Monthly Archives: December 2010

Shopping for a Fur Coat

I attended Freya’s first secondary school Parents’ Evening after she gave me a stern warning not to stand out too much; she even tried to convince me to wear a smart cardigan. The temperature outside was plummeting again so she had to suffer me wearing the tweed jacket, woolly scarf, pink ostrich leather handbag and red Docs. I felt quite smart compared to everyone in their fleeces and hiking boots, actually. The art teacher even told me that I looked “Arty”, which I took as a compliment. I considered it polite to say “Bonjour” to the French teacher but had to admit that my French was pretty rudimentary – then I asked why the school did not offer Latin on its curriculum.
I placed orders for wadding and other essential supplies that I might need before the next lot of snow and was irritated when told that couriers in England were refusing to take any deliveries north of the border in case of a blizzard. This was during the thaw when all of the major roads were clear. Nationally there was great consternation that Christmas deliveries from Amazon might not arrive on time. I warned the children that Santa may have a few problems with his suppliers this year but Fenella was confident that he would manage perfectly well since he is Magic, after all.
By Thursday it started snowing again and I had to drive the children to school. I decided that I really ought to get into shape if I am going to have to make a habit of climbing into the Landy via the boot when all of the doors are frozen. It is not easy clambering over two rows of seats wearing wellies and several layers of winter clothing. I could not zip my jacket up because I was wearing a woolly vest, shirt, jumper, waistcoat and thick knitted cardigan underneath it. I decided to shop for a fur coat in the Red Cross shop but was disappointed to find that only mangy fake furs were on sale at £50. I daresay furs have become vintage and fashionable, although I don’t imagine Freya would agree. I asked my Mother if she might have an antique fur coat but she admitted that this may have been a victim of her latest clear-out. I may have to settle for a Paddington Bear duffle coat or simply continue with my long waxed coat over some hideously unfashionable layering. I defy any fashion gurus to come to Aberdeenshire in the middle of winter and get me to wear flimsy items in my workshop!
I did some quilting this week, working fast to keep warm. I finished a customer quilt to add to the other one that has been awaiting collection for since the weather turned wintry. I quilted and bound two Christmas table runners then worked on a crazy sketchbook cover for Mo’s sister. I love working on those as they are such fun. I am often asked why I don’t sell them but an A3 piece takes around 10 hours to complete so they would be too expensive to produce except as presents. I made it a bit bigger than I needed so that there would be enough left over for an A5 book and a camera case.
We went to the Banchory Farmers’ Markey on Saturday which was made festive by a stall selling mulled wine, snow falling and people wearing Santa hats. We bought local sausages, cheese, bread and cold pressed rapeseed oil. It was almost like being at a French market except that it was well below zero and we didn’t have a basket. We went to choose our Christmas tree but the forester had not been able to cut any local trees and had resorted to buying some in. The children were not all that impressed with the modest tree that we chose but it still looks the part with its baubles and lights and at least it doesn’t take up as much space.
Freya asked me to shorten the hem on her 1950’s style prom dress because “only old people wear dresses down past their knees”. This was quite a feat for a non-dressmaker as it was a completely circular skirt. I measured down from the waistline and marked points with a blue pen then used the overlocker to trim it down then finishing off a neat hem by machine. Then I had to cut down the circular underskirt with net frill and felt pretty pleased with my efforts. Unfortunately, the junior prom has now been cancelled because of the snow but she wore it to a friend’s party where it was declared a success.
The week ahead is likely to be similarly affected by snow but at least I have ordered a local turkey and veg. In the hopefully very unlikely event of a power cut, I could cut it up and barbecue it or attempt to cook it on my Yurt’s wood stove. I am fed up with seeing interviewees on the news saying ” – the snow is such a nightmare!” It is just a bit inconvenient and the landscape looks wonderfully festive. We need to pay heed to the wartime reproduction posters and tea towels in all the shops declaring, “Keep Calm and Carry On!”
Wishing everyone a Calm Week Before and a very Happy Christmas! xx




Despite there being no fresh snowfall, there was severe ice which meant that there was still no school on Monday. There were no mail deliveries and everyone was getting rather bored. I even edited my address book and diary before frittering away some time in a virtual cupcake shop on the internet. However, I also finished planning out 10 new Yurt panels and felt that I had achieved something worthwhile for the first time in days.

