Monday, 24 December 2012

Christmas greetings

This blog may have been a bit sparse this year but Happy Christmas.  I hope to get back into gear in the New Year but in the meantime here are a couple of Christmassy things.

Christmas past.

Everyone has mementoes of past Christmases and this one goes back to my early childhood.  My parents bought this wooden Father Christmas from a refugee wood turner in Havelock North in about 1950.  I well remember going to his shop and choosing it.  My parents brought it to England in 1974 and passed it on to me because I am the eldest.  They bought two similar ornaments for my sisters.  It comes out every year and sits on the sideboard but goes on the table when we eat Christmas Dinner.

In the past I have made Christmas hangings and a set of Christmas tablemats which this year I decided have come to the end of their natural life.  I see from the label on the back of this hanging that I made it in 1997.  It is foundation pieced and I remember the pattern came from Australian Patchwork and Quilting magazine.  I have another one of two cats, done in Christmas colours but could not find anywhere to photograph it. It is about the same age.

Christmas Present

We are having a very quiet Christmas this year.  As you may have read, Cornwall has been badly affected by the floods and this area has not escaped.  Although we live in a built-up area, we are at the bottom of a slope (Reens is Cornish for 'slope') and in a valley, complete with a stream which runs down behind the row of cottages opposite us.  In the late November floods, this stream burst its banks and ran down the road narrowly missing our gate.  Two of the cottages and the fish and chip shop at the other end of the block had water inside.  Last Friday there was a repeat performance although people were better prepared this time.
Here is the stream that caused all the trouble.  It rises on the moors a mile or two away, runs down a valley into the village and then through this bed behind the houses.

It looks quite innocuous here but it can be very noisy when it is in full flow and when it rains for hours non-stop it diverts itself from this route and runs down the street instead.  As the road is normally very parked up and there is quite a bit of debris, the water is dammed up by the cars and then gets into the front of the cottages.  The owners have a variety of sandbags, some more effective than others.  This morning I thought I should photograph the sandbags and the gates as they make quite an interesting sight.  So here is a selection.

This one has been very carefully constructed although I believe you are supposed to build the wall like a brick wall so that the water can't get through the cracks.

Not very substantial but the Council no longer provides the sandbags so it is difficult to get them if you are old or infirm.

It has also been very bad at the far end of our lane.  Yesterday I walked down to see what it was like and found the people there had built a wall of sandbags to divert the stream away from a terrace of newly converted cottages.  Unfortunately I did not have my camera with me and did not think to take a photo on my phone.  None of us have ever seen anything like this down here before so it may be an interesting Christmas.  I hope yours is a bit drier.


  1. Along the Kew section of the Thames, the river floods frequently, and the houses are equipped with flood defences - high-up doors or slots for boards. I blogged about it in July 2007, but unfortunately can't figure out how to send you a link via the ipad.
    Hope that rain stops soon!

  2. Glad I am not the only one who has trouble with some functions on the iPad! My sister was given a book on getting the most out of your iPad for Christmas so perhaps we should look at Amazon.