It seems so fitting to be sitting here writing this post in the first days of January after our first countryside Christmas, dear Reader. 2013 was such an eventful year: swapping kaftans for tweed and heels for wellies, leaving behind the Big Smoke for rural Hampshire, getting a gundog pup, Primrose learning to live with mud, Poppy learning not to eat it, Jerry living out his dream of driving his own Lanny, CHICKENS……I could go on. Not to mention the beginnings of Margot Tries the Good Life world domination in written form. So one couldn’t blame me dear Reader, for half expecting Christmas to be a bit of let down after all that! Amazingly, it wasn’t. However, most of December was rather bumpy with Poppy succumbing to a hideous bout of the hand, foot and mouth virus and the four of us having to live in quarantine with the sign of the plague daubed on the door. After two weeks of illness, followed by Poppy turning 2 and then the mad dash to prepare for Christmas, we were all looking forward to a bit of festive peace and quiet.
Luckily for us, the week of Christmas proved less fraught. Never have we felt more at home than here in our little old country cottage. Rather spectacularly, the village seems to have well and truly embraced us and the whole of the festive period felt as if it had been stolen from The Archers’ airwaves. My contribution to the church flowers was infinitely better than my first attempt at Harvest time, Poppy and Primrose dressed as angels to form part of a tableau around the crib with some dear little village shepherds and everyone roared with laughter when a grumpy Poppy yelled (rather loudly I might add) in the middle of the prayers “I don’t love you Mummy” when I ran out of sweeties to bribe her silence. I turned my hand to Christmas wreaths and even managed a bit of countryside recycling when my dear Pa turned up with this……
and I fashioned it into one of these!
Jerry’s family – I do promise (truly) that I did not feed you what was left of the pheasant when you came to lunch….thought I had better declare that……just in case, anyone was worried….!
Moving on… We enjoyed the hospitality of several villagers and settled in to the swing of all things Christmas. I was accosted to form an impromptu choir for the service – only to find that there were quite a number of villagers who have been hiding their musical lights under a bushel. One even turned out to be a recorded artist and entered the choir practice in full voice, trilling vocal warm ups. Amazing, the things one doesn’t know about one’s neighbours. Christmas Eve proved to be a wonderful evening with Ma and Pa in tow, children snug in their beds, stockings hung by the fire and a magical walk along the starlit lanes to Midnight Mass. A goose from our local farm shop went without hitch and I even managed to churn out a cake with the girls.
Say nothing about Robin Pinkbreast, dear Reader – Primrose was utterly delighted and I spent the whole time telling Christmas guests that it was all the children’s work…
With 2014 ushered through the cottage door, I have had time to think on resolutions and wishes for the new year. More tweed is certainly on the agenda, learning to shoot a gamebird is well and truly up there and tackling the awful jungle of a garden has to be priority number one. Meeting one of the organisers of the New Forest Show over lunch, I was almost persuaded to enter and ‘show’ my chickens. Oh and the vicar already tried to twist my arm to join the Parish Council to represent the young people. Not quite sure that I am ready for the challenges of either of those yet!! Apparently, Jerry says we have to start sorting out the cottage and redecorating too. Perhaps now would be a good time to lock myself away in the study and pretend to pen a little chapter of a book or two? Sounds like 2014 is going to be just as hectic as 2013…. Dear Reader, I do wish you and yours a very happy and prosperous 2014. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for reading, supporting and telling others about my little blog. Without you, 2013 really wouldn’t have been half as brilliant!