Archive for the CHRISTMAS Category

Happy Christmas and New Year!


In my usual tradition, here is the round up of featured posts for 2011.  It’s been a pretty tubulent year personally for me and I haven’t blogged as much as I usually do – but my New Year resolution is to do so, so get ready for more eclectic mixes of art, design and quirkyness!  I wish you all a very happy Christmas and a bright New Year!

‘A small start to a New Year’

Posted in CHRISTMAS, DESIGN, period drama, THE STAR INN - THE RESCUE OF OUR LOCAL PUB, WATCHED with tags , , on January 2, 2010 by echostains

I'll be sorry to say goodbye to 165 Eaton Place

A New Year and a new start.  What a fabulous time we had at last nights party…and what a hangover.  The Star Inn was completely packed out and everyone was in the party mood.  But now it’s time to get down to some normality: business as usual.  To be truthful, I’ll be glad to get back into some sort of routine,that does not  include spending money. Already I’ve cut back on the rich food and immediately feel a whole lot better.  Went out for my usual walk which I haven’t done for a few days.  It was freezing cold and at one point  the sun was shining and whilst it was trying to snow!  I just hope it’s not icy tomorrow as that could really scupper my plans.  I’m still ploughing through my ‘Upstairs Downstairs’ DVDs (the 5th series) and really savouring them.  As usual I want to watch them one after the other in a mammoth session, but not only is this impractical (about 800 minutes!) the situation is made all the more poignant because once this series has been viewed  –  I will have seen  every episode.  It’s been quite a journey from the television series to videos to DVDs – all episodes seen at different stages.  All except the elusive 5th series……..

‘Happy 2010 Meet the New Year!’


I’m writing this on New Years eve and scheduling it for New Years day 2010.  I just had a look at last years resolutions to see how many I stuck to.  Here they are again with what happened;

In comes the New Year, and out comes the Resolutions; –

  1. Eat less

  2. Drink less

  3. Write Blog every day

  4. Do more walking

  5. Bin a load of rubbish from this house

  6. Hang on to my money longer

  7. be nicer to people

In with the New Year and out with the excuses: –

  1. Well I’m SORRY!  I DO NOT eat THAT much!  You’ve got to eat to LIVE you know!!  What do you expect me to do? lay down and die because I’ve put a few lbs on over Christmas? Yes CHRISTMAS, the season of festivity!!!!  Here here! so true….even though I never learn and have to be strict with myself for ages after the holidays.  Will I ever learn?  This metabolism was fine until I gave up smoking!

  2. I’m hardly an alcoholic mate!  Why would I NEED to drink less? eh? eh? eh? and what’s it to you ANYWAY?  Sort of stuck to this – when it suits me (suiting me tonight of course, it is New Years Eve you know..)

  3. Huh?  Well I AM writing this every day, and nobody is reading it!  I mean it’s hardly MY  fault if I am writing rubbish is it? (eh? well whose fault is it then? you sad person talking to yourself lol!)  At last, one I really have stuck to….and you’d be surprised (as I am sometimes) just how many people are reading this…. so there! says me talking to me, the person who wrote that a year ago  and who is different to the person writing this now.. so I’m not talking to myself…eh?

  4. Well I can’t POSSIBLY walk more than I am doing,  My legs are short enough.  I will wear them away if I carry on and anyway, I need all the inches I can get (to see bands).  Well, still doing my best as far as that’s concerned, though the osteo has become worse – do hope to do better and get back to my level of fitness this year

  5. Ah, but what exactly COUNTS as rubbish eh? tell me that?  How do I define ‘rubbish’? (if I haven’t already that is..).  One man’s rubbish is another man’s treasure isn’t it?  Imagine my anguish if I inadvertently threw away something that turned out to be treasure or something I actually needed?  No, it’ s not worth the risk.  Well fulfilled this slightly – still got a way to go (tip; follow the arrow that says ‘TIP)

  6. This is an easy one to deal with: WHAT MONEY? no money, no cry  Could be better, but not as bad as I was, improvement in sight

  7. I’m already nice to people, any nicer and people may think I’m a pushover and take all my money (that I haven’t got) and think they can just help themselves to all my food, drink and rubbish (that’s really treasure).  Oh no, thank you VERY much…and I don’t want to sound smug but I think I have the balance just about right.  Difficult one, I tend to take people at face value and am then disappointed when I realise they are insincere.  The problem lies with my expectations, not with the person.  Hard lesson – but learned.

Well that’s me sorted.  Time to get 2009 on the road!  It’s such a relief to get these resolutions sorted and in place.  Now I know EXACTLY where I’m going, I feel so much better!  This is the spirit and attitude that got me a rather good 2009 and I’m going to follow it again (with small tweaks of course: onwards and upwards!)

‘New Years Eve 2009 already’

Posted in CHRISTMAS, LIVING IN THE PAST: NOSTALGIA with tags , on December 31, 2009 by echostains

well why not?

Here’s my post for New Years eve 2009, except I’m really writing this on 30th December so I’ve not been out kicking my heels up – yet.  I shall have to review my resolutions from last year and see how many I’ve stuck to.  New Years eve’s shenanigans with be blogged on New Years day (that’s if there is any shenanigans or goings on).


