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Caroline

Oh yes, I need to get rid of clutter. At one time it was cozy but now it gets too untidy.
Lovely pictures. We've got a garden like this here and I love it.

Liz F

I quite like a bit of clutter but am going to be forced into a clearing out in the very near future which I know is necessary but am definitely not looking forward to having to start!
I can sympathise with the Christmas cake story though - I used to do exactly the same until it occurred to me that it was only ever me that ate the dratted thing (although a couple of the kids would eat the icing on its own)and that wasn't necessarily a good thing! Haven't made a Christmas cake in years now although I still find myself looking at the ingredients in the supermarket in October... old habits die hard.
PS had a pear as described the other day - looked perfect but tasted vile - yeuch!

Kathy

The conservatory looks like an ideal place to curl up with a book on a snowy day--and I love the Santa hats on the tikis!

I also identify with the section on clutter. This year has been a year of shedding for me, though I haven't quite managed to get rid of all that I wanted to jettison. I'll keep at it, though, because it feels so good. (I've even gotten rid of a few books! Don't worry, there's still an impossibly high stack in my closet to choose from.)

cath

That conservatory is a great place to be. I can sense that from the photographs. The waterlillies are really nice too. I'm nearing the end of Wild Hares and Hummingbirds too and thinking about what to chose next. Nice!

Danielle

I don't like a lot of clutter--I do have more stuff than I am sure I need, but it has to at least be neat. I try to keep on top of things every morning so I can come home to a neat space. My books, however, are a grand mess and I really do need to do something about them. I know it will be a major project, so I keep putting it off. Isn't it nice having a garden like that to go to now and then!

Danielle

If there is too much clutter (and my books are definitely in that category...) then I start feeling a little claustrophobic. The thing is, I don't live in a particularly small space--it's amazing how 'stuff' just expands with more room! I sometimes wonder what will happen if (more like when...) I move somewhere smaller! I think Christmas cake must be something traditionally British? I know I belong to a reading group with mostly British ladies and they will talk about their holiday plans and cake seems to be something that needs to be thought out and done ahead of time. I am not organized enough for something like that (I am good if I manage a batch of Christmas cookies!), but I would certainly like to someday partake! :) Pears are lovely but very hit or miss. It seems as though they have a very narrow window of ripeness. Now is the time they are best, but if you wait just a day or two too long, mush-city!! And they bruise something awful. In the past I made the mistake of taking them in my lunch and having them end up all over my books--never take pears with me now--they are something to eat at home! We only have the most common varieties here.

Danielle

It does! I do hope someday to be able to spend an afternoon there on a cold winter day to really enjoy it. Maybe this coming break? Aren't those tikis great? I am always thinking of de-cluttering, but I am not so good at executing the plan. I do need to simplify and get rid of things. I almost never at this point buy anything for my house--I already have too much, but I can't seem to have that attitude with books. Whew--you had me worried there for a moment...you know, I do love your closet! :)

Danielle

It's a really lovely space. It would be the perfect place to have a wedding I think, and I am sure there will be plenty of them there. I love ponds and the few they have there are especially nice. I have been thinking about my own new 'serial' read for next year--I have really enjoyed reading the Pavord in that way--that was a great idea and thank you, since I 'borrowed' the idea from you! I am not sure what I will choose--trying to find a few books that will work to choose from. I am thinking of the Wild Hares book--have you enjoyed it?

Stefanie

Oh your conservatory is gorgeous! I love the tiki's with the santa hats! I was wondering when the November Pavord would appear. I'm not a fan of pears. Bookman likes them but he doesn't eat them often. I much prefer apples. I long for a peach tree but they are marginal here which means it is too fussy for my survival of the fittest approach to gardening!

LizF

My Victorian granny (she was the genuine thing having been born in 1888) used to insist that the Christmas cake was made before the end of October so that it could be 'fed' with brandy or rum in the following weeks to be perfect for Christmas!
It was a very rich version compared with most of today's Christmas cakes - her recipe calls for 12 eggs and 2lbs of butter and a massive list of dried and candied fruits as I recall - and it took hours to cook as I think it was put in the slow oven of the kitchen range with the tin wrapped in layers of both greaseproof and brown paper to make sure that the outside didn't dry out before the middle was properly cooked!
I have never made her version (maybe one day if I ever get that country house with the right sort of oven!)and my recipe (which I haven't made for a few years now) is a lot lighter in colour and texture but it does benefit from being wrapped up and put away in a tin for a few weeks before Christmas.
I don't bake as much as I used to when the children were all at home - really just mince pies although admittedly I make quite a few batches of those as they disappear pretty fast!
Have had the squished pear all over books incident myself - sadly one was a library book which had to be paid for because it was pretty revolting!

Danielle

I like a gardener with a sense of humor! The tikis are great anyway. But the hats are a laugh. I only have one more month to go--will read it this week. I think I will be sad to finish and am already thinking of what book I can read like this next year. I love pears, but I love apples more. I literally eat an apple a day (and pears several times a week). I would be thrilled to have fruit trees in my yard--imagine being able to go outside and be able to pick a peach--yum! :) But I am like you--my plants need to be hearty--survivors!

Danielle

Now That is a Serious Christmas cake. I would love to try the real thing someday. We have fruitcakes in stores at this time of year, but I think they are nothing like a home made version. How cool that your granny made real Christmas cakes--they must have been yummy! I am hoping to find some Stollen in the store this weekend. I love this time of year for the sweets, though I give in all too often with them. I want to buy a mincemeat pie (yum--do you use actual meat in yours?) this year. Last year right around Christmas I was going to buy one at a local bakery, but then I resisted (and regretted it!).

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