Meet the family…and Advent 3

This year offered more opportunities to be with family and friends than in the past, since it’s the first time in over 30 years that I was in England in December. What a pleasure to meet up with friends I hadn’t seen for many, many years – and of course, I managed yet another outing!

Back in 2009 it was a gorgeous autumn day when we visited Hanbury Hall, not too far from Worcester. This time it was a colder occasion, but the sun came out and the house and gardens, once belonging the Vernon family (a National Trust property) are still lovely and being made better each year:

IMG_0936 IMG_0938 And I’m still fancying one of these in my garden, too!! IMG_0939Last time, I didn’t get a picture of the dairy in the cellar and its tiles, remarkably well-preserved despite their great age IMG_0940

In addition, several of the rooms both downstairs and upstairs were decorated for Christmas with handmade arrangements, paper chains and other seasonal items, making everything look very festive – especially the elegant dining room and marvellous chandelier.

On the other side of the village is a craft centre that used to be a farm, Jinney Ring, always interesting and inspiring for a visit and happily thriving still after a number of years. Apart from finding a few lovely hand-made presents to bring home to my family – there is everything from woodwork and pottery to felt-making and hand-made cosmetics – we spent quite a while watching two young people glass-blowing with a particular confidence and grace as they worked on a large commission for a huge agapanthus – apparently there is one at Chicago airport, so if I ever get there…

Their teamwork was impressive! This young woman made it all look quite effortless:IMG_0930Although the Christmas season in England is rather different to what I’m used to in Switzerland, I really did enjoy the opportunity to eat cake with a family friend not seen for 17 years, drink a glass of wine with friends I hadn’t seen for 15 years at their home I’d never yet visited – and to meet their now young adult children last seen as toddlers! – and to have a fun and chatty meal out with another old school friend and partner (whom I also hadn’t met for a number of years!), plus we got to visit cousins who have had much of their home refurbished this year, so what with getting packed up and ready to return to Switzerland, it was a very busy third Advent week! I left my ladies well supplied with seasonal fare to tide them over the holidays and a few little parcels to keep them busy on the 25th – I’m sure they’ll enjoy some peace and quiet and getting back to “normal” now!

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