Sunday, 19 December 2010

Holly and Ivy

Blimey, no blog for over 3 weeks!  Where has the time gone? I mean, I know what I've been doing but are we really only a week away from Christmas?

I've spent the last couple of weekends walking in woods collecting anything on the ground that I could use for a Christmas-themed activity for people with dementia.  So I've been going out and coming back with bags of ivy, holly, berries, cones, conifer leaves.  I had to buy mistletoe from the garden centre (well everyone's entitled to a little peck at Christmas!) and ribbon, cranberries and other bits and pieces from the shop but everything else was outdoors.  The idea being that we were going to make outdoor Christmas decorations together of stars, wreaths and garlands and food garlands for the birds. .  I say "were" because I've just spent the last week off work with the flu and had to cancel the activity - great timing!

Still the walks were lovely; I wandered first through Kingswood near Pentewan where you can usually guarantee finding broken conifer branches lying on the ground close to the entrance.  It's a steep-sided wood with plenty of tracks that you can choose to go exploring off the main hard path.  You have to be observant when picking things up though; it's a popular dog-walking area and there's always a few dog owners who give everyone a bad name by not picking up the dog mess!  Then the following week I drove up to the viaduct in the Luxulyan Valley, taking the other two members of the Tywardreath Gardening Team with me, where we wandered along through the wood finding lots of fallen berries, moss-covered wood and whole 'ropes' of ivy hanging from the trees.  Luxulyan Valley is a World Heritage Site due to the industrial remains of a copper mine owned by Joseph Treffy in the 1800s.  You can follow the old leats and find hidden man-made waterfalls and mysterious machinery parts throughout the woods.  Enough of the history, here are some photos I took along both walks.

main route through Kingswood
off the beaten track - Kingswood

Aaah, good sign of a cold winter!
Luxulyan Valley - top level walk from the viaduct

No toe-dipping this time of year!
end of the man made watercourse
Python? in Cornwall?? Just an odd-shaped fallen branch caught up in the trees.........................or is it?!

Work has been busy this month but we've managed to fit in the annual Christmas sing-song in the office,  and a day for our Sensory Trust team to have our own Christmas 'party'.  This year we all got together at a colleague's house and made lots (and I means LOTS) of gingerbread shapes to give out to people we've enjoyed working with this year.  Various offspring came and joined in too and together we rolled out the dough, made shapes (including several crocodiles, a goat, a sheep and a Phoenix bird!), baked and went completely mad with icing pens, silver balls and chocolate and candy decorations.  Great fun!  You can see some images on our work's Facebook page if you're interested.

Thankfully the bout of flu finally dissipated this weekend and I spent a lovely afternoon in the garden yesterday.  We've only a smattering of snow here so I was able to get up into the field and cut some logs in the sunshine before collapsing back on the sofa with the realisation that perhaps I'm not quite back to full health just yet and that I really ought to get a good bow saw as soon as possible!

This isn't snow that's leftover; this is as much as we've had so far
Evidential footprints; rabbits have been eyeing up my apples trees!

at least there's food for the birds
one single, tiny Cinquefoil growing on the path caught my eye

Today I went for a walk in the nearby woods that are at the opposite end of Luxulyan Valley to the viaduct, following a route that follows an old railway track (there's that industrial heritage again!) through the woods and out along by the river and local railway line.  There's a lot to see in the Luxulyan Valley; if you've never visited you should next time you're in Cornwall.

by foot, by boat, by train 
old railway line now provides a route for walkers

                                                    old railway route passes underneath Par - Newquay branch line

coming out of the woods to the riverside walk

Anyway, the walk must've done me a lot of good because I've had more energy today.  I don't think I could've coped with the 'bird' incident otherwise. Oh yes, Jasper the Giant Killer went out to hone his ninja stalking skills and came back dragging a live bird through both cat flaps and into the kitchen.  The poor thing, a female blackbird, was dragged in shrieking and flapping.  She managed to get away from him and fly from the kitchen through the living room to rest on top of the curtain poles, having left a series of, well lets just say 'messages' across the floor, on my sofa and all down the curtains!  Nice!

Jasper was promptly removed (whilst he was still trying to get various feathers from around his mouth) and my next door neighbour, whose over 6 ft and very handy at getting things that I can't reach, was equally promptly fetched to catch the bird.  Thankfully, it wasn't hurt and was swiftly released over the fence outside whilst Jasper looked on confused and wondering why the early Christmas present had been rejected!

Having washed the curtains, I've spent the afternoon baking.  Home made presents for the neighbours as well as biscuits and chocolates for Christmas, although I may have to make more because the white chocolate, cranberry and roasted hazelnut cookies are mighty fine if I say so myself.  Thankfully the chocolate isn't yet set enough for me to make the Cointreau truffles, otherwise it's highly likely that they won't last until next weekend either!   It's all Quality Control, honest!

I'm spending Christmas at home in Cornwall this year, with various friends and then hope to see the family before, or after, New Year; depending on the weather.   Wherever you're spending your Christmas and New Year I hope it's with good people, good food and the odd tipple of something warming and I hope you spend this festive time sharing laughter and memories and making many more new ones!

Merry Christmas and best wishes for the New Year xx


Envirobitch said...

Great photos! I like the "evidential footprints". CSI Tywardreath!

Sensory Dragon said...

Thanks Envirobitch; It's very easy to spot 'crime scenes' in the garden at the moment. Haven't managed to round up any suspects yet but when I do there'll be a full investigation and some intense interrogations!

bowledover said...

Hi Sensory Dragon. Glad you are on the mend and planning celebrations.

What is that. You are Hunting wabbits, ask Dancin' about wabbits.
Lots of good work done by you and your companions. The recipients will appreciate it.
Lovely post.

Sensory Dragon said...

Hi Bowledover, thanks for your compliments - it's lovely to know that other people enjoy reading my posts as much as I enjoy writing them. I was so sad that I wasn't well enough to do the activity last week but I think I'll drop by the care home this week anyway. I won't have time to do the activity but I can leave some bits and pieces in the hope that the staff will still take time to make up some wildlife food garlands that can go in the garden for the residents to feed and watch the birds. I also dried a lot of sliced oranges and hopefully they will make garlands and tree decorations from them too.

As for the rabbits, they will always be a problem in the field I guess, but certainly not as much since Jasper moved in, and they can't get to the young apple trees because I've fenced each one off using wire mesh sunk into the ground - I think they were just looking to see if there were any weak spots in the fence. I regularly check to see if they're trying to do any damage. Wonder what will happen when I start to plant veg next year? probably all-out war!