Christmas carols, which were going strong as I took my leave.

Singing, dancing, good conversation... but that toilet roll mayhem just stole the show. Recommended for any party!

Thanks to K & K for being such sparkling, gracious & thoughtful hosts. And to the darling Birthday Boy - thank you for a wonderful afternoon :-)

Monday, December 13, 2010

Inching back to Catching up

Well, it's been a while since regular contact. Settling into Dublin took a while, and the last few weeks have been pretty full-on, but it looks like I have a reasonably predictable schedule now, and I reckon I'm ready to be back on the air :-)

So, I'll pick up back at the RDS Craftey Fair, for all those Craftey Folk of Ireland. Which of course involves the lovely Sharon Rose, her ever-inquisitive daughter and her multitude of creations. Even without the weather, it was an exhausting timetable (10am-10pm). It was a week of Nosey Rosie, being snowed in/out, rearranging the stand, and hosting hot ports for the West Cork contingent of the Fair :-)

The weather was, needless to say, against us, but people made it through the ice and snow. Adults came to chat about wool, try on hats and shrugs (mine was almost bought off my back), ooh over wellies and ask if the fleece dresses came in adult sizes. Zillions of hats sold. And the children, fascinated by textures and colours and magnifying glasses, kept us on our toes :-) Tonnes of good feedback, for the Ladies Knitwear and for the Nosey Rosie range.

All of which left us very very tired. The hot ports helped, as did fabulous contraband coffee and savage sausage rolls. We took occasional breaks, scoping out things to buy or swap (I spent my time coveting a blue glass mobile, hung from a gorgeous curved piece of wood from a 9th century graveyard). The weekend went by in a blink, and Sunday night we packed up the stall, tidied up the remnants of felted wool, hoped against hope that we might get our cars out of the car park...

And then there was a gorgeous meal (thanks, Sharon!) and home, and rest for us both.

Just reading that back, I can feel the tiredness again! However, I'm into a new week, with a new To Do list, which is gradually shrinking.

Yep, at the moment it's all about baby steps. Nice to be back :-)