You may have noticed that I’ve had a break from Sunday Sevens, albeit entirely unintentional (Christmas, and all that), so here’s a heavily edited recap of things since the beginning of December.
1. We had another day trip on the Orient Express – a six hour journey through England and Wales during which we were served a seven course Christmas dinner. Wine pairings with every course was a nice extra that we hadn’t done before.
2. The friends that we went with.
3. The run up to Christmas was almost exhaustingly busy with something going on every day, including The Boy’s advent calendar in which they ‘do’ something Christmassy each day of advent. Here they are enjoying a car trip in their pyjamas to drive around looking at Christmas lights.
4. Together with one other resident, I cooked Christmas dinner for sixty villagers in the village hall.
5. No.3 Son sang a solo of my favourite carol “In The Bleak Mid Winter” before everyone sat down for dinner.
6. I managed to finish off this pair of socks for No.1 Son…..
7. ….and this cabled hat for his girlfriend’s mother.
8. After cooking lunch for my brother and his wife on Christmas Eve, we went to the carol service in our church. The Dogs drew loads of comments in their festive coats! Some friends joined us for supper afterwards and The Boys were excited to put their stockings out for Father Christmas for an early-ish night.
9. We went to church Christmas Day with The Boys and the service ended rather sombrely when the organist collapsed just before the last verse of the last carol. Being British, the congregation went on to sing unaccompanied and we all crept out silently as an ambulance was called.
A couple of family members short, Christmas dinner was a slightly quieter affair than usual – it seems I was lucky to get the ‘flu over and done with before Christmas. I didn’t feel lucky at the time, mind you!
10. Back up to full numbers on Boxing Day! Mr H-L is keeping the festive music going, in case you wondered what he was doing back there:)
11. We can ‘only’ seat 14 or 15 people comfortably around the dining table, so there was overspill into the kitchen end!
12. On the 27th, when we had a different set of guests, I invented a new solution to using up the leftovers – Christmas Dinner Pie! Literally all the remaining meat, stuffing and veg was made into a pie. It went down a treat with everyone.
13. Our last guests left on the 28th, which meant we had a couple of days to unwind before New Year’s Eve. ‘Unwinding’ in our house means PJs, games, festive films and Baileys:)
14. The Dogs were over the moon to have even more cuddle time than usual!
15. Unwinding for me also includes knitting/crochet – once I got the darning out of the way…..
16. I cast on and finished a single sock using the lovely yarn from my Stitching Santa parcel, which was immediately claimed by No.3 Son!
17. Before casting on the second sock, I cast on one for me using some Fyberspates yarn that I’ve had for a while and forgot about. After all that plain sock knitting, I was itching to do a pattern.
18. I even managed to nip up into the sewing room for a few hours and came down with this little project bag, perfect for small projects like socks. I may make some more for my online shop.
19. Just to make sure I don’t get bored (!), I started crocheting Granny squares in this Duck Egg DK. They’re going to be a blanket for a young couple that are getting married later this year.
20. Then the yarn orders started arriving…..I went on a bit of a spending spree with the money that had accumulated in my PayPal account.
21. All this sock yarn has a purpose – I want to make 2018 the year I wear only handknit socks. My New Year’s Resolution, I suppose.
Whilst I tend to knit playing socks using a self-striping yarn for other people, my own preference is for patterned socks using hand dyed yarn in luxury fibres. These are the three pairs I have knitted to date.
22. Progress on the pair currently on the needles, although I will have to knit No.2 Son’s other sock before the second one of this pair.
23. New Year’s Eve is spent with the same friends, only this was the first year we went to their house for the night, Just look at those incredible centrepieces!
25. We took No.2 Son back to school the following Sunday, which was hard having had him at home for three weeks.
26. With both boys back at school, Mr H-L and I went out for lunch one day. Fifi was treated to a bit of pork belly at the end.
27. On Saturday, Fifi’s heart began to race and her breathing became shallow. She was fine in herself and carried on as normal for most of the day and well into the evening. We took her to bed with us as normal but, at 1.50am yesterday morning, she stopped breathing.
28. Farewell, my faithful little companion – my heart is in pieces. Whatever will I do without you.