Gillian Monks

'Making Fairytales Come True'

Tag: Christmas (Page 1 of 2)

Is Christmas Just for Children?

“Christmas is just for children.” How many times have I heard that said? Not nearly as often now as when I was young. Thankfully, I suspect that most of the population under the age of forty would be totally horrified if you tried to suggest that to them. Judging from the many adult themed seasonal gifts and activities which are now on offer – even if many of them are based on over-indulgence – it definitely cannot still be claimed to be the case.

Like many of our so-called children’s activities and customs, including Father Christmas, the Christmas Tree, the nativity play and carol singing, these entertainments were once an integral part of the adult social calendar with their roots in ancient spiritual practice. The celebration of Midwinter  is the marking of a solar event which has been crucially central to peoples around the globe since the dawn of time with tremendously serious implications for the future well-being of all mankind. Many religions throughout history have chosen to adopt this hugely significant event, Christianity being only the most recent.

If there is any justification at all for the claim that “Christmas is for children” it is in the fact that children best learn by example; our Midwinter/Christmas activities each year should provide all our little ones with ample demonstration of kindness, generosity and love so that when they, too, grow to adulthood, they will be able to function as caring, responsible and loving members of society.

Here is the real nub of the matter though. Are our modern Christmas activities and ethos fit for purpose in the kindly and caring education of our young? Yet whatever one’s views on Twenty-first Century society, millions of tiny, unnoticed acts of loving thoughtfulness occur each and every day and once a year, at Christmas, we are all given the opportunity to unashamedly demonstrate what genuinely lovely people we can all be. It also gives those who would never otherwise think of performing a charitable act the excuse to display the ‘softer’ side of themselves, disguising embarrassment and self-consciousness in the general melee of seasonal good will.

Who among us is willing to be thought ‘soft’ and carry the Christmas bon homie on further into January and the springtime? These days, another more frequently heard question in relation to the Christmas season is “Why can’t it be Christmas every day?” No one would actually want it to be Christmas Day every day of the year – we would very soon be utterly fed up with it! – but surely the question really appertains to the generosity and love engendered in so many hearts, which, on mass, is a potent and powerfully wonderful occurance. The answer, of course, is that we can have this every day… what is stopping you?

We are the people now grown to adulthood who’s parents made many small and large sacrifices and efforts to give us as perfect childhood Christmases as possible. In every generation there have been wars – or their aftermath – economic crises, health concerns and social challenges. Here we are again, about to enter another new year, with overwhelming social difficulties, even within our so-called privileged and secure United Kingdom: millions of people who work full time but who still cannot earn enough to adequately feed or keep themselves or their families. Others who are struggling with physical and mental ill-health; and the desperate yet ‘invisible’ section of society who live deplorable lives of struggle and hopelessness.

Isn’t it time to demonstrate that we genuinely understand the principles behind our Christmas celebrations and have learned our childhood lessons well? Share whatever little we have with our struggling neighbour? Do not simply think in terms of finance. A smile… a kind word… a friendly gesture… these cost nothing but a fraction of thought and effort and are a good start in bringing ‘Christmas’ into our every day lives throughout the other eleven months of the year.

Remember: Christmas is a state of mind and way of life, ALL the year round.

Think about it!

Merry Christmas!

Greetings to all my dear ones and friends in both real time and via electronic devices – each and every one of you is deeply appreciated and cherished.

Early Christmas morning, and outside all the world is still and quiet – apart from the rain which occasionally spatters against my window. But I know that in a few minutes, the sky will begin to pale and lighten, dawn will come and with it the end of the darkest time of the year. The Sun/Son will truly be reborn and today, the daylight will last for longer than it did yesterday… the year has turned and we are definitely on the path back to the long, light, warm days of spring and summer and of our flowering, growing season.

On this most special of mornings, I would like to wish you all a very happy Christmas. Whatever your beliefs and spiritual practices, this of all other mornings in the year is surely a time for understanding, for forgiveness… a setting aside of all old differences and misunderstandings… a time for coming together,  for gratitude and community – the world community of humanity and all life – and of love.

