Happy Solstice Everybody!

Spirit of Yule by Ann Stokes

I don’t know about you all but I am very excited..   I positively love this time of year..the middle of winter, the longest night, lovely cold weather with lights and candles and booze and food and presents and holidays and, and, and, and… Breath…

That’s better..

It has been a lovely week of socialising and getting everything sorted food wise and present wise.  I finished work yesterday and do not go back for two weeks.  When I do I will be starting an extra day a week which is a real bonus. I will just about be paying our rent and that make things a bit less tight.

Last night we spent at our friends having a little Solstice eve get together, with the weather so mild we were able to sit outside around a fire.

It does not look like we have a chance of snow for Christmas but as we had a small taste of it last weekend I am not dissapointed.  Neither are the shop keepers as everyone is able to get out and about to buy provisions and treats without nasty icy paths to manoeuvre.

It was market day today in Hay and I tried to get there a bit earlier as I thought it might be busy, and I was right.  I couldn’t get the bread I wanted and Lucretia Wood-Cole who makes and sells wonderful cakes in aid of the Women’s Institute had nearly sold out.  But I did manage to get everything else, including the most luscious runny cheese that you can only get at this time of year.  It was lovely that they had fine weather for it and everyone was in very good spirits.  Toastie had a great time taking every chance she had to snuffle at people’s market bags which must have been emitting wonderful smells.  Particularly if they had visited the  stall that sells many types of fish, fowl or beast.

As an aside – we were accosted by a visiting lady in Hay the other day who wanted to know if Toastie was a Norfolk Terrier as she had one and Toastie looked exactly like her.  We said that as The Toastilator is a rescue dog we had no idea and then rushed home to Google Image it.  Sure enough- apart from having slightly longer legs Toastie has found her tribe!

On with the story..

We trundled ourselves home with our parcels and then I set out again to have lunch with my boss/friend Sandra, and two of our trustees – Betty (our Chairwoman) and Karl (vice Chairman).  I love these people and feel very lucky to be working with them. I have to say that I never thought I would feel that way about employers!  Karl (the first Quaker I have ever met) looked completely appropriate for the occasion as he is in his eighties and has a long white beard which he topped off today with a Santa hat.

Sandra did her usual of trying to confiscate the sugar lumps so that Karl cannot put fifty million of them in his hot orange drink while Karl (who does not have diabetes) did his usual of remonstrating with Sandra for taking the Lords name in vain.  I did my usual of surreptitiously nicking the sugar lumps so that Karl can have his fill, and Sandra did her bit again by telling me off 😉

We drunk stupendously good mulled wine and I chomped my way through a frittata which included bits of turkey, bacon, little sausages and brussels sprout – I know that sounds mad but it was nom.

We ate at Booth’s Books cafe, which if you are ever passing our way you must stop and visit.  Booth’s used to belong to the King of Hay, Richard Booth, and by the time I started coming to Hay  the bookshop was a bit of a mess- damp, cold and smelling of mould.  Now it has new owners who have transformed it into the most magnificent, light, airy, warm utterly inviting space.  Spread over three floors with loads of pozzies to sit and read, it is a place you can spend hours in.  They added the cafe and are also building a small cinema which should be finished in the new year.  The food in the cafe is tasty, interesting and the menu varied every week  – it also has the  bonus of  being relatively cheap.  And the chips with aioli, and the real hot chocolate are to die for..

If you think I sound like I am happy you would be right.. Certainly compared with December last year when I had lost my job and was still incredibly home sick.  I still struggle with depression and the terrible tiredness that comes with it but I am keeping my head well up and am helping myself with the simple things – seeing friends as much as possible, walking this beautiful countryside, sharing our home with a bonkers Terrier, reading good books, immersing myself in crochet and craft, and making myself go to work – of course I’m lucky to have a job that I like.

I am deeply grateful for all that I have.. Thankful for the hard bits of life that make me appreciate all the good. Thankful for all of you..

So – the winter solstice, celebrating the return of the light, new beginnings – new challenges.  Hope you are all ok out there.

Have a Toastie time!
Have a good one - from Mr T and Miss T

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