Merry Christmas from the Mouse House
Although I haven’t been feeling in a particularly festive mood up to now, yesterday I finally brought out my ‘lazy person’s pre-decorated Christmas tree’ from its hiding place in the cupboard under the stairs. I told the story of its existence last year although I did think maybe it was past its best and I should get a new one, however I decided instead just to update it this time with some gold tinsel instead of the existing silver. There’s only one thing wrong though – the gold tinsel just doesn’t look right with the silver decorations, it’s too fussy, so when I get a minute later on I’ll be putting the silver tinsel back.
And now for something completely silly. A couple of weeks ago I bought Snowy and Poppie a Christmas jumper each, which they hadn’t worn up to now but yesterday they had to suffer the indignity of having tinsel wrapped round their collars and their photos taken just for this blog page. Of course being the obedient little dogs they are (not) neither of them would stand still or look at me both at the same time so out of 13 shots only these six were anything like usable, with my own personal favourite being the last one in this sequence.
Well for once this is only a very short post as I wind down to enjoy the next few days – that’s about it for now until I do my yearly ‘looking back’ post next week so all that remains is for me to send
to all my blog readers, both regular and recent, with very best wishes from me, Michael, Snowy & Poppie – I hope everyone can make Christmas as good as these strange times and changing circumstances will allow x
Manchester’s Christmas light sculptures
Manchester’s Christmas light sculpture trail kicked off the approach to Christmas on November 12th, with most of the colourful light installations dotted around Piccadilly Gardens and St. Peter’s Square. They sounded like they might be worth seeing so yesterday, in the quest for some new photos, I made a late afternoon visit to the city.
Piccadilly Gardens was playing host to one of the six city centre Christmas markets and the place was absolutely heaving with people so it was difficult to get the shots I wanted without someone being in the way, but with an infinite amount of patience and a lot of wandering about and standing around I managed to get most of what I wanted.
It was a lot less crowded round on St. Peter’s Square though I had to wait a while for other people to get out of the giant walk-through bauble before I could get my shot. The Christmas tree is 36ft tall and made from recyled materials while the giant Santa is 37ft tall and weighs in at 2.3 tonnes – he even has his own Twitter feed where people can share their selfies.
Outside the cathedral I came across a lovely little Nativity display, not actually part of the sculpture trail but sweet enough to take a photo of, and round in Cathedral Gardens was another Christmas market, this time with a German theme. I’m not sure what the tall thing was supposed to be, it wasn’t part of the sculpture trail but I’d seen it just after it was erected. Each storey contained different figures which revolved, as did the blades on the top, though it hadn’t been fully working at the time I first saw it.
One thing which has surprised me is that the giant walk-through bauble in the Printworks hasn’t been mentioned anywhere in connection with the light trail although I presume it’s part of it. I discovered it a month ago on my last hunt for street art and being early on a Sunday morning there was no-one to get in the way while I took my photos. I’m glad I saw it when I did as there were far too many people in the Printworks yesterday to make any decent photography possible.
I’d started this photography quest from Piccadilly station and by the time I’d worked my way down and round to Victoria station for the train home I’d had enough. I’ve never really liked crowds anyway and this little sojourn into the city centre has just confirmed one thing – my usual early Sunday mornings are definitely the best times to go.
Friday photo hunt – Gift/s
After the success of Kate’s weekly scavenger photo hunt during December she has decided to continue it through this month with a different topic posted each Friday. This week’s word is ‘gift/s’ and I have to admit it didn’t take much thinking power to decide on what I would use for this post – the Christmas gifts given to me by Michael.
The only thing I’d actually asked for was the Mrs Brown’s Boys dvd so everything else was a lucky bag of surprises. I saw ‘Christopher Robin’ (not to be confused with the earlier ‘Goodbye Christopher Robin’) advertised on tv when the film came out a couple of years ago but as I find cinema sound too noisy I never went to see it. I have to be in the mood to see a film all the way through anyway but I think I’ll like this one when I get round to watching it.
Although I can be quite creative in certain circumstances I’m not really into handicrafts so I’ll have to be in the mood for tackling the crystal craft kit. The box says I can ‘spend a relaxing afternoon’ creating this picture but the pieces are tiny and look frustratingly fiddly so it could quite easily take me hours/days/weeks to complete it, though hopefully it’ll be more fun than frustration and will look nice when it’s finished.