Midwinter is a time for everyone – open your hearts and allow your love to flow out… unconditionally.

A very merry Christmas to you all!

Greetings On the Solstice!

View of Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon) from my window – the highest mountain in England and Wales.

Greetings, all my dear friends and readers on this, the morning of the shortest day!

We have a day full of thoughtful and joyous celebration ahead of us here in the Snowdonia mountains of North West Wales.

As a little Solstice gift, I am including a short guided journey in this post. Unfortunately, I haven’t had the opportunity to record it, but if you read slowly through it and keep closing your eyes and follow what it says, you will still have a wonderful experience of Midwinter love and connection.

With heartfelt gratitude and blessings to you all.


Take three deep breaths… stretch… relax… and let go…

You are sitting beside a wide hearth on which a bright fire is burning… all the rest is in shadow… feel the heat from the flames… hear the crackling of the logs as they blaze… smell the aromatic scent of the wood smoke…

Know that here, all your ancestors have also sat… at this same hearthside you have all rested… eaten… laughed… wept… given birth – and passed away… see through their eyes and walk in their steps as they now see and walk with you, and be at one with all who you are connected to… feel that line of life and continuation…

What comes uppermost to your mind?

Open your heart to all your ancestors… to all those who have come before you… the strong, the weak, the good, the sick, the reliable and loyal, the dishonest and self-seeking, the selfish and fearful, the courageous and generous, and send out your love to them… without any reserve or restraint, enfold them all in your warmth and gratitude unconditionally…

The hearth and the fire upon it melt away and vanish…

You are in the dark, alone…

It is growing cold… bitterly cold… snow crunches beneath your feet… flakes drift before your eyes and melt against your skin…

You hear the faint sound of bells… the jingle of harness… the thud of hooves… the baying of hounds… it grows closer… and closer…

Out of the darkness a lone rider approaches… you see that it is a man, a huge fellow proudly sitting his coal-black mount… broad shouldered, barrel-chested, powerful, swathed in a flowing black cloak… his hair tumbles to his shoulders, his eyes glitter… and from his head there grow two horns – antlers…

White hounds with red ears and glowing ruby eyes mill around the horse’s legs, snuffling, growling…

Here is Gwyn ap Nudd, king of the Land of the Fair and the Tylwyth Teg… leader of the Wild Hunt of Winter…

Take courage… look up into Gwyn’s face… what do you see? … How do you feel? …

Gwyn watches you, as if assessing you… then he leans down and holds out his hand to you… take it… it is firm and warm… in one strong movement, Gwyn has hoisted you up into the saddle in front of him… and you begin to ride… you ride…

The great horse gallops across the snow, sinew and muscle straining as its huge limbs pump like pistons and faster, faster you go… you feel the icy air whistling around and past you… and with one almighty bound the horse leaps… and you take to the skies… Gwyn’s cloak billows out around you, the hounds stream out to either side and the stars come closer as you ride like the wind along the edge of the clouds…

Higher and higher you go… faster and faster… until the firmament is streaming past you in a blur of diamond glints and velvet dark skies… of rolling waves of shimmering rainbow light… and suddenly… it isn’t cold any more…

The horse slows… the hounds are gone… you come to a standstill.

What do you see? …

Look down at the Earth… what do you see there? …

Become aware of yourself… from where you were sending out love to your Ancestors there is a rosy-pink glow of light now coming from your chest… from your heart cavity… feel it rather than see it… be with it… follow the flow joyfully…

Look down and around you, and notice other pinpricks of light appearing, just like your own… there are more… and more… and more… until the whole Earth and sky is full of heartfelt light…

Heart, awakening unconditionally to Love… the Love which Midwinter re-enacts each year… the Love which the Baby Jesus and many other deities before him throughout history and all around the globe have come to represent… the rebirth of Light and the Love which it represents… and each pinprick of light is a heart glowing with that Love…

Yes, for many, that Love might be tarnished with exhaustion, worry, regrets, disappointment, bad temper, even violence and despair, but for even a fleetingly short time at this time of year, it burns clear, true and bright.

