Another busy week this week but less hectic which has been pleasant, a chance to re-charge the batteries. Today has been spent in the garden pruning shrubs, cutting back and giving it a final clean up before the winter finally comes to us. With moving leaves from the borders, I was revealing ground not seen for a few weeks and hiding places for bugs, the wild birds have come flocking back into the garden. Just today sat having a sandwich for lunch, in half an hour I saw: blackbird, thrush, collared dove, blue tit, coal tit, wren (x2), robin, crow, wood pigeon, dunnock and goldfinch.
I have mostly emptied the compost bin and as I was emptying it, I noticed lots of tiny yellow maggots in one place in the compost. I stopped to have the obligatory break and a robin who had been watching me closely, swooped down and helped him/herself to an unexpected but I guess welcome meal. The compost was full of works which are now hopefully working on the borders with the new compost.
The grass has had its winter treatment, the buddleia davidii has been pruned to stop damage from wind rock and the roses have had the same. Leaves have been cleaned from the gutters and ponds and the pond pumps have had their last clean of the year. I keep the water falls running all winter to provide running water, surface movement and oxygen for the fish. It also makes sure there is a hole in any ice that forms. We've just started to have one or two light frosts, enough to ensure I have to clean the car windscreen in the mornings.
The advent calendars are now being used with 3 choccies eaten. I bought my lads one each as I try to most years and this year a friend bought me one too with a Thomas the Tank Engine theme. I have to say I was tickled by this choice of calendar theme because once as a parent of young children, we used to watch Thomas and his friends on television and on video every day. I could once name all the engines - not now I don't suppose.
Advent calendars come from the nineteenth century in Germany when Lutherans would count the days down to Christmas Day by chalking off the days on the door beginning on the 1st December. The first printed advent calendar hails from Germany in the first years of the twentieth century.
Whilst the calendars are largely made for children these days (including the odd adult like me), advent events including the lighting of candles can still be found in some churches.
I've already been on one Christmas evening dinner with my lovely psychic/philosophy group at a Chinese restaurant. We had a banquet, something I've never done before and tasted a wide variety of foods and I was quite brave and mostly used chopsticks although in the end, the fork became handy.
I see that the snows have already been causing some problems in Scotland, last year, we had widespread snow which caused us a lot of disruption. We are now, at last beginning to see more traditional cold weather with daytime temperatures tomorrow predicted at 5 degrees Celsius - this follows the second mildest British autumn on record (MET Office: September to November).