The shortest day. Today the sun rises at 8.03 a.m. (and it really was pretty dark still at 8 a.m.) and sets at 3.53 p.m. This photo, taken on the road home from Leominster last week, shows how gloomy it was at just gone 3 p.m. Once today is over I can start counting the catkins as they appear and marking each 5 minute inclination towards the light.
We had to journey to Leominster again this week, but didn't linger and we dropped back down to Hay-on-Wye for lunch and to wish various friends a merry Christmas. It was good to chat with friends, and we enjoyed a little wander around the shops, going back to the car laden with cut-price remaindered cookery books and some little glass jars for Harissa-making.
Above and below: a couple of Hay shops in festive mood. The greengrocers always stocks as much local produce as possible. It's brilliant at apple harvest time, and I have tried all sorts of unusual apples. Orange Pippins are great.
I have got the 70% Wholemeal dough for muffins rising in my breadmaker, so had best get down and get it knocked back and get busy cutting out muffin shapes with a mug so they can start to rise. I haven't made muffins for ages, so must get back into the habit. I have scarcely bought any bread since having the Panasonic and, like the slow cooker, is one gadget I couldn't be without nowadays.
Finally (below) a fuzzy picture of a big ball of Mistletoe.
Now for the enjoyable part of Christmas, making edible gifts and nice things for nibbles when all our family are here for Christmas. We had to pop into Tescopolis yesterday and you would think the shops were going to be shut for a fortnight, rather than just one day! Some folk near us were loading multiple (20 ish?!) bags into the back of their - SMALL - car and I couldn't help thinking, OMG, the front wheels will come off the ground in a minute!!!
Tam (eldest daughter) arrives home today, but I shall be on edge until she gets here. The older I get, the worse my nerves are . . .
Anyway, enjoy the Winter Solstice - I should imagine the roads leading to Stonehenge are going to be a wee bit choc-a-bloc though! - and let us look forward to the slowly-lengthening days again.