Posted by: christinelaennec | December 30, 2014

Christmas 2014

Thank you for your kind comments on my “What Christmas Means to Me” post.  I was a bit nervous about posting it, so was happy that it was a welcome perspective for some people.

We have had a fantastic Christmas – especially when I think that for the last three Christmasses, the Dafter was nearly completely bedbound with ME/CFS.  What a difference this year!  She had asked if we minded her doing some volunteering on Christmas Day, and of course we were delighted.  We were up early that morning, and as usual we were spoiled rotten by our friends and family.  So many thoughtful and useful gifts!  Then I dropped the Dafter off at a church where they do a Christmas dinner for those who would otherwise have none.  She knew no-one there, but she kissed me goodbye and went to help.

So Michael and I had a lovely walk before, rather than after, our Christmas dinner.  It was a beautiful day:

Christmas Day walk.  The Forth & Clyde canal, from the bridge across to Westerton.

Christmas Day walk. The Forth & Clyde canal, from the bridge across to Westerton.

When we got home we enjoyed two of our presents:

Harris Tweed tea cosy (with midge) and special Christmas tea.

Harris Tweed tea cosy (with midge) and special Christmas tea.

Yes, we have three teapots!  The white and blue one we use for Rooibos tea in the evenings; the polka-dot one (in the tea cosy) is for special occasions, and the blue one behind is our everyday teapot.

The Dafter's balloon.

The Dafter’s balloon.

We picked the Dafter up several hours later.  She was glowing!  She’d had a great time, mostly keeping children entertained.  She was given this beautiful balloon, which has been a lot of fun to watch bob around the ceiling.

Then it was time for our Christmas dinner, cooked as always by Michael.  A dear friend gives us fancy Christmas crackers every year:

The table is set for Christmas dinner.

The table is set for Christmas dinner.

We had a beautiful meal (vegetarian!), pulled our crackers, put on our crowns and generally were pretty silly:

Fun at Christmas dinner.

Fun at Christmas dinner.

At the weekend, the Dafter went on an adventure by herself, travelling on the train to see friends overnight.  Amazing!  Michael and I enjoyed perusing some of the sales in town and seeing the Christmas decorations:

Fraser's department store, Glasgow, December 2014.

Fraser’s department store, Glasgow, December 2014.

We also took a trip out to the countryside, which I will show you in another post.  It was beautifully frosty the days after Christmas:

Frost on a wrought-iron fence.

Frost on a wrought-iron fence.

We were snug inside.  I love the handmade card from a young friend of the family:

Christmas cheer, with handmade card and glass angel.

Christmas cheer, with handmade card and glass angel.

Monday morning we awoke to the deepest frost I think I’ve ever seen, and fog as well:

Frosty garden, Glasgow, 29 December 2014.

Frosty garden, Glasgow, 29 December 2014.

Michael and I went through to Edinburgh to have lunch with Our Son.  The train was unheated and I was perishing with the cold by the time we got there.  But I warmed up.  Michael and Our Son both commented that I had my usual pink cheeks back, having apparently been quite white earlier on:

Our Son and me, Jenner's Coffee Shop, Edinburgh. 29 December 2014.

Our Son and me, Jenner’s Coffee Shop, Edinburgh. 29 December 2014.

I liked the poetry on signs declaring that Edinburgh is a UNESCO City of Literature.  This verse by Scott is a good description of the city, I think, though our visit was such a quick one that I didn’t get any snaps to illustrate it with! (You can see some photos of “massy, close and high” Edinburgh in this post.)

Literary quotations at Waverley Station, Edinburgh.

Literary quotations at Waverley Station, Edinburgh.

Back home, the garden was still immersed in what I think is “rime” (and not as in the Ancient Mariner):

Frost on the roses, late December 2014, Glasgow.

Frost on the roses, late December 2014, Glasgow.

One of my regular readers, oldblack in Australia, recently asked how the roses cope with the winter weather.  I took this photo to show you, oldblack!  These blooms will not fully open now, and although the rosebush is still producing buds (one is on the top of the photo), I don’t think there will be any more now.  I’ll give the bush a trim in March, while it’s asleep, and it will send out new shoots and buds in early June I think.

There is another “rose” in the garden that is coming into its growing season:  the hellebore, or Lenten Rose.  It is beginning to bud, and the frost and snow won’t hold it back too much.

The "Lenten Rose" (hellebore) is not bothered by the frost.

The “Lenten Rose” (hellebore) is not bothered by the frost.

The Dafter arrived home tired but very happy from her journey, and is having a friend to stay overnight tonight.  And tomorrow is the last day of 2014!  We stand at the threshhold of the New Year, an exciting time.

I wish you all a good end of this year and start of the next.  Bliadhna Mhath Ur, ‘nuair a thig i!  Happy New Year when it comes!



  1. Lovely to also see Tilly. Now your gorgeous daughter is launched! 2015 bring it on. x

  2. I am so happy for you and your family that you celebrated such a blessed Christmas holiday. And, best of all is the news that your dear daughter is recovering. I wish you all the best for the coming New Year.

  3. Such good news to hear that the Dafter is doing so well, and that you and Michael have had time together for walks and the shops. I love the Harris Tweed tea cozy ~ so cute!! Such happy photos of you all. 🙂
    We’ve had much frost and fog as well, very thick, heavy, and unusual. A bit of sunshine would be nice about now!
    Wishing you and yours a very happy and blessed New Year!

