… said in my best Monty Python voice.. although not as nuts as Monty Python’s stuff, i hasten to add!

I said before i was going to catch up with some of the photos i’ve been taking over the last six months or so.. so here’s some of the ones from Christmas… As usual, most are behind the cut, but be warned, its a very image intense post.

I adore this photograph. It just says "Christmas!" to me. This is actually a long table decoration that i made for Michiel's mom and dad when we visited them before christmas - there are wider shots behind the cut. there are actually four candles in the long decoration, the last is out of shot on the right, and unlit, as is the custom - we were then only 3 weeks into advent.


This was the present we got Michiel's Mom and Dad to say "happy christmas and thank you for having us!" when we visited them before christmas for Oma's 90th Birthday Party. Its a tall, foot high or so vase, rounded with a small top. I put a piece of oasis in the bottom, surrounded it with stones, then pushed small candles into the oasis, and various plant clippings too, to make a kind of minature garden/display. moss finished it off, so that you couldn't see the oasis. I'm really pleased with this, and if it wasn't for the fact that we don't have space here, i'd be looking for a similar vase to do one here. Its lovely.

thevase, looking down

looking down into the vase.

the chapel
half open air shrines are very popular in the part of Germany where Michiel’s parents live – although they call it a chapel (as a shrine means a pagan place of worship to them). Chapels to the Virgin Mary seem to be the most popular, and like houses, are decorated at christmas time, so i offered to help his mom with the greenery. I did the hanging basket in the corner. The choice of red poinsettia flowers (fakes, by the way) was deliberate: as you’ll see, many of the other plants in the chapel have red flowers, mostly geraniums.

a hanging basket i also made for the front door area. Christmas is a big thing in Germany, and due to one thing and another, his mum hadn't yet decorated the outside of the house. "I feel a bit embarrassed", she confessed to me. "we're the only house in the village that hasn't decorated yet!". Hence my offer to help out. Most of the greenery came from the garden - even the bits sprayed gold, i did with a can of gold spray paint.


I also did two displays for the hall, a matching pair, as identical as i could make them. The other one sits at the base of the stairs - this one at the point where the stair turns 90 degrees. Its a large marble staircase so can carry a large display like this.

when we were staying at Michiel's parents, one day, before i started with all the other decorations, his mum mentioned that she wanted to do a long table decoration with a long, four candle holder on the table behind us. Michiel piped up with "keth can do that! She's really good at that stuff!". His mum looked a bit dubious, but agreed to let me have a go. We cut greenery from the garden, she gave me oasis, and then, as she had a dentist appointment, she left me to it. This is what greeted her on her return. I think she was quite pleased with it...!!

a shot of the long table decoration, in situ. This side table matches the dining table, which is out of shot on the right - you can just see one of the dining chairs to the right.

the usual display i do at home each year

a small display on one of the tables in the living room - this also doubled as a table decoration, as you can see it in some of the other shots.

another small decoration - this one is ontop of my crafting cupboard in the hall.

closeup of the large wall decoration i do every year

my main christmas present from Michiel. and no, its not an engagement ring!

Xmas Eve meal: lobster, prawns, salmon, with a seafood dip, salad, a cheese board and crackers. with wine, of course!

The Christmas Day Turkey! I follow Delia for this - it works, i don't mess with it. Its the one time of the year i follow instructions to a T, mostly because of the fear of messing up. and Delia works, so if it ain't broke, why fix it! Anyway, the turkey neck is stuffed with a pork and sage stuffing, with the remainder in the body cavity (but not a whole lot - filling the entire body cavity is a VERY bad idea as it takes the bird longer to cook), butter slathered all over the bird, and bacon laid on the breast to protect it while it cooks. I always weave the bacon like this - the one change to delia i do make. its prettier, although it uses more bacon, and i can just pull the entire thing off near the end, pop it on a tray in the bottom of the oven, and put it and the turkey back in to crisp up. Perfect.

see? perfect!! Delia's christmas book from the 1980s. i promise you, her instructions work.

xmas lunch, L-R, clockwise: turkey. turkey leg. bacon from the top of the turkey. roast potatoes. pigs in blankets. sage and onion stuffing balls. stuffing from the neck end. This fed 3, along with some veg and gravy. yes. we were all stuffed!

boxing day: leg of lamb, studded with rosemary.

leg of lamb, close up, post cooking. as Michiel said.. "NOM!" We've still got leftovers of both these meals, and the xmas ham i did on xmas eve, in the freezer for other days...

i love the woodburner at Michiel's mom and dad's home. happily sit in front of that for hours, watching the flames lick over the wood. This dates back to when i was a child and my grandparent's home (the one this blog is named for) had wood fires in both the living room and the large schoolroom that was attached to the building (as they lived in what was the village school and headmistresse's home). the schoolroom had a huge fireplace - large enough to walk in, when i was a child, although not, obviously, when there was a fire burning! But when we moved further away when i was a teenager, we used to stay over christmas night, and i would bed down in a sleeping bag on the floor in front of the fire in the living room, and go to sleep watching the embers burn. I felt so safe and loved and warm. And i still feel that way whenever i watch a wood fire, the flames flickering and dancing.

We actually went to Germany before christmas for Michiel's Grandmother (Oma)'s 90th birthday party. While i can't post photos of that, as it would invade other's privacy, i can post this photo - the sky outside the restaurant where the party was held. Stunning. (as was the meal we had - i was served a piece of steak, beautifully.. gorgeously cooked, with a morel sauce and a poached pear... i'm salivating just thinking about it. and i don't, normally, like steak, but this was... ohhhhh...)

Michiel's mom n dad had had a conservatory built onto the living room since the last time we visited their home. the entire room has been opened up to the conservatory (rather than being a seperate room as it is in so many british homes) with underfloor heating, so its quite warm in there in winter. There are two sliding doors out to the garden, and in front of those, were two large pots holding displays of poinsettias and a sort of daisylike flower. and me, being me, i couldn't resist snapping a photograph, could i?

in this photo you can see a small flowering succulent in the foreground - this was on the coffee table - and in the background the two large planters holding the poinsettia and the daisies i talked about in the previous photograph.