Thursday, 6 December 2007

Cinnamon Whirl

Wow. It is Thursday already. I haven’t posted for ages. On Monday it would have been a week, which is not so bad, but somehow time has slipped away, and here we are, on Thursday. Firstly I should thank you for voting for me in the Brocante Home Puttery Treats Challenge. So, so kind of you. I should also invite you to make a fresh pot of tea, for I have lots to tell you about. In particular, the Cinnamon Whirl that was my weekend.

It was a whirl because we were so busy, but cinnamon as it was a good whirl, and because we were doing Christmassy things. Saturday, we went to London. The more I think about it, the luckier I feel I am living here. 40 minutes or so from Liverpool Street, but far enough away that London may as well be another country, when I want it to be. Far enough away for it to feel like a treat for me (even though poor Carl goes up every day!) when we visit. Our destination was to be Hyde Park, to visit the Winter Wonderland, but first we went to Selfridges.

Last time I went to Selfridges, we (a friend from the library and I, out in town together) stumbled across an enchanting Christmas section. We were heading for the books when we spied it, and resolved there and then to come back with our respective husbands and choose one perfect decoration each. So there we were, surrounded by an abundance of Christmas decorations, and it was so hard to choose! There was every kind of bauble you can imagine, including a delightful red one, that had a little window in it, trimmed with red tinsel, and in the window sat a little tiny robin. I knew I would regret leaving that one behind! There were Santas and Angels and Reindeer and Stockings, every colour you can imagine. I chose out a little box of tiny silver and gold sweet cases, and some red felt Poinsettia decorations as gifts. Choosing ‘our’ decoration was harder. Of course I am always drawn to vintage things, and this year our theme is red and white Scandinavian style, but we wanted something we could bring out every year and say ‘this is the decoration we bought the first year we were married’.

Eventually, we settled upon a beautiful clear glass bauble, with a slightly flat bottom so it can be hung from a tree or used as an ornament; inside sits a little tiny father Christmas, smiling merrily at us all.

The Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park was lovely. There was a haunted house that had been decked out for Christmas that I thought was slightly out of place, but there was also an ice-skating rink, a 50m high observation wheel, a German market, and a café selling hot chocolate and Winter Pimms. We started with refreshments in the café tent – tea for me, of course, and then wandered along to the German market. It was lovely to see something so obviously different to what we have here. I wish I had bought more, but somehow it was enough just to look and know these things exist. There were delightful ornaments carved out of flat pieces of wood, and large gingerbread hearts, reindeer skins and more. We bought a bag of white granules of candle wax; you pour them into a dish or glass (or even your hand!) push a wick in, and it burns as though a normal candle.

We watched the skaters on the ice – oh, to be so graceful! As it turned colder, we made our way to the observation wheel, and rode high, looking out across the park, and the criss-crossing paths, and the Serpentine. This time our foray into the refreshments tent saw us partaking of the hot Winter Pimms (utterly scrumptious!) and thus fortified, we walked to the Science Museum for the rest of the afternoon.

I always find when I am in London that my energy suddenly leaves me. As we were waiting for yet another tube train to take us back to Liverpool Street, Angela’s husband suggested we have dinner, and moments later I found myself in a Wetherspoon, overlooking the Tower of London, which was quite beautiful.

That evening, we stayed with Angela and her husband, and I slept very soundly indeed.

Sunday was given over to the joy of brunch club. This time it was at the home of our lovely friend Annastasia, and the theme was Thanksgiving. There is nothing like sitting sharing a delicious meal and wine with friends on a rainy Sunday afternoon to make you really thankful for your friends. There was homemade tomato soup to start, with the most amazing warm rolls. I had not realised they too were homemade until she said, and she was sweet enough to share the source of her recipe
To follow there was roast turkey pretending to be a chicken, with really lovely stuffing and vegetables; as if this was not enough we were spoiled with homemade apple and cinnamon pie too.

The boys played in the attic with Scalextric, while we read papers at the kitchen table and chatted.

I really cannot think of a more lovely way to spend a rainy Sunday afternoon.

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