Archive for December, 2008

Foggy New Year’s Eve

Wednesday, December 31st, 2008

After being so cold yesterday but without any frost, it was completely different today. I woke up to thick fog, and thick frost on the lawn and the trees and hedges. It looked stunningly beautiful. Usually when the windscreen is iced up, by the time I go out later in the morning it’s thawed out, but not today. The whole car including the lights were iced up. It took me ages scraping it off and my fingers were freezing when I’d finished. The car soon warmed up though. I knew the roads would be icy, and visibility wasn’t good so I drove very carefully and more slowly than I do in good conditions. The fog was really thick especially on the road that hasn’t got any hedges beside it to keep the fog away. That’s where I took this photo. The journey was fine, except for the woman who drove behind me far too close to be safe for the distance and conditions. When she refused to drop back and leave the proper braking distance between us, I pulled in and let her pass. She shot off far too fast for the conditions, but she was the only one. Everyone else I saw was driving sensibly. Oh yes, Happy New Year to everyone!

Foggy New Year's Eve

This photo can be seen on my Flickr photostream. Can you see the trees through the fog?

Isn’t it cold….

Tuesday, December 30th, 2008

It’s been really cold for the past few days. I don’t think I can remember the same sort of coldness before. The ground doesn’t look icy or frosty. I don’t have to scrape the windscreen and there isn’t a white covering of frost on the lawn. It doesn’t look cold at all, but the air has a freezing chill to it that I don’t think I’ve ever experienced before. I can’t get my feet warm. They seem to be like blocks of ice all day long. I’ve taken to blowing hot air on them when I’m in the car, but I know that’s not a good idea, as it could encourage chilblains. I’m always careful to try not to let my feet get too hot or too cold, because chilblains are very itchy and uncomfortable and I’ve managed to keep clear of them for years now.
When I left work today, I thought the windscreen looked a bit dirty, so I used the winscreen washers. What a mistake that was! Instantly a sheet of ice formed all across the winscreen and I had to sit with the heater blowing on to it until it was clear.
My bed is freezing to get into. I recently stayed somewhere where I was given the luxury of an electric blanket to warm up my bed before getting into it. It was lovely! If this cold doesn’t stop, I might have to go and investigate where electric blankets can be obtained.

Nearing the end…..

Saturday, December 27th, 2008

200 branches of Woolworths closed their doors for the last time today. Another 600 will close over the next few days. I had a look round my local branch today. Each time I go in, it’s changed dramatically. Last week the household department which is down a few steps, was closed and barricaded off. Today half of the store was blocked off with shelf units. It was a very famliar place looking very unfamiliar. I am very impressed with staff. Even though they must be losing their jobs in a few days time, they are as polite and helpful as they have always been. I keep hearing people sharing their past memories of Woolworths with the staff members. People are behaving as if it is a bereavement, and that doesn’t surprise me, because I’m sure that Woolworths played a special part in most peoples lives and childhoods. People have happy memories connected with Woolworths, and it’s loss is like a bereavement.

I can have breakfast again!

Wednesday, December 24th, 2008

At last I’ve got a new microwave oven after mine blew up! I thought it would be really easy to buy a new one, but it wasn’t. I went to several shops that I thought would sell them, and either they didn’t have any or they didn’t have the sort I wanted.

I was looking for one with a knob to turn to set the time. I don’t like the ones that go beep.. beep……beep………beep…beep……beep…. I find them really irritating. Like someone sending a text message without turning off their keypad tones!

Now I’ll be able to eat again. Since I haven’t had a microwave, I’ve burnt three saucepans, even though I was trying not to use the cooker for exactly that reason. I’m concerned that I’ll put something on the cooker, forget about it and at best burn the saucepan or at worst burn the house down.

I’ll be able to have hot milk before I go to bed, warm my cup of tea up when I forget about it and I’ll even be able to cook the Christmas pudding tomorrow! I’ll also be able to have breakfast again. I like to have porridge in the winter. It’s a slow release carbohydrate so that it’s supposed to keep me going until lunchtime so that I’m not tempted to snack in between. I really missed having a microwave oven.

Is it snowing yet?

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2008

I love it when it snows. It’s so pretty, especially when big fluffy flakes are falling and settling on the ground. Of course snow is lovely when you can enjoy looking at it, playing in it, making a snowman or taking beautiful photos. It’s not so good if you have to go somewhere and the snow has made driving conditions treacherous, with icy slippery roads slowing traffic right down and sometimes making it impossible to go anywhere. When overnight snow wakes us up to a white world, there will be a long list of closed schools and cancelled activities on the local radio. Well we haven’t had any snow here this winter, except for a few flakes that didn’t settle, so I’ve made some snowflakes of my own with the mosaic maker from Flickr.

