Saturday, 18 December 2010

Busy week

Three and a half days of my sister's lovely visit ended yesterday with an alarming journey to the station through such unusually-snarled-up traffic that it featured on the local news. If her train hadn't been late she would have missed it, but she managed eventually to get home to Glasgow, albeit with one lengthy episode of sitting in the train at a standstill close to her destination, due to a broken-down freight train ahead.

I was glad that I had sneaked three Crunchies into her bag, so I didn't have to fear that she might suffer starvation if delayed for longer.


It feels odd without her; we got on so comfortably well, just the two of us (in the past, we have always been in the company of her husband and my son, and time alone felt like a great treat), and managed to cram a lot into those few days: shopping, meals, walks, a celebratory lunch in the country, catching up with my friends who haven't seen her for a long time.

Our lunch in the very pleasant setting of Matfen Hall was a great success, although there was some snow and a threat of more.





Nobody told us off for coming in through the main door where a wedding was planned:




We sat by the lounge fire until it was time to move into the library for lunch.





Today is really my birthday - how did I get to be 62 so soon?  - and I have had a rare assortment of very nice presents, including :


Very warm mittens from Canada, made from recycled wool. I love the way they aren't identical in pattern, although the colours remain the same.


Fingerless gloves from Norway - to help protect my princessy hands from toys covered in dog drool, apparently.


Rubber contraptions from Scandinavia - alarming to look at but very practical and effective -  that fit snugly over shoes and boots and stop one from falling, squeaking in alarm, arms flailing, on icy ground.


And cheerful ear muffs from Scotland.


Reluctantly modelled by my charming assistant, who thinks that anything fluffy is a toy, and therefore is better chewed than worn.



And a wreath, not in the least useful in cold weather, but very lovely nevertheless.


There was more: books, chocolates, flowers, a new bottle of Caleche perfume, stained glass, but enough for now; suffice to say that I feel very spoiled. And well equipped for the bout of icy weather that has descended upon us again. Ice, snow, dog slobber, bring it all on - I have the gloves, the mittens, the ear muffs, the ice spikes!

24 comments:

mountainear said...

What lovely presents - I covet them all. The rubber-shoe things look particularly alluring while things are slippery underfoot. Ditto warm gloves.

Would I have wanted these things when I was 25?

Mystica said...

Happy birthday from supposed to be summery melbourne!

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

A lovely visit ! And it's good you managed to squeeze your lunch in before the newest wave of snow .( Are you sure the flower arch wasn't for you , by the way ?)
Lucky you to get some of those ice spikes !! I'm still on a waiting list here . They're selling like hot cakes . I look forward to a video with you demonstrating their effectiveness , galloping down your hill perhaps .

Catherine said...

It looks like you had a lovely Birthday! Love your Canadian mittens! :) How wonderful that you were able to have such a good visit with your sister. And Crunchie bars!! I haven't had one of those for years. Now I am craving one! :)

Keep warm Rachel! (Though I am sure you will with all your warm gifts!)
xo Catherine

Dartford Warbler said...

Happy Birthday Rachel!

I`m so pleased that your sister was able to get to you for her visit, and that you had such a lovely time together. Some great presents too. Let us know how you get on with those non slip ice shoes. I could do with something like that down here in deep frozen Hampshire.

flwrjane said...

Happy Birthday Rachel. Wish I had gotten my mystery package in the mail, it might have arrived around now. But will have to wait until after Christmas....I seem to be very busy.

But I'm glad you two had such a lovely visit and that I get to share in your birthday celebration..

xo Jane

Isabelle said...

Happy belated Birthday (only 15 minutes late) dear Rachel!

You were enjoying your 19th birthday the night Mr Life came to my school dance, thus beginning our romance. I wonder what you were doing then?

Deleilan said...

Many happy returns of the day!
(Had I known, I would have sent you a few cubic feet of snow to go with all those wintry presents!)

Pam said...

What a great time you've had, apart from the rennovations and weather. I'm a bit overawed (or did I mean in awe and overwhelmed) by your weather in England - so fierce!

Pam said...

...oh, and Happy Birthday Rachel!

judy in ky said...

Happy Birthday, from a fellow sixty-something! I enjoyed seeing your lovely gifts and your charming assistant.

John said...

Best wishes to you, Rachel, and happy birthday!

Von said...

Happy Birthday and lovely presents.Caleche an old favourite of mine too.

BumbleVee said...

how wonderful to have your sister all to yourself for a few days.... wish I could manage that with mine.....

Wear your rubber contraptions... my sister just fell on her icy driveway...and broke her wrist. Totally broke the bone straight across.... trying to protect her head from hitting the ground seeing as she hit that 9 years ago whenshe fell on an icy parking lot.

Val said...

I was so happy to hear that you and your sister had such a happy visit together, despite the hostile elements. Your model's glossy black coat just sets off the earmuffs to perfection! Keep warm and take care, even with the non-slip shoes.

SusanFrances said...

Happy Birthday for yesterday. Love the mittens!.

the veg artist said...

Snow spikes and perfume - and we'd all be grateful for both!
Happy Birthday from a very cold West Wales.

Lynda (Granny K) said...

Happy birthday Rachel! What great presents - and lunch in what looks like a fabulous venue - lucky girl!

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday for yesterday: lovely presents and wonderful lunch venue.

Stay warm!

Jan x

Lucille said...

Happy Birthday Rachel and I'm so glad you got to share some time with your sister.

Kate on Clinton said...

Happy birthday! I NEVER would have pegged you for 62. You look FAB-ulous! And what a lovely place for lunch.

frayedattheedge said...

Happy Birthday! Lovely presents! Glad Anne got home ok - we have more snow today, with the threat of more to come. We dashed to Sainsbury's this morning, so we don't have to go out again before Christmas if the snow lingers!

June said...

Happy Birthday!
What a lovely place for your luncheon!
Would the proprietors let you hang around with your cup of coffee and read all those books?

Fran said...

That looks like a very elegant lunch. I've had to keep sending Crunchies to my daughter who's in Japan because they don't have them over there. At least they're light ... but it costs a bomb to post them. Ah well.

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