Before I embark on the seasonal type of post, I have realised with some horror that six weeks have passed and nothing to show for it on the blog front. Of course, you know I’ve not been sitting twiddling my thumbs all that time and that being busy has prevented me from being here!
I spent the second half of October in England, granny-sitting my mother and granny once more after a hugely successful operation that has restored my mother’s innards and from which she recovered very well and incredibly quickly. I’d say this was proof of that, wouldn’t you?! Halloween was unusually warm this year and she had a lovely time scaring the little children that came knocking on the door (as their mothers curled up with laughter at the end of the path!)… only a teenage vampire didn’t seem very impressed! They did get some ghoulish goodies to make up for the fright. Maybe the word went round?
My friend and I had an outing to a lovely farm shop complex near Lichfield at Swinfen that we’d not been to for a few years. After a lovely lunch in the Pear Tree Crèperie, we browsed the pretty little shops – everything from a knitting shop (Knitique), a kitchen goods shop, Christmas ornaments, clothing, bridal outfitters and curios boutique, as well as some good solid English furniture. Among the many great, funny and wise sayings (“Mr. Right, Mrs. Always Right”…) I couldn’t resist snapping this one: A lovely family visit to see my granny’s cousin led to lots of reminiscing, of course. As a result, her daughter produced a hand-written notebook of her aunt’s with all sorts of traditional recipes and tips on preserving fruit and so on. A little further into the book, I came across some knitting gems, which sent me into squeals of delight: …leaving me with the challenge of trying to recreate these patterns, which use a very old-fashioned manner of charting that I first need to decipher! But I already have a use in mind 🙂 For the time being, I did finish this pretty little shawl for my friend’s birthday
Still on the subject of knitting – my granny made this little top many, many years ago, probably in the 1930s, when Fair Isle was all the rage after the Prince of Wales was depicted wearing something similar: I can just imagine this with a floppy-bowed blouse and a neat wool skirt and I’m sure it looked very smart! How great that it’s survived all these years with nary any damage.
Back in Switzerland and another family birthday, as well as another family tradition – my husband delights in the “bird season” and got it off to a great start by making the most delicious and succulent St. Martin’s goose. It was a hit with the kids, as each sat clutching a drumstick and sipping on Kinder champagne… St. Martin’s Day (November 11th) is the beginning of the holidays where we are. The legend says St. Martin of Tours (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_of_Tours) was betrayed by geese – who are excellent guard animals. He was hiding in a barn, away from those looking for him, wanting to make him a bishop (this honour was later forced on him!). For this reason, it’s traditional to have goose on or around this day and in some places, there are still lantern parades to celebrate. We have the lantern parades, here, usually with a hollowed-out swede or turnip, something that most Kindergarten and primary schools do at this time of year. Parents attend a craft evening to make the lantern and socialise, then the following evening, streetlights are switched off and the police hold up the traffic while a sweet chorus of singing children carry their lights through the village or town (keep your matches or lighter to hand – the little tea lights will inevitably need relighting many times, especially on a rainy night!!) and then finally, back at the school, there will be hot soup and fruit tea for everyone… Which leads us neatly into Advent!