Is There Any More Tea In That Pot?

Everyday events in the life of a tea lover.

Sunday, 31 March 2013

Easter Day. March 31st 2013

I am sitting here with a cup of coffee in my "glamorous granny" mug (!) (anything less than glamorous is what I see in the mirror!)

The sun is pouring in through the bedroom window out of a cloudless blue sky, on a freezing cold day. 
The cat is washing  himself in a patch of warm sunshine at the corner of the bed. 

The birds are singing,  and it is Easter Day! 

The shout goes out through out the world 
"Christ has died, 
Christ is Risen,
Christ will come again!" 

Today in church we will celebrate His Resurrection. One of my favourite days of the year. A time of hope. 
Summerhouse Saturday 30th March 2013
Yesterday, we went for our usual walk and found, inspite of being buried under 10cms of snow, which then froze, and lasted for days, the crocus flowers still managed to survive the battering.
There they were at the side of the little road, cheerful, and opening up in the sunshine.
      I began to feel, maybe, (just maybe?) winter could be losing it's iron grip. 
In that sheltered spot the sun was warm on our faces, the wind did not bite to the core and I began to believe that slowly and surely, the Spring was advancing......
Crocus flowers by the side of the road.  

Just as Wordsworth wrote,
"My heart leaps up
When I behold a rainbow in the sky"

So my heart gladdens at these now tangible signs of a new season finally approaching and hints, miniscule, of warmer days.
The tension of the winter begins to unwind as the sun warms our skin again. Like a coiled spring relaxing. 
I sat in the summer house for a short time in the afternoon, with a cup of tea, and could feel a hint of better days on the horizon, at long last. 
I suppose having lived with leaden skies and frozen earth for what seems like so long this winter, anything that points to a change is seized upon to give us hope! 
     Yes, we still have extremely cold nights and frosty mornings, but the sun is gaining strength at long last. 
Tomorrow is the start of a new month. April. 
  A bittersweet month for us. A month of new beginnings, lighter evenings, plants and trees bursting into new life, and what would have been our oldest son's 37th birthday on the 23rd. 

But, today is Easter Day, and we know we will see him again sometime. Our "sure and certain hope in the resurrection to eternal life through our Lord Jesus Christ" 

And tomorrow we are going to see our two lovely grandchildren, and our younger son and his wife. 

Happy Easter everyone!  

Friday, 29 March 2013

Supper with friends in Holy Week

On Wednesday evening our group of friends gathered at one of our homes together, to share a meal with reflections on Holy Week.
The preparations were carefully made and earlier hubby and I arrived to assist in the final parts in readiness for the others.
The table had already been beautifully laid, with a lot of thoughtfulness and care.
Spring flowers in small vases.
A candle at each place setting.
A small printed individual card with a beautiful photo, and the word, "Hope" written on the reverse.
A little Lindt chocolate rabbit to take home.
The glasses sparkled in the lights.
It was truly beautiful.

A simple "Order of service" setting out readings and a prayer.

In the kitchen, a leg of lamb had been roasted, and the smells wafted through the rooms.
We shared pitta bread, and tortilla wraps, in a nod to the Jewish tradition of unleavened bread at the Passover.
Various hummus dips, and couscous, fillings for the wraps, a bowl of salad, and some red wine.

Assembling round the table, a prayer was read for the lighting of the candles. Again, a Jewish tradition.
Two large ones were lit first, and then we each passed a taper round lighting our own individual tealights.

We shared a piece of bread together, passing it round the table after the Prayer for the Breaking of Bread.
"This is My Body, broken for you,
Do this in remembrance of Me"

A glass of wine was then poured.
We passed that round to each other after the words
"This is my Blood shed for you,
Drink this in remembrance of Me,
And be thankful."

The lamb was carved and shared, and we had a very special evening.
Not without it's hilarity!
But that's what friends are for.....laughing and crying together, sharing each others joys and sorrows. Encouraging each other.

Before the pudding was served, the tale was told of how, shortly after hubby and I arrived, there was a loud "OH NO!" from the kitchen. Not knowing what disaster had befallen our lovely hostess,  we went to see what had occurred.......
  She was baking 8 apples, sprinkled with spices, raisins, and sugar in a ceramic dish in the oven, the aroma was mouthwatering............
As she opened the door to take a peek, she could see that the apples had each exploded!
There were bits of them stuck to the walls inside!
But it wasn't a write off.
My hubby took out the tray from underneath the ceramic dish, which was splattered with soft cooked apple, and got a spoon.....................
The verdict, "Absolutely delicious", as he scraped apple from the tray and ate it!

The bulk of the apples was intact, and so the ceramic dish with the remains of the exploded apples was brought to the table and served out into individual dishes and topped with a choice of cream or ice-cream.
What more could you possibly want!
So we finished the meal, sharing the wine, and enjoying the ebb and flow of conversation.

Then hubby noticed he had accidentally set fire to his "Order of service" sheet! A slightly charred edge resulted! Not before it caused a lot of amusement.
It is not the first time he has managed to set fire to a menu!
Note to me:
"Make sure he does not have a piece of paper anywhere near a candle at a meal in future!"

 But as we left on an extremely cold frosty night, we all agreed it had been a very special evening.

Today is Good Friday. The beginning of Easter weekend.
We are going to church this afternoon to a service of reflection on the Crucifixion, and all that Jesus  suffered for us.

"Thine be the Glory
Risen, Conquering Son!
Endless is the Victory,
Thou o'er Death has won!"



Thursday, 28 March 2013

Easter March 2013

Easter March 2013

                                                         Laid behind a stone
                                                         You lived to die
                                                         Rejected and alone
                                                         Like a rose
                                                         Trampled on the ground
                                                         You took the fall
                                                         And thought of me
                                                         Above all
                          Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed for us.                                        

                                          I Corinthians 5 v 7

March 2013
Spot the difference in the two pictures of the climbing hydrangea , taken a year apart. Last March was the third warmest on record. So what happened this year?
The jet stream. apparently. 
It is stuck South of the British Isles, so we are trapped in an area dominated by high pressure, freezing cold endless weather, and still very little sign of the real spring. The warmer weather is stuck tantalizingly out of reach. 
This weekend we change the clocks, moving them forward one hour for the commencement of REAL spring. What a joke! We still have snow on the ground and yet more Arctic temperatures for the foreseeable future..........sigh............        
March 2012
I saw a pair of blackbirds mating on our garage roof in the snow the other day! Their internal clocks have been triggered, lack of spring or not.
The wood pigeons are billing and cooing in wintry conditions, the males bobbing their heads up and down in the funny courtship ritual that is unique to them. Chasing away other males who make an approach. But I reckon their nests may need thermal linings!
My daffodils have been struggling to flower, and although I have seen them in bloom in other places, I am still waiting for their buds to unfurl.
Some of them having been flattened by the frost and weight of snow.  

28th March 2013
Forsythia March 2013
Forsythia March 2012

Meantime, I am slowly beginning to feel more like me. A lovely meal last night shared with friends at one of their homes.
That will be the subject of another post!
Watch this space........ 

Saturday, 23 March 2013

March 23rd 2013 Officially Spring! But maybe, by the 31st ,the coldest March since 1962!

A day of  more snow, 7.15am - 7.20pm.
On the 23rd March last year, 2012, we were basking in temperatures well above seasonal averages. Glorious wall-to-wall sunshine and Spring arriving earlier than usual. 
    This year the winter has been hanging on with a vengeance! 
I for one long for the return of blue skies and warmer air. 
7.30am. View from bedroom window
The whole country has suffered terrible snowfalls, gale force winds, power lines down, flooding, and icy blasts of Arctic winds. 
We shiver and slither along. 
    Not me, unfortunately this past week, I have been confined to the house with yet another virus, a trip to the doctor's, my hubby having to take me. 
Night's without sleep, because of breathing problems........ok I'm indulging in a big MOAN! 
But it makes me feel a bit better for that, so we'll gloss over the rest.

Once more,as I'm now confined to the spare room at night, or hubby would not be able to sleep, I have a catalogue of gadgets to keep me going through the small hours. And a small dispensary of stuff from the chemist!
Laptop, in case I feel like taking my mind off coughing, to watch tv programmes on i-player. 
i-Pod for talking books or just soothing sounds of the sea, and my treasured mini digital radio, so I can listen to various programmes whilst trying to drift off into the Land of Nod.  

2.30pm. View from bedroom window

It is amazing how many people are up in the night. They text in to radio programmes about all kinds of things. 
And as I look out of my window, if I get up to  make a foray down to the kitchen to replenish a flask of hot water, I have noticed that  there are a few houses where there is a light on show all night. Usually a small upstairs landing  window. Lights in the dark are comforting. 
So my routine this past week hasn't really varied. I don't remember the first few days anyway!  
 But, by this evening, I have felt more like writing here things are looking up!
I am beginning to feel the urge to escape the confines of the house. So made a mini bid for freedom, about 7.10pm. (I know it wasn't perhaps the best choice, but I just wanted to smell some fresh air, no matter how cold!) I took my camera and wrapped up like a yeti, to walk down the garden path.
It felt so good!
Snow, for all we are detesting the weather, is beautiful as well as lethal.
I took these photos of the silent evidence.       

 And yet, I know, as I have known all this past week, that at 4.45am, (yes, so early!) the birds are beginning their Spring songs. They sing on in the cold, ice and snow, and gladden my heart.
At least they know, that we reached the Spring Equinox this week, and at that paradigm shift they begin their annual rituals of territorial songs, and courtship.  

 So, as we shiver and wait, surely, surely, it cannot "always be winter and never spring" to  misquote CS Lewis's " It is always winter and never Christmas"  in Narnia.
Meantime, we wait..................