Walking in the World

Monthly Archives: December 2015

Farewell to 2015

Chestnuts2

As we’ve done for the past several years, we are cozied in with our granddaughter, Lucy, to celebrate New Year’s Eve in our own quiet way. She arrives in the afternoon, we eat pizza for dinner, and usually fall asleep well before midnight (we’re all such party animals….). This evening we roasted chestnuts in the wood stove, then lit off fireworks in our back garden. Tomorrow morning, we will head out into countryside for an adventure that we hope will set the tone for the year ahead.

I have some exciting blogland plans for 2016, but will be waiting til mid-February to turn them live and invite the world. In the meantime, I will continue my walking in the world, and hope that you will continue to join me here. I can’t thank you enough for the encouragement you give me as I share my world with you — this simple blog has been life-changing as I’ve learned to notice the beauty and magic that surround me.

Farewell 2015!

Fireworks

 

31 Dec 2015

Quiet Days

Moon

The days are short now. I’m feeling a bit better, but not yet ready to be out and about, so we’re settling into a quiet routine, enjoying our Christmas decorations and the snugness of our home. We’ve been collecting ornaments since the beginning of our relationship, and now have  a collection of memories to hang on our tree. Many are handmade, some of them came to us as gifts, and others we’ve bought on our travels to remind of us of special people and places. This illuminated moon came to us from California in 2010 when I took Jeff to see the Petaluma marvel that is Marisa’s Christmas Fantasia.

30 Dec 2015

Remembering Joyce Long

Mrs_Long_MBE

Thundersley said goodbye to an amazing resident this morning. Joyce Long made a momentous decision many years ago when her husband was ill and our local hospital lacked the equipment needed for his treatment. This classy lady began fundraising to raise cash for the hospital and kept going long after the original equipment was purchased and paid for, eventually collecting some £2 million through thirty years of running charity shops and garden sales. I met her through those sales, where she would collect donations from the community and lay them out for sale, one week at a time, several times a year. She worked tirelessly, collecting and sorting, pricing and selling. Everyone knew her, everyone respects her, and she has left us a priceless legacy. Our hospital is better because of her, and our village has seen what one determined woman can do.

Recognized by the Queen in 2004, she was awarded an MBE for her outstanding efforts, and a room in Southend Hospital’s education centre has been named in her honour.

My own favorite memory of her? I was working at Bodkins one day and I watched as this immaculately dressed lady picked up trash off the pavement, muttering about how disgusting it was that people would throw their food on the ground like that — and my conscience prickled, knowing that I had walked straight past it earlier that morning. Joyce taught us all to make the world a better place.

29 Dec 2015

Duvet Days

Books

The time between Christmas and New Year are traditionally my time for moving in an inward direction, and my body has compelled me to follow that theme again this year. I’ve been felled with an infection, and am spending the week curled up with a stack of books.

What’s on your reading list these days?

28 Dec 2015

Nativity!

Nativity2

For unto us, a child is born…

Nativity3

Spotted at the top of Rayleigh High Street

Nativity1

Happy Christmas, one and all!

25 Dec 2015

O Holy Night

TreePlay

Chriatmas Eve, my favourite day of the year, when we slow our pace to imagine what is possible, a night when we open our hearts to the miracles of Birth and Light.

O holy night!
The stars are brightly shining…

24 Dec 2015

Shop Local!

Apples2

We love our local shops and try to support them whenever we can. One of our seasonal traditions is to go to Rayleigh to pick up a Christmasy box of Essex apples to share over the holidays.

Apples

And while we were there, we also stopped in at Byford’s for a handmade pork and stuffing pie for Jeff:

Butcher

It was Market Day today, so we wandered through, picking up gluten-free pigs-in- blankets from the Giggly Pig (that’s a first, yippee!)

GigglyPig

and a locally made, perfect gingerbread man for me.

Gingerbread

We shall feast well!

23 Dec 2015

The End of an Era

StCloud

Sixty years ago, Audrey and Peter fell in love and began to build a new house together on land that was already in Peter’s family. When the house was finished, they got married, moved in, and subsequently raised their family in the home they christened St. Cloud. Jeff is their oldest child, and we live across the street from that cosy little house.

House

But time moves on, and Audrey has been living on her own since Peter died twenty years ago. I’ve loved having her as a neighbour as well as a mother-in-law. Over the past year, we’ve become increasingly concerned about her living on her own, despite our being so close. Two months ago, Jeff and his sister, Gill, helped their mother to make new plans, and today Audrey moved out of her house and into a newly remodeled suite in Gill’s home — not far away as the crow flies, but no longer on the street that she has called her own for six decades.

My heart is really full as I watch this transition play out. I already miss her, even though I’m sure she’ll be both happier and safer living as part of a family again. Her moving has also brought old neighbours out of their busy lives to spend a few minutes reconnecting and reminiscing. It’s been a day of memories and community, the end of an era – none of us on Thundersley Grove can remember a time when Audrey didn’t live at #58.

 

22 Dec 2015

Solstice Blessings

Snowflake

We approach Christmas slowly in our house. The advent calendar comes out first, then the candles and the nativity sets, but we save the Christmas tree until Solstice so that its light can help us welcome the return of the Light.

Happy Solstice!

The winter solstice has always been special to me as a barren darkness that gives birth to a verdant future beyond imagination…
– Gary Zukav

21 Dec 2015

Seasonal Sighting

SantaTag

Walking down the road, this was lying right in the middle of my Path…. a gift! Or rather, the announcement of a gift just waiting to be found. There weren’t any lottery tickets attached, but as I carried the image of this abandoned tag home with me, I did some thinking about gifts and how they are given and received, and realised that perhaps my imaginings were actually the gift.

What gift can you give this holiday season? What gifts are you grateful for?

20 Dec 2015

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