Feel yourself connect to this myriad of lights… reach out and joyously feel at one with all the other loving hearts… the soul-spirits fleetingly laid bare of their drab Earthly garb and showing what they truly are… magnificent sparks of the one Loving Divine Flame…

Remember how you are feeling at this moment… take this sensation of Love and Joy and Connection away with you and keep it warm and alive within your own heart… send it out every day to warm and heal and reconnect with everything around you in your world…

Look around you again… and see that you are once more sitting in your own chair where you began this journey…

Hear the clop of hooves, the jingle of harness and the baying of dogs growing fainter…

But remember the enigmatic being who helped to facilitate this experience for you… remember Gwyn ap Nudd with respect and gratitude…

Now go and spread your light into your world, today, and every day throughout the whole year – this is the most important task you will ever do – the most precious gift you will ever give…

When you are ready, come back into the room where you started your journey… rub your hands together… shuffle your feet… take a few deep breaths and stretch… and open your eyes and be fully present back in your life, your world.

My Own Little Tree

I have my very own little Christmas Tree! Yesterday, my son and his partner went Christmas shopping and came back with more than I could have imagined. Because I knew that they were squirrelling Midwinter treats and surprises away after their trip to town, I didn’t realise just how furtive they were being until after dinner when they both vanished back into the dining room. A short while later, my son came huffing and puffing into the living room declaring that something odd was going on upstairs and that I had better go and check out my office.

Judging by the daft grin on his face, I immediately knew that this wasn’t any serious situation but when I entered the upstairs bedroom which acts as my office and where I do all my writing – oh, joy! – there on my little table in the bay window stood a real live little tree, all decorated with baubles, tinsel and coloured lights! It looked quite magical.

I have been told that every bauble on the tree represents one of us – close friends and family. I suspect that the sparkly fly agaric toadstool might represent my son (who is a medical herbalist and uses such ingredients in his medicinal mixtures). Might the plump little Christmas gonk be me? I am going to need some clues to work out the rest; there is a very handsome ‘Spirit of Christmas’ and two rather charming silver nutcracker soldiers… which might my husband be, I wonder? And who might be the gingerbread house???

My darling little tree has kept me good company all day while I have worked. The mountains all around the valley are white with snow, carols have been playing on the radio, sleet and snow flakes have periodically come floating past my window and I have been generally filled with the enchantment and excitement of Christmas – or should I say Advent and pre-Christmas?

How very lucky I am! If my Christmas Day was no more festive and enjoyable than today, I should count myself truly blessed.

I very much hope that you are enjoying these magical days of plotting, planning and seasonal preparation too!


“Mankind is my Business”

Free illustrations of VintageThe above title is a misquote from “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens, words uttered by a miserably repentant Marley’s ghost to an intractable and very unrepentant Scrooge.

The full quotation is: “Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business: charity, mercy, benevolence, forbearance. These were all my business. The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the ocean of my business!”

In earthly life, Marley became far too engrossed – obsessed, even – with his own business of financial profit and the power which it brought him. How much money we earn and what expensive items we own do not define us. It is not what we are but who we are that counts, and that is usually best revealed by our actions.

Far too often we become so totally wound up in our own emotions and challenges that we forget what life is really all about – living the best life that we can whilst reaching out to all around us with love… and that includes not just humanity but all the natural world as well!

Every year, during the winter season, we are ALL reminded of this fact, regardless of our religious practices or spiritual beliefs, and given the chance to enter into practical action… lay aside our grievances, fears and prejudices, and extend the hand of hospitality and friendship. After all, it is a win-win activity because when we bring loving and giving into our hearts and our daily actions, we not only communicate good feeling to everyone around us, but we also end up feeling much better about ourselves too.

Yet, even when we do think about it, how many of us do not generously give our caring and love for fear that it will be scorned and thrown back in our faces. Rejection is a bitter blow to deal with. Is it foolhardy to persist in giving and loving when there is such danger of being so wounded, or a sign of emotional and spiritual maturity?

