Christmas draws nearer and I am slowly working through my mental list of things to do. I do the same things each year, much to the amusement of some of my friends (you know who you are!) and get great satisfaction from getting everything done by Christmas eve. I am not sure why I do this - we always have a quiet Christmas with just a few family and friends, but I do like the whole place to look festive.
One of the things I do is to make sure that the house is full of plants - mainly flowering plants. Often Christmas Day here in the UK is damp and dismal and I like to see flowers everywhere to cheer things up. To this end, today the farmer and I set off for our local nursery straight after lunch.
It is a very wet, dismal, cold day here. Perhaps somebody can explain to me why this should be so. Our weather forecasters say that a ridge of high pressure sits over the British Isles, forcing the Atlantic storms to be deflected into the Mediterranean area. So why, with high pressure (and the barometer confirms this), is it very cold, very wet and very dismal?
However, the journey, whatever the weather, is a lovely one = ten miles of beautiful scenery, hills, rivers, forests, very little traffic and at the end of it greenhouses full of plants. I have taken a photograph or two so that you can see them. There were the conventional poinsettias, but also ones with pale pink or cream bracts. (after deliberation I chose the conventional red one). There were bowls of hyacinth bulbs grouped in threes. There were miniature cyclamen and there were azaleas. What a feast.
The top photograph shows what we chose to bring home. A large, pale pink azalea in bloom but with lots of unopened buds; two bowls of hyacinth bulbs - one blue, one pink; three miniature cyclamen - all pink; one poinsettia with red bracts.
Now they all sit on our wide window sills in South facing rooms where they get the maximum light - so near to the Winter solstice there is not a lot of light available up here in the North.
For the benefit on UK readers - the whole lot cost only £18. I can assure you we shall get far more value from them than that.
So now it is on to phase two of my mental list - wrapping the presents and delivering the local cards - shall start that tomorrow.