Count Down to Christmas

Advent Calendar
Autumn has come and is now almost gone making me realise that today is the last day of November.  This means we are now on the countdown to Christmas and I am wondering what happened to the year.  Last Christmas seems like only yesterday.  Time… ‘it’ always seems to run away from me, leaving me playing catch up.

When I look back it has been a good year for us in the UK.  We had the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations and the spectacular Pageant of the flotilla of boats along the Thames.  It was good to watch from the warmth of my living room on what was a cold and rainy day.  I missed some of the other Jubilee celebrations due to flying to a rather warmer climate in France a couple of days after the celebrations commenced.

We also hosted the highly successful Olympic Games followed by the Paralympics.  The Queen also took part in the opening ceremony too where she did a little skit with Daniel Craig as James Bond.  She appeared to parachute from a helicopter and land in the Olympic stadium ready for the opening ceremony.

I hadn’t intended to watch the opening ceremony but I was visiting my Mum that evening and she had the telly on when I arrived.  I am glad that she did because I thoroughly enjoyed the spectacle that gave a good representation of Britain’s heritage from the Industrial Revolution to the current day.

Another thing for us in the UK celebrate was the Englishman, Bradley Wiggins, becoming the first Briton to win the Tour de France.  In addition to Bradley’s win his English team mate Chris Frome came second overall.

On a personal level I enjoyed this year’s two visits to France (Carcassonne and Paris) and I am currently planning another visit next year.  I don’t know how I will squeeze everything I want to do into the time I have available.

It is the first day of December tomorrow and in the run up to Christmas day I will try to avoid the Christmas crush and madness in the shops although I do have to confess to having enjoyed the display in the local garden centre a couple of weeks ago on my way to a late lunch in the cafe.  I plan to visit Birmingham which always has a good feel to it in the run up to Christmas and at this time of year it also hosts a German market giving it a slightly continental feel.

Tomorrow I will be visiting a local Christmas Gift Fair in its inaugural year. I will be on the lookout for Christmas gifts and getting into the festive mood.

I hope you enjoy my advent calendar and I invite you to count down to Christmas with me…

Autumn Contemplations

We are well and truly into Autumn now. The leaves on the trees are all turning into their delightful hues of yellows, coppers, reds and golds.  The breezes that stir up are gently shaking those leaves from the trees and making them fall like confetti to the ground below.

Autumn is one of my favourite seasons, but this year I can’t help feeling a little cheated.  Autumn has arrived but what happened to Summer?  Did I blink and miss it?  I have a memory that there was a Summery week in May and two to three Summer days in September.  Apart from that it seems to have rained from spring through to Autumn.  Oh! Yes, the weather managed to be just perfect for the Olympics in a not so typical English Summer, which was quite welcome.  The whole occasion including the weather gave visitors to England and natives a reason to celebrate in style, especially as it had been shortly preceded by the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations.

I am sure the Shropshire gardens enjoyed the rain after last year’s drought.  ‘My Oak Tree’ seems to have grown quite considerably this year. Myself I am not much of a sun worshiper and I struggle when it gets too hot but I would have liked a few more gaps in between the continuous deluge of rain if only so that I could visit some of those gardens that I so love.

As Autumn arrives the rain still doesn’t seem to have let up.  At times it seems like someone has turned a tap on and there is a continuous downpour for hours.  Apart from the colour of leaves on the trees the only thing that has differentiated Summer from Autumn is the distinct drop in temperature, especially a night.  Seeing the beautiful vibrant colours of the Autumn leaves makes up for the Summer rain.

Let’s hope the weather has a change of heart before the Winter months, we certainly wouldn’t want that level of deluge falling as snow…