To quote a Christian concept, remember to always turn the other cheek… give people the benefit of the doubt… if nothing else it demonstrates that you are the stronger, more mature character, as well as being the far nicer person.
And, in the long run, it becomes a habit.

So, how will your ‘business’ flourish this Midwinter? What will you be able to enter in your columns of positive and negative this Christmas? What service can you render to others; what gift of smiles, friendship, forgiveness and love can you distribute far and wide – even to complete strangers?

No ‘humbugs’ here, dear friends!
With my love.

Going Crackers… Again!

These are quite small crackers and each one contains a ‘prediction’ for the coming year and a sweetie.

The beginning of October and yes, I am already planning my Advent, Midwinter and Christmas celebrations. No, it is most certainly not too early to be doing so. It is only just over two and a half months to the Winter Solstice and Christmas Day, with most of the celebrations actually taking place beforehand in the month of Advent. As I like to make most of my own foods, treats and surprises, it is never too early to make a start.

This autumn many of my ideas are revolving around crackers – the ubiquitous table decoration which frequently yields hoots of derision, laughter or groans of despair as images of paltry plastic tat, brain-cringing jokes and wayward paper hats spring to mind. Yet they are an integral part of our Christmas dinner fun.

Harking back to the original crackers which were developed by Tom Smith back in the 1840’s and 1850’s, crackers can be used for any occasion – not just Christmas – and can contain anything you wish from love letters to very expensive gifts. They can be colour/decoration co-ordinated with your surroundings or with themed contents for lovers of books, the garden and so on.

In the past, I have tried the better type of cracker with nice hats, good jokes and mottos and expensive gifts, but discovered, to my great disappointment, that they were still regarded as no better than the cheap, gaudy ones, and were largely discarded on the dinner table with little thought or consideration.

Now, my focus for Midwinter festivity is always inclusive communal activity and suggestions and encouragement as to how everyone might join in and give rather than passively sit back and simply receive.  I make my own crackers and fill them with interactive gifts, suggested activities, impertinent questions to ask fellow diners or philosophical suggestions and sweets. Sometimes there are no hats included; instead, revellers have to make and decorate their own as a pre-dinner activity – and the more sherry consumed the livelier the creations produced!

Making your own crackers can be a communal activity – just leave one end open to be filled and sealed later so that only you know what is actually contained within them. Crackers can be a little fiddly but are not difficult to make. Nor need they be expensive – you can make crackers form sheets of discarded newspaper (a ball of colourful Christmas twine and a length of tinsel cut up to make glittery pompoms completes the decoration) and fill them with jokes downloaded from the internet (or copied out of books from the library – get you kids to help you with that one!). If you really aren’t that ‘craftily’ inclined, buy a box of crackers and carefully open the end of each and insert a better gift and extra jokes. One of my favourite inclusions in crackers for any dinner table is a question to ask your neighbour – or to ask the assembled company as a whole – this can stimulate lots of interesting discussion and laughter and is a good ice-breaker for multi-generations of one family or people who don’t already know one another.

Crackers can be made and used for any season or occasion throughout the year – try making them from pale yellow or green crepe paper and decorating them with silk flowers for your Easter Sunday lunch table, or similarly themed for summer… try deep yellow, brown and red for autumn decorated with bunches of berries – real or synthetic – and filled appropriately, or orange and black ones for Hallowe’en… the possibilities are endless.

The key tip here is to make them well in advance, while you have the time to feel inspired and enjoy the process, then pack them away well covered and protected until they are needed so that they don’t become damaged, dusty or tired-looking in the meantime. It is absolutely no pleasure to anyone if you have all these wonderful ideas and then leave them until the last minute when they can become a horrendous chore to all concerned.

Have fun! Planning and plotting surprises and joy for others doesn’t mean that we can’t enjoy ourselves too. If something doesn’t bring you some measure of satisfaction and pleasure, then don’t do it – find something (or someone!) else instead. Living our lives should be as nourishing and enjoyable as possible – why not? But that is a topic for another post another day!

