The season has changed, days are shorter and nights are longer, we are now into the spiritual season of Advent, a period of preparation, waiting and hope. The third candle of our Advent wreath was lit on Sunday .
There are many other decorations that we put around our homes and traditions we follow at this time of year that are symbolic of this season.... nativity scenes, the Advent calendar, carol singing, Christmas plays, Christmas cards, the Christmas tree aglow with sparkling decorations... and not least that significant star at the top. We light up our homes with candle light and place lighted decorations in our windows... our streets and department stores sparkle, we surround ourselves with light. So let us not forget the real meaning of Christmas... it is not just about tinsel and presents...let us share the true spirit as we remember ‘Jesus is the reason for this Christmas season’.
The first snow of winter has fallen on the mountain and smoke curls up from many cottage chimneys as fires are lit. The coal and log man are frequent visitors to the village now delivering winter fuel.
We usually take a delivery of good seasoned logs in October and amongst this year's load we spotted a number of birch logs... I know that some wood burns better than others, and not having burned birch before I set about to search the internet and came upon this little rhyme that tells all..
The Woodman's Poem
Beechwood flames are bright and clear,
If logs be kept a year.
Oaken logs burn steadily
If the wood be old and dry.
Chestnut is only good they say,
If long dry years it's laid away
But Ash when new or Ash when old,
Is fit for a Queen with a crown of gold.
Birch and Fir they burn too fast
Blaze too bright and will not last.
Build a fire of Elder tree,
Death within your house you'll see.
If you would bake the sweetest bread,
Use Hawthorn, or so 'tis said.
But Ash when green or Ash when brown,
Will please a Queen with a golden crown.
Elm will burn like churchyard mould,
Even the very flames are cold.
Poplar gives a bitter smoke,
Burns your eyes and makes you choke.
Applewood will scent your room,
With the scent of flowers in bloom.
But Ash when wet or Ash when dry,
A Queen may warm her slippers by.
Well now you know.... We'll be looking out for Ash wood logs in future.
The boxes of Christmas decorations have been pulled down from the loft. How many of you are like me I wonder and follow the same ritual every year of placing certain items in the same position. This rustic nativity scene is always set out on top of the writing bureau...
...the stone one is always placed in the oriel window... do they look their best there or is it my lack of imagination in finding a new place for them?
The garland is always hung on the central beam... but I do think that is the right place for it.
I may have a change around if time and energy permit, but if not, it is beginning to look a lot like Christmas.
Thank you for the e-mails and comments I've received. John and I are recovering well.
The valley and snowcapped mountains look tranquil in the winter sunshine. However, the Met Office has issued a warning to prepare for the windiest week of the year with heavy rain moving over Wales and the likelihood of damage. So its batten down the hatches folk!
Take care, keep warm and stay safe - Marion