The weather continues to be hazy with just a suggestion of mist. The afternoon light starts to dim at about half past three, so there is suddenly a beautifully long afternoon at home just beckoning to be lit with candles and enjoyed. It is a quiet, reflective time of year, and I love it.
Today was more special than usual because it was Armistice Day. I observed the 2 minutes silence on the actual day, 11.11.11. all alone in my little library on top of the hill, and again today. I know there will always be some people who do not join in, but it is an amazing thing, to me, to just comprehend the whole nation falling silent at the same time, and just thinking. My older brother served in Afghanistan not so long ago, and it was shockingly scary how quickly he went from playing soldiers to being sent away to fight. Having got him back, it is almost too easy to forget that he may not have come back at all. I take myself back in time, to imagine what it must have been like to be a wife in the second world war. Aside from all the practical considerations of trying to feed your family, I just can't imagine what it would have been like to not ever know from one day to the next if my husband were alive or dead. To go back further, to the war before, to think about the mother of Wilfred Owen receiving the news that her son was dead as the bells rang out to celebrate the Armistice. We have so much to remember and be sorrowful about, but also so much to be thankful for.
These thoughts have left me gently reflective, and to be in a world wrapped in mist, bare branches, scattered leaves and chilly breezes is the idea time to feel thus. I have spent my hours gently today, somehow, it seems fitting.
When I woke, I read most of As The Pig Turns, the latest Agatha Raisin novel. I can't say I enjoyed it as much as I usually do the novels in this series. In places it felt a little contrived, and for a series that belongs firmly in the cosy genre, the murder really was a little grusome this time. However, I have plenty more to be reading, so I shall soon put it out of my thoughts. I hope that the next in the Hamish Macbeth series, by the same author does not follow the same lines!
I have made Pear and Vanilla Jam today, to give as Christmas gifts. I love making jams as gifts, as I like giving something that is consumable and useful, that doesn't have to be found a home for, that isn't more stuff. I like that it is simple, and yet not many people find the time to make their own any more, so the simple becomes special. I chose some dear little pots in Lakeland..actually, I couldn't decide between the hexagonal and a shape called 'orcio' (http://www.lakeland.co.uk/15589/6-Orcio-Presentation-Jars) so I chose a box of each. I have used this recipe http://www.recipebinder.co.uk/recipe.aspx?rid=7594 and am really pleased with the results. The jam is softly set, quite sweet but really delicious, and when held up to the light, is a delightful pale pink colour, like sunrise bleeding into the edges of the clouds.
I have the new issue of Country Living Magazine ready to read later, after a long hot bath. I am never disappointed by this magazine, and if I had to choose only one Christmas magazine, this would be it!
We watched an episode of Miss Marple this afternoon, and once again I found myself sighing over the clothes and makeup. Oh, how I would love to be able to slip back in time just now and again! Rather fittingly, I accompanied the episode with some knitting. Last week I cast on a Christmas gift for a friend, but it is in 4ply yarn on 3.75mm needles, so is taking forever. This is what I am making: http://justcallmeruby.blogspot.com/2010/01/what-every-girl-needs-is-motoring-hood.html although mine is in holly berry red.
I have a few Christmas gifts on the needles at the moment, actually. There are gloves from The Gentle Art of Knitting for Mum, and a crochet ripple stitch cushion in blues for Dad. I am making this http://ttwcreative.blogspot.com/2009/02/new-free-cowl-pattern.html for my little brother, only in a dark charcoal yarn. I need more yarn for the cushion and the cowl, so at the moment car journeys and tv programmes are accompanied by the click-click of my needles as I add another row or so to the hood and scarf set.
There is a candle flickering in the corner right now, casting dancing shadows against a beautiful vase of white chrysanthemums, which smell almost spicy. They were an unexpected but very welcome gift from my Mum. She dropped them into work for me on Thursday. When I thanked her and asked her why she had bought them for me, she replied 'because they are beautiful and I knew you would like them'. Isn't that a lovely reason to buy anyone a gift...I must remember that sweet thing to say if ever similarly asked about an impulse gift.
So here is another Sunday in November. It is any wonder that Sunday is my favourite day of the week?