If you would like to know more about the history of the cracker, click on the link below to read an excellent article produced by the Victoria and Albert Museum.,a%20twist%20of%20tissue%20paper.

Please note, ‘cracks’ for crackers can easily be purchased on the internet, and although they might initially cost you several pounds for the old measure of a gross (144), kept somewhere dry they will last for many years. 

A Very Merry Midwinter!

We have reached the turning point of the Winter… the shortest day… the darkest time of the year. Before us lies the Solstice… the rebirth of Light, of the Sun; the turning of the year and of a new spring season to look forward to.

I wish you all a golden, joyous Midwinter, a tremendous Yule, a very happy Christmas and a New Year of bright and beautiful days!

With my love, always.

Riding The Winter Skies

Sunset across field

In a couple of weeks it will be the Solstice – Midwinter is almost upon us! Belief in the Wild Hunt is widespread at this time of year. Here in Wales it is led by the King of the Tylweth Teg, Gwyn ap Nudd, who as psychopomp has a very particular function to fulfil. I invite you to sign up for the December Walking With The Goddess module and take your own guided journey with Gwyn across the winter skies.

Similarly, this months module gives you the opportunity to learn the functions of Mother Holly who, in similar fashion, guides her reindeer-driven sleigh through the frosty atmosphere. Both guided journeys are written out with the audio recording embedded within text so that you can experience the journey just as you wish. Mother Holly also helps to facilitate the deep healing of parental/family problems and rifts, especially where mothers and children are concerned. Try it and see – the support is provided to help you access your own innate wisdom, qualities and strength.

Just as importantly, whilst many Christmas activities are destined to be very different this year due to the effects of the pandemic, I encourage you to take this opportunity to completely re-evaluate your Midwinter/Christmas celebrations. To be truly authentic to your own beliefs and spiritual needs, whatever you participate in during Christmas should make your heart sing. If it doesn’t, don’t do it… or change the way you perceive and approach it. Hospitality, love, friendship, forgiveness and peace – everything you participate in over Midwinter should encompass at least one of these qualities, and if it doesn’t, scrap it altogether and do something else. If nothing else, surely the pandemic has taught us that life is too short to waste and opportunities to be out and about and to spend time with other people are far too precious to squander.

Lastly, I suggest ways in which you can embrace the Darkness of this time of the year and work with it rather than resenting and fighting it.

Give yourself a completely different experience and a real refreshing treat and come Walking With The Goddess this December…

Buy December’s module now:

More information:

I wish you all much joy over the Midwinter period and that you find deep healing and peace.

With my love.

Light In The Darkness

Daffs at Fron GochYesterday, I ventured out from my home and the almost hermit-like existence which has become habitual over the past eight months and went to visit my local garden centre. I haven’t been down there since last January and the first shock was to discover that there has been an extensive programme of extension and rebuilding and I hardly recognised the place! The second shock to my system was to be among so many people again – so many families with young children… ah, there is still life – and hope – out there!

As I sat in a new outdoor cafe area sipping a scaldingly hot latte, I reflected that here was truly a miracle. After all that has happened this year… the fear, worry, tension, loss, bereavement and grief… the political argy-bargy and wrangling… here are families – my local community, bless them – celebrating and enjoying the time of year and each other’s company. Their eager excitement and anticipation was almost palpable.

Tucked away indoors was the usual array of mind boggling glitz and glitter – the amazing sensory overload which constitutes the seasonal display of Christmas decorations.  Normally I revel in the sheer exuberance of it all, a counterbalance to my very personal, private and mystical experience of the Midwinter, but somehow it all seemed too much for me this time.

I took myself off outside and, while my husband went to browse the bookshop and organic market, I found myself wandering the aisles of winter plants. Here I regained my perspective of what our Christmas/Midwinter celebration is all about; a gaudy, frenetic event of light and light to illuminate this darkest time of the year – an island of colour and hive of activity in a sea of stillness and shadows. For the exhibition hall containing all the sensual overload of Christmas festoonary sits couched in a sea of winter flowering shrubs and plants… a miracle of life unostentatiously displayed in blooms, berries and foliage.

