Saturday, 31 October 2009

All Hallows' Eve

It's that time of year again when the neighbourhood prepares for a festival which dates back more than 2000 years. The ancient Celts celebrated Samhain or "summer's end" and this was a harvest festival and the start of a new year.

All Hallows' Eve was originally a pagan festival honouring the dead.

All Hallows' Eve or Hallowe'en is the last day of the old year in the Celtic calendar.

Look out for celebrations of all sorts happening once the sun goes down this evening and keep a lookout for those low-flying witches!

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Things That I Am Noticing

The Maple leaf ~ a common sight as the leaves start falling off the trees.

And the symbol of Canada ~ portrayed on our national flag.

Monday, 26 October 2009

To Autumn

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun
John Keats

Well it seems that we are finally having some of those wonderful Autumn days that Keats spoke of in To Autumn. This morning's photographs don't really do it justice, as the sun kept disappearing behind the clouds, but there is a lovely soft quality to the light.

I wanted to capture some of the beautiful colours before they disappear. With the weather forecast predicting a change by the end of this week, I don't think that these leaves will last much longer.

I love walking on days like these. We haven't reached the crunching through the leaves stage yet, as most of them are still on the trees.

Gardens are adorned for the season and there are sights of this weekend's coming Halloween festivities, but more of them later.

For now, I am content to admire the leaves and savour getting out in the fresh air to enjoy the mild weather.

Isn't this tree stunning? It looked even more vibrant when I was standing in front of it.

Here's to Autumn and all of its mellow fruitfulness.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Things I Am Noticing

The changing colours of Autumn.

I am a bit late in participating in Ginny's Noticing series, but you can find out more about it here.

Monday, 19 October 2009

Scents of Home

The aroma of spices has been wafting from my kitchen recently. It is that time of year again when my thoughts turn to preparations for Christmas and one of the first of those is baking my Christmas cake. I start by washing and drying the fruit ~ yes, I know that it is 'dried' fruit, but I have found that I get much better results if I take the time to rinse it in cold water and dry it in readiness for a soaking in brandy. (This after I have gone through and removed all those hard bits of stalk that seem to be attached to some of the fruits).

Once the fruit has soaked overnight, I can begin the more pleasurable part of mixing the ingredients. It takes me about an hour to weigh and mix all of the ingredients and prepare the baking tin.

Then the process of baking begins. I have had problems with my oven this year as it does not seem to be maintaining the correct temperature, so I had to buy an oven thermometer after the first cake came out looking a little overbaked.

Yes, I did say the first cake ~ this is the third one that I have made this month ~ one for home, one a gift for friends and one to share with classmates and friends at work. Considering how busy I have been this month, I am feeling quite pleased with my Christmas baking efforts, which have been squeezed in between revision and attending classes.

A big thank you to all of you who have left messages during my blogging break. I am through the first week of exams, but have more this week, so it will be a little while yet before I have a chance to catch up with you.

Friday, 2 October 2009

Domestic Bliss

It doesn't take much to make me a happy woman these days. After several weeks of problems with my iron (well, I am the only person who uses it!) I finally got a new one. This little beauty is a Rowenta professional iron and it is amazing.

Not only is it a great iron, but I got it for the bargain price of $60. It was originally priced at $150 ~ how's that for a bargain?

I haven't had much time to blog of late and I am finally having to admit defeat at keeping up with visiting and posting. I have important exams starting on 14th October and will be busy for a couple of weeks, so I'm going to take a blogging break.