Snow on Snow

We seem to have had plenty of the ‘white stuff’ this year and it is only the 19 January. We had near blizzard conditions earlier this week and I thought it was melting away but have just looked out the window to find the roads are covered again! At least my snow shovels are getting plenty of use but I will have to put off going to Galashiels to collect my Clark’s shoes a bit longer. Luckily they keep them at the store for 2 weeks.

Laurie has announced that he and Nicole will be getting married on the 4 April in Singapore so all my love goes to them for a happy future. Hyw is hoping to go out there to see them, probably June or September.

Last night was ‘ladies night’ at ‘The Daffodils’ and we had a very pleasant meal at ‘The Plough’. Hyw got his tie, a navy polyester job with an embroidered daffodil, it has a wipe clean surface so no worries about spilt egg!

I have started painting again after a break of almost 9 months. To start with, I am working on a decorative piece to get my hand back in, using gouache which is easy to handle. It is surprising how hard it is, as much of it is confidence as anything. Oh well, time will tell.

My daily walks have taken me along the river bank and with my new wellies I have been able to wade in and across the shallow bits of the river. I have been looking at the river bank with new eyes, almost beachcombing as the river ‘rises and falls’ quite dramatically, very suddenly. I have been finding bricks, and since visiting Katherine and Stephen, I have realised the significance of them. There are quite a few of them so I am sure I will build up quite a collection in no time. As well as bricks there are quite a few other oddities that turn up.

I would be very interested to hear from anyone where the EARL brick comes from and also any ideas as to what the cone shaped item is. I think it may have been a fire extinguisher but I would be grateful to have that confirmed.

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Christmas Past

This has been our first Christmas in Town Yetholm and so I now feel as if we have made the ‘move’. All the family came from far and wide: Laurie and Nicole from Singapore, Gwilym and Fi from Taiwan, Xian from Manchester, Matthew and Maureen from London and Verity from Bath. The only person who wasn’t with us was my mother but she had at least visited a few months back. Everyone had a travel adventure to tell at some point, either coming or going.

I was fearful of snow preventing any of my children reaching me but in fact in the fortnight before Christmas we had unseasonably mild weather which continued for the all arrivals. What we could not foresee was that Verity, who would be last to arrive, would find her journey cancelled due to an aircraft from Frankfurt leaving the runway at Bristol. Fortunately no-one was injured but it left Verity on a bus, getting a text to tell her the flight was cancelled. There were a few hours of panic, a few hundred pounds expended, but eventually she made her way here, via an early morning flit to London. All were safely arrived.

We had rented the house next door so everyone was well accommodated and all had space to escape to when needed. Cooking was something of a challenge but I soon became used to travelling between the house and the cottage, where we ate, and it was no different from times of yore when the kitchen was separate from the main house, or even cooking in a big hotel. There was one night when I didn’t have to cook and we went over to the Plough for a meal, kindly paid for by my mother and Hywel. It was a splendid occasion to see all of my children together and their partners around one table.

The snow really made Christmas, and there were plenty of walks in it as well as walks beforehand, in the milder weather. Footwear was a bit of a problem but all in all they managed ok.

Marks cottage had suffered in the cold weather leading up to Christmas. We had been along and moved the paintings out of harms way but Hyw went along with the boys to cut up the downstairs carpet, which was sodden, and removed it, in the hope that it would give the house a chance to dry out. We have been back since and it is drying out but will need a lot of money spent on restoring the fabric of the building.

Everyone enjoyed themselves but all too soon it was time for some to depart. The snow caused a lot of worry but eventually Mo made it to her family in Ireland, Lol and Nic made it by the skin of their teeth to Singapore, having left baggage at Gatwick, which was subsequently restored to them. Xian had a hellish journey to Manchester, arriving home at 2 am and Matt and Verity went home via London. Fi and Gwilym went home after everyone else but their journey was far from ideal, the train was cancelled from Tweedbank, the flight from Edinburgh was an hour and a half late and they missed their connection at Schipol. They did have an extra day in Amsterdam though, so not all bad and everyone is home, some later than expected, and safe.

Happy New Year to you all!