Beyond the confines of the garden centre itself, the leafless trees and sere fields lie sleeping, a counterpane of mist and cloud dulling  edges and softening stark realities. Here is my true Midwinter reality; that no matter what happens in the world – no matter what disasters and plagues and heartbreak – life carries on. Held within the palm of dead winter sits the beating heart of new life… new vegetation and abundance, new human life and potential – totally irrepressible, unstoppable… and utterly inspiring and heartening!

Here is to the continuation of life and to new beginnings… and blessings for all.

The Twelve Days of Christmas

Advent candlelight in the dining room

Advent candlelight in the dining room

I hope that you have all had/are having a wonderful Midwinter/Christmas?

This Advent got off to a cracking and early start with my trip to Germany and the amazing Christmas markets – not to mention lots of time spent with Holger’s family. I have also been invited to more Christmas parties and gatherings than ever before. It saddens me a little that everyone celebrates Christmas in Advent and then, after we get to Christmas Day, there is nothing left to do. All the lovely carols and Christmas music played on Classic FM radio stops abruptly after Boxing Day and people start to talk about taking down their decorations. Some of our decorations were only put up in the last days before the Solstice. Perhaps it is because many put their decorations up so early – end of November and early December? That is what I mean about people celebrating Advent rather than Christmas.

Despite my great love of Christmas, this was actually the first time I have seen a Christmas tree lit with real candles – and I have to say that it was utterly enchanting! Holger and I attended a seasonal gathering for all employees and their families where he works at Trigonos and one of the directors had supplied her own living tree, with presents waiting beneath it for all the children. In true traditional custom, there was delicious food to eat, games to play which generated much laughter and good-natured silliness, and story-telling to quieten us down again. Then, in time honoured fashion, just before everyone went home, the lights were dimmed, everyone came to sit expectantly around the tree and the children were allowed to come, one by one, to light a candle each upon the living tree.  It was magical and the children’s faces were a real picture… as I expect mine was too!

Mince pies

This is what over ninety mince pies really looks like… and I made four dozen mini pies as well!

So far, I have to say that this Midwinter and Christmas has been as near perfect as is possible… and a very welcome break from the outside world into the bargain. With my last blog/Facebook post wishing everyone a happy Christmas, I stepped back from my computer and slipped into the wholehearted loving embrace of my immediate family.

Wreath Cake

Our Solstice cake, lighter fruit cake made in a wheel shape and decorated with fruits and holly leaves fashioned from marzipan.

We had some of our friends from the druid grove here for the Solstice on the 22nd and walked up the valley into the woods which have grown up around the old quarry and gathered among the trees there. As the daylight faded, we lit a small fire and held sparklers in our hands, sharing chocolate Yule log cake and beakers of hot, mulled wine. There is always something particularly special about this one time of late afternoon and dusk. There is something particularly magical about being present in the silent woods as the daylight fades and we find our way home in near darkness, singing and laughing, slipping and sloshing through mud and puddles as we approach the welcome lights of the village. this year, two owls accompanied our festivities with their haunting cries from one side of the valley to the other. Well, we are the Cylch Blodeuwedd after all!

Christmas parcels

Gifts wrapped in recyclable brown paper and decorated naturally.

Just two days later, on Christmas Eve, we gathered around the dining room hearth to share a German afternoon tea with sugary stollen and fragrant spice cakes and chocolate treats of every kind – the fire blazed and the thirty or so candles in the pyramids, flying buttresses and holders cast shadows from all the decorations. We had just paused in our carol singing and were pouring cups of tea while Dafydd was roasting chestnuts on the fire, when a new neighbour dropped in with a card and gift and I suddenly saw us as we must have appeared to him… almost a scene from  Victorian days or a Dickens novel, ha! ha!

