Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Festive Cheer

What beautiful weather we had on Christmas Day, which is unusual for Auckland as we usually have rain on 25 December.  We all had to lay down in the afternoon for a rest and try to digest our meals, but manfully rose to the occasion and devoured large portions again at dinner time before trailing off around the park to try to shake down some of the food.  What with a champagne brunch it was a busy day but a fun time was had by all.  We were farewelling our niece who left for England on Boxing Day morning at an ungodly hour, so that made it a poignant occasion.  We were missing our Firstborn who has left for her big OE.  Christmas was slightly strange, but we did manage to talk on the phone.    

Since Christmas Day we have been able to spend some time at Shoestring and catch up with friends.  The starlings have succeeded in hatching out some fledglings and we think we can see three.  They make their presence felt with noisy demands to be fed.  The plum tree is laden with ripening fruit and Mr Shoestring immediately dashed outside to try to salvage some of it before it was taken by the birds, who could not actually get inside the bird netting but managed to peck through it nevertheless.  After wracking my brains as to what to do with the fruit I have cooked it and strained the resulting puree, and am going to experiment with making plum icecream.  (Mr Shoestring adores the Kapiti Black Doris icecream so it may even earn me some points in his good book.)  This week I will consult recipe books and try to find some other things to do with less than perfect plums.    

The first lilies are flowering, but they are nowhere near as spectacular as Mrs Peaceable’s ones.  She gave me a lovely bunch of hers and I fully intend to rival her one day in the Christmas lily stakes.  The perfume is heavenly and fills the whole cottage. 

 My first lilies

A small offering from Mrs Peaceable's garden

A few weeks ago I bought a “Girl With A Pearl Earring” canvaswork picture from the church garage sale for $2.  Somebody had put a lot of time and effort into their work and it seemed a shame for it to be unloved, so I have turned it into a bag to take marketing.  Inside it has two old doyleys for pockets and it will come in handy when we are scouring the local markets for bargains.
Doyley pockets in lining 

Bag - finished and ready for endurance shopping events

This little book was a Christmas present, and what gems of gardening advice it contained.  

Mr Shoestring received this  

As he has recently been preoccupied by all matters sartorial (in fact Lady Raglan now calls him Captain Peacock), he received it eagerly and has scanned it from cover to cover in order to become ever more well groomed and ready for any occasion.

Preparations are in full swing  for the holidays at Shoestring.  What a lot of renovations we need to do, but also friends will visit for a catch up.