Thursday, December 29, 2022

Blitzen Bids Farewell


Happy Twixtmas!  Hope your festivities were exactly as you like them.

We set each other a challenge this year to make one another a Christmas card.  I'm no artist, so wrote Gareth a poem instead.  In return, after successfully wallpapering the bathroom wall just in time for Christmas, a day later, I ventured into the bathroom and noticed something was just off.  See for yourselves.

We had a quiet one.  Just the three of us and remaining parents.  Mentioning no names, certain members of our family have a very healthy appetite!   Oh and spot the escaping teen.


Gareth excelled himself this year.  Everything was made from scratch and cooked to perfection...and everything, from gravy to stuffing, seemed to contain port (we lost the best part of a bottle in the process).  Mr Klaus was not impressed.  I had planned to make a fancy vegan trifle with spun sugar, but not wishing to waste anything, decided to put that plan on hold until the New Year celebrations.

With Gareth feeling under the weather soon after Boxing Day and the weather once again switching things up - this time with high winds and rainstorms, we have hibernated.  I actually quite enjoy  Twixmas.  I love not knowing or caring about the date or time and feel no guilt whatsoever about self indulgence.  For me, that doesn't mean over eating, but rather, enjoying my Christmas gifts, reading, watching films and setting myself photography challenges.

I'm loving my Christmas reads.  I've dipped in and out of Orlam and the Treasury of Folklore, Woodlands and Forests as they are books to savour and am looking forward to my first ever Philippa Gregory book!  The item I coveted at the Much Wenlock Christmas Fayre (a pashmina) provides the backdrop.        


TV viewing has included Gone Fishing (Bob Mortimer and Paul Whitehouse).  Christmas for us also has to include a ghost story or two.  The festive episode of Inside Number 9 (written by Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton, the natural successor to Roald Dahl's Tales of the Unexpected) was excellent and has rekindled my obsession with champing.  

"Champing" if you've not heard the term, refers to the exclusive hire of a church overnight.  Beds are made up, you can take your own wine and refreshments and in return, are left alone inside a church with only the dead and each other for company.  It's on my list for 2023. 

A TV adaptation of a story by M.R. James, Count Magnus, starring Jason Watkins also featured in the mix, between sips of Advocaat.

Detectorists (possibly my favourite show ever) was a delight and left me wishing for more.

Films we've watched include Castaway (I waited 22 years to watch it, love Tom Hanks, but, as it turns out, not so in love with this film) and Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid - a cinematic gem of a film, based on a true story, beautifully shot and perfectly cast.  

It's more of a friendship film and contains one of my all time favourite scenes (see below).  It's a western for people who don't like westerns and a film I have watched a number of times.

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) - Butch's BikeScene (2/5) | Movieclips - YouTube

As for photography, I've been enjoying my new to me 35 mm lens, which has a wider angle than the nifty fifty, is good in low light and perfect for portraits.  Here are a few from the Christmas period.  

My Father-in-law opening a present at his home on Christmas morning....

....and my Mom, reading and processing the cheesiest of cracker jokes.

I am respecting the wishes of the teen in not sharing the photos I took of him.

Instead, I have played around with in-camera double exposure photography (Blitzen at the top being one of my first attempts).  

Catching the wind.  Howling not included, but perhaps you can see why I had little interest in venturing out.

Not to leave out the diva, Lotte became my next subject of choice.  I snapped a couple of straight shots of her to warm her up.

She's been a little grumpy because she didn't like the treats in her Christmas cracker.  I have finally got the message that she is simply not like other cats and doesn't "go mad for Dreamies."  She was quite fond of her toy mouse, but still prefers Gareth to drag around a piece of ribbon for her to chase and pounce on and has been pretty vocal about that!  

I got the shot I wanted here.  You might just be able to see a piece of string dangling over the sofa.  This photo captured her movement and spirit - eyes everywhere, senses on alert.

Wishing for peace in 2023!


  1. Stunning Lotte photos (our two didn't care for Dreamies either!) and I love the black and white Xmas ones, very classy and atmospheric. Poor Gareth making that amazing meal from scratch and being rewarded with a bug. Hope he's feeling better soon.
    Love the bathroom wallpaper (and the message!) and hope you enjoy Tidelands as much as I did.
    The Detectorists was fantastic. I didn't mind Castaway but my Tom Hanks favourite has to be Bridge of Spies, I've seen it six times! I can't remember Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid, I don't think I've watched it since the 1970s. I might have to hunt it down.
    Champing sounds amazing, maybe something to celebrate your BIG birthday? xxx

    1. Thanks Vix.
      I'm looking forward to Tidelands. It's the first of a trilogy isn't it?
      To be fair to Castaway, I was a little distracted for some of it. The plane crash scene was so believable and did nothing to improve my fear of flying and I thought the ending was really sad. I recorded Bridge of Spies recently, so that's on our To Watch list. I know you highly rate it. After watching The English, you might enjoy Butch Cassidy. I found a YouTube video of Alan Whicker interviewing his younger sister in the family log cabin in 1977 - she was born when Butch was 18 and was 93 at the time of the interview! Fascinating stuff!
      I'm dropping some heavy hints about champing but fear it's falling on deaf ears at the moment. :-D xxx

  2. gareth had a genius idea with that card :-D pretty wallpaper btw.....
    fabulous photographic experiments - you talented lass! and totally love the lotta photos - all of them. she´s a supermodel.
    i never bought lisbeth a treat nor an actual cat toy - she plays with wine corks, yarn spools, balls of paper and old cardboard boxes.
    glad you had a lovely time with your family - you and your mom have the same hairdresser obvisiously! :-D

    1. Thank you Beate - you were the wallpaper inspiration. Hoping it stays put. So far, so good!
      Lotte has now stated she won't get out of bed for less than $10,000 after your supermodel comment. :-D She much prefers home made toys. I had thought the cracker only contained treats to be honest, but at least she has had some fun with the fabric mouse.
      We don't share the same hairdresser, although I did once cut her hair myself into a short bob and miraculously she didn't hate it! xxx

  3. We too had a quiet one - it's the way we prefer it - and have been hibernating, mostly out of necessity as I've been under the weather. Nevertheless, I love the "timelessness" of this time of year!
    Loving Gareth's addition to the wallpaper, and hats off to him making everything from scratch. Loving the atmospheric black and whites, and your photos of Lotte are just magical.
    I love Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, which I haven't watched in ages, and I too have got my got my first ever Philippa Gregory in my reading pile! If I ever finish my current read, that is. Here's to a happy and peaceful 2023! xxx

    1. Thank you Ann. Here's hoping 2023 is a better year for all! xxx

  4. I love the pics of Lotte - what a beauty she is! My Vizzini ignores all the little toys and instead whines for his stick (a twig stripped of all the rosemary from a friend's garden). Cats!

    That card is amazing - you should just leave it there to see who notices!

    Happy New Year!

    1. Happy New Year Sheila! Lotte says "Thank you." Cats are peculiar little creatures aren't they?!
      To be honest, I left it there to show my Mom and then promptly forgot about it. I spotted it again the other day. :-D x

  5. Looks like you had a good one Claire. We spent a lot of the Twixmas period watching Gone Fishing & The Detectorists, along with trays of leftover food. Ahhhhh, I miss it already! The ZebraClaire is hilarious. You can't beat a bit of simple string can you to keep a cat entertained :) xXx

    1. Time well spent Lulu. I miss those Twixmas days where time is forgotten. xxx


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