The shiny pink small ‘bag’ is a phone purse by Baylis & Harding and included the tubes of hand cream and lip gloss, definitely very useful, and the purse will come in handy when I can eventually go out for an evening meal with Michael. Coronation Street is the only soap I ever watch, and though this book is set just after WW2 and many years before the actual tv programme was born it features some of the characters who were in the soap so I’m looking forward to reading it. There was one other thing Michael gave me – a Terry’s Chocolate Orange but I couldn’t show it as I ate it at Christmas!
Having just read Jayne’s post and re-reading this I wish I hadn’t been so materialistic, however there’s one invisible gift which definitely deserves including – the gift of unconditional love and loyalty given to me by all my dogs past and present, regardless of the time of year or the occasion, and it’s a gift I will always treasure.
Well that’s it for this week, I hope everyone likes my choices. I don’t know if I can do all four weeks this month but with something already in mind for Week 3 I’ll certainly give it a good try.
Friday festive photo hunt – my own choice
The last post in December’s weekly photo hunt although it’s only Thursday, and as I’ve already written quite a long ‘looking back’ post this week I’m keeping this one fairly short and light-hearted.
Several times over the weeks prior to Christmas I’d asked Michael what he wanted and was met with the usual reply of “I don’t know, just get me anything” which really didn’t help. However, a couple of weeks ago and not long after I’d asked him the same question yet again I got an email newsletter from the animal sanctuary I support, with pictures of various long-term residents who can be sponsored rather than actually adopted. One of these is a donkey called Sean and as Michael’s first name is Sean I had the mad idea of sponsoring the donkey in his name.
Three days after I took out the sponsorship an envelope arrived with a photo of the donkey, a fact sheet with the donkey’s history, a certificate in Michael’s name (Sean) and a lapel badge. The photo was in a brown cardboard surround but I found a couple of nice frames in a local shop and framed both the photo and the certificate before wrapping them for Christmas.
Now you can’t have a donkey without giving it a carrot and it just so happened that as I was coming out of Tesco the following day my quirky sense of humour got the better of me when I spotted a round cardboard display stand in the entrance with ‘Free carrots for Rudolph’ written across the top – so I took one and wrapped it separately in Christmas paper when I got home.
Michael’s face was a picture of total puzzlement on Christmas Day when he unwrapped the carrot, which I’d given to him first, though he was quite surprised and pleased when he unwrapped the photo and certificate. The donkey may not be an actual present as such but the sponsorship will help the animal sanctuary if only in a small way and once the place opens to the public again we’ll be able to visit Sean and see him properly. Oh, and in case anyone is wondering, yes I did get Michael a couple of proper presents which have been put away in his unit, though I’m not sure what he did with carrot.
So there you have it, my final post for this year, and thanks go to Kate for continuing to host the photo challenges – I often wonder how she manages to think of all the different topics. All that remains now is to welcome any recent new readers to my blog and thank everyone for visiting and commenting on my various posts – I hope 2021 is a much happier and healthier year for everyone.
Some festive bits and pieces
With the lack of a Monday walk this week I thought I would post a few festive photos I’ve taken just recently, the first few while I’ve been walking round the local avenues with the dogs and the others on a visit to a couple of garden centres.
There’s a bit of a story to the next photo which was taken round the corner from home. A couple of years ago the local housing association fenced off the end of an alleyway between two houses and created a small pink-flagged area with a tiny diamond-shaped patch of grass in the centre; it all looked very pleasant but was totally useless for anything, however earlier this year the young man from the house on the left got permission to make a small garden at the end and plant a young sapling on the patch of grass.
With its bright bedding plants the little garden looked really pretty and I got chatting to the guy one day early in summer when he was out with the watering can. Apparently his wife was undergoing chemotherapy treatment for breast cancer and with no proper garden of their own he had created this one so she had somewhere nice to sit and enjoy the sunshine; the sapling had been planted in memory of the guy who had lived in the house on the right and who had passed away in March from a long-term illness.
With the onset of autumn, and winter approaching, the bedding plants were eventually removed but at the beginning of this month they were replaced by various Christmas lights and decorations to brighten up the little garden. Unfortunately I had to use flash to take the photo so the lights don’t really show up but it really is a very pretty corner.