Life at the moment is extremely busy. The problem is.. i can’t write about a lot of it! It’s all involving Christmas, either presents or prep for the big day.. I know i’m being all mysterious but it really can’t be helped.

Although.. having said all that, the one bit i can share (mostly because the intended recipients don’t read this) is about the family history research. That’s proceeding very well – I’ve tracked down a modern day descendant and we’re getting to know each other. He’s a very interesting person, although i won’t put the details down here because i have to protect his privacy. I’ve started to write up some of what i’ve learned, but its a slow process. I just hope i get it done in time for christmas.

In Other News… i won my appeal for Disability Living Allowance benefits on Wednesday. It means that i get a bit of extra cash every week, but i also get it backdated to when i first applied for it, which means a nice lump sum heading our way. It should arrive in time for christmas. I won’t say how much, but suffice it to say that it will a) make a bit of a difference to our christmas holiday b) enable us to get some bits and pieces that we would otherwise have struggled with. We’re certainly getting a landline and hopefully a new ISP (we’re both quite fed up with our current one and the problems we have with them). So that’s good news all round.

I also got one other bit of good news on Wednesday. A while back i applied for a competition to win a compost bin from our local housing association: they got back to me on Wednesday to say i’d won, which is great news! They’re dropping it off this afternoon at 3pm, and i have to have my photo taken for publicity purposes. So in a minute i am diving into the bath to make myself look gorgeous. I’ll see if i can get a copy of the photo(s) to put on here so you can all have a good giggle at me, posing with a compost bin. πŸ˜€

Β the compost bin publicity photo

Yep, they very kindly sent me a copy of both the photos they took. This one is me on my own so i’ve posted this one, I don’t feel comfortable posting the other one as she doesn’t know about this blog. As you can see the sun was squinting into my eyes, but otherwise, i quite like this photo! The little blue bin ontop is a kitchen caddy that came with it, otherwise, the big black bit underneath is the composting bin. Its HUGE! i put it next to the greenhouse. for now, anyway.

One of the problems we’ve been having lately has been with our new front door. The old front door to the communal hall, because its sheltered and concealed from the road, was something of a magnet for Those Up To No Good, and was kicked in numerous times by people with Nefarious Motives (it being a simple wooden door that swung inwards, and had 4 letterboxes in it – one for each flat). The housing finally came up with a new door, a steel and glass door that swings outwards, so its not possible to break in, really, with fobs to open the door rather than specific keys. It is much more secure and we’re very grateful for it, but its opened up another problem: the postboxes are now inside the communal hall, and to post anything into them, you have to be inside the hall. (I might take some photos later to demonstrate). And the postman has to be buzzed in. If all the occupants of the flats are out/have their privacy button engaged, no post. Which has been a problem, as i’ve been getting a number of parcels (mostly associated with christmas and Michiel’s Birthday). Postman, when i spoke to him on Tuesday, said he didn’t have a fob key to get in. However i just went down to speak to someone at the housing association, i was told by reception that the Housing handed over 7 fob keys to the sorting office so that the postmen could get in (apparently we’re not the only ones that have complained about this). So either its not been handed onto the postmen yet, or someone’s lying through their teeth. The receptionist has left a note with the person responsible to check that the postman has the fob key and get back to me, and if we’re still having problems next week then the Royal Mail will be getting a stiff letter.

Mom's christmas cake

Mom’s christmas cake from last year, decorated with glazed nuts and fruits

I’ve also been commissioned to make a couple of christmas cakes. My Gran has commissioned me to make a small cake for her, for early new year – it seems she wants to have some friends round for a coffee morning and wants to serve them cake. Many of them are WI members and i’m all nervous at the thought of cooking for the WI! I’m sure i’ll be okay though. She’s asked for a 6 inch square cake so i’ve borrowed a tin from mum for that. Mum’s asked me to do an extra one for her at the same time… she sings in a choir and wants a cake to take to their christmas party. She also wants it iced with rough icing, so she can put some new christmas cake models on it. I think too that i’m going to make this one a non-alcoholic one, purely because many of the people there will be driving. I’ve not done a non-alcoholic one before so it should be interesting. I’m going to steep the fruit in cold earl grey tea, hopefully that should give a good flavour. I’m also heading down to Mom and Dad’s on thursday, taking the cake and marzipan/icing stuff with me. The christmas charity fair is on the friday, so i can help her sell off my christmas cards, visit with dad’s family (who i otherwise won’t see over christmas), and decorate both her little (choir) cake and the big cake that she’s been brandying for a couple months now and should be enough to knock someone unconscious at 30 paces!! πŸ˜€ It will be good to see them, and i can update Mom on the family history stuff too, before i come back on sunday. Michiel is staying behind, to look after Jess, but i think he will enjoy the time alone, he’s got some I.T. equipment to play around with and he can have peace and quiet to pull that to pieces without me complaining about stuff.

I’ll do another update soon. Maybe some more photos. We’re promised a sharp frost tonight (-4*C!) so that will make for some lovely photos tomorrow morning, if i manage to get up before the sun melts it all away. And then there’s christmas cards. and the cakes, when i’ve done them. And the decorations – when i get back, Sinterklaas is on 4/5th December, and after that the tree can go up, and then the decorations in the candle sconces (photo below so you can see what i mean)…

Christmas decorations

I do two of these every Christmas, either side of a pair of paintings by my Grandmother. The candle sconces stay up there all year round, but usually just hold a small white church candle.

the pair of christmas decorations

I have a ribbon that hangs from the wall bracket, and i staple my christmas cards to the ribbon – with two of them hanging down it gives the room a lovely symmetry for Christmas.