I will also have new ones to include, this unfortunately means getting rid of a lot of dead wood which includes  people and  a lot of time wasting at work. I’ve got better things to do with my time. I intend to become a lot more focussed, like I used to be.  There’s travel on the cards too next year and a lot of new directions that I look forward to trying.

books books books

It’s not been a bad year though.  After a  very slow start, the year seemed to get better and better as it went along.  We have a lot of work to do on the house and I have a lot of art stuff to do, which I am really looking forward to.  I hope that this blog will be going this time next year as I have completed one year already.  I still need to list my books for the reading challenge yet (and I’m still reading ‘Branwell Bronte’s Barbers tale’) but I should be OK as I read well over 6 books a year.  In fact, I wonder how many books I do read in one year?  It might be very interesting to keep a list of them next year.

Nothing left to say, except a new year – a new start and


And…why has the formatting gone to pot on this post?

‘Winding down the year’


Well the year’s very nearly over.  Is it just me, or does this decade seem the shortest decade ever?  It seems only yesterday that we celebrated the Millenium.  It’s frightening how life is galloping on, and the pace seems more and more frantic the older I get.

the next decade? fireworks as usual

There is a feeling of winding down as the year draws to a close, only to be fired up for a brief time , starting on 1st January 2010.  As usual, I shall start the year with good intentions , – I might even keep to my resolutions this time –  I can only hope.

Las Vegas

There are new  ideas are planned for my blog next year and there is a possibility of a music blog that my husband and I have been working on.  Not sure how that is going to work out yet, still playing with different formats.  This year has been the usual mixture of highs and lows, one of the highs being the Las Vegas wedding, and there have been quite a few lows, which I won’t go into:  suffice to say, I shall be glad to celebrate  2010, though it shall be with some trepidation because at the end of it I shall be……..lets just say older.

‘Good old King Wencelas – Bohemian benefactor?’

Posted in CHRISTMAS, DESIGN, LIVING IN THE PAST: NOSTALGIA, PAST PLACES with tags , , , , , on December 27, 2009 by echostains

St Wencelas

I’m typing this post on 26th December, the feast of Stephen – otherwise known as Boxing Day.  Traditionally this is the day where presents were opened by the needy – given by the privileged.  Well I suppose  we are either too needy now, or we just couldn’t wait, as the majority of us open our presents on Christmas day.  I love the carol ‘Good King Wencelas’ because  it is a narrative of a story, making it easy to imagine the page and Monarch going forth in search of the poor man, who is to be found under the mountain against the forest fence, just near St Agnes’s fountain.

Wencelas is the middle one

It is such a beautiful carol that promises  reward for helping people less fortunate than ourselves.  But who was King Wencelas and did he really exist?  The answer is yes he did and little did I know when I sang this carol as a child that one day I would be crossing a bridge that commemorates this saint amongst others.

King Wencelslaus was actually the Duke  of Bohemia in the 10th Century as well as   the Patron saint of the Czech republic. The bridge I am referring to is  Charles bridge in Prague

charles bridge Prague

Wencelas Square is a place of many historical happenings, uprising and celebrations all happen here, all overlooked by the statue of Wencelas on his horse.  However all is not what it seems with Wencelas, who it is argued was not called Wencelas, was not a king and was far from good!  You’ve heard of chestnuts roasting on an open fire? well, the old Duke/King  liked to do this with non believers apparently…read all about it HERE

There is a lot of information about the legend of  Wencelas HERE and other derivations of this saint, contrast and compare…….


‘Christmas an anti climax?’

Posted in BOOKS! DEAR READER I READ IT, CHRISTMAS with tags , , , , on December 26, 2009 by echostains

my lovely snow boots which I can't wait to try out!

After a huge Christmas dinner, it has been decided (the same as every year) that I MUST go on a diet in the New Year.  In fact this always becomes a resolution that doesn’t take long for me to rebel against.  One of my Christmas presents was a pair of snow boots! What a coincidence that I was writing about slipping and sliding in the snow only the other day!  Of course the snow is now melting………..

I don’t believe it (said in a slightly slurred Victor Meldrew voice) who? see above.  Someone who shall remain nameless bought me  the ‘Mr Darcy Vampire’ book!  Now I shall have to read it when I’ve finished ‘Branwell Bronte’s Barber’s tale’ by Chris Firth, which is going down very well with me and which I’m nearly halfway through.  But at the moment 8PM Christmas day when I’m writing this, I am recycling all the leftover veg into a tasty and nourishing soup (hopefully)

Mr Darcy Vampire 'He a beauty? I'd soon as call his mother a wit'


It’s been a lovely Christmas day and I’m now relaxing with a drink or two.  In fact I have been so good today booze wise – just a couple of sips of wine with dinner and a couple of vodkas and cokes.  Boxing day to look forward to now and then it’s all over.  So much preparation for such a short time.  Why do we do it?   Because it wouldn’t be Christmas without all the hassle?  The run up to the main event is much longer than the actual event itself, it’s making Christmas an actual anti climax.


‘Christmas has the last word (the first is ‘happy’)’


deck the head with blackened tinsel

Still in the swing of Christmas Eve at the moment, wrapping presents and making chestnut stuffing, except I couldn’t get any chestnuts so I thought I would be a little innovative and use hazenuts and a few chopped pecans.  Other ingredients includes sausage meat, apple, garlic…..

here's some I didn't do earlier......

So, just finished wrapping presents and I must say there doesn’t look much to warrent all the money spent, but that’s Christmas for you.  Even managed to get the black Christmas tree up in time and I must say it doesn’t look too bad.  Just having a drink and putting my feet up in a moment.  Not going out.  Are you kidding? not in this weather.  Hope everything has defrosted by tomorrow.  All that is left to say is a HAPPY CHRISTMAS TO EVERYONE WHO READS THIS, and THANKS for reading my blog xxxxx