Joy to the World

Sunday, December 21st, 2008

I’ve been singing Carols quite a lot this weekend. Yesterday I joined a group made up of people from at least two different local Churches and we sang in the street in one of my local towns. It was lovely to be able to stand outside under the sky and sing about what Jesus has done for us. I was aware that there are some places in the world where people wouldn’t be allowed to do that. There was a variety of reactions to us and our singing. Some people sang along with us as they walked past, some stood still and listened. Others walked past looking embarrassed, and some walked past as though we weren’t there. I like most Carols, Joy to the World being one of my favourites, but my most favourite one is ‘In the Bleak Midwinter’ I think it’s very moving and expresses how I feel, especially the last verse. We sang for about half an hour, by which time I had got quite cold. Then we went back to the Church Hall for real coffee and warm mince pies!

In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter, long ago.

Our God, heaven cannot hold Him, nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away when He comes to reign.
In the bleak midwinter a stable place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ.

Enough for Him, Whom cherubim, worship night and day,
Breastful of milk, and a mangerful of hay;
Enough for Him, Whom angels fall before,
The ox and ass and camel which adore.

Angels and archangels may have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim thronged the air;
But His mother only, in her maiden bliss,
Worshipped the beloved with a kiss.

What can I give Him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
Yet what I can I give Him: give my heart.

Like Warhol

Sunday, December 21st, 2008

One of the many things I like about the photo sharing website Flickr is ‘Flickr toys’. These are scripts etc that other Flickr users have written that can be used to create special effects on photos. One of the most prolific inventors of Flickr toys is fd. I’ve already used his Mosaic Maker on Flower Mosaic and Abstract Art and now I’ve just tried his Warholizer. It mimics Andy Warhol’s famous Pop Art silk screened multi coloured repetitions such as the one he did of Marilyn Munroe. Once the images have been created, I can keep changing the colours until I find something that I’m happy with. These are two of the first ones I’ve made, and I’m very pleased with them. I must try printing them out as I think they would be good to use on my Katie-Rose hand crafted cards.

Lighting up time

Friday, December 19th, 2008

Well it’s only a few days until Christmas now. The weather has been quite murky lately. We’ve had rain, sleet, wind and fog. We did have a bit of snow too but it didn’t settle here. It’s been dark by 4.00pm for quite a while now, which could be very dreary. But at the end of November, something happens to brighten everything up! For the last four weeks or so everywhere you go has been lit up by pretty Christmas lights. They come in all shapes and sizes and colours. Some flash on and off, some change colour, some look as though they are moving and others create beautiful patterns. I’ve seen snowflakes, stars, Father Christmas, bells, a sleigh, angels, Christmas Trees and lots of other patterns. It was dark when I was driving back from the coast last weekend, and all the towns and villages I drove through looked so beautiful with their displays of Christmas lights. Each town was different, some had big multi-coloured lights, some had small white lights. Some had random patterns, some had shapes, but they were all beautiful, and they added something special to a long drive home. This is one of the patterns I’ve seen which I really like.

Weekend break

Tuesday, December 16th, 2008

I’ve just had a weekend away on the South Coast and really enjoyed it. It was great to get away for a break, and the weather was good for December. It wasn’t icy like it has been here, and there wasn’t much rain. I visited a couple of towns to have a look round at the different shops and architecture. They both had a Woolworths, but there’s not much left in them now.
I love the sea at any time of the year, but in the winter it’s so wild. When I walked along the seafront, there were big waves rising up and crashing down making so much spray that I was looking at everything through a mist. I love the sound that the sea makes. I could just stand and listen to it. Nature’s music. And I love the colours. Beautiful shades of turquoise sea next to yellow ochre sand. So calming and relaxing. And so many seagulls dancing and splashing on the beach to make me laugh.

Closing down sale

Friday, December 12th, 2008

I went back to Woolworths today, and this time they were having a closing down sale. It didn’t seem to be any different from before, though. There was still up to 50% off, but the most usual reduction was 20%. The only difference seemed to be that there was a big sign on the window saying ‘Closing Down Sale’ I was visiting a different town today, so it was a different Woolworths, but I wanted to look round while I still can. I didn’t buy anything today, as there wasn’t anything I needed. I did look for a mug or a cereal bowl to go with my plate, but unfortunately they had sold out.