By Tuesday the school made the decision that parents with four-wheel drive could take children to school if they considered it safe to make the journey. The back roads were still treacherous with compacted snow and ice. Some vehicles did not crawl along slowly enough so ended up in a ditch or spinning on ice. I decided that the Landy is the BEST vehicle so I have ordered it a roof-rack as a Christmas treat. The school day was shortened so my time was limited for catching up with correspondence and dog walking was still quite an endurance test.

I went into Aberdeen on my own to crack my Christmas purchases and wished that I had an old-lady shopping trolley instead of struggling to carry all of my bags. Books, piggy banks and packets of natural liquorice are actually quite heavy!

I made stripey jelly and a Lego brick cake for Fergus’ birthday party and had fun stabbing cubes of cheese, pineapple & raspberry onto cocktail sticks. The party was after an indoor football tournament, the hope being that the 9 year old boys would be worn out. They still managed to be excited and noisy after playing football afternoon, followed by a medley of old-fashioned party games that included charades, fan the fish, beetle drive, memory game, alphabet minute,and pass the parcel. The guests declared that the party was awesome and ace so I will take that as a successful outcome.

Blue Cat aka, Her Majesty the Pepperpot, has decided that she will deign to sit on laps occasionally. That is when she is not sitting on a shelf attempting to impersonate a rather large ornament. She has finally made herself at home. Bitzi MacBob can now tolerate to sit near her but still swears at the posh cat in Doric.
Due to telephone repairs in the local area, we have had problems with the internet connection. This is absolutely maddening. I can use my mifi modem to check messages but it is not nearly as convenient as instant access broadband. My laptop has still not got back online so I am blogging this week on the ipad. Typing is fine but I have not added any new photos yet.

I did a 6 hour marathon wrapping session on Sunday in order to clear the tables in my workshop as I am determined to get three quilting projects finished this week, Post Office done and get all of my materials ordered BEFORE getting snowed in again, possibly by the end of next week….

Gauntlets and Gaiters



We had such a lot of snow and ice all week that there was no school, and according to the BBC News, the entire country ground to a standstill. It was bitterly cold and no-one really wanted to do much. I did not go anywhere all week as my husband was taking the Landy to work. The postie only came twice and I had to wade through knee-deep snow so I could defrost the hens, fetch logs and take the dogs out. I caught up with some correspondence, wrote Christmas cards and even worked on a few small projects. I won’t post pictures of these since they are presents for friends. A left-over piece of quilted yurt roof was cut and bound to and make the cats a mat each to sit and look out of the window at the record breaking icicles. The children kept themselves occupied with some sledging, a little homework on the computer and some baking. I came in from the workshop one afternoon to discover grated chocolate all over the worktop and clouds of acrid smoke where attempts had been made to bake fairy cakes under the grill.

Tania and I walked to Mo’s for coffee and mince-pies at the end of the week. We felt that we deserved two each with a liberal splash of Kirsch after stomping through the snow; Tania striding along in her walking boots with gaiters. Mo had been nursing a young buzzard back to health with raw eggs and sausages which was why the word, “Gauntlet” appears in the title! Apparently, the wild rabbit population has been decimated by a virus that rabbits take underground to infect the entire burrow so there is very little food available for birds of prey this winter.

I took Freya Christmas shopping at the weekend where we managed to make a few purchases before we got fed up with the crowds and over-heated shops. Online shopping is great as long as you know what you are looking for and probably less distracting, although I do tend to get sidetracked by checking emails and looking at Landy roofrack configurations on the internet! Needless to say, my Christmas shopping is nowhere near finished but at least I remembered to email my order for local turkey, ham and veggies. This week I am going to stock up on Bondaweb, wadding, stabiliser and freezer paper in case this weather continues until the New Year. I have spent some time sketching out new ideas for more Yurt panels so I hope to get on with some fresh work soon.