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On Liking Winter

A few years ago I decided to embrace wintertime. All my life I had counted down the days until the winter solstice because the darkest day heralded the beginning of the change towards spring. Being a spring-born baby I always loved the springtime best of all the seasons. Now I find I'm liking winter tool

Those same bright red apples now harvested every late summer herald the start of winter for me. Bringing their redness into my home adds to the feeling of warmth and settling in to enjoy the indoors - something it has taken me forever to do.

! planted the tree that produced these apples to mark my first daughter's birth. I loved the fairy story Snow White and thought I would cultivate a 'snow White' apple so that we could eat one together when I sat under the tree telling her the story. I did not think too deeply into it at the time. Now some forty-odd years later as I eat through my apple crop during the dark winter months, I think of her living so far away from home the other side of the world and remember all those storytimes we shared with her little sister before life got too busy to sit under trees doing nothing much at all.

The apples all eaten and their lovely pink juice all consumed for another year, all that's left is the apples and cranberry jelly that's delicious with a good piece of stilton cheese eaten for supper in front of the fire on a cold winter's night. Suddenly I realize I've turned into my mother, sitting in front of the fire and no more hanging about under trees. Still, the red jelly is well worth sitting around for!

Getting the logs in

Splitting wood has always given me that sense of belonging to the earth. From the days I spent outdoors as a child, with my own children, when I ran an outdoor school in Badock's Woods in the late 1990's and lately preparing the stock of wood for my log burner. Nothing satisfies me more than seeing a stack of logs piled high in my living room ready for the winter nights. I don't have many ornaments in my home but I do have plenty of natural wood and stones. Bringing the outdoors in is my way of managing to be indoors. Green plants are the backdrop to all the white I paint everywhere until the winter comes and I bring in the red to warm things up.

Logs are piled up ready. Nothing more satisfying than the physical activity of splitting the logs for the fire every weekend. The promise of what is to come - sitting in front of the blazing flames reading as an escape from the busy working week and all the dark rainy nights of winter.


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