This year, more than ever, I have really tried to follow my own growing beliefs about the preparation for Midwinter and Christmas celebration, although seem to have had even less time in which to do so. I made my own crackers for the Christmas lunch table (in which I placed sweeties and questions to ask one another around the dinner table rather than silly gifts which no one wants). I have  made some ‘fortune crackers’ for our New Year’s dinner table too, in which I have written ‘words of wisdom’ for 2020 and jokes to give us all a laugh and start us off on a jolly note! I made some of my own gifts too – hideously late finishing them and the evening of the 23rd saw me sat with my sewing basket expeditiously stitching away.

Fur hat and scarf

One of the winter fake fur hats and scarves I managed to complete.

I didn’t get everything made that I would have liked to, but at least I completed everything that I had started and everyone received something from me. We also tried out having a ‘pledge box’ for the first time ever and ended up opening it as a completely separate activity on Boxing Day (26th December) while we were having afternoon tea. Some very interesting and worthwhile pledges came out of that little box which was decorated and left in a prominent place in the hall a few days before the Solstice. It also struck me as so appropriate to open a pledge box on Boxing Day, when the apprentices and poor of the parish used to be given tips or alms for the year in boxes which had to be broken open.

As a family, we celebrate most of the twelve days of Christmas, which only come to an end with Epiphany on the 5th January. We actually only had our official Christmas Dinner on the 27th December, when close family and friends could join us and we could all celebrate together. I actually opted for the longer version of the meal this year, although as I juggled seven pans across the top of my aga and four roasting tins inside the ovens, I began to seriously wonder if I had finally bitten off more than I could sensibly chew! We began with chicken liver pate (with an avocado pate option for the vegetarians among us), followed by squash, coconut and ginger soup. The main course was roast turkey, sausages and chicken rolls with sage and onion stuffing, bread sauce and red currant jelly with all the vegetables and two kinds of gravy – vegetarian and non-vegetarian. The vegetarian main was a selection of winter vegetables from the garden, roasted and then folded with cheese into a wreath shape made from triangles of croissant dough, which is the lightest and butteryest dough imaginable! There was Christmas pudding to follow, served

Drawing Room

Our (smaller) Winter Tree in the drawing room

with sweet white sauce and dollops of rum butter. Dafydd ‘fired’ the pudding with ethanol from his herbal dispensary… pretty blue flames licked around the dark fruity globe upon the china platter until the tall sprig of holly stuck in the top also caught fire and everything then had to be quickly extinguished! A cheese board, mince pies, fruit, candied fruits and chocolates followed along with a tray of coffee, but these we took with us into the drawing room and gradually picked away at as we opened even more gifts from beneath our Winter Tree… in fact, we were still grazing among the remnants of our ‘Lunch’ at eight o’clock that evening!

This past few days, the games cupboard has also been raided and Holger and I have challenged each other to some games of draughts which I used to play with my father when I was a child but haven’t played for well over fifty years. I no longer had my original board and set so earlier this year I ordered a new one over the Internet – the toy shop in Caernarfon could only supply me with cardboard and plastic – so I found a lovely wooden board which folds into a box in which to keep the wooden draughts, chess and backgammon pieces. Needless to say, Holger won most of the games!  Holger and I went to the cinema one evening to see the new Star Wars film, ‘The Rise of Skywalker’, which I thoroughly enjoyed but found FAR too loud and had to watch some battle scenes with my finger stuffed in my ears!!!

And no, life isn’t quite so perfect… we found that mice had found their way up the wisteria into our loft and chewed a few of our seasonal decorations – the tallest section of wisteria was immediately removed! And our oldest feline member of the family (just turned twenty!) chose this Midwinter to make her journey and pass over into the Summerlands. But these are all a part of on-going life too…

Solstice fire Now it is New Year’s Eve. We might have a small bonfire out in the garden this evening to celebrate, weather depending. Wherever you are and however you might be celebrating this incoming new decade, I hope that you are well, comfortable and at peace with yourself and the world around you.

A very happy New Year to you all… as always, with my love.

Page 1 of 2

Contact Us | Privacy Policy & GDPR |

Copyright © 2018 Gillian Monks.

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén