Saturday, 6 December 2014

An antidote to shopping















It was the school Christmas fete this morning.  The usual high octane blend of over-excited children, lucky dips, Santa's elves and a tombola.  I was heard to mutter something unkind about Christmas while trying to wrestle the Christmas tree into the car as well as persuade the children to get in without making too much noise on a residential street on a quiet Saturday morning.  Afterwards I felt in need of a lie down in a dark room.  I made do with a little walk instead.

We headed up the hill above Wotton-under-Edge.  It's part of the Cotswold Way and quite breathtaking in places.  It was only a short walk really, but we tend to stop quite a bit (a sit down and a cookie, possible bird sightings, befriending passing dogs and their owners, swinging on a tyre in the woods - you get the idea) so it took us from two o'clock until about half past four, by which time the sun had set and it was starting to get chilly.  That's my favourite time of day in winter.  Time to hurry home past lighted windows and smoky fires and Christmas wreaths on doors.

So we have a tree, but it's in the garage for now.  I need to work up to the whole decorations thing.  I'm almost there I think.  I just need to put a few days between me and the school fete.  I like my Christmas festivities a bit more mellow.  Carols on the radio, candlelight, a bit of baking.  Although of course once the box of decorations is down all hell will break loose as the boys compete to see who can get their baubles on the tree the fastest.

How are the festivities with you?  Have you had a mince pie yet?  Seen Father Christmas?  We glimpsed him briefly this morning, riding past on a vintage motor cycle.  I guess Rudolph was having a lie down.  Saving his legs for the main event.  Two and a half weeks from now.  Eek.

49 comments:

  1. I would go on this walk all the time if I lived where you are pal! The scene is just fascinating! And made me feel mellow right away!!! You gave me a chuckle about the dark room! I have yet to do any shopping and can feel it creeping up!! Enjoy that view! Happy weekend CJ!!! Nicole xo

    ReplyDelete
  2. Looks like a lovely walk, as for Christmas prep I'm way behind sit looking for the Advent candle I bought last year and put in a safe place, I'm looking forward to going to Christmas at Kew gardens in a couple weeks time though and have my first Christmas meal this week.
    Clare x

    ReplyDelete
  3. I love the views and high places CJ, such a gorgeous walk on a sunny winters day.
    Christmas is a trying time. I find it easier now the boys are older.I haven't had any mince pies yet, but I do love them....they are one of the Christmas good bits.
    Enjoy Sunday.....we are getting the decs out of the loft. We have too many!
    Jacquie x

    ReplyDelete
  4. 2 and a half weeks? Really? I could have gone all day not knowing that. :-) I guess I should finish something. Or crochet on my shawl.. hmmm... loved your walk pix. Especially the bench. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Perfectly peaceful. I need these reprieves from the holiday craziness too. This morning was my son's guitar recital; our kids take lessons at the nearby university through their music department. We spent all morning on the campus, attending my daughter's final music class of the semester, killing a couple of hours in the library and walking aimlessly in the cold, then attending his recital, then going to lunch afterward. It was exhausting, and there was Christmas literally everywhere. Your walk looks so relaxing and refreshing. I'm really glad you did that for yourself.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Beautiful photos - what a super place for a bench. Things seem to be hotting up around here too and I keep looking for that pause button that people keep talking about. We're off to get the tree today, slightly early for us but we can't fit it in next weekend. I also discovered that I am the only one in the family to not have had their first mince of the season - I think that needs rectifying today! Enjoy your Sunday. x

    ReplyDelete
  7. mince pie. no not yet. I think I am still in denial about it being nearly here. still have to get through another birthday first.......

    like your idea of going for a walk to get away from it all, I could cope with that bit x

    ReplyDelete
  8. I had my first mince pie on 18th November as it was the last session before Christmas for one of the patchwork groups I belong to. Hoping to start making and freezing my own mince pies this week. Most if the presents bought - I hope!- , none wrapped and only 7 cards written. Tree being decorated this morning. Will it all be done in time? And if not, does it really matter? As I get older I find I am dropping various things from my 'Really important to do' list. But I am making several patchwork gifts and they have to be finished. Hey ho!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Gorgeous photos CJ. I love the light and the views, must have a proper look on the computer later rather than on my phone ๐Ÿ˜Š.
    The Cotswolds are beautiful, I'd happily live there.
    We put the tree up yesterday after a frosty morning's shopping. We somehow seem to be keeping things relaxed but I suspect that's because I'm avoiding looking at my to-do list.
    Oh, and Santa's been on our road each morning driving a courier's van and neglecting to wear his hat. Who'd have thought he'd be a Sun reader?
    S x

    ReplyDelete
  10. That walk looks the perfect antidote to the dreaded Christmas fair shenanigans, CJ. It's a beautiful spot and your photos are lovely. Mince pie consumption is increasing slowly here and also those yummy stollen bites from aldi. Enjoy your Sunday xx

    ReplyDelete
  11. You made me laugh about the school fete - I remember that. Quite a build up to the frenzy in Matt's school. I understand the need to escape afterwards. Your walk looks lovely. There is something really comforting as the sun goes down at this time of year isn't there. I went outside to sweep up leaves yesterday afternoon, just to enjoy the skies as the sun set, and then come in, close the curtains, and enjoy a cuppa and slice of cake. No mince pies here yet - I might make some this week though. Have a great Sunday. x

    ReplyDelete
  12. Beautiful photos - you capture the light so well. I love winter walks too, they make me feel so energised and happy to return home to a roaring fire.
    x

    ReplyDelete
  13. What a fabulous post - such stunning photos and what a beautiful walk. Much better than shopping as those scenes will stay in your memory far longer than anything you could buy at the shops! I did a bread making workshop yesterday and at tea break I had a cup of tea and my first mince pie - delicious.

    ReplyDelete
  14. We are avoiding Christmas as much as possible much nicer to have a walk in the quiet countryside. We did see Santa through the window of a local pub having a swift beer, I guess that was why the vapour trails we all over the sky and lacked a sense of direction

    ReplyDelete
  15. Hubby is as I write mid Christmas lights for the outside of the house and has taken all the decorations down from the loft. They are in the spare room awaiting my attention, the lounge is in a state of disarray of furniture and so on all over the place and the tree is still in it's crate waiting to be put together. I am trying to pretend that it isn't happening and am catching up on blog reading, because that way I can avoid getting on with the sewing which is what I am supposed to be doing today!! I think that I would much rather be going out for a lovely countryside walk with you!! xx

    ReplyDelete
  16. A lovely post, and wonderful pictures. I don't really celebrate Christmas, and sympathise with the many folks who seem to have endless hassles around this this of year. Flighty xx

    ReplyDelete
  17. We don't really get going with Christmas until the end of the school term. The fact that my kids are way beyond primary school age helps enormously with keeping Christmas madness to the minimum.

    ReplyDelete
  18. We still have Birthday to celebrate before Christmas is on the cards.... I have my fairy lights up for a bit of extra light and decorated our apple tree with cheap baubles for extra cheeriness. We just survived our Christmas Fete. It was yesterday and I feel like I need a week's holiday. I am the treasurer of the PTA who organises the Fete and I spent all afternoon counting and sorting grubby money to take to the bank. I would have happily swapped this for a walk! Yours looks great, I must one day visit your part of the world. We usually drive through on our way to and from Cornwall but don't stop for long enough. Have a lovely Sunday CJ. x

    ReplyDelete
  19. As you know I am a Christmas Grouch. It is all about getting things up and decorated, cards mailed, boxes shipped, business, business, business. I wish I was the woman with wine in her hand causally decorating with carols on in the background, in my dreams I am that relaxed but in reality I am just a Christmas mess. Love the walk,
    Hugs,
    Meredith

    ReplyDelete
  20. Really lovely pictures CJ - the light is just gorgeous! I love seeing the smoke curling out of the chimneys, down in the valley. We attended a couple festive events this weekend, kept it low key though.

    ReplyDelete
  21. What gorgeous scenery CJ....I have made and eaten mince pies, mincemeat loaf and mince meat palmiers!! Tree is up, sparkly lights are up, presents bought!! Just need to wrap and write cards.....feeling smug(ish). The week before Christmas is all go at work so need to be organised xxx

    ReplyDelete
  22. What a great idea to recharge your batteries by going for a walk. It looks like it was beautiful, and I love your description of coming home as the sun was going down. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  23. What beautiful views, a prefect walk to destress after the Christmas fete. It always seems so busy at this time of year, it's nice to just get away from it all, even if it's only for an hour or two.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Yep, give me the walk any day over shopping, I can't believe how many houses re decorated with Christmas lights already - we have birthdays to celebrate before Christmas!!

    ReplyDelete
  25. What a lovely walk. I'm glad you were able to unwind a bit. p.s Santa came down our street last night riding on the back of a trailer covered with lights - guess Rudolph is still having a lie down!

    ReplyDelete
  26. First batch of mince pies made today, but it's not helping. The fact that there are drills and sanders going everywhere and the house is full of dust may contribute to my lack of Christmas spirit. A walk in the countryside amidst all those splendid colours looks like a very good idea.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Our Christmas will be spend at my family's in Catalonia, so we are planning the trip.
    Beautiful photos, looks like a lovely place to have a walk.

    Lluisa xx

    ReplyDelete
  28. Seems we have the same ideas about Christmas. Slow and easy, spacing out one event from another. Since my DH and I are past it we don't make much of a Christmas here. A little eggnog, a slice of Pecan Pie, a nice wreath on the front door plus a few good Christmas movies just about does it for us.
    The country side in your area looks so very inviting. I loved the photo's and the description of your "short walk". I felt as though I was along for the walk, too. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  29. Yes to the mince pie, no to Father Christmas, and we don't have a tree yet. I just posted about my feelings of Bah Humbugness.

    This is a gorgeous set of images m'dear x

    ReplyDelete
  30. I can't believe Christmas is coming so soon! We celebrated with my sister and brother and their kids last weekend since we'll be scattered for the actual day. It was fun and exhausting! Now we're finally starting to put up our decorations. A little backwards, but at least we're squeezing everything in:) Hope things are more mellow now and good luck setting up the tree. I'm sure it will be beautiful:)

    ReplyDelete
  31. Your photos keeps getting more beautiful! I haven't put up any decorations at all. I'm honestly not looking forward to it... so much other stuff to do that I don't feel like wasting the time on decorating but I know I need to for Lyla. Sigh!

    ReplyDelete
  32. Saturday 6th is the day we celebrate Saint Nicholas... For us, it is a low key celebration with very reasonable gifts and some chocolates. But else where in the country we live (Luxembourg) for most of the people, Saint Nicholas celebration is frantic. I hate that... I try every year to be mindful and to slow, I am getting better and better. Eventually I will get caught by the stress of presents and preparation, but not yet...

    ReplyDelete
  33. Ahh the school Christmas fair, those days are past for me now thankfully! I do remember the need for a darkened room afterwards though. No Father Christmas spotted unless I look at a photo of when Mike dressed up as one for a birthday party. xx

    ReplyDelete
  34. Not had a mince pie yet, but like Sue said we spotted Santa in the pub. Couldn't fault him it was cold outside. Got offered a Christmas lunch on Saturday at Whisby Nature reserve but turned it down for bangers and mash. Very good they were too.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Beautiful views on your walk. Father Christmas has started his annual tour of the villages here - the local Lions are out every evening for the next two weeks helping Santa on his travels. It has come to mark the beginning of Christmas for us since the children were small. Hope you get a chance to wind down and enjoy a mince pie before the tree decorating starts!

    ReplyDelete
  36. Absolutely gorgeous photographs and so evocative~ Your family is so fortunate to both live in a beautiful place with access to countryside and walks so nearby as well as parents who obviously have their priorities in the right place. Wonderful to see that some people still do things as a family as well as have the children outdoors and not merely via organized sports. So many children spend all or most of the time indoors as I am sure you will be very aware. To my mind , Christmas is spent ideally in such surroundings as your own, where you are a part of the natural revolving of the seasons. . You are not separated from all the beauty that each season offers and that is invaluable really for children as well as the adults~ spirit enriching and nourishing. Wonderful to be able to create your own form of the holiday and not have to succumb or be surrounded by the meaningless tat and garish cheap consumer madness which is so much in evidence now. Thank you for being so generous in sharing a part of your life and the rich beauty of the places you live and visit. I felt for the few minutes it took to read and look at your photos to have been on a walk up the hills as well. Your photos made my day. Hope you and yours will have the most magical and as stress free holiday as possible!

    ReplyDelete
  37. More gorgeous photos here CJ. That looks like the most picture-perfect corner of England, it really does.

    I do love your blog, really, and not just for the pretty photos. I like your take on things too. You always make me smile and nod to myself as I identify with whatever you are saying. x

    ReplyDelete
  38. Such beautiful photographs! I love how you have to build up to the festivities. So far our tree's been safe - LittleR hasn't worked out the best way to pull it over...yet! we're really counting down the days now and I'm feeling surprisingly festive and full of good will! :-)

    ReplyDelete
  39. Such lovely light in those photos! I love winters afternoons too, and the sound of a mellow Christmas!

    ReplyDelete
  40. I can't help but look at those pictures and think of "England's green and pleasant land". you make me want to go for a walk in the countryside now. I've said it before (i'm sure!) but what a beautiful part of the world you live in, CJ.

    ReplyDelete
  41. Your leisurely walk sounds delightful and it is the best antidote to shopping!
    I have made some headway with my holiday preparations, but now, it is crunch time. Now it is time to make sure many of those last pieces of flotsam and jetsam do not get forgotten, that they are done in a timely enough manner that you don't find me rocking back in forth in the corner somewhere talking about "not enough time, too messy! send help!"

    I think making sure there is some physical activity to open up the brain and relax the emotions is definitely helpful. Wish I could go on that walk! Beautiful!

    ReplyDelete
  42. I love your writing CJ. The beginning made me giggle out loud. I can picture this scene perfectly and I'm glad you had such a beautiful walk afterwards to help you re-set and unwind. I love picturing the part of the walk that took place at dusk. You're right, it is such a lovely time during winter.

    ReplyDelete
  43. Wonderful photos - the views look breathtaking! I'm avoiding civilization at present - I stay away from the hype and enjoy getting close to nature too. Take care, J9 x

    ReplyDelete
  44. What a beautiful walk and so much better than rushing around the shops. I try to avoid the Christmas frenzy whenever possible and seek out places such as this. Sarah x

    ReplyDelete
  45. We couldn't find a tree we liked last Saturday so went home and cut one from our garden. It's now inside and decorated with all my handmade decorations! I'm hoping to do a post about it soon to let everyone see. Hope your boys have fun with their decorating. Just go into another room and let them at it.

    ReplyDelete
  46. I'm so glad to have left all the school fetes behind me now! I always manage to resist christmas until the last moment; I expect my tree will go up this weekend, ready for when my son gets home from uni next week. And the mince pies have been scoffed many times as I made some lovely plum and russet apple mincemeat (all fruit, no suet) some weeks ago. I had a similar countryside walk last Sunday when I visited my niece for a day of foraging and wreath making - to me, that was more Christmassy than all the shopping and presents - just quality creative family time. Bliss.

    ReplyDelete
  47. Dear CJ
    Thank you for visiting today and leaving a trail. I see you have a big love of capturing the silver lining in every step, every corner and under each and every stone with your wonderful pictures. Sorry to hear you are ab it overwhelmed as we speak, and I can only hope things will settle a bit very soon. Maybe another lovely walk like this one can help balancing that frustrated soul and get you going. I hope so and with you a fabulous weekend and countdown for the upcoming favorite holiday of mine. Take a deep breath, close your eyes and let the stress go. So happy I found my way over here. New followoer on Bloglovin'.
    Xxx
    Annette
    My Rose Valley

    ReplyDelete
  48. Hi CJ, I've just been catching up on your lovely blog again and have now made sure it's part of my favourite reads list so I don't miss any posts. I loved this one in particular with the stunning views from your walk, it's just the sort of thing I really enjoy and so far this year I haven't minded the slide into winter as everything still looks beautiful.

    By the way, my two kids have just witnessed Father Christmas arriving by helicopter in Cornwall, so you can be sure he gets around! Hope the rest of your week is fun and festive, Antonia x

    ReplyDelete
  49. What a beautiful place for a walk. I love giving presents at Christmas but loathe the crowded shops with every coughing and sneezing. We had a very lovely day in Bath though. We got there very early and had done everything we needed to by lunch time so had time for a bit of a wander. The tree is up and the decorations but I haven't thought about any of the food yet or made any mince pies. Eek! Hoping to finish all my work tomorrow so I can start on all of that.

    ReplyDelete