Tuesday, 29 December 2009


Is it really that long since I wrote anything here? I've been lazy for a few days, and able to sit around reading for as long as I like. It may be the celebration of the Prince of Peace, but we had a wonderful snowball fight on Christmas morning after church, and I can't remember when I last had the chance to do that.

Perhaps, if I've been quiet, it's because I'm still breathless after the RSC Hamlet on TV on Saturday night. It's still with me. (My son saw the live production at Stratford over a year ago and I'm still jealous.) Cometh the hour, cometh the DVD.

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

nearly there

More snow tonight! Daughter came home safely at one o'clock in the morning. There is a message on my phone which says -

need xtra copies of all xmas xwords and quizzes

That could only have come from Hamilton. That's Hamilton the wonder hamster, not Hamilton the teddy bear, who is wearing a tinsel halo and remembering the Christmas of 1997, when he first came to live with us.

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

from the snow kingdom

The house of stories is the snow kingdom now. On Saturday I came back from a rehearsal and decided I may as well scrunch down the garden and cut some holly while I still had my coat and wellies on. The snow was crisp and sparkly. Picture this. A snow-filled garden. Woman in winter coat, scarf, hat, wellies, basket on her arm, cutting holly. In the next garden, on the other side of the fence, two children in red jackets are sledging down the hill. Someone should have been painting us for next year's Christmas card.

Snow all the next day, snow going to church and back for carols by candlelight. Lady Sunshine was snowed in here all weekend, and daughter arrived safely yesterday. It's not all good. Ice and snow bring their own problems. If you believe in prayer, pray for the homeless and the stranded tonight.

Daughter is at a wedding today, and I'll be glad when she's home.

Thursday, 17 December 2009


Snow!!!! The house of stories has snow on the garden, snow on the river, and here on Mistmantle it's drifting and deep, and there's at least a dozen little moles having a snowball fight. The hedgehogs and squirrels are lining up to borrow teatrays from the kitchen to make slides, but who needs a teatray! Wheeeee!

Lying on my back in the snowdrift I landed In, I'm looking up at the tower, rising through the falling swirl of snow, with warm lights in the windows. It looks so welcoming. But not yet. One more time... oh, yes!

Sunday, 13 December 2009


I'm getting me name for Christmas, and you needn't ask me what it is, because I don't know yet, do I, and if I did I wouldn't be telling. Might tell you when I know. If told 'er, what if I don't like it, and she said if you don't like it we can change it. What does she think she is, Marks and Sparks?

That dog on her website, that's Daniel, he's got a present wrapped in blue paper and a ribbon, but that's no good to me, I'm not fiddling about with ribbons and paper and stuff. It's bad enough having all them ferns to contend with down 'ere. Oh, and if you think I live in that garden on 'er site, I don't. It's years since 'er lived in that 'ouse. I 'appen to know who's in that photie, too.

'Er's still sorting out her study. Blimey. Them bin men will be crippled come collection day, never seen so much rubbish in me life. Never read so much, neither. Now she's starting on all her craft stuff and that. Spose that's rubbish, too. If she goes on like this she'll chuck the laddie out the window an' all, and it won't 'arf wake them ducks when he hits the river.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009


I hope you all enjoyed St Nicholas's Day on Sunday. A few years ago we were in Salzburg on St Nicholas's Day, and it's a big thing there.

At the beginning of the month, I usually give my study a bit of a going through and check that all the correspondence and accounts are up to date. The last few months it's been a quick whizz through, so this time I'm giving the whole attic a really good turning over. It's only taken a week so far. I've binned, shredded, and re-arranged. I've found old photographs, and old stories. Some of them are even OK.

If you're one of the lovely people who have written to me over the years and sent me pictures of Mistmantle, don't worry. I still have your letters and pictures. I treasure those, and they never go out.

Have a great day!

Saturday, 5 December 2009


I'm late, I know, I haven't blogged a single blog for over a week. That's the trouble with tempus, it fugits. By the way, did you know that the spellchecker on the blog doesn't recognise the word blog? Doesn't that mean it can't spell its own name?

Deadlines have been met and work delivered, and I have been able to do some Christmas shopping at the amazing craft markets in York. I can't tell you too much about what I've bought because certain persons who read this blog don't need to know, but I can tell that I bought a real fire breathing (well, smoke breathing) little dragon, because I'm keeping that for myself.

I had promised myself a little treat, which was coffee at Betty's in York. The queues were out of the door, so I went to Little Betty's in Stonegate instead, where the cafe is over the shop.

The white-pinnied waitress led me through one room and another - that place goes further back than I would have thought possible. And there I was. A medieval room with massive oak beams and a real fire. Betty's coffee, cake, and mulled wine. Oh, happy me.