  4. I enjoyed your Christmas celebration, too, Christine 🙂 Thanks for sharing. I especially enjoyed seeing your frosty garden and learning how your plants grow. Our Camellia bush has been confused this year and the top of it has been busy blooming. My oldest daughter just trimmed it rather drastically[hope it survives] and I am amazed at how much more light is coming into my room. I love your new tea cozy and learning about your teapots. My youngest son just gave me a clear teapot and some tea flowers…pretty to look at and a different green tea flavor. I’m continuing to celebrate Dafter’s returning good health and I hope that you and yours have a most happy and blessed New Year! xx

  5. What a lovely post again! Glad, you had such a wonderful Fmaily Christmas!
    Have a wonderful day and have a happy, lucky and healthy New Year 2015!
    Best wishes and hugs,

  6. Such beautiful, glowing faces you all have and so heartwarming to know that your sweet daughter is returning to health after such a difficult time. A lovely, peaceful post. Love the ‘Frosty’ photos, too. Wishing you and your loved ones beautiful blessings in 2015, Christine! xo Karen

  7. What a frost! I can just imagine it crunching underfoot. I particularly love the picture of the frost on the wrought iron fence – you’ve captured that really well. Thank you too for the photograph of the frosty rose. I always think of a rose as a delicate flower, but clearly I’m wrong. Like the country which has taken it as an emblem, there’s a deep-seated robustness behind the beauty.
    It seems as though the Christmas weather was just right – cold enough to suit the season, but without the conditions that might make travel dangerous or impossible. Now I think about it, however, I am shocked that the train to Edinburgh was unheated. That trip must have been almost impossible!

  8. I’m just delighted to know The Dafter has been able to be so active this Christmas. I’m glad you’ve shown a bit of the Scott theme at Waverley Station. I thought it was a brilliant idea to commemorate the 200th anniversary of publication in 1814 of the first of the Waverley novels by putting quotations from Walter Scott all round the station, and they have done it very well.

  9. Lovely pictures! I was hoping to take a picture of my last surviving marigold, but a rabbit ate it on Christmas morning – I suppose that’s fair!

  10. Happy New Year and thanks for this warm post (despite the frost in the pics) 😊

  11. Thanks for sharing your Christmas post a lovely read. Hope you all will have a good New Year’s Eve and a wonderful 2015
    P.s. loooooovvvvve your tea cosy

  12. Thank you for sharing your story and pictures. Happy New Year, Christine to you and your family. So glad to keep reading of the progress of your daughter. So wonderful!!

  13. Lovely blog post, and what a joyful photo of Michael and the Dafter! So great to hear how well she is doing! Happy New Year to you all, I hope 2015 brings you many blessings. xx

  14. Echoing Tina’s comment to say what a lovely photo of Michael and the Dafter – joy just radiates from it.
    Sorry about your unheated journey – in my experience those trains are either far too hot or too cold.
    I noticed your pots in the garden with wire grids on top – is that an antii-bird/squirrel/cat device? We have awful trouble with neighbours’ cats using our pots as litter trays, so I put netting over the top whenever they’re empty.
    Great of the Dafter to devote some of her Christmas to volunteering.
    Happy New Year, now that it’s here!

  15. Happy New Year to you all. I much prefer the frost to the wind and rain of the past few days. Glad you all had such a nice time over the festive period, hopefully things will continue in an onward and upward direction for the rest of this new year. x

  16. Your Christmas sounds lovely! What rejoicing that the Dafter wants to and can get out and do all this! Also wonderful that after these years of illness she is not afraid to be dropped off somewhere that she doesn’t know anyone! The photo from your walk is so pretty. It’s been cold here and I haven’t been walking since Christmas. I would like to go sometime soon…. LOVE the new tea cosy!!!!!

  17. Dear all,
    Thank you so much for your good wishes, comments, and for rejoicing in the Dafter’s improved health with us. We were so proud of her giving time on Christmas Day to others. And I’ve told my friend that the midge tea cosy has been much admired!

    Jill, glad you enjoyed seeing Tilly! I will try to post more photos of her this next year.

    Flora, yes, I found the Scott commemoration very well done. I was surprised to see that, along with Edinburgh, Iowa City is a UNESCO City of Literature. I know they have a very famous and highly-thought-of writing programme there.

    Roobeedoo, shame about the last marigold. Nevermind, we’re on to a whole new gardening year now and there will be many, many more.

    oldblack, unheated trains are not the rule here, but also not such a shocking rarity that anyone felt moved to complain! It wasn’t the nicest journey I’ve had recently…

    Linda, I’m not sure exactly what creature likes to dig up the bulbs in our pots (probably squirrels), but I use the plant supports to cover them in the winter. By the time the bulbs have come up, I can use the supports as they are intended, i.e. over things like the peonies (with their metal legs attached). We also have cats that use the garden to do their business. I have not found a solution to that…

    Heather, you’re right that it takes the Dafter a lot of courage to go into a new environment with unknown people. Even school is still daunting for her. She still has times of bad noise and light sensitivity, so being in a crowded, noisy environment can be extremely stressful. However, she is well enough to battle on through. I am incredibly proud of her, as someone who knows what an effort it takes her, even although she looks relaxed and confident to the outside world.

  18. Oh, how happy I am to have found your blog — my family hails from Scotland and someday I hope to travel to your lovely country with my husband. Happy New Year from Connecticut, USA!

    • Kelly, a warm welcome to my blog! I hope you enjoy it and that you can come experience Scotland in person. My husband and I spent some happy years in Connecticut, and brought our two beautiful Connecticut Cats with us when